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list Dec 25 2016 Written by

Top 300 Hip Hop Albums 1980 – 1999

top hip hop albums

Also read: Top 100 Hip Hop Albums Of The 1980s & Top 100 Hip Hop Albums Of The 1990s

1. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988)

Public Enemy best hip hop album ever

“Yes – the rhythm, the rebel / Without a pause – I’m lowering my level / The hard rhymer – where you never been I’m in…” (Rebel Without A Pause)

Public Enemy‘s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is one of the best albums ever made, in any genre. The best and one of the most important Hip Hop albums ever.

Enough said.

Top tracks: Rebel Without A Pause | Bring The Noise | Don’t Believe The Hype | Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

2. Nas - Illmatic (1994)

best hip hop album ever

“Rappers, I monkey flip ’em with the funky rhythm I be kickin’ / Musician, inflictin’ composition of pain…” (NY State Of Mind)

One of the very best Hip Hop albums in history, period. A young and hungry, insanely talented emcee comes together with some of the finest producers in the game, who all bring their best work. No skits, no fillers – just nine 5-star tracks that combine into a seminal work that will forever be revered as one of the most important releases in Hip Hop ever. A monumental masterpiece.

Top tracks: NY State Of Mind | Life’s A Bitch | The World Is Yours | It Ain’t Hard To Tell

3. Eric B & Rakim - Paid In Full (1987)

best hip hop albums ever

“This is how It should be done / This style is identical to none…” (I Know You Got Soul)

In a music genre still in its infancy, this Eric B & Rakim masterpiece was a game changer. Seductive, smooth yet hard beats laced with Rakim’s innovative and intricate rhyme style, make for this groundbreaking and seminal work.

This is one of the albums that can be seen as a precursor to 1988, Hip Hop’s break-out year. An album that established Hip Hop as a musical genre that was there to stay. ‘Paid In Full’ will forever be recognized as one of Hip Hop’s ultimate classics. Filled with unforgettable tracks and Hip Hop anthems this album is a must-have. If you don’t own this album, your Hip Hop collection is incomplete.

Top tracks: I Ain’t No Joke | My Melody | Eric B Is President | Move The Crowd

4. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am / Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram…” (Check The Rhime)

PERFECTION. The Low End Theory is the definitive statement about what creativity, innovation, artistry, fun and raw talent can produce. Building on the quality work of their debut, Tribe perfected the fusion of jazzy influences and bass heavy Hip Hop beats. The album is so coherent and consistent, it almost feels like one long song – in this case a good thing.

Phife, who only played a small part on the first album, really increased his skills as an emcee and establishes a perfect interplay with the exceptional Q-Tip. Clever lyrics and smooth and warm music – this album is nothing short of perfect.

Top tracks: Check The Rhime | Verses From The Abstract | Butter | Scenario

5. Wu Tang Clan - Enter The Wu Tang (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“And if you want beef, then bring the ruckus / Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuttin’ ta fuck with” (Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuttin’ Ta Fuck Wit)

What can be said about this seminal album that hasn’t been said a thousand times over already? One of the most innovative, groundbreaking, influential and important Hip Hop albums EVER. New York’s answer to Dr Dre’s worldshaking The Chronic of the year previous.

RZA’s incredible innovative production resulting in that trademark dirty and gritty Wu-Tang sound, complemented by 9 emcees who all bring their A-game and show crazy versatility and never-seen-before lyrical creativity: unbeatable.

A true Hip Hop masterpiece and a classic for the ages.

Top tracks: Bring Da Ruckus | C.R.E.A.M. | Protect Ya Neck | Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’

6. Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Well I’m the ultimate, the rhyme imperial / I’m better, but some don’t believe me though / But I’m a pro in hot material / On your Walkman, box or any stereo” (Watch Me Now)

A classic album that has stood the test of time – Kool Keith‘s unique style & lyrics along with the excellent overall production ensure this is one for the ages. Highly original & innovative and very consistent – no weak tracks here.

Critically acclaimed, but at the same time slept on and somehow underappreciated – this is one of HHGA’s all-time favorite albums and deserves its top spot in this list of Hip Hop’s break-out decades.

Top tracks: Ego Trippin’ | Ease Back | Watch Me Now | Funky

7. Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded (1987)

best hip hop albums ever

“We’re not promoting violence, we’re just having some fun – he’s Scott La Rock, I’m KRS One” (Criminal Minded)

After making a name for themselves in the NYC Hip Hop underground, former social worker Scott La Rock and one of his clients, KRS One, formed Boogie Down Productions and came out in 1987 with Criminal Minded.

The sparse production by the artists – and the at the time uncredited Ced Gee of the Ultramagnetic MCs – combined with KRS One’s  lyrical content and distinctive delivery make this album a definitive Hip Hop classic, that without a doubt is up there with the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time.

Together with other groundbreaking 1987 debuts of Eric B & Rakim (‘Paid In Full‘) and Public Enemy (‘Yo! Bum Rush The Show‘) this album set the standard for Golden Age of Hip Hop.

Top Tracks: The Bridge Is Over | South Bronx | Criminal Minded | Poetry

8. De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Mirror, mirror on the wall / Tell me, mirror, what is wrong? / Can it be my De La clothes / Or is it just my De La song?” (Me, Myself & I)

Innovative and hugely influential – this cooperation between De La Soul and producer Prince Paul is truly a landmark album in Hip Hop (and music in general).

This album introduced the skit to Hip Hop albums; and although skits more often irritate than add value, on this album they work. The whole album is consistent and all the songs are awesome – no filler tracks here.

Clever wordplay, deft rhymes, playful production, positivity and fun: 3 Feet High And Rising represented a new direction for Hip Hop, clearly a reaction to cliches already emerging in Hip Hop, even in it’s early years.

De La Soul’s debut is a must have for anyone who loves Hip Hop and an all-time classic.

Top tracks: The Magic Number | Say No Go | Eye Know | Ghetto Thang

9. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca And The Soul Brother (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“Déjà vu, tell you what I’m gonna do / When they reminisce over you, my God…” They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)

A timeless musical masterpiece, tasteful and irresistible. After the excellent EP they dropped the year previous, Pete Rock & CL Smooth followed up with this brilliant album. Pete Rock’s multi-layered, horns-filled, bass-heavy boom bap production is simply masterful. CL Smooth delivery serves as another instrument to complete the musical feast this album is from start to finish. Incredibly consistent throughout, Mecca And The Soul Brother is one of Hip Hop’s all-time greatest albums.

Top tracks: They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) | Straighten It Out | Ghettos Of The Mind | Can’t Front On Me

10. Slick Rick - The Great Adventures Of… (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Gather ’round party go-ers as if your still livin / And get on down to the old Slick rhythm” (The Ruler’s Back)

It doesn’t get much better than this. A flawless album from start to finish, filled with dope tracks. Slick Rick‘s superior story telling abilities, combined with his humor and typical rap style, make this album an unforgettable classic.

Top tracks: Mona Lisa | The Ruler’s Back | Hey Young World | Children’s Story

11. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube / From the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes…” (Straight Outta Compton) 

This album was a game-changer; for better or for worse. One of the first real ‘gangsta rap’ albums, and one of the most successful, going multi-platinum without any radio play. It influenced and changed the direction of Hip Hop, producing countless gun-toting clones for decades to come. The difference between all the clones and this album is the originality and authenticity of Straight Outta Compton; combined with the revolutionary & flawless production of Dr Dre and the raw energy & at the time shocking lyrical imagery of Ice CubeMC Ren & Eazy E. Super classic.

Top tracks: Straight Outta Compton | Fuck Tha Police | Gangsta Gangsta | Express Yourself

12. De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“This is the stylin’ for a little that sounds silly / But nothin’ silly about triflin’ times of Millie / Millie, a Brooklyn Queen-originally from Philly / Complete with that accent that made her sound hilly-billy…” (Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa)

De La Soul more or less invented the rap-skit and to this day, they remain one of the very few acts who know how to use it. Where in 95% of the cases skits do not add anything, except annoying breaks in the flow of albums, De La actually know how to use a skit in the right way – to give a thematic and coherent feel to an album.

De La Soul Is Dead is a long album, but packed with brilliance, musically and lyrically. A marked change in style and feel to their equally brilliant debut 3 Feet High & Rising, De La Soul Is Dead showed a darker and more contemplative side of De La Soul. Gone is the happy-go-lucky positivity of their debut, in stead we get De La’s disillusioned vision on the state of Hip Hop, which would turn out to be highly prophetic. This album was so ahead of its time, Hip Hop still hasn’t caught up yet.

Top tracks: Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa | Keepin’ The Faith | Bitties In The BK Lounge | Afro Connections At A Hi 5

13. Dr Dre - The Chronic (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“1, 2, 3 and to the 4 / Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the door / Ready to make an entrance so back on up / (Cause you know we’re about to rip shit up)…” (Nuthin But A G Thang)

Was there ever a more influential album in Hip Hop? Another 1990’s masterpiece that is about the production first and the lyrical content second.

Dr Dre‘s production on this album is just INCREDIBLE. Often imitated, never duplicated. It also showed us the full potential of Hip Hop’s next superstar – a young Snoop Dogg. Along with lyrics from a host of other talented rappers and Dr Dre himself, The Chronic is filled with the ‘standard’ gangsta themes (violence, sex, drugs, parties) – difference from most of the others is that on this album it sounds GOOD.

An all-time fan favorite to this day, The Chronic will forever be remembered as one of Hip Hop’s most influential and important albums.

