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list Jun 16 2023 Written by

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

Guilty Pleasure

/ˈɡɪlti ˈplɛʒə/

“When you enjoy a type of music but you are too ashamed to admit you listen to it to your friends or family.”

“A piece of music that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

Hip Hop fans, including ourselves, often exhibit snobbish tendencies. We are quick to pass judgment and dismiss albums and artists that don’t conform to our narrow definition of authenticity or deviate from traditionalist norms. We may label them as too “pop-oriented” or too explicit, making them unsuitable for listening around family, kids, or even our most die-hard Hip Hop purist friends. Nevertheless, we recognize that everyone has guilty pleasure albums, and we’ve compiled a list of 15 such albums – our own guilty pleasures – that we best enjoy in private or exclusively shared with select company. We invite you to join the discussion and share your own guilty pleasure Hip Hop albums in the comments!

Kid 'n Play - 2 Hype (1988)

Despite their debut album’s commercial success, upon its release Kid ‘n Play faced criticism and rejection from street-level Hip Hop purists who found their music too positive and sanitized. However, even with its lightweight and safe subject matter, the album remains a delightful and enjoyable experience, largely due to the infectious personalities of Kid ‘n Play themselves. Tracks like “Rollin’ With Kid ‘n Play,” “Gittin’ Funky,” “2 Hype,” “Brother Man Get Hip,” “Do the Kid ‘n Play Kick Step,” “Last Night,” and “Undercover” are undeniably great and still hold their charm even today.

2 Live Crew - As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be is one of the first widely appreciated Southern Hip Hop albums, and a trailblazing album in many ways. Luke Skyywalker and his crew were frontrunners in the freedom of speech struggle, which in rap music was under threat from conservatives in the late 1980s. Admittedly, the subject matter of 2 Live Crew’s music was controversial, to say the least – the album is almost exclusively made up of juvenile sexual explicitness. Good fun for some, but apparently unbearable for people like free-speech abolitionists. As Nasty As They Wanna Be was the first album in history to be deemed legally obscene – all the controversy didn’t hurt the album’s popularity none of course: it eventually reached double-platinum status. Whether you like the album or not, there’s no denying the significance nor the classic status of As Nasty As They Wanna Be. 

Young MC - Stone Cold Rhymin' (1989)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

Young MC never quite received the recognition he deserved within Hip Hop circles for this album. Often dismissed as a “pop-rapper,” Young MC showcased his undeniable skills on his debut album. Stone Cold Rhymin’ is an all-around enjoyable experience, filled with tracks that are both radio-friendly and lyrically impressive, each song boasting entertaining bars and impeccable flows. Even today, you can listen to the album in its entirety without feeling the urge to skip a single track.

N.W.A - Efil4ziggan (1991)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

After the groundbreaking success of N.W.A’s debut album Straight Outta Compton and the departure of Ice Cube, N.W.A. returned with Efil4ziggan. Reviewing Efil4ziggan is a challenge. Musically, Dr. Dre achieves near perfection on the production side. However, when it comes to lyrics, the album takes a step back compared to N.W.A’s epic debut. The authenticity and raw intellectual power found in Straight Outta Compton are notably absent. Instead, we are left with dumbed-down and sometimes outright silly lyrics that seem more focused on shock value and controversy. The album is also marred by two rather terrible solo tracks from Eazy E and some questionable skits (did we really need “To Kill A Hooker”?). Nevertheless, even with these drawbacks, the album remains an undeniably entertaining listen—an enjoyable guilty pleasure, if you will.

Brotha Lynch Hung – Season Of Da Siccness (1995)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

Sacramento’s Brotha Lynch Hung is an incredibly underrated emcee who deserves recognition as one of the pioneers of the horrorcore subgenre. Season Of Da Siccness stands as his impressive full-length debut album, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. Standout tracks such as “Locc To Da Brain,” “Siccmade,” “Rest In Piss,” and “Welcome 2 Your Own Death” showcase Lynch’s exceptional flow, which seamlessly complements the dark and sinister beats he himself produced.

The album is filled with shockingly graphic violent stories and imagery, yet it also exhibits intelligence and occasional moments of emotional depth. Season Of Da Siccness may prove challenging to digest, but it undoubtedly deserves recognition as an all-around classic. Arguably Brotha Lynch Hung’s finest work and undeniably his most essential album, Season Of Da Siccness is a must-listen. However, it’s worth noting that the rest of his catalog is equally impressive. His concept album trilogy consisting of Dinner and a Movie (2010), Coathanga Strangla (2011), and Mannibalector (2013) is particularly noteworthy and well worth exploring. Just don’t play his music when your mom or your kids are around.

