While 1992 saw the definite rise of West Coast Hip Hop to prominence, there was still plenty of excellent boom bap coming from the East. Also, more acts from the South started making their mark. Mainstream, gangsta, boom bap, alternative – there was something for everyone in 1992. For this list, we have selected OUR favorite 1992 Hip Hop albums. What do YOU think? Let us know in the comments!
Also read: Top 150 Hip Hop Albums Of The 1990s
1. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca And The Soul Brother
“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 All Souled Out 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
2. Dr Dre - The Chronic
“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 sh** up)…” (Nuthin But A G Thang)
The Chronic is one of the most influential Hip Hop albums of all-time. A 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 copy cat others is that on this album it sounds GOOD instead of just dumb.
3. The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
“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 vulnerable sides – The Pharcyde was never concerned with gangster posing and tough-guy-posturing but were more like a West Coast version of ATCQ or De La Soul.
Top tracks: Passin’ Me By | Otha Fish | Return Of The B-Boy | Officer
4. Showbiz & AG - Runaway Slave
“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 a flawless album: top-notch production from Showbiz (and Diamond D) and guest appearances from Lord Finesse and Big L (among others) – along with O.C.’s Word… Life 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
5. Diamond & The Psychotic Neurotics - Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop
“See I write my own rhymes, produce my own shit / Yeah boy, I ain’t the one to f*** 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 from 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
6. Compton's Most Wanted - Music To Driveby (1992)
“I got another gang story to tell / Peep, about how a black n**** was born in hell / And right then and there it’s no hope / Cause a n**** can’t escape the gangs and the dope…” (Hood Took Me Under)
Compton’s Most Wanted’s third and best album. Also one of the best-produced albums of 1992. MC Eiht’s signature style and lyricism complement the beats perfectly. It never achieved the same legendary status that the seminal release of the year – Dr. Dre’s The Chronic – reached, but Music To Driveby is one of the best West Coast ‘gangsta rap’ albums of the era, and perhaps all-time, nevertheless.
Top tracks: Hood Took Me Under | Dead Men Tell No Lies | Compton 4 Life | Def Wish II
7. Gang Starr - Daily Operation
“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 Gang Starr album, another classic. Deep lyrics and deep beats – a testament to Guru‘s hypnotizing and intelligent emceeing and DJ Premier‘s superiority on the boards. If Step In The Arena was their breakthrough album, Daily Operation is the one that firmly secured Gang Starr’s place among Hip Hop’s elite.
After discovering their signature sound on Step In The Arena, Premier and Guru perfected it here, dropping another gem that can be played from beginning to end without having to skip any tracks. “Take It Personal”, “Soliloquy Of Chaos” and “Ex Girl To Next Girl” alone are enough to ensure the classic status of this album, but knowing the rest of the tracklist is completely up to par, makes Daily Operation a flawless part of Gang Starr’s impressive catalog.
Top tracks: Take It Personal | Ex Girl To Next Girl | Soliloquy Of Chaos | Hardcore Composer
8. Redman - Whut? Thee Album
“The original P-Funk stroke a trunk of funk / Then you saw caps cause my jaw snaps with the raw raps / So color me bad, plus color me black / For the funk that I pack, Red freak it to the funk track” (Time 4 Sum Aksion)
Redman is one of the most underappreciated emcees ever. Rarely mentioned in ‘best ever’ lists, but one the best to ever do it nonetheless, especially live. With this debut album, he immediately sets a high standard for himself. No weak tracks and filled with bangers, Redman never takes himself too seriously and drops a fun party album with tight production all around.
Top tracks: Time 4 Sum Aksion | Tonight’s Da Night | A Day Of Sooperman Lover | How To Roll A Blunt
9. Eric B & Rakim - Don't Sweat The Technique
“Let’s trace the hits and check the file / Let see who bit to detect the style / I flip the script so they can’t get foul / At least not now, it’ll take a while / I change the pace to complete the beat / I drop the bass to MCs get weak / For every word they trace it’s a scar they keep / Cause when I speak, they freak to sweat the technique…” (Don’t Sweat The Technique)
Of the 4 Eric B & Rakim albums, their last one probably is the most underappreciated. Sonically slightly different yet again from the previous albums, we see a Rakim who lyrically still has no peer and even drops some socially conscious rhymes this time around, along with his usual skill-flexing. 4 albums, 4 classics – who else can boast of a track record like that?