Top tracks: Let Me Ride | Nuthin But A G Thang | Fuck Wit Dre Day | The Day The Niggaz Took Over

14. Run DMC - Raising Hell (1986)

best hip hop albums ever

“Kings from Queens, from Queens come Kings / We’re raising hell like a class when the school bell rings…” (Raising Hell)

One of the first mega-sellers in Hip Hop and the album that would cement the status of Run DMC as most important Hip Hop act of the time. A brilliant album, with perfect interplay between Jam Master Jay – one of the first great all round DJ’s in the game – and the back-and-forth rhyming of DMC and Run.

This album, together with Beastie Boys‘ debut Licensed To Ill from the same year, was responsible for opening Hip Hop to all kinds of audiences all over the world.

Run DMC “took the beat from the street and put it on TV”.

Top tracks: Peter Piper | Raising Hell | My Adidas | It’s Tricky

15. LL Cool J - Radio (1985)

best hip hop albums ever

“LL Cool J is hard as hell / Battle anybody / I don’t care who you tell…” (Rock The Bells)

LL Cool J‘s debut album is one of the most influential Hip Hop albums of all time. Together with Run DMC’s debut album from the year before, Radio was the second album that would set the tone for how Hip Hop was going to sound.

Rick Rubin’s stripped-down, minimalistic production complements LL Cool J B-Boy attitude and revolutionary lyricism perfectly. This is one of the greatest and most important debuts in the history of Hip Hop and LL Cool J is one of the all-time greats.

Top tracks: Rock The Bells | I Can’t Live Without My Radio | Dangerous | You’ll Rock

16. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now I rock a house party at the drop of a hat / I beat a biter down with an aluminum bat / a lot of people they be Jonesin’ just to hear me rock the mic / they’ll be staring at the radio / staying up all night” (Shake Your Rump)

Was there ever an album, in any genre, that used sampling more brilliantly and creatively than Paul’s Boutique? This album truly is sampling heaven.

Paul’s Boutique was completely different from Beastie Boys‘ much easier accessible and commercially super successful debut album Licensed To Illand not what a lot of fans of that album were expecting.

Initially a commercial failure, Paul’s Boutique aged like fine wine and with it the appreciation for it. Now considered a landmark album in Hip Hop, it’s the ultimate example for what the Beastie Boys always stood for: creativity and innovation. They were never afraid to reinvent themselves and stretch (and cross) genre boundaries, while at the same time keeping it real.

A timeless masterpiece, Paul’s Boutique will forever be remembered as a classic album, in music, not just in Hip Hop.

Top tracks: Shake Your Rump | Hey Ladies | Shadrach | B-Boy Bouillabaisse

17. OutKast - Aquemini (1998)

best hip hop albums ever

“Many a day has passed, the night has gone by / But still I find the time to put that bump off in your eye” (Rosa Parks)

Always creative and innovative, it’s hard to agree on which album is OutKast’s best. They are all classics in their own right, with this one arguably being their magnum opus, where everything that makes OutKast part of Hip Hop’s elite comes together. The beats, the lyrics – both are truly excellent, but it is the overall vibe of the album that makes Aquemini so special. A stylistic and musical experience that transcends Hip Hop – Aquemini is a creative masterpiece that belongs in every music lover’s collection.

Top tracks: Rosa Parks | Da Art Of Storytellin 1 & 2 | Slump | Aquemini

18. The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready To Die (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“It was all a dream / I used to read Word Up! magazine / Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine / Hangin’ pictures on my wall / Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl…” (Juicy) 

Another landmark album and all-time classic. The Notorious B.I.G. made a big splash on the scene with his classic debut single Party & Bullshit. Expectations were high for his full-length debut album and boy did he deliver with Ready To Die.

One of the most naturally gifted emcees and storytellers in the Hip Hop game ever, everything came together for him on this album. Excellent production throughout with Biggie’s simultaneously brash and vulnerable lyrics to top off the banging instrumentals. Few others were ever able to express their thoughts and feelings the way Biggie was. Super classic.

Top tracks: Juicy | Gimme The Loot | Things Done Changed | Warning

19. Public Enemy - Fear of A Black Planet (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps” (Fight The Power)

How do you do you follow up on the best Hip Hop album ever made? The answer is: with Fear Of A Black Planet.

Building on the perfection of It Takes A Nation… Fear Of A Black Planet consolidated Public Enemy‘s status of most important Hip Hop group of the time.

Fear Of A Black Planet is fiercely political, intelligent, unrelenting, uncompromising, profound, powerful, intense, boundary pushing – a landmark album in (Hip Hop) music history.

Perhaps a little less accessible than It Takes A Nation… but equally important and a bonafide classic.

Top tracks: Burn HollyWood Burn | Fight The Power | Welcome To The Terrordome | 911 Is A Joke

20. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“Honey, check it out, you got me mesmerized / With your black hair and your fat-ass thighs / Street poetry is my everyday / But yo, I gotta stop when you trot my way” (Electric Relaxation)

Faced with the impossible task of following up on the flawless masterpiece that is The Low End Theory, Tribe delivered an album that is every bit as awesome as its predecessor. There can be no greater praise.

As fresh today as it was on the day it was released: the mark of a true classic.

Top tracks: Electric Relaxation | Award Tour | Oh My God | We Can Get Down

21. Run DMC - Run DMC (1984)

best hip hop albums ever

“You five dollar boy and I’m a million dollar man / You’se a sucker emcee, and you’re my fan” (Sucker MCs)

This album would be the one to change the direction of Hip Hop. Going for rock-infused, stripped-down, hard beats and a new kind of emceeing, it was game-changing in more ways than one. A great prelude to even greater things to come. The new standard.

Top tracks: Sucker MCs | Jam Master Jay | Hollis Crew | Rock Box

22. Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Linx... (1995)

best hip hop albums ever

“Me and the RZA connect / Blow a fuse, you lose / Half-ass crews get demolished and bruised” (Incarcerated Scarfaces)

The best Wu-Tang solo album? Everyone will agree it’s up there with of the best of them. It’s not even a ‘real’ solo album – every Wu-Tang Clan member appears on one or more tracks and production is in the more than capable hands of RZA. That makes this album even more of a group effort than most other Wu-Tang solo releases.

After Kool G Rap, Raekwon can be seen as one of the pioneers of the mafioso sub-genre and this album is one of the best, if not the best of its sort. Only Built For Cuban Linx… was loosely composed to play like a film with Raekwon as the “star,” fellow Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killah as the “guest-star,” and producer RZA as the “director.” The cinematic feel of the album, along with the top notch production and emceeing, make this one an all-time classic.

And… don’t forget about Nas’ epic guest appearance on one of the album’s centerpieces: Verbal Intercourse. Greatness!

Top tracks: Incarcerated Scarfaces | Verbal Intercourse | Ice Cream | Wu Gambinos

23. Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Let it roll, get bold, I just can’t hold / Back, or fold cos I’m a man with soul / In control and effect, so what the heck / Rock the discotheque and this groove is what’s next” (Set It Off)

With Big Daddy Kane‘s debut album he immediately establishes himself as one of Hip Hop’s top lyricists – a status he holds to this day. This album was produced by Marley Marl at the peak of his powers and is a definitive Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: Raw | Set It Off | Ain’t No Halfsteppin’ | Long Live The Kane

24. 2Pac - Me Against The World (1995)

best hip hop albums ever

“Inside my mind couldn’t find a place to rest / Until I got that Thug Life tatted on my chest” (So Many Tears)

2Pac’s best album. Although the follow-up All Eyez On Me may be the more popular album, Me Against The World is much more cohesive, balanced and tight.

Me Against The World is 2Pac’s third album and the one on which he reaches real maturity. He is not the all-out thug persona yet and the album is better for it. On this album, he is able to show us all aspects of his tormented being, better than on any of his other albums. An impressive album, and an all-time classic.

Top tracks: Dear Mama | So Many Tears | Me Against The World | Old School

25. The DOC - No One Can Do It Better (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Keepin’ it dope as long as I can like imagine / Makin’ each record that I do better than the last one” (The Formula)

On the heels of the explosive success of N.W.A‘s Straight Outta Compton, Dr Dre turns out another flawlessly produced album. The D.O.C. is a talented emcee who complements Dre’s beats perfectly.

The D.O.C. doesn’t need gangster posturing to show and prove he is the man – he has the skills and confidence to carry this album and to make it an all-time Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: It’s Funky Enough | The Formula | Mind Blowin’ | The Grand Finale

26. Eric B & Rakim - Follow The Leader (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“I was a fiend before I became a teen / I melted microphone instead of cones of ice cream / Music orientated so when Hip Hop was originated / Fitted like pieces of puzzles, complicated” (Microphone Fiend)

Faced with the impossible task to follow up the game-changing classic Paid In Full, Eric B & Rakim delivered anyway. Rakim raised the bar of emceeing to a level few ever approached.

Top tracks: Microphone Fiend | Follow The Leader | Lyrics Of Fury | Musical Massacre

27. Boogie Down Productions - By All Means Necessary (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“See I’m telling, and teaching pure facts / The way some act in rap is kind of wack / And it lacks creativity and intelligence / But they don’t care cause their company’s selling it” (My Philosophy)

Not even one year after Boogie Down Productions‘ classic debut album Criminal Minded, and shortly after the murder of Scott La Rock, KRS One drops another classic. KRS One quickly establishes himself as the conscious voice of Hip Hop, together with Public Enemy – a role both acts would maintain in the decades to follow.

Top tracks: My Philosophy | Ya Slippin’ | I’m Still No. 1 | Stop The Violence

28. De La Soul - Stakes Is High (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“The instamatic focal point bringing damage to your boroughs / Be some brothers from the east with some beats that be thorough” (Stakes Is High)

Another De La Soul masterpiece. All of their first four albums are classics in their own right, this one may just be the album that is their most mature and confident effort up till then. No gimmicks, no frills, just straight up Hip Hop.

