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list Feb 10 2021 Written by

5 Of The Most Overrated Albums In Hip Hop History

5 Of The Most Overrated Albums In Hip Hop History

Normally, we are all about positivity. On this site, you can find dozens of articles celebrating all the excellent Hip Hop that has been released over the decades. All lists on this site are mostly subjective, as all lists not based on hard facts & figures by definition are. People having different opinions is what keeps things interesting, and different opinions enable discussions about the music we all love. We recently published a list with what we consider to be the best 250 Hip Hop albums of all-time. Nobody will ever agree 100% with these kinds of rankings of course, nor should anyone. What does surprise us sometimes though are the often emotional or downright aggressive comments we get if some particular albums are not ranked ‘high enough’. People getting upset about someone else’s opinion – that’s crazy, right? Because some people seem to feel we should be “kicked in the neck”, “executed”, or some such things for having some albums too low on our OWN all-time best list, we decided to pick some of the albums we seem to underrate and elaborate on why we think they are overrated.

In order for an album to be considered overrated, it has to be one that is praised all the time everywhere. Please remember that we think all projects on this list are SOLID, or GOOD, or in some cases even GREAT – there is not a bad album on this list. But, according to us, all albums here are just not as great as the praise that is almost universally heaped on them would have you believe. This piece is not meant to churlish in any way, it just intends to serve as kind of a counterweight to all the opinions that declare the records on this list as GOAT albums – when in fact there are DOZENS of better ones out there. Sometimes we can’t help but feel that people are parroting each other, ‘cue-carding’ answers when asked about what they consider the best albums ever in Hip Hop, simply coming up with what everybody else is saying. Of course, widespread consensus could very well mean that the most recited albums are in fact the best ever released and we are ‘wrong’, we just respectfully disagree with the popular opinion in the case of the albums on this list.

Also remember there’s no need to get angry, the opinions reflected in this piece are just that, opinions. You may have different ones, and that’s fine – nobody’s wrong. Let us know why you feel different, if possible in a civilized way;). With all that said, let’s get into it: this is the list with what we feel are 5 of the most overrated albums in Hip Hop history.

2Pac - All Eyez On Me (1996)

best hip hop albums 1996

2Pac is one of the most iconic artists in the history of Hip Hop. He is one of the highest-selling artists too, with more monumental songs than anyone in the game. The reason 2Pac is widely considered one of the GOATs has everything to do with his personality, his charisma, his star power, his poetic flair, his unique voice, the strength of his singles, and the manner and time of his death; and less with his lyrical skill or the quality of his albums. Of the five albums completed during his life, not one is flawless. Me Against The World (1995) comes closest, but All Eyez On Me – his most successful and most celebrated album – is far from perfect.

Because of its impact and success, AEOM is seen as one of the biggest classics in Hip Hop ever, but at 27 tracks and 2 hours & 12 minutes, the album simply is way too long. Way. Too. Long. Especially the second part of the album just goes on and on with what seems to be the same track over and over again, a ridiculous amount of filler really. 2Pac’s subject matter on this album is limited (too much thuggery, not enough of the soul and intelligence still in evidence on his first three albums), and the endless list of guest vocalists don’t help things either (especially 2Pac’s Outlawz buddies are mediocre rappers at best), it makes the whole album feel more like a compilation album than a 2Pac solo album.

Except for “Whatz Ya Phone #” there are no really terrible songs on All Eyez On Me (although the remix of the classic “California Love” is far inferior to the original), but half of the tracklist is kind of generic and forgettable. That half should have been left on the cutting room floor. AEOM could have been excellent if 2Pac had released the best half as a single album.

Keep “Ambitionz As A Ridah”, “Got My Mind Made Up”, “How Do You Want It”, “2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted”, “No More Pain”, “Heartz Of Men”, “Life Goes On”, “Only God Can Judge Me”, “I Ain’t Mad At Cha”, “Can’t C Me”, “Picture Me Rollin'”, “All Eyez On Me”, and maybe one or two more tracks – and that’s a tight album. All Eyez On Me as it is is not.

Lots of people get butthurt when 2Pac isn’t religiously praised, acting as if not blindly celebrating everything he has ever done is disrespectful. That’s bullsh*t, of course. You could turn that around and say it’s disrespectful to the dozens of artists in Hip Hop history to ignore the fact they had better albums than 2Pac had. Make no mistake: we love 2Pac and his music – we just contend that this album, while good, is not as good as is often said.

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

The Notorious B.I.G.’s sophomore album Life After Death is plagued by some of the same faults as the ones that marred 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me. Life After The Death is overlong at 1 hour & 47 minutes, and there’s too much filler material: there are too many Puff Daddy pop songs (and a couple of annoying skits). Biggie’s lyrical skill and story-telling abilities are second to none, but the quality of the songs on this LP is hit-and-miss.