Master P - Ghetto D (1997)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

Ghetto D is the sixth studio album by New Orleans’ mogul, Master P, and it undeniably represents his best work, serving as one of the flagship albums of his influential No Limit Records empire. This 80-minute masterpiece stands as a pivotal and landmark album for Southern Hip Hop. Each song features guest appearances, predominantly from the New Orleans No Limit Soldiers, including his brothers C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker, Mia X, Mystikal, Fiend, Mr. Serv-On, Kane & Abel, Mo B. Dick, and O’Dell, among others. While the subject matter may seem generic, Master P and his guests infuse it with a captivating appeal, amplified by the energetic production provided by the Beats By the Pound crew, who played a significant role in shaping No Limit’s signature sound.

No Limit Records, along with Cash Money Records, adopted a quantity-over-quality business model that resulted in an overwhelming flood of similar-sounding albums. However, it would be unfair to overlook the defining albums that emerged from their prolific output, and Ghetto D unquestionably belongs in that category. Serving as the jewel in Master P’s No Limit crown, this album has long been overlooked by HHGA due to our snobbish dismissal of anything associated with the No Limit rap factory. But the truth is, Ghetto D is an undeniable banger that demands recognition and respect.

Kool Keith - Sex Style (1997)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

Following the brilliance of the previous year’s release, Dr. Octagonecologyst, Kool Keith, with the assistance of Kutmasta Kurt on production, makes a triumphant return with Sex Style, presenting some awesomely ridiculous “pornocore”. Any other rapper (with the potential exception of MF DOOM) would undoubtedly sound incredibly foolish attempting an album of this nature. However, it is Kool Keith’s unique talent and artistic vision that allows him to excel and emerge on top in delivering such a project.

Three 6 Mafia - Chapter. 2: World Domination (1997)

15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums

The breakout album from Three 6 Mafia, Chapter. 2: World Domination, propelled the Memphis crew into the mainstream, building upon the success of their previous releases. It features reprises of four previously released hits from “Mystic Stylez” (1995) and “Chapter 1: The End” (1996): “Late Nite Tip,” “N 2 Deep,” “Body Parts,” and “Tear Da Club Up.” DJ Paul and Juicy J masterfully craft dark and hypnotic beats throughout the album, complemented by cutthroat lyrical content. Clocking in at over 80 minutes, it may seem like a monster, but it never overstays its welcome. From start to finish, Chapter. 2: World Domination is an absolute banger and stands as Three 6 Mafia’s finest work.

Kool Keith - Matthew (2000)

We have a great appreciation for this album, even if it does not resonate with everyone. Kool Keith delivers a relentless display of anger on Matthew, mainly directing his venom toward mainstream rappers while handling the production himself with admittedly less-than-stellar beats. However, there is a certain charm to his anger that shines through. If you approach the album with the expectation of rough around the edges instrumentals and Kool Keith at his unfiltered angriest, you’ll find enough moments to bring a smile to your face. Matthew stands as one of the most polarizing albums in Kool Keith’s catalog. While many fans adore it, it may not be the best introduction for newcomers to his music.

Sm*t Peddlers – P*rn Again (2001)

P*rn Again is an album by the Smut Peddlers, a group consisting of Mr. Eon and DJ Mighty Mi from The High & Mighty, as well as Cage. The album’s porn-themed content delivers a good dose of humor, and the icing on the cake comes from the guest appearances of HHGA favorites like Kool Keith, Kool G Rap, and R.A. The Rugged Man.

J-Zone & Celph Titled Are The Boss Hog Barbarians ‎- Every Hog Has Its Day (2006)

Every Hog Has Its Day is not an album for the easily offended or those lacking a sense of humor. It deviates from J-Zone and Celph Titled’s individual works, serving as a kind of concept album where the duo explores something along the lines of extreme misogyny. The blurb on their Bandcamp  page gives a glimpse into their intentions:

If you feel froggish, then leap. But if you feel hoggish, then creep! It was inevitable. Say no more, the Hogs are here. As a group, J-Zone and Celph Titled (aka Kenny Hoggins and Wade Hoggs) are the Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$. The two multi-talented beatsmiths/rappers/entertainers/masters of all that is rude are in the house for a full-length ride. Enter Hog Heaven, where the order of the day is foul-mouthed trash talk, funkafied beats, and a sense of humor, to the 50th power. With nearly all production by J-Zone and Celph Titled, the lone outside beat comes from none other than the legendary Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz’, longtime Hog affiliates. On the rapping side? No guests!! Hogs don’t need em. Celph and Zone are the Jordan and Pippen of Hog Heaven, so no help is necessary. 100% pure unadulterated hoggin’. With the single, “$teady $mobbin’” b/w “Celph Destruction”, already makin noise, this album will Hog your arteries. You’ve been warned… they won’t stop hoggin’ nooooo!

Clearly intended as a comedic presentation, perhaps even as a parody of artists who genuinely embrace this style, Every Hog Has Its Day is nothing more than harmless, albeit occasionally deeply offensive, fun. It boasts funky beats and humorous punchlines. It’s the kind of album that will either be loved or hated, depending on the listener’s sense of humor and ability to not take things too seriously.