Three decades in and still going strong, De La Soul easily is one of the most consistent acts in Hip Hop ever and they are truly Hip Hop’s elite.

Top tracks: Stakes Is High | Big Brother Beat | The Bizness | Supa Emcees

29. OutKast - ATLiens (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“In the Cadillac they call us / Went from Player’s Ball to ballers...” (Elevators)

A step up from their already awesome Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik debut album. On ATLiens OutKast shows real growth and new found maturity, resulting in an album that is simply amazing lyrically as well as musically. No skits, no filler, no bullshit – just straight up dope Hip Hop with that unique OutKast twist.

Top tracks: Elevators (Me & You) | Two Dope Boyz (In A Cadillac) | Jazzy Belle | ATLiens

30. EPMD - Strictly Business (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Relax your mind, let your conscience be free / And get down to the sounds of EPMD” (You Gots To Chill)

Consistent quality. Two words that describe the work of EPMD. EPMD’s first album immediately delivered the goods: funky beats and dope rhymes – it established EPMD as one of the true powerhouses in Hip Hop.

Top tracks: Strictly Business | You Gots To Chill | Get Off The Bandwagon | Let The Funk Flow

31. Ice T - Original Gangster (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“When I wrote about parties / It didn’t fit / Six in the Mornin’ / That was the real shit…” (Original Gangster)

Ice T‘s masterpiece. Original Gangster is a long album, but it is put together PERFECTLY. It feels and flows JUST RIGHT. You can just feel the love and the energy that went into the making of Original Gangster. It is one of those albums that feels as fresh today as it did when it was released, an album you can keep on constant rotation because it never gets old. A true classic.

Top tracks: Midnight | The Tower | Bitches 2 | Pulse Of The Rhyme

32. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill (1998)

best hip hop albums ever

“It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard / Loving you is like a battle, and we both end up with scars…” (Ex-Factor)

Maybe this genre-bending album does not really ‘qualify’ as a Hip Hop album. It incorporates styles such as Soul, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Gospel as much as it does Hip Hop. But Lauryn Hill is Hip Hop and this album’s spirit is Hip Hop.

Similar to artists such as The Roots and OutKast, Lauryn Hill is not afraid to expirement and here she allows her talent to produce the album that suits it. The result is an all-time classic musical masterpiece, not just for Hip Hop, but for all genres of music.

Top tracks: Lost Ones | Doo Wop (That Thing) | Every Ghetto, Every City | Ex-Factor

33. Ice Cube - AmeriKKKas Most Wanted (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Some don’t think I can flow, so here we go  / To a new track, to show the wack, that I can throw / Styles that show up, I blow up and blast here / Niggaz still trippin off the shit I said last year…” (Get Off My Dick And Tell Yo Bitch To Come Here) 

Young, hungry and angry. Ice Cube hit his peak after leaving N.W.A with this album. Creatively it is truly outstanding. Recruiting the Bomb Squad for an East Coast sound on the production resulted in a sonically epic album.

Lyrically Cube murders ever track on the album. Raw, hard and unapologetic, Ice Cube dropped a bomb on the (Hip Hop) nation when it was released. AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted is a unique blend of political, socially conscious and gangsta rap, Ice Cube at his best, and a true Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted | You Can’t Fade Me | Once Upon A Time In The Projects | Tales From The Darkside

34. GZA - Liquid Swords (1995)

best hip hop albums ever

“Protect Ya Neck, my sword still remain imperial / Before I blast the mic, RZA scratch off the serial” (Shadowboxin’)

Liquid Swords is another highlight in the Wu-Tang (solo) catalogue. The album would have even higher on this list if they hadn’t overdone it a bit on the skits / intro’s, but most of the songs on this one are true bangers. Elite production by the RZA as usual in that era, and the trademark dope Wu-Tang lyricism. Classic Wu-Tang.

Top tracks: Liquid Swords | Shadowboxin’ | 4th Chamber | Cold World

35. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“With so much drama in the L-B-C / It’s kinda hard being Snoop D-O-double-G / But I – somehow, some way / Keep comin’ up with funky-ass shit like every single day” (Gin & Juice)

In the pre-internet and Social Media days, when music promotion was a whole different ballgame, there have been few albums that were as hyped and anticipated as Snoop Doggy Dogg‘s solo debut. Having made an incredible impression with his unique style on Dr Dre‘s Deep Cover single and later as the top emcee on Dre’s monumental The Chronic, Snoop was hailed as Hip Hop’s next superstar.

With mentor Dr Dre on the boards, Doggystyle managed to meet the crazy high expectations – no mean feat. An all around Hip Hop classic, on the West Coast arguably only surpassed in ‘classic-ness’ by N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton and Dre’s The Chronic, Doggystyle is and always will be Snoop Dogg’s magnum opus.

Top tracks: Gin & Juice | Murder Was The Case | Gz & Hustlas | Da Shiznit

36. Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“In the arena or forum, weak MC’s I will floor ’em / Causin mayhem, I’ll slay them, and the blood’ll be pourin / Furthermore I implore, that as a soldier of war / I go in only to win and be the holder of more / Trophies, titles, and triumphs cause I dump all the sly chumps / Never choosin to lose my spot, not once…” (Step In The Arena)

On their second album Gang Starr started coming into their own sound.Guru‘s supremely recognizable monotone voice and DJ Premier‘s signature style of DJing and producing really come together here.

This is a long album but there are no filler tracks. You can listen to the whole album without having to skip a song. The beginning of Gang Starr’s flawless discography.

Top tracks: Step In The Arena | Take A Rest | Just To Get A Rep | Who’s Gonna Take The Weight

37. Black Star - Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (1998)

Mos_Def_Talib_Kweli_Are_Black_Star

“One two three, Mos Def and Talib Kweli / We came to rock it on to the tip-top, best alliance in Hip Hop, Y-O” (Definition)

Both Mos Def and Talib Kweli planned to release their solo albums around the same time, but they postponed their individual projects and decided instead to collaborate on a full-length LP – and what a collaboration it is. Great album.

Top tracks: Definition | Thieves In The Night | Brown Skin Lady | Children’s Story

38. Ice Cube - Death Certificate (1991)

149-1991

“It’s the nigga ya love to hate with a new song / So what really goes on / Nothing but a come-up, but ain’t that a bitch / They hate to see a young nigga rich…” (True To The Game) 

Still angry, still hungry. Ice Cube picks up where he left things with his classic debut AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted and even takes things a bit further.

Raw and uncompromising, Death Certificate was highly controversial in its subject matter. Ice Cube pulls no punches and spares no one in his examinations of early 90s American society, which can make it an ‘uncomfortable’ listen at times.

Sonically, there is nothing wrong with Ice Cube’s and Sir Jinx’s production – although the funk induced beats on Death Certificate may seem a little less appealing than the Bomb Squad’s stand-out work on AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted – but this album is all about the lyrical content.

Widely considered Ice Cube’s best work (together with AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted), Death Certificate is a truly important album in Hip Hop history.

Top tracks: True To The Game | Steady Mobbin’ | Color Blind | No Vaseline

39. Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill (1986)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell / About three bad brothers you know so well / It started way back in history / With Ad-Rock, M.C.A. (and me) Mike D…” (Paul Revere)

A timeless classic. Licensed To Ill is pure energy and great fun. The Beastie Boys were the first white act in Hip Hop to make it big, and maintain credibility and respect in the Hip Hop world throughout their career.

This album is another one of the big, early successes of Def Jam – the dominating and most innovating record label at the time, extremely important for the exposure of Hip Hop to larger audiences worldwide.

Top tracks: Paul Revere | The New Style | Rhymin And Stealin | Hold It Now, Hit It

40. Mobb Deep - The Infamous (1995)

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“I got you stuck off the realness / We be the infamous / You heard of us, official Queensbridge murderers” (Shook Ones) 

An album that will forever polarize opinions. Considered an absolute classic and a top 10 album by many, there are also those who find it inaccessible because of the ‘too’ gritty and dark nature of the album and who don’t like it at all.

Wherever you stand, there can be no denying this is a landmark album, both production-wise and lyrically. Mobb Deep brought their A-game on their second album and The Infamous will always be seen as one of the most important mid-90s East Coast albums.

Top tracks: Shook Ones | Survival Of The Fittest | Drink Away The Pain | Eye For An Eye (Your Beef Is Mines)

41. Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush The Show (1987)

best hip hop albums ever

“Well I’m all in / put it up on the board / another rapper shot down from the mouth that roared / 1-2-3 down for the count / the result of my lyrics, oh yes, no doubt” (Public Enemy No. 1) 

The classic debut of one of Hip Hop’s greatest and most important groups of all time. This album truly was a game-changer, production- and content wise. Rough, hard-hitting beats and turntablism, complemented by Chuck D’s booming voice and Flavor Flav’s antics – ‘Yo! Bum Rush The Show‘ was revolutionary in many ways. Hugely influential and the stepping stone toPublic Enemy‘s follow up and Hip Hop’s ultimate classic album: ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back‘.

Top Tracks: You’re Gonna get Yours | Miuzi Weighs A Ton |  Timebomb | Public Enemy No. 1

42. The Roots - Illadelph Halflife (1996)

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“Lost generation, fast paced nation / World population confront their frustration / The principles of true hip-hop have been forsaken / It’s all contractual and about money makin” (What They Do)

The Roots’ best album? Hard to pick a favorite in a discography of such outstanding overall quality, but on Illadelph Halflife everything works. This is a LONG album, but there are few, if any, wasted moments. This is smooth, jazzy Hip Hop at its finest, with live instrumentation and exceptional lyricism – true brilliance from Philly’s legendary Roots crew.

Top tracks: Clones | What They Do | Concerto Of The Desperado | Section

43. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Road To The Riches (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Bass, snare drum in your eardrum / Musical outcome, lyrical tantrum / Energy enters me, power absorbed / Phonograph arts and crafts mic warlord” (Rhymes I Express)

Kool G Rap is generally considered one of the greatest emcees ever, a pioneer of multi-syllabic & internal rhymes and complex rhyme schemes. And he could spit too. Later he would go on to make the ‘maffioso’ rap not everyone appreciates, but here he was a straight up emcee with mostly braggadocio, battle-ready rhymes over Marley Marl’s sparse beats. Kool G Rap is often named your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, and this album shows why.

Top tracks: Road To The Riches | Butcher Shop | Rhymes I Express | Poison

44. LL Cool J - Bigger And Deffer (1987)

best hip hop albums ever

“No rapper can rap quite like I can – I’ll take a musclebound man and put his face in the sand” (I’m Bad) 

Still early days in Hip Hop, but LL Cool J already comes out with his sophomore album. One of the first mega-sellers in Hip Hop (together with 1986 albums ‘Raising Hell‘ from Run DMC & ‘Licensed To Ill’ from the Beastie Boys). LL Cool J at the top of his game.

Top tracks: I’m Bad | The Doo Wop | Go Cut Creator Go | The Breakthrough

45. Nas - It Was Written (1996)

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“I never brag how real I keep it, cause it’s the best secret…” (Take It In Blood)

Although Nas‘ debut album Illmatic initially sold underwhelmingly, it was an overwhelming critical success. So, how to top or even equal a classic like Illmatic? An impossible task, even if It Was Written turned out to be another excellent Nas album.

Going for a more commercial-friendly sound here and there, and trying out the mafioso subgenre on some tracks, It Was Written just feels a little less tight and coherent than Illmatic did. Nas’ lyrical brilliance is still on full display, though. With It Was Written Nas cemented his status as one of the most talented, all-around skilled emcees in the game, ever. Essential Nas material.

Top tracks: The Message | I Gave You Power | Take It In Blood | If I Ruled The World

46. Ice T - Power (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“I’m livin’ large as possible, posse unstoppable / Style topical, vividly optical” (Power)

Power, Ice T‘s second studio album, is an excellent follow up to his 1987 debut Rhyme Pays. Dope beats & lyrics, and carried by Ice T’s personality – this is a classic album that definitely has stood the test of time.

Top tracks: Power | High Rollers | Personal | Drama

47. The Fugges - The Score (1996)

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“Ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide / Gonna find you and take it slowly ” (Ready Or Not)

A great commercial as well as critical success, The Score was a massive improvement on The Fugees‘ enjoyable but somewhat uneven Blunted On Reality debut album. The Score is a timeless and flawless masterpiece and paved the way for Lauryn Hill‘s monumental solo debut The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.

Top tracks: How Many Mics | Ready Or Not | Cowboys | Fu-Gee-La

48. OutKast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“Halle-lu-jah, halle-lu-jah / Y’know I do some things more different than I used to…” (Player’s Ball)

After quality releases from groups like Geto Boys, UGK, Eightball & MJG and others in years previous, OutKast‘s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was THE album that put Southern Hip Hop on the map as a major part of Hip Hop, which after this album could no longer be divided simply in East- and West Coast.

Not immediately recognized as such upon its release, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik gained more and more recognition over the years and is now universally recognized as a staple of (Southern) Hip Hop.

Top tracks: Player’s BallSouthernplayalisticadillacmuzik | Git Up, Git Out | Crumblin’ Erb

49. EPMD - Unfinished Business (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“My father always told me to wisen up son / Cause if you hang with nine broke friends, you’re bound to be the 10th one” (It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Fame)

No sophomore slump for EPMD. One year after their brilliant debut album Strictly Business they turned out another classic. A tight album start to finish, Unfinished Business proved EPMD’s consistency and would establish them as one of Hip Hop’s powerhouses.

Top tracks: So Whatcha Sayin’ | The Big Payback | Strictly Snappin’ Necks | It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Fame

50. Makaveli - The Don Killuminati The Seven Day Theory (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“To live and die in LA, where everyday we try to fatten our pockets / Us niggas hustle for the cash so it’s hard to knock it” (To Live And Die In L.A.)

Released just a few months after 2Pac’s murder, The Don Killuminati The Seven Day Theory turned out to be extremely prophetic with so many references to (his own) death it’s chilling. The albums features some of the best instrumentals Pac ever got to work with and lyrically it’s 2Pac at his harsh, yet emotional and poetic best. The last masterpiece of a young tormented genius who sadly ‘thugged’ his way to his own demise.

Top tracks: To Live And Die In L.A. | Me And My Girlfriend | Hail Mary | Hold Ya Head

51. Mos Def - Black On Both Sides (1999)

best hip hop albums ever

“You wanna know how to rhyme you better learn how to add / It’s mathematics” (Mathematics)

Mos Def’s masterpiece. Mos Def must be one of the most underrated emcees out there – but he has a unique voice and his flow is tight. He’s intelligent, humorous, passionate, creative, and socially conscious. Black On Both Sides is a must have for any and all Hip Hop fans.

Top tracks: Mathematics | Ms. Fat Booty | Brooklyn | Hip Hop

52. Gang Starr - Moment Of Truth (1998)

best hip hop albums ever

“Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof, we all must meet our moment of truth” (Moment Of Truth)

Few artists can boast a catalogue as consistent as Gang Starr‘s. Ask six fans about their favorite Gang Starr album and they may all pick a different one. That says enough about the overall excellence of their work. Moment Of Truthis Gang Starr’s fifth and arguably most cohesive of all their albums. Lyrical genius from Guru and musical genius from DJ Premier – Hip Hop can’t get much better than this.

Top tracks: Moment Of Truth | Above The Clouds | Robbin Hood Theory | JFK 2 LAX

53. Jungle Brothers - Straight Out The Jungle (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Educated man, from the motherland / You see, they call me a star but that’s not what I am / I’m a jungle brother, a true, blue brother / And I’ve been to many places you’ll never discover” (Straight Out The Jungle)

The debut album of the Jungle Brothers, and the first album of a group affiliated with The Native Tongues collective. An influential album – it marked the beginning of a series of albums by groups like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Sheep. Dope production, mellow rhymes – another 1988 classic.

Top tracks: Straight Out The Jungle | On The Run | Because I Got it Like That | What’s Going On

54. Jay Z - Reasonable Doubt (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“Ahh, who wanna bet us that we don’t touch leathers, stack cheddars forever, live treacherous all the etceteras…” (Dead Presidents II)

Jay Z‘s first and arguably best album (along with 2001’s The Bleuprint). Because of a string of mediocre later releases and probably also because his mega-successful business dealings, Jay Z has become a love-him or hate-him kind of figure. There’s no denying the excellence of this album, though. A young, hungry and ambitious Jay Z paints a compelling picture of his life as a hustler. Masterful production, brilliant lyricism, Reasonable Doubt shows us Jay Z at his peak as the Hip Hop artist he was (and not the business mogul he would become).

Top tracks: Can’t Knock The Hustle | Dead Presidents II | Brooklyn’s Finest | Coming Of Age

55. O.C. - Word…Life (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“Non-conceptual, non-exceptional / Everybody’s either crime-related or sexual / I’m here to make a difference, besides all the riffing / To traps I’m not sticking, rappers stop flipping / For those who pose lyrical but really ain’t true I feel…” (Time’s Up)

O.C.‘s Word… Life is very similar to Nas’ Illmatic in many ways (excellent beats, clever lyricism, overall cohesiveness), but incorrectly much less revered. Maybe due to bad promotion by O.C.’s Wild Pitch label, maybe because the competition in 1994 was so awesome – whatever the reason: Word… Life flew so far under the radar it’s ridiculous. This easily is one of the best Hip Hop albums of 1994. Don’t sleep on Word… Life.

Top tracks: Time’s Up | Word… Life |  Born 2 Live |  Constables

56. Showbiz & AG - Runaway Slave (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“Record labels try to juice me / (For what?) For my papers / They offer me a mule / (And what else?) And 40 acres / I’m dissin’ snakes now, there’s no time to catch the vapors / And I’m not a pup (for what?) a Muppet caper…” (40 Acres And My Props)

This is what Hip Hop is supposed to sound like. A flawless album: top notch production from Showbiz (and Diamond D) and guest appearances from Lord Finesse and Big L (among others) – this may just be the best DITC album in a series of excellent albums. Amazingly consistent and entertaining throughout.

The album flew well under the mainstream radar but was quickly recognized as a classic by true heads. Quintessential NYC early 90’s Hip Hop.

Top tracks: Runaway Slave | Represent | Soul Clap | 40 Acres And My Props

57. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)

best hip hop albums ever

“Yo, one, two, one-two one-two / That’s how we usually start, once again it’s the Thought / The Dalai Lama of the mic, the prime minister Thought” (The Next Movement)

With Questlove laying down the perfect instrumentals and Black Thought’s thoughtful, socially-conscious rhymes (not to mentions his exceptional emcee skills), Things Fall Apart is yet another excellent The Roots album, their fourth. With additional rhyming from Malik B, Dice Raw and guests like Common and Mos Def, you know you can’t go wrong with The Roots.

Top tracks: The Next Movement | You Got Me | Double Trouble | Act Too (The Love of My Life)

58. The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now there she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian / And now the world around me be gets moving in slow motion…” (Passin’ Me By)

With gangsta rap becoming the dominant thing on the West Coast in the early 90s, these guys were a breath of fresh air. Highly original, humorous, fun and not afraid to show their vulnarable sides – The Pharcyde were never concerned with gangster posing and tough guy posturing, but were more like a West Coast version of ATCQ or De La Soul.

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is an innovative album and will forever be recognized as a true Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: Passin’ Me By | Otha Fish | Return Of The B-Boy | Officer

59. MC Lyte - Lyte As A Rock (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“This thing called Hip Hop, Lyte is ruling it / I hate to laugh in your face, but you’re funny / Your beat, your rhyming, your timing, all crummy” (10% Diss) 

A female emcee who can spit with the best of them, male or female. MC Lyte‘s debut album still is a classic piece of work, that belongs in any Hip Hop fan’s collection.

Top tracks: Paper Thin | 10% Diss | I Cram To Understand U | Kickin’ 4 Brooklyn

60. MF DOOM - Operation Doomsday (1999)

best hip hop albums ever

“Me and this mic is like yin and yang ” (Doomsday)

What a comeback! After a long hiatus following his brother’s death and the end of KMD, Zev Lov X reinvented himself and came back on the Hip Hop scene as MF DOOM. He would go on to release a myriad of excellent albums and collaborations – and Doomsday is up there with the best of his work. Classic material.

Top tracks: Doomsday | Rhymes Like Dimes | Hey! | Gas Drawls

61. Jeru The Damaja - The Sun Rises In The East (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“Real, rough and rugged, shine like a gold nugget / Every time I pick up the microphone I drug it / Unplug it on chumps with the gangster babble / Leave your nines at home and bring your skills to the battle” (Come Clean)

In a year when Premier dropped another excellent Gang Starr album, he reserved his very best beats for Brooklyn emcee Jeru The Damaja. Jeru’s intellectual street flows combined with Premier’s best instrumentals result in a tight 10- song album with no filler tracks.

Top tracks: Come Clean | D Original | Ain’t The Devil Happy | My Mind Spray

62. Dr Octagon - Dr Octagonecologyst (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“Earth people, New York and California / Earth people, I was born on Jupiter” (Earth People)

Is this Kool Keith‘s best album (outside Ultramagnetic’s debut Critical Beatdown)? In a catalogue as deep and diverse as Kool Keith’s, it may be hard to choose – but Dr. Octagonecologyst just may be his magnum opus.

An all-time underground favorite, Dr. Octagonecologyst simply is a perfect album. The production by Dan The Automater is absolutely phenomenal. Innovative, eery, spaced-out: the instrumentals provide the perfect backdrop for Kool Keith’s trademark bizarre lyrics.

Top tracks: Earth People | Blue Flowers | 3000 | Real Raw

63. De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now I’m somethin’ like a phenomenon / I’m somethin’ like a phenomenon…” (Ego Trippin Pt 2)

De La Soul‘s third album, De La Soul’s third classic. Few groups in Hip Hop, if any, can boast both the longevity and consistency De La Soul has shown over the years.

Buhloone Mind State may just be the most underappreciated album of De La Soul’s first four. Reason for that probably is that it has less commercial appeal than the others. Artistically it is every bit as strong, though – cohesive and consistent throughout – an artistic peak for both De La Soul and producer Prince Paul.

De La Soul’s first four albums are all classics, this one is definitely up there with the best of them. Another De La masterpiece.

Top tracks: Ego Trippin Pt 2 | I Am I Be | Breakadawn | Area

64. Goodie Mob - Soul Food (1995)

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“What you niggas know about the Dirty South” (Dirty South)

This is Southern Hip Hop at its finest. Real and raw, Soul Food has that genre-bending musicality reminiscent of OutKast with true lyrical depth. One of those albums that age like fine wine and only get better as times goes by. Cee-Lo, T-Mo, Big Gipp, and Khujo dropped a real gem with this album.

Top tracks: Soul Food | Cell Therapy | Dirty South | Thought Process

65. Ice T - Rhyme Pays (1987)

best hip hop albums ever

“6 in the morning, police at my door, fresh Adidas squeak across the bathroom floor” (6 N The Morning)

Even with a sometimes uneven production and an Ice T who hasn’t quite reached the peaks of his lyrical skills yet – this album is an undeniable classic. Very influential, it was one of the very first albums with ‘gangsta rap’ themes (although with limited profanity). In 1987 the gangsta theme still had originality and authenticity, which makes Ice T a true O.G. & a bonafide Hip Hop icon.

Top tracks: 6 N The Morning | Pain | Squeeze The Trigger | Rhyme Pays

66. A Tribe Called Quest - Peoples Instinctive Travels On The Paths Of Rhythm (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“I ordered enchiladas and I ate ’em / Ali had the fruit punch” (I Left My Wallet In El Segundo)

The third part of the Native Tongues triple classic album introduction to the world (the first two being the Jungle BrothersStraight Out The Jungle and De La Soul‘s 3 Feet High And Rising) – People’s… introduces us to A Tribe Called Quest.

People’s… is a musical masterpiece. An innovative fusion of hard beats and jazzy samples, combined with fun, clever and positive lyrics – mainly from Q-Tip (Phife was still finding his voice here and his lyrical skills would improve significantly on Tribe’s follow up The Low End Theory).

This one – along Tribe’s 2nd and 3rd album, should have a place in any music (not just Hip Hop) lovers record collection.

Top tracks: Can I Kick It? | Bonita Applebum | I Left My Wallet In El Segundo | Luck Of Lucien

67. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - The Main Ingredient (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“It’s going down from out of town / Off the wicked streets of New York trouble / Me and my man map the plan and make a hefty bundle…” (I Get Physical)

Lacking a monster hit-single like T.R.O.Y. from their classic full-length debut album Mecca And The Soul Brother, The Main Ingredient is often overlooked when it comes to considering Hip Hop’s best albums. That is wrong, because this one is just as flawless as its predecessor. True enough: CL Smooth isn’t the greatest emcee or lyricist ever, but these albums are all about Pete Rock’s production, which is as good as ever on this top notch feel-good album.

Top tracks: The Main Ingredient | I Get Physical | Carmel City | All The Places

68. Boogie Down Productions - Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip Hop (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“I believe that if you’re teaching history / Filled with straight up facts no mystery / Teach the student what needs to be taught / ‘Cause Black and White kids both take shorts / When one doesn’t know about the other ones’ culture / Ignorance swoops down like a vulture…” (You Must Learn)

By 1989 BDP had already two very different, but equally classic albums out. This third effort only cemented BDP’s and KRS One‘s prominence in Hip Hop. KRS One firmly establishes himself as Hip Hop’s no.1 conscious voice; a role he fills to this day.

Top tracks: Why Is That? | Bo! Bo! Bo! | You Must Learn | Jack Of Spades

69. Geto Boys - Grip It! On That Other Level (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“I’m back like a rebel ‘making trouble’ / I’m an Assassin, kickin ass on the double / No motherfucker alive’s gonna stop me / So fuck you and your goddamn posse” (Do It Like A G.O.)

The Geto Boys‘ second album, but first one with the current line-up: Scarface, Willie D & Bushwick Bill (plus DJ Ready Red). This album is as groundbreaking as NWA’s Straight Outta Compton in many ways – with it’s violent and misogynistic topics. The beats are excellent and the emcees are dope as well. The album that put Houston Hip Hop on the map.

Top tracks: Mind Of A Lunatic | Do It Like A G.O. | Scarface | Size Ain’t Shit

70. KRS One - Return Of The Boom Bap (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“Return Of The Boom Bap means jus that / It means return of the real hard beats and real rap” (Return Of The Boom Bap)

After 5 albums as Boogie Down Productions, KRS One decided to start releasing albums under his own name. In his 30-year career, KRS dropped many classic albums – this one ranks with the best of them.

Lyrics, flow, delivery, message, beats, diversity – this album has everything. You know you can’t go wrong with KRS One, and with the likes of DJ Premier, Showbiz, Kid Capri and KRS himself on the boards the result has to be a classic. This is Hip Hop.

Top tracks: Sounds Of Police | Outta Here | Mad Crew | Return of The Boom Bap

71. Main Source - Breaking Atoms (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“(Peace!) / Piece of what? / You can’t mean P-E-A-C-E / Cause I’ve seen people on the streets / Shoot the next man and turn around and say peace / But that’s leaving people in pieces / It’s not what the meaning of peace is…” (Peace Is Not The Word To Play)

Excellence. Large Professor, one of Hip Hop’s most respected producers, exploded on the scene with this classic album – showing both his extraordinary talents on the boards and on the mic.

Breaking Atoms is an important and hugely influential album in the history of Hip Hop and a testament to the brilliance of Large Pro.

And not to forget: this album contained the official debut on wax from young Queensbridge emcee Nasty Nas, with a brilliant opening verse on the dope posse cut Live At The BBQ.

Top tracks: Looking At The Front Door | A Friendly Game Of Baseball | Peace Is Not The Word To Play | Live At The BBQ

72. Eazy E - Eazy Duz It (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Woke up quick, at about noon / Jus’ thought that I had to be in Compton soon” (Boys N The Hood)

Eazy E‘s debut album really is a veiled N.W.A. album. The lyrics are written by Ice Cube, The D.O.C. and especially MC Ren, who also makes a few appearances. The production is handled by Dr Dre & DJ Yella– this clearly is a group effort. A little less consistent than N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton – released in the same year – this album still is a bonafide (West Coast) Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: Boys N The Hood | Eazy Duz It | Eazy-er Said Than Dunn | We Want Eazy

73. Wu Tang Clan - Wu Tang Forever (1997)

best hip hop albums ever

“I bomb atomically / Socrates’ philosophies and hypothesis / Can’t define how I be droppin’ these / Mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery / Flee with the lottery / Possibly they spotted me…” (Triumph)

Wu-Tang Clan‘s second album had A LOT to live up to. In addition to their monumental debut, the classic Enter The Wu-Tang, there were 5 outstanding solo projects by Wu-Tang Clan members released prior to this sophomore effort.