Top tracks: Know The Ledge | Don’t Sweat The Technique | Casualties Of War | The Punisher
10. Arrested Development 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of... (1992)
“Now I see the importance of history / Why my people be in the mess that they be / Many journeys to freedom made in vain / By brothers on the corner playing ghetto games” (Tennessee)
Arrested Development was rather a unique act. Hailing from the South, but having nothing to do with stories of crime and violence. Instead, they brought a mix of spirituality, political content, black awareness, intelligence, respect, and positivity. 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… is great and highly original album with a few classic tracks (“People Everyday”, “Tennessee” and “Mr. Wendal”) on it.
Top tracks: Mr Wendal | Tennessee | People Everyday | Mama’s Always On Stage
11. Hard Knocks - School Of Hard Knocks
“Running the concrete jungle like a mad man / Only a child but did the things of a bad man / It’s just the father he had wasn’t the right man / So the kid took to bringing home his own bacon…” (Runaway Child, Running Wild)
This is a supremely underrated and slept-on album. 12 tracks, all good, powerful and conscious rhymes, tight production – excellent.
Top tracks: Runaway Child, Running Wild | A Dirty Cop Named Harry | Road To The Precinct | Strictly From The Bronx
12. Boogie Down Productions - Sex And Violence
“I don’t battle to lose or win, I battle / To ruin your whole career, yo, watch what you doin / I’m permanent punk, like a metallic marker / KRS-One, but you’ll call me Mr. Parker” (Duck Down)
This album has always been way underrated in KRS-One’s catalog. It failed commercially (selling a ‘mere’ 250.000 copies) and received mixed reviews. Both undeservedly – Sex & Violence deserved wider recognition both in sales numbers and general acclaim.
After Edutainment (1990), KRS unloaded some members of his BDP Posse and came back with this album where he sounded fresh and reenergized. KRS takes aim at the state of Hip Hop (as always), politics, religion, sexual morality, violence, drug dealers, hypocrisy and more – and manages to sound less preachy than he did on Edutainment. In fact, in rawness and ‘street-feel’, this album comes closest to the spirit of Criminal Minded of all the BDP albums.
“Duck Down”, “Ruff Ruff”, “Drug Dealer”, “We In There”, “Who Are The Pimps”, “Build & Destroy”, “13 & Good” and “Sex & Violence” are all standouts, but the whole album is dope – it feels tight and cohesive (with production from Prince Paul and KRS’ brother Kenny Parker among others) and has no skippable tracks or useless interludes and skits.
Top tracks: Duck Down | Ruff Ruff | Drug Dealer | We In There
13. Ice Cube - The Predator
“Just waking up in the morning, gotta thank God / I don’t know but today seems kinda odd / No barking from the dog, no smog / And momma cooked a breakfast with no hog…” (It Was A Good Day)
Ice Cube’s third solo album is another banger. It may lack a bit of the hunger, the anger, the urgency of his first two and it may contain a few filler tracks – but it also contains Cube’s biggest hit single(s). His last classic album.
Top tracks: It Was A Good Day | Wicked | Check Yo Self | Who Got The Camera?
14. Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a musical masterpiece / If you can hear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least / What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk / True feelings are shown from the way that I talk…” (Pass The Mic)
Maybe more an alt-punk /rock/rap album than a straight-up Hip Hop album, Beastie Boys‘ third album is yet another self-reinvention. As always crazy creative and innovative, this album is a mash-up of styles that remains an enjoyable listen to this day.