Eminem – Relapse (2009)

100 Essential Midwest Hip Hop Albums

Eminem is one of the biggest names in Hip Hop history, boasting one absolute classic under his belt, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), and two albums that come close enough: The Slim Shady LP (1999) and The Eminem Show (2002). However, the remainder of his catalog tends to have more misses than hits. While Eminem’s lyrical abilities are never in question, many of his other albums suffer from weak beats, lackluster features, and corny hooks. Despite this, Eminem often receives an excessive amount of criticism, as his output beyond his three classics is not entirely devoid of merit.

Relapse is a prime example of an Eminem album that garnered more hate than it deserved. It notably lacks misplaced popstar features and has mostly decent hooks and beats. The dark and horrorcore concept successfully resonates, and Eminem’s pen game and lyrical skill remain unparalleled. Relapse stands as a great album and easily secures a place as Eminem’s best work, just behind his three classic releases.

Waka Flocka Flame - Flockavelli (2010)

Flockavelli stands as a pivotal album, representing the ultimate crunk experience while also playing a significant role in shaping the direction of the trap subgenre. It can be argued that everything released prior to Flockavelli can be seen as pre-trap, with everything released since classified as post-trap. While this may seem like an exaggeration, the undeniable truth remains that this album turned out to be tremendously influential, acting as a game-changer that laid the foundation for the next generation of (t)rap artists.

Waka Flocka Flame may not possess the prowess of the greatest songwriter or lyricist to have ever graced the pen and the mic, but it’s his infectious energy and charisma that propels Flockavelli to the next level. With bombastic bass-heavy beats, sharp synths, and aggressive rapping, this album offers a captivating and enjoyable experience, filled with timeless bangers that have stood the test of time.

Lil Ugly Mane – Mista Thug Isolation (2012)

Lil Ugly Mane is one of the many aliases of Travis Miller, a producer/rapper hailing from Richmond, Virginia. To truly grasp the essence of his work and the intentions behind it, one must delve beneath the surface. The album’s cover art cleverly parodies the unappealing aesthetics employed to market the monotonous rap mediocrity that used to emanate from the No Limit and Cash Money rap factories, as does its title. Lil Ugly Mane’s stage name can be viewed as a dig at the numerous ‘Lil’ rappers and other gangsta rap/trap artists who churn out repetitive, mindless projects, incessantly discussing topics such as women, money, cars, drugs, guns, and murder. While Lil Ugly Mane traverses similar territory here, he does so with a touch of caricature. Thus, categorizing Lil Ugly Mane as just another trap clone would be a grave misconception, despite initial impressions suggesting otherwise.

What Lil Ugly Mane accomplishes is a subversion of gangsta rap and trap conventions. Striking a delicate balance between silliness and dark comedy, Lil Ugly Mane consistently remains on the right side of that divide throughout the album. Through his exaggerated lyrical imagery, it becomes evident that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, skillfully ridiculing those empty braggadocious rappers who become consumed by the personas they’ve fabricated.

Mista Thug Isolation is produced by Shawn Kemp, yet another alias of Travis Miller. The instrumentals he creates are exceptional, flawlessly blending fat, 90s-inspired Memphis beats with elements of horror-core eeriness, psychedelia, and jazz. These beats serve as the perfect canvas for Miller’s tongue-in-cheek humor and biting irony. Mista Thug Isolation has cemented its status as a defining underground cult classic, an album that will undoubtedly withstand the test of time.

Travis Scott - Rodeo (2015)

Rodeo marks the highly anticipated debut album of Houston rapper Travis Scott, following his initial two mixtapes, Owl Pharaoh and Days Before Rodeo. The album boasts an impressive lineup of guest appearances, including Quavo, Future, 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Kacy Hill, The Weeknd, Swae Lee, Chief Keef, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Young Thug, Toro y Moi, and Schoolboy Q. Travis Scott himself handles the production, joined by renowned producers such as WondaGurl, Allen Ritter, Mike Dean, Metro Boomin, Frank Dukes, and Sonny Digital, among others.

Rodeo stands out as something truly special, boldly experimenting and breaking new ground in the trap genre, which often suffers from a sense of genericness. The album’s futuristic and psychedelic vibes are captivating, while the dark and artistic production is nothing short of phenomenal. The majority of the vocal contributions harmonize seamlessly with the musical backdrops. Additionally, Travis Scott distinguishes himself as one of the rare artists who skillfully employs autotune as an instrument rather than relying on it to compensate for a lack of talent. Rodeo serves as the go-to album for anti-trap-biased old heads and other Hip Hop traditionalists willing to set aside their preconceptions and give trap a chance.

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3 responses to “15 Guilty Pleasure Hip Hop Albums”

  1. Damien says:

    After years when I regarded No Limit and Cash Money as shitty bounce rap, which is far from real 90’s NY Boom Bap sound, I must admit that productions from these labels in spite of some flawed unification have own charm. And it is houndred times better than nowdays mumble rap s***. So yes, from time to time I listen NL or CM and this is my guilty pleasure.

  2. Cbbs2007 says:

    Where is Death Grips Money Store?

  3. Street Pop Tunez says:

    Skee Lol/I Wish

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