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    Lewis Parker - "Eyes of Dreams"

    Album: Masquerades and Silhouettes Year released: 1998

    You might well recognise this beat because Joey Bada$$ used it, unchanged, for the track “Hardknock” last summer. But let this be a moment for deserved recognition: at only 21, Lewis Parker produced and rapped for the entirety of this coming-of-age album back in 1998—a whole year before Joey’s nostalgically named 1999 project even dared refer to. The song is misty, and retains the illusiveness depicted by the album artwork and title. Furthermore, it marks the late '90s allegiance to a lyrical style that U.K. hip-hop has since been defined by, relying upon the conjuring of strange, ethereal imagery to best explore streams of consciousness, a style perfected by Jehst (who Parker has since worked with) and the currently very active High Focus roster.