Top tracks: Pass The Mic | So Whatcha Want | The Maestro | Professor Booty
15. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Live And Let Die (1992)
“I’m right in front of my front steps thinking of a plan / Looking like Raggedy Ann, no dough in hand, kicking a can / Thinking of a plot to pull some bank in / Because I’m dead and stinking / Soles on my shoes winking, t-shirt is shrinking…” (Ill Street Blues)
A gangster movie on wax. Kool G Rap proves once again he is one of the best and most versatile emcees in the game. On this album, he completely goes for the ‘maffioso’ type of rap he helped pioneer. Sonically interesting because of Sir Jinx’s input on the production tip, which lends a West Coast flavor to an East Coast album.
Top tracks: On The Run | Ill Street Blues | Two To The Head | Edge Of Sanity
16. Paris - Sleeping With The Enemy
“Reminiscin’ back when I was only a child / Back in the days of livin’ carefree lifestyles / As long as we wasn’t caught, bein’ bad was cool / And we were never at a loss for something to get into…” (The Days Of Old)
Another excellent album, after Paris’ equally impressive debut The Devil Made Me Do It. It’s a mystery why Paris never blew up like Ice Cube and Public Enemy did – he does the same and he does it just as well. Intelligent, militant, powerful – Paris dropped some classic material here.
Top tracks: The Days Of Old | Make Way For A Panther | Assata’s Song | Sleeping With The Enemy
17. Lord Finesse - Return Of The Funky Man (1992)
“Cause when it comes to rhymes I give you more than you ask for / Bring a whole task force, I rhyme my f***** ass off / I stand in command with the mic in my hand / Aw sh**, it’s the Return of the Funky Man” (Return Of The Funky Man)
Lord Finesse was an excellent punchline emcee before his main activity would become producing for other artists. This is an all-round fun album with Finesse creatively and humorously bragging and boasting over the length of the album. Classic DITC.
Top tracks: Return Of The Funky Man | Yes You May | Praise The Lord | Stop Sweatin The Next Man
18. EPMD - Business, Never Personal
“Ka-rank the boombox as my sound knock from blocks / As I chill, and bust grills you take snapshots…” (Headbanger)
Another quality EPMD release. More stripped down, with a harder, grimier sound than the previous three, this once again proved EPMD’s status as one of the top acts in Hip Hop.
Top tracks: Headbanger | Crossover | Chill | It’s Going Down
19. Das EFX - Dead Serious
“Bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum, hon, I got the old pa-rum-pum-pum-pum / But I can fe-fi or fo, diddly-bum, here I come / So Peter Piper, I’m hyper than Pinocchio’s nose / I’m the supercalafragilistic tic-tac pro…” (They Want EFX)
If you’re not into to ‘riggedy-diggedy’ tongue-twisting lyrical style these guys developed, this act – and all Das EFX style clones that would follow – can be somewhat tiring and annoying. If you DO enjoy that style however, this album is a banger.
Top tracks: They Want EFX | Mic Checka | Jussummen | East Coast
20. Positive K - The Skills Dat Pay Da Bills
“First up to bat, Pos K the party wrecker / Got more moves than an effin game of checkers / Askin if I’m nice with mine, don’t say sorta / I can sell an Eskimo a glass of cold water / It ain’t no doubt you get knocked in ya mouth / Be the eighth MC, that Rakim didn’t talk about” (One 2 The Head)
If only judged by the popular single I Got A Man (and the bubblegum album cover), you might think Positive K is just another pop rapper. That would be wrong, though. Positive K is an NYC Hip Hop veteran, loosely associated with MC Lyte and the Audio Two. Not counting the aforementioned hit single, this album is strictly NY boom-bap Hip Hop and Positive K shows he really has the skills to pay the bills. This is a dope album that deserves to be remembered.
Top tracks: I Got A Man | How The F*** Would You Know | Shakin’ | One 2 The Head
21. Ultramagnetic MCs - Funk Your Head Up
“I got a flyer in my hand, Bambaataa with Cold Crush / The place is packed, with Johnny Wa and Rayvon / Lovely ladies smelling sweet with a lot of Avon / Jazzy Jay by my side, Charlie Chase behind me / Flash and Theodore, super cuts that blind me…” (Bust The Facts)
A step down from the super classic Critical Beatdown, there is still enough to enjoy here. Negatives first: where Critical Beatdown was way ahead of its time when it was released, this one sounded a bit dated and uninspired when it came out. The album is a bit too long and the production is uneven in places (supposedly they didn’t have full creative control over the end product) and the emceeing is not all that – except for Kool Keith‘s input.