Of the 24 tracks, at least 5 should have been left off the album to be able to consider Life After Death on par with Biggie’s monumental debut Ready To Die. Songs like “Somebody’s Gotta Die”, “Hypnotize”, “Kick In The Door”, “What’s Beef?”, “N*****s Bleed”, “I Got A Story To Tell”, “Ten Crack Commandments”, “Long Kiss Goodnight” and “You’re Nobody (Till Somebody Kills You) are all excellent, but “F**k You Tonight”, “I Love The Dough”, “Another”, “Playa Hater”, “Nasty Boy” are weak songs that bring the album down. Another problem is the skits that are used to set the tone for tracks, the skits on LAD are all quite long and stuck to the beginning of most songs, severely reducing the replay-ability of those tracks. “Kick In The Door” is a great track, but practically a must-skip because of the useless one-minute skit preceding it.

As it is, Life After Death still is an awesome album packed with classic tracks – but because of the inclusion of that handful of throwaway tracks, it’s just isn’t the masterpiece it could and should have been. Life After Death is labeled top 5 OAT by many, but it just isn’t THAT good.

50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (2003)

50 cent get rich and dy trying 2003

Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is one of the most significant albums of the 2000s decade – in terms of sales, impact, and popularity. For these reasons alone this album is a super classic, but at 19 tracks just a little bit too long and lacking in variety to be considered a GOAT album. 50 Cent’s gangsta-pop subject matter can get tiring, and of course, he has never been a very good rapper. Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ contains a bunch of classic cuts, but more mediocre ones.

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)

5 Of The Most Overrated Albums In Hip Hop History

J. Cole is a polarizing figure. He is one of the big names in modern-day Hip Hop, with a large army of fans/stans. There’s also a lot of people out there who consider him average and overrated. After a few pretty good mixtapes and two just OK albums, in 2014 he dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive – which turned out to be his best album to date, better than his previous projects and better than what he would release after 2014. J. Cole himself declared this album a classic, and there’s some merit to that claim – 2014 Forest Hills Drive performed really well commercially and it established J. Cole as of the game’s top-dogs. The album is far from perfect though. There are a bunch of strong enough songs such as “Fire Squad”, “Apparently’, “No Role Modelz”, “03′ Adolescence” and “Love Yourz”, but there are also throw-away tracks like “G.O.M.D.” and the useless “Note To Self” that detract from the overall quality of the album. All in all: solid, but far from the classic a lot of people say it is.

Kendrick Lamar - DAMN. (2017)

5 Of The Most Overrated Albums In Hip Hop History

For HHGA, this album signified a definite downturn for Kendrick Lamar after two straight classics, we feel DAMN is generally overrated. Thing is, Kendrick Lamar is like the 2010s version of 2Pac and Biggie as in that it seems forbidden to criticize him or not unreservedly like anything he does or releases – not 100% praising Kendrick will activate a stan-army to set any doubter straight (similar to what happens if you dare to opinion not everything 2Pac or Biggie have done is of the utmost brilliance). Upon DAMN‘s release, fans and critics alike were immediately screaming ‘instant classic’, ‘masterpiece’ and all that – like a Pavlov reaction because it’s Kendrick and so it has to be the best ever you know. But DAMN isn’t the best ever, it’s just OK.

Where TPAB was a conscious masterpiece focusing on political and social issues over an amalgamation of 70 years of black music history, and GKMC was a brilliant coming-of-age concept album, the common thematical thread DAMN is less clear. In fact, some songs on here just don’t seem to mesh together. Also, Kendrick takes some unfortunate steps on the mumble-trap-singing path (like on “LOVE”). But there are flashes of the customary Kendrick brilliance and some emotionally resonant lyrical nuggets to be found, and the production is outstanding in places (“DUCKWORTH” is all-around excellent, as is the banging “DNA”).

Now, all this may sound a bit more negative than it should – it is just meant to serve as a little counterweight to the blind Kenrick praise that seems obligatory these days. Even the Pulitzer people jumped on the ‘Kendrick is King’ bandwagon, showcasing their Hip Hop ignorance – there are a hundred Hip Hop albums that could or should have won a Pulitzer over this one, obviously they missed the significance of TPAB upon its release and decided to retroactively honor it by awarding Kendrick’s follow-up.

Because of its reduced scope and shaky sonic, lyrical, and thematic cohesiveness, DAMN can not stand side to side to his two previous masterpieces. It’s not a bad album at all, but it’s not a flawless classic either. Kendrick stans may want to throw a tantrum after reading this opinion, and that’s fine – we just think DAMN is far from Kendricks’s best work and not even a top 10 album released in 2017DAMN is a fine album, nothing more, nothing less.

Join The Twitter Discussions

Twitter is not necessarily the best environment for conducting civilized discussions or for expecting nuanced feedback. Nevertheless, we thought it would be insightful (not to mention funny) to share how some people on Twitter feel about other people’s opinions. Fortunately, there are plenty of intelligent and well thought out responses – some in agreement and some in disagreement with the unpopular opinions formulated here – but there’s way more vitriol, with lots of the feedback ironically proving much of the points made in this article. It’s also clear enough lots of people didn’t actually read the piece but responded with their own takes anyway. It never ceases to amaze how people can get angry and upset if someone has an opinion different from theirs. Some funny stuff in the responses and quoted tweets here:

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One response to “5 Of The Most Overrated Albums In Hip Hop History”

  1. nappie rash says:

    you guys nailed it !!!!!
    all overated allright !!
    peace

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