Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
Not many albums, let alone debuts, can lay claim to founding an entire genre of music. DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing….. released in 1996 did just that. Stitched together with samples from every conceivable nook and cranny of musical endeavor, Shadow’s debut invented, established and legitimized instrumental hip-hop music in one fell swoop.
Taking what had previously been music to either sway the hips or fuel the fire of indignant rage, DJ Shadow introduced a panoply of atmospheres and moods to suit every moment. From the eerily contemplative ‘Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt’ to the somnambulant vibes of ‘Changeling’, the blissed-out jazz inflections of ‘What Does Your Soul Look Like?’ and the chaotic percussive ‘Mutual Slump’—there is something to touch every corner of your soul, no matter how dark and shrouded in dust they may be.
By taking the most minute pieces of other compositions and expanding them to a point beyond recognition in combination with countless others, DJ Shadow created a piece of art much greater than the sum of its parts. In doing so he not only birthed a genre, but opened up the eyes of the wider world to the possibilities of hip-hop beyond that which they already knew—the realms of advertising and soundtracks beckoned, thereby widening the scope, ambition and recognition of hip-hop.