Luckily Kool Keith is the album’s main attraction. His humor, bizarreness and lyrical hyperbole set him apart from most other emcees. Their first album was an ultimate classic and they would come back strong with their third album in 1993. Funk Your Head Up had its flaws, but also its enjoyable moments and if it’s a bit too high on this list, it is out of respect for the greatness of the Ultramagnetic MCs.
Top tracks: Bust The Facts | Make It Happen | Poppa Large | Pluckin Cards
22. Too Short - Shorty The Pimp
“I sold tapes every day me and Freddy B / Been famous since 1983 / Give me ten dollars, and you straight get blessed / A rap all about you called the special request” (In The Trunk)
“If it ain’t broke then don’t try to fix it”. Never was this saying more applicable than to Too Short and his formula. By 1992, he’d be in the game making music for ten years already – Shorty The Pimp being his fourth studio album. We knew what to expect by then and that’s what we got: Too Short’s (x-rated) stories over bumping beats. One of his best albums.
Top tracks: In The Trunk | No Love From Oakland | Something To Ride To | So You Want To Be A Gangster
23. Common - Can I Borrow A Dollar?
“When we started kickin on the one two, and ya don’t stop / But the buck stops here buckaroo / Ya got your instructions, now you know what to do / Take it EZ!” (Take It EZ)
Common before he ‘became’ Common. His debut album is often overlooked because it is so different from what he would do after this one. On this album, we get a young talented emcee just kicking the flavor. Nothing of much substance on this album and it sounds much like an East Coast album – but what it does, it does well. A solid beginning of an incredible career, which would really kick into gear in 1994 with Ressurection, Common’s second – and first classic – album.
Top tracks: Soul By The Pound | Take It EZ | A Penny For My Thoughts | Blows To The Temple
24. The Goats - Tricks Of The Shade
Now you’re poundin’ sand for another man’s sins / To each his own to each his to each they say / But I’ma blow a bone, and you can march ’til the cows come home / Your life’s alone; that means you rent your own dome / But when you come home in a box / Green draws, green pants, green socks / Typical American, kid, I think not” (Typical American)
A very original concept album, ahead of its time. Not easy to get into though, mainly because they overdid it a little bit with all the skits. If you can get past the skits, you’re in for a highly original and intelligent, political album. An early underground classic.
Top tracks: Typical American | Whatcha Got Is Whatcha Gettin’, | Ru Down Wit Da Goats | Tricks Of The Shade
25. UGK - Too Hard To Swallow
When I first started back in 1989 / I wasn’t moving keys I was barely moving dimes / Started coming up fiends recognize my face / I was paying off the laws so I wouldn’t catch a case” (Pocket Full Of Stones)
Bun B and Pimp C (RIP) are pioneers of Southern Hip Hop. Lots of people think Ridin’ Dirty is UGK’s debut album when in actuality this one is. This album can be seen as one of the cornerstones of the unfortunate trap trend we are experiencing now, but in 1992 it still was somewhat original – and UGK really had a dope sound. The lyrics are mostly about criminal enterprises (before that subject matter got really tired), the difference between UGK and most acts that would follow/clone them is that UGK makes it sound GOOD.
Top tracks: Pocket Full Of Stones | Cocaine In The Back Of The Ride | Something Good | Use Me Up
26. Spice 1 - Spice 1
“Livin day by day in my hood on the spot / See the same old things: same dope fiends, cops / Just an average day in the streets of California / 5-0 find a young girl dead around the corner / Mommies on her knees she had tears in her eyes / And nobody knew why the young girl had to die…” (Welcome To The Ghetto)
Straight-up West Coast gangsta rap, Spice 1 does it better than most. What makes this album better than most of the generic gangsta rap albums of the era is the quality bass-heavy production and Spice 1’s skills as a rapper, his style is versatile and tight. Essential for fans of Above The Law, Compton’s Most Wanted and Too Short.
Top tracks: Welcome To The