Damn dudes. I get off the plane and all hell is breaking loose.
All in all, i think a discussion like this is healthy and appropriate for this forum.
I won't participate, as we're talking about, what, like over 140 songs i have made and made beats to most of them over those seven albums. That's a lot of work we are talking about and i was there for all of it, so i don't think one is better than the other.
Couple of points (facts) i can add to this discussion for your ponderance:
1) When OST came out nobody liked it. FACT. We had an album release party for it at a club called elements here in LA and nobody came. FACT. It took YEARS for people to start talking about, oh OST is the sh!t, etc. So what people are talking about the new album right now, means not a whole lot to me, because, you see, all the albums are part of one greater body of work - you guys just can't see the whole picture yet. These are just chapters which will reveal the whole to you all at a later time.
2) The sound on Carried Away is most simiar to Next Step because both came off of tape, although the next step came off of an 8 track tascam cassette porta-studio.
3) Two beats on Carried Away were made in 1998. FACT
4) The Song Carried Away is my favorite song we've ever done.
5) If i had to pick, I would say ?ITFOAA is my least favorite album in terms of sound quality, and that's because it was done on an O1V which i promptly got rid of after i finished the album.
6) I hated Midnight MArauders when i first heard it (i of course now rate it top 5 of all time)
7) Some people say we're "to old school" some people say we're "not old school enough" - as far as i can tell, we're mike and chris and it's the same old sh!t.
I'm not making an argument for or against Carried Away, i'm just saying - it's cool to have a favorite album, maybe it takes you to a certain place because of good memories or you like the melodies, but to us it's all apart of one body of work - one that, at least in my opinion, is about as consistent as yall could expect us to be across TWO DECADES.
Bonus beat: still sampling the rare, sh!t, probably the rarest records of my career. The originals to songs like Much TO Much and My Boy D are impossible records, trust me.