Wu-Tang Forever is a double album, which is always tricky. The risk is that the album loses focus and cohesiveness, that there are some tracks that will be seen as filler material and that the album simply is too long(winded).

Not the case here. It could have done with fewer tracks (and certainly with fewer skits), but overall this is an excellent album and great addition to the Wu-Tang catalogue. Sadly, Ol’ Dirty Bastards input is very limited, but the others are lyrically on point as ever, with RZA producing some of the most captivating soundscapes ever. Classic Wu-Tang.

Top tracks: Triumph | Reunited | It’s Yourz | Hellz Wind Staff

74. Paris - The Devil Made Me Do It (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Black radio shame, pop rap’s to blame / Program your playlist to sound the same / With a disco tempo, cliche intro / Wack rap tracks for commercial shows / Mindless music for the masses has to take / Time away from the real rap master / So I’ll stay cool for community airplay /While ratings slip for the shit that you play” (This Is A Test)

Why this album is hardly ever mentioned when discussing best ever Hip Hop albums is a mystery. Everything about this album is DOPE. Production is on point, Paris is a great emcee with a dark, menacing tone of voice and the subject matter is thought-provoking.

Powerful and intelligent, controversial and political – Paris’ debut is a straight up Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: Scarface Groove | This Is A Test | The Hate That Hate Made | The Devil Made Me Do It

75. Common - Ressurection (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“…but I’ma take her back hoping that the shit stop / Cause who I’m talking ’bout, y’all, is Hip Hop” (I Used To Love H.E.R.) 

Clever and conscious wordplay over excellent production – on his second album Common is maturing into what he would eventually become: one of Hip Hop’s most revered emcees and personalities. In one of Hip Hop’s biggest years, this album measures up to any of the other releases with ease.

Top tracks: I Used To Love H.E.R. | Sum Shit I Wrote | Resurrection | Book of Life

76. Diamond D - Stunts Blunts & Hip Hop (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“See I write my own rhymes, produce my own shit / Yeah boy, I ain’t the one to fuck with…” (Best Kept Secret)

Yet another NYC classic, true Hip Hop for connaisseurs. Diamond D always was a producer first and an emcee second and it shows. The beats on this joint are flawless start to finish, no need to skip tracks on this album. An underrated Golden Age gem.

Top tracks: Best Kept Secret | Sally Got A One Track Mind | I’m Outta Here | A Day In The Life

77. Big Pun - Capital Punishment (1998)

best hip hop albums ever

“Flawless victory you niggaz can’t do shit to me / Physically lyrically hypothetically realistically” (Beware)

Big Pun’s only album released during his lifetime, Capital Punishment is regarded as a classic if only because of Pun’s technical efficiency and incredible wordplay. Great production and plain awesome lyricism by one of the best emcees ever – excellence.

Top tracks: Beware | Super Lyrical | Glamour Life | Twinz (Deep Cover 98)

78. 2Pac - All Eyez On Me (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“Bury me smilin’, with G’s in my pocket / Have a party at my funeral, let every rapper rock it” (Life Goes On)

Maybe 2Pac‘s most popular album, released when he was at the peak of his fame (while alive). Packed with classic songs, showcasing 2Pac signature mix of “thug-ism” and his vulnerable, thoughtful side, All Eyez On Me surely is a landmark album.

A double-album, it may be just a little bit too long (and a little too heavy on the ‘thug’ side) for its own good, especially the second album contains a few filler tracks. Much like Biggie’s Life After Death, it probably would have been better had the best 15 tracks been released as one album – which would have made it a Top 15 record. As it is, it still is an excellent album and no doubt one the highlights of Pac’s epic career.

Top tracks: I Ain’t Mad At Cha | Picture Me Rollin | Only God Can Judge Me | Ambitionz Az A Ridah

79. Stetsasonic - On Fire (1986)

best hip hop albums ever

“When we’re coolin’ on the block we carry our big box / Playin L.L.’s ‘Rock the Bells’ or Run’s ‘Rock Box’ / Wearin some high-top Cons or some Fila socks / And the newest Benetton sweatshirt in stock…” (On Fire)

The first Hip Hop band: Stetsasonic came out with a bang with this album in 1986. Fine work from a young Prince Paul on the boards and great synergy between Stet’s emcees – this is an essential 80’s Hip Hop album.

Top tracks: On Fire | My Rhyme | 4 Ever My Beat | Just Say Stet

80. Gang Starr – Daily Operation (1992)

best hip hop albums ever

“Rap is an art, you can’t own no loops / It’s how you hook em up and the rhyme style troop / So don’t even think you could say someone bit / Off your weak beat come on you need to quit / I flip lines and rhymes that never sound like yours / There ought to be laws against you yapping your jaws…” (Take It Personal)

Another album, another classic. Deep lyrics and deep beats – a testament to to Guru‘s hypnotizing and intellingent emceeing and DJ Premier‘s superiority on the boards. And to think that this one may not even be their best album really showes the consitently high level of quality of the work Gang Starr would drop in the 90s. Timeless.

Top tracks: Take It Personal | Ex Girl To Next Girl | Soliloquy Of Chaos | Hardcore Composer

81. Black Sheep – A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“Listen, baby girl, let me say it slow / I-have-to-go / Not to dis, but let’s disperse / Yo, I’ll see you later, unless I see you first” (Strobelite Honey)

This album is FUN. It’s also hugely underrated and rarely mentioned when classic Hip Hop album’s are considered. It should be, though. Over 70 minutes in length, but not a minute too long – it’s filled with dope, humorous, clever tracks. Mr. Lawnge’s production is tight and Dres is an excellent emcee with a unique voice and flow. Excellent work.

Top tracks: The Choice Is Yours | Flavor Of The Month | Pass The 40 | Butt In The Meantime

82. Ice T - The Iceberg (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Cos I’m the coldest motherfucker that you ever heard / Call me The Ice…or just The Iceberg” (The Iceberg)

Ice T‘s grittiest album. Some hardcore lyrics, but also some lessons to be learned here. Most important theme is the PMRC censorship that was being imposed on Hip Hop artists at the time. A tight album, one of Ice T’s best and the one that established Ice T as one of Hip Hop’s most prominent personalities.

Top tracks: You Played Yourself | This One’s On Me | The Hunted Child | Lethal Weapon

83. Aceyalone - A Book Of Human Language (1998)

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“Cause I’d rather stimulate your mind than emulate your purpose” (The Guidelines)

A Book of Human Language is the second solo album by Los Angeles emcee Aceyalone, member of underground Hip Hop favorites Freestyle Fellowship.

Aceyalone is an incredibly talented and unique MC, always pushing lyrical boundaries and succeeding effortlessly in all styles he employs. He released a string of excellent creative and innovative albums throughout his career, and this one may be his very best.

One of the most slept on and underappreciated albums in Hip Hop history, A Book of Human Language combines intelligence, creativity, and superior lyrical skill – resulting in a brilliant concept album that should be a part of any real Hip Hop fan’s collection. A left-field masterpiece.

Top tracks: The Guidelines | The Balance | The Faces | The Thief In The Night | A Book Of Human Language

84. Big Daddy Kane - It's A Big Daddy Thing (1989)

best hip hop albums ever

“Come, get some, you little bum / I take the cake but you can’t get a crumb / From the poetic, authentic, superior / Ultimate – and all that good shit” (Warm It Up)

Maybe not as groundbreaking as his debut Long Live The Kane, still this album shows Big Daddy Kane in top form. Nobody (with the exception of Rakim) touches the mic skills of BDK, then or now. This album is a just a little bit too long (with a few filler tracks) to be considered a true classic, but BDK’s persona and lyrical ability throughout make this an essential Golden Age album.

Top tracks: Another Victory | Mortal Combat | Warm It Up | Smooth Operator

85. Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (1999)

379-1999

“Hi, kids! Do you like violence? / Wanna see me stick nine-inch nails through each one of my eyelids? / Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did? / Try ‘cid and get fucked up worse than my life is?” (My Name Is)

Eminem‘s sophomore album, and major label debut, was a game changer. The real start of an epic career that would make Em a worldwide phenomenon and one of the best-selling artists in music ever. Classic.

Top tracks: My Name Is | As The World Turns | Rock Bottom | 97 Bonnie & Clyde

86. Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision (1998)

best hip hop albums ever

“Hieroglyphics / Hip Hop is vintage / Invented in days back / Rekindling in ways that many thought was lost / In this contemporary maze of methods to floss” (You Never Knew)

This super group – consisting of Del (The Funkee Homosapien), Pep Love, A-Plus, Tajai, Opio & Phesto (from Souls Of Mischief), Casual, Domino, Jay-Biz, Toure & Extra Prolific – brings together so much talent that the product of their cooperation has to be epic, right? Right. This album is straight up Hip Hop, from one of the best crews in the game.

Top tracks: You Never Knew | Miles To The Sun | Mics Of The Roundtable

87. Common - One Day It’ll All Make Sense (1997)

best hip hop albums ever

“I drop a gem on them who’s style is jaded / My juice is grated / Shit is so banging niggas say it’s gang related” (Hungry)

Another brilliant Common album, the one that made the Chicago emcee a Hip Hop A-lister. Consistent high level of quality throughout, creative and thoughtful lyrics combined with excellent, soulful production: One Day It’ll All Make Sense is a Hip Hop classic that has aged like fine wine. Common is extraordinary.

Top tracks: Gettin’ Down At The Amphitheater | Making A Name For Ourselves | Retrospect For Life | Hungry

88. Gang Starr – Hard To Earn (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“And you’d be happy as hell to get a record deal / Maybe your soul you’d sell to have mass appeal” (Mass Appeal)

Markedly darker, both sonically and lyrically, than their previous albums, Hard To Earn is yet another 5-star album from Gang Starr. Guru and DJ Premier are both in top form as usual, cementing their status of one the most consistent acts in Hip Hop ever.

Top tracks: Mass Appeal | Code Of The Streets | DWYCK | Brainstorm

89. Eric B & Rakim – Let The Rhythm Hit Em (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Wicked as I kicked it / Don’t need to remix it / ‘Cause I prefixed it / Reversed and switched it / To perform to perfection / Section for section / Rhymes keep connectin’…” (Let The Rhythm Hit Em) 

On the heels of the super classics Paid In Full (1987) and Follow The Leader(1988) Eric B and Rakim drop their third album Let The Rhythm Hit Em.

Maybe because of the epicness of their first two albums, this one is often overlooked in best Hip Hop album lists. It should not be though. Let The Rhythm Hit Em is a super tight album, a bit ‘darker’ sounding than the previous two, with Rakim as good as ever. Lyrically NO ONE can touch the R.

The production is excellent as well (although the question is how much Eric B should be credited for that – look it up); the whole album is consistently dope, with a few stand out tracks.

Top tracks: Let The Rhythm Hit Em | Mahagony | In The Ghetto | Run For Cover

90. Scarface - The Diary (1994)

best hip hop albums ever

“It’s nineteen-ninety-four and we up against the same shit / I never understood why / I could never see a man cry, til I seen a man die” (I Seen A Man Die)

Raw and haunting, The Diary arguably is Scarface‘s magnum opus in an overall outstanding discography. The Diary, his third solo album, is short and tight (10 full songs) with only one guest (Ice Cube), which makes it all the stronger. No filler material on this album. A (Southern) Hip Hop classic.

Top tracks: I Seen A Man Die | Hand Of The Dead Body | Mind Playin’ Tricks ’94 | No Tears

91. Biz Markie - Goin Off (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“Can you feel it / Nothin’ can save ya / For this is the season of catchin’ the vapors” (Vapors)

Another Marley Marl production from the Juice Crew golden era. Biz Markie always was the joker character from that group of artists – originally a beatboxer, but a pretty decent emcee as well. Nothing deep here, just funny rhymes and Biz’ antics over Marley’s dope beats.

Top tracks: Goin’ Off | Nobody Beats The Biz | Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz | Vapors

92. Too Short - Life Is… (1988)

best hip hop albums ever

“I remember how it all began / I used to sing dirty raps to my East Side fans” (Life Is… Too Short) 

Our favorite Too Short album from his extensive discography. Already a Hip Hop veteran in 1988, Too Short came into his own on this album. Trademark explicit lyrics, with his typical laid back flow and music to ride to. This album is one of his most consistent ones and contains a few classic tracks. A West Coast classic.

Top tracks: Life Is… | Cusswords | I Ain’t Trippin’ | Nobody Does It Better

93. Public Enemy - Apocalypse 91... (1991)

best hip hop albums ever

“I like Nike but wait a minute / The neighborhood supports so put some money in it / Corporations owe / They gotta give up the dough / To the town / or else we gotta shut ’em down” (Shut Em Down)

Public Enemy‘s fourth effort continues the trend set by their previous outings: excellent, hard-hitting beats that perfectly complement Chuck D’s powerful voice and intelligent, thought-provoking messages.

After the utter brilliance that were It Takes A Nation… and Fear Of A Black Planet it was always going to be hard to come with a follow-up. Overall Apocalypse 91… may lack the special spark of its two predecessors, but there are enough strokes of brilliance here as well.

Public Enemy will forever be one of Hip Hop’s most important and celebrated groups and Chuck D on of Hip Hop’s most respected and eminent figures. Apocalypse 91… is a strong part of P.E.’s excellent discography and should be in any Hip Hop fan’s collection.

Top tracks: Can’t Truss It | By The Time I Get To Arizona | Night Train | Shut Em Down

94. Black Moon - Enta Da Stage (1993)

best hip hop albums ever

“Suckers want to flow but they got no show / So I’mma grab the mic, flip a script, and leave ya stunned / Buckshot’s the one that gets the job done” (Who Got Da Props)

What’s the definition of a classic album? It has to be ‘timeless’, contain no filler tracks, have endless replay value and it has to be groundbreaking and influential. Enta Da Stage is such an album.

As KRS One would say: this album is real boom bap – real hard beats and real rap. Rough, rugged & raw, the epitome of the early 90s NYC street sound – a must have for NYC Hip Hop heads, if not for every real Hip Hop fan.

Top tracks: Who Got Da Props | How Many MCs | I Gotcha Opin | Buck Em Down

95. Big L - Lifestyles Ov Da Poor & Dangerous (1995)

best hip hop albums ever

“I got the wild style, always been a foul child / My guns go BOOM BOOM, and yo’ guns go pow pow” (Put It On)

The classic debut of one of the most naturally gifted emcees ever. Big L, rest in peace.

Top tracks: Let Em Have It L | Put It On | I Don’t Understand It | Street Struck

96. Lord Finesse - Funky Technician (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Now I’m the man with intellect, no one to disrespect / I kick a rhyme and make MC’s wanna hit the deck / And give it up and use they rhymes as a sacrifice / Brothers try they best, they ain’t even half as nice…” (Funky Technician)

Founder of the legendary Diggin’ In The Crates Crew, Lord Finesse is one of the sickest punchline emcees in Hip Hop history, together with fellow DITC member Big L.

Funky Technician can be seen as the first DITC album, and a dope album it is, start to finish. Finesse’s braggadocious rhymes are second to none and the production is typical early 90s NYC style. Straight dope.

Funky Technician is woefully underrated, as is Lord Finesse himself. True Hip Hop heads know what’s up though and will surely have this one in their collection.

Top tracks: Funky Technician | Back To Back Rhyming | I Keep The Crowd Listening | Slave To My Soundwave

97. Ghostface Killah - Iron Man (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“Mercury raps is roughed then God just shown like taps / Red and white Wally’s that match, bend my baseball hat / Doing forever shit like pissing out the window on turnpikes / Robbing niggas for leathers, high swiping on dirt bikes…” (Daytona 500)

Ghostface Killah‘s solo debut and one of the strongest albums in an all around strong catalogue from Wu-Tang Clan’s most prolific member. Also part of the epic run of classic Wu-Tang solo debuts.

Top tracks: All That I Got Is You | Daytona 500 | Winter Warz | Iron Maiden

98. Ras Kass - Soul On Ice (1996)

best hip hop albums ever

“Let freedom ring with a buckshot, but not just yet / First, we need to truly understand the nature of the threat…”

One of the most lyrical albums in Hip Hop ever, by one of the most underrated lyricists. Classic if only for the controversial 8-minute tour-de-force “Nature Of The Threat”.

Top tracks: Nature Of The Threat | Anything Goes | Sonset | The Evil That Men Do

99. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)

best hip hop albums ever

“Don’t call it a comeback / I been here for years / Rockin my peers and puttin suckas in fear / Makin the tears rain down like a monsoon / Listen to the bass go BOOM…” (Mama Said Knock You Out)

LL Cool J came back HARD with Mama Said Knock You Out. Produced entirely by Marley Marl and LL himself, it has a consistent feel to it and is a tighter effort than LL’s much maligned third album Walking With A Panther (although there was plenty to enjoy there as well).

Having a ‘come-back’ record – his fourth album already – as early in the Hip Hop game as 1990, shows LL is a bonafide Hip Hop pioneer and truly one of the GOATS.

Top tracks: Mama Said Knock You Out | The Boomin System | Farmers Blvd | Illegal Search

100. Redman - Muddy Waters (1996)

326-1996-1

“I smoked with a lot of college students / Most of ’em wasn’t graduatin and they knew it / You know the weed slang? Yeah boy I speak it fluent…” (Whateva Man)

The third album in an incredible three-album run. After the classicsWhut Thee Album and Dare Iz A Darkside, Muddy Waters may just be Redman‘s very best album.

Red’s lyrical ability is second to none. Bizarre and humorous lyrics delivered in that typical crazy Redman flow – Muddy Waters is an album that is not to be missed.

Top tracks: Whateva Man | It’s Like That | Soopaman Luva | Rollin

101. Eric B & Rakim – Don’t Sweat The Technique (1992)

102. Schoolly D – Saturday Night The Album (1987)

103. Blackalicious – Nia (1999)

104. Marley Marl – In Control Vol 1 (1988)

105. Pharoahe Monch – Internal Affairs (1999)

106. Boogie Down Productions – Edutainment (1990)

107. Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night (1997)

108. LL Cool J – Walking With A Panther (1989)

109. Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves (1999)

110. Smif N Wessun – Dah Shinin (1995)

111. Dr Dre – 2001 (1999)

112. Freestyle Fellowship – Innercity Griots (1993)

113. Organized Konfusion – Stress… (1994)

114. Above The Law – Livin Like Hustlers (1990)

115. Digable Planets – Blowout Comb (1994)

116. Brand Nubian – One For All (1990)

117. Schoolly D – Schoolly D (1986)

118. UGK – Ridin’ Dirty (1996)

119. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing (1996)

120. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Wanted Dead Or Alive (1990)

121. The Pharcyde – Lacabincalifornia (1995)

122. Goodie Mob – Still Standing (1998)

123. Ultramagetic MCs – The Four Horsemen (1993)

124. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return To The 36 Chambers (1995)

125. Jurassic 5 – Jurassic 5 (1998)

126. MC Shan – Down By Law (1987)

127. The Notorious B.I.G. – Life After Death (1997)

128. Souls Of Mischief – 93 Til Infinity (1993)

129. Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather (1988)

130. 3rd Bass – The Cactus Album (1989)

131. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Live And Let Die (1992)

132. EPMD – Business As Usual (1990)

133. Compton’s Most Wanted – Music To Driveby (1992)

134. AZ – Doe Or Die (1995)

135. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – He’s The DJ I’m The Rapper (1988)

136. DMX – It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot (1998)

137. Mobb Deep – Hell On Earth (1996)

138. Bone Thugs N Harmony – E.1999 Eternal (1995)

139. Redman – Whut Thee Album (1992)

140. N.W.A. – Efil4ziggan (1991)

141. Run DMC – King Of Rock (1985)

142. Master Ace – Take A Look Around (1990)

143. Gang Starr – No More Mr Nice Guy (1989)

144. Mantronix – Mantronix (1985)

145. Hardknocks – School Of Hardknocks (1992)

146. MC Lyte – Eyes On This (1989)

147. EPMD – Business Never Personal (1992)

148. Jungle Brothers – Done By the Forces Of Nature (1989)

149. Digable Planets – Reachin’ (1993)

150. O.C. – Jewelz (1997)

151. Ice Cube – The Predator (1992)

152. Digital Underground – Sex Packets (1990)

153. Whodini – Escape (1984)

154. Killah Priest – Heavy Mental (1998)

155. UGK – Super Tight (1994)

156. Low Profile – We’re In This Together (1989)

157. Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal (1996)

158. Nice & Smooth – Nice & Smooth (1989)

159. Lootpack – Soundpieces: Da Antidote (1999)

160. Lords Of The Underground – Here Come The Lords (1993)

161. The Beatnuts – Street Level (1994)

162. Poor Righteous Teachers – Holy Intellect (1990)

163. Queen Latifah – Black Reign (1993)

164. Organized Konfusion – Organized Konfusion (1991)

165. A Tribe Called Quest – Beats Rhymes & Life (1996)

166. KMD – Black Bastards (1994)

167. Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997)

168. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Rock The House (1987)

169. Rasco – Time Waits For No Man (1998)

170. Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep (1994)

171. Show & AG – Goodfellas (1995)

172. Keith Murray – Enigma (1996)

173. Intelligent Hoodlum – Intelligent Hoodlum (1990)

174. The Roots – Do You Want More…? (1995)

175. Method Man – Tical (1994)

176. 2Pac – Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993)

177. Dred Scott – Breakin Combs (1994)

178. Chill Rob G – Ride The Rhythm (1989)

179. 2Pac – 2Pacalypse Now (1991)

180. The Coup – Steal This Album (1998)

181. Just Ice – Back To The Old School (1986)

182. Ed OG – Life Of a Kid In The Ghetto (1991)

183. Redman – Dare Iz A Darkside (1994)

184. KRS One – KRS One (1995)

185. Warren G – Regulate (1994)

186. Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped (1991)

187. DJ Quik – Safe + Sound (1995)

188. Jeru The Damaja – Wrath Of The Math (1996)

189. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill (1991)

190. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head (1992)

191. E-40 – In A Major Way (1995)

192. Rakim – The 18th Letter (1997)

193. Del – I Wish My Brother George Was Here (1991)

194. Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty (1998)

195. Scarface – Mr Scarface Is Back (1991)

196. DJ Quik – DJ Quik Is The Name (1991)

197. Onyx – Bacdafucup (1993)

198. Xzibit – 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz (1998)

199. L.O.N.S. – A Future Without A Past (1991)

200. Thug Life – Vol. 1 (1994)

201. Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food (1995)

202. Busta Rhymes – The Coming (1996)

203. Eightball & MJG – On Top Of The World (1995)

204. Beastie Boys – Ill Communication (1994)

205. Keith Murray – The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World (1994)

206. Doug E Fresh – Oh My God (1986)

207. Masta Ace Inc. – Slaughtahouse (1993)

208. Too Short – Short Dog’s In The House (1990)

209. People Under The Stairs – The Next Step (1998)

210. Black Rob – Life Story (1999)

211. D-Nice – Call Me D-Nice (1990)

212. Missy Elliott – Supa Dupa Fly (1997)

213. Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud – Girls I Got Em Locked (1988)

214. Busta Rhymes – When Disaster Strikes (1997)

215. Boogiemonsters – The Underwater Album (1994)

216. Young MC – Stone Cold Rhymin (1989)

217. Fat Joe – Represent (1993)

218. Lord Finesse – Return Of The Funky Man (1992)

219. AZ – Pieces Of A Man (1998)

220. Del – No Need For Alarm (1993)

221. Too Short – Shorty The Pimp (1992)

222. Mac Mall – Illegal Business (1993)

223. Treacherous Three – Treacherous Three (1984)

224. Stetsasonic – In Full Gear (1988)

225. Das EFX – Dead Serious (1992)

226. Cypress Hill – Black Sunday (1993)

227. Jedi Mind Tricks – The Psycho-Social […]  (1997)

228. Queen Latifah – All Hail The Queen (1989)

229. The Coup – Genocide & Juice (1994)

230. Aceyalone – All Balls Don’t Bounce (1995)

231. Ice T – 7th Deadly Sin (1999)

232. Public Enemy – Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994)

233. Too Short – Get In Where You Fit In (1993)

234. Geto Boys – Till Death Do Us Part (1993)

235. Naughty By Nature – Naughty By Nature (1991)

236. King Tee – Act A Fool (1988)

237. Paris – Sleeping With The Enemy (1992)

238. Compton’s Most Wanted – Straight Checkn Em (1991)

239. Eightball & MJG – Comin’ Out Hard (1993)

240. Arrested Development – 3 years… (1992)

241. Dana Dane – Dana Dane With Fame (1987)

242. Chubb Rock – The One (1991)

243. Fat Boys – Fat Boys (1984)

244. RZA – Bobby Digital (1998)

245. 3rd Bass – Derelicts Of Dialect (1991)

246. Spice 1 – 187 He Wrote (1993)

247. WC And The MAAD Circle – Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed (1991)

248. UTFO – UTFO (1985)

249. Boogie Down Productions – Sex And Violence (1992)

250. Juvenile – 400 Degreez (1998)

251. Salt N Pepa – Hot Cool & Vicious (1986)

252. Ice T – Home Invasion (1993)

253. Afrika Bambaataa – Planet Rock (1986)

254. KMD – Mr Hood (1991)

255. Poor Righteous Teachers – The New World Order (1996)

256. Ice Cube – Lethal Injection (1993)

257. Schoolly D  Am I Black Enough For You? (1989)

258. UMCs – Fruits Of Nature (1991)

259. Scarface – The Untouchable (1997)

260. X-Clan – To The East, Blackwards (1991)

261. Positive K – The Skills Dat Pay The Bills (1992)

262. Coolio – It Takes A Thief (1994)

263. Kool Keith – Sex Style (1997)

264. King Tee – Tha Triflin’ Album (1993)

265. Chino XL – Here To Save You All (1996)

266. Too Short – Born To Mack (1987)

267. Awesome Dre – You Can’t Hold Me Back (1989)

268. Capone-N-Noreaga – The War Report (1997)

269. Sadat X – Wild Cowboys (1996)

270. Lakim Shabazz – Pure Righteousness (1988)

271. M.O.P. – Firing Squad (1996)

272. Lost Boyz – Legal Drug Money (1996)

273. Tuff Crew – Back To Wreck Shop (1989)

274. Jungle Brothers – Raw Deluxe (1997)

275. Skinny Boys – Weightless (1986)

276. Xzibit – At The Speed Of Life (1996)

277. Special Ed – Youngest In Charge (1989)

278. Lord Finesse – The Awakening (1996)

279. DJ Cash Money & Marvelous – Where’s The Party At? (1988)

280. WC – Curb Servin (1995)

281. Artifacts – Between A Rock And A Hard Place (1994)

282. Kool Moe Dee – How Ya Like Me Know (1987)

283. Tha Alkoholiks – Coast II Coast (1995)

284. Kurtis Blow – Kurtis Blow (1980)

285. The Roots – Organix (1993)

286. LL Cool J – Mr Smith (1995)

287. The 7A3 – Coolin In Cali (1988)

288. Jay Z – In My Lifetime Vol 1 (1997)

289. Organized Konfusion – Equinox (1997)

290. Just Ice – Kool And Deadly (1987)

291. Handsome B-boy Modelling School – So How’s Your Girl (1999)

292. 2 Live Crew – 2 Live Is What We Are (1986)

293. Bahamadia – Kollage (1996)

294. Cypress Hill – III (1995)

295. Lil Kim – Hardcore (1996)

296. T La Rock – Lyrical King (1987)

297. Pete Rock – Soul Survivor (1998)

298. Naughty By Nature – Ninety Naughty Three (1993)

299. Scarface – The World Is Yours (1993)

300. Atmosphere – Overcast! (1997)

Written by

HHGA founder. Hip Hop historian. Avid reader. Proud dad. Marketing guy. Top 5 Golden Age MCs: Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One, Chuck D, Nas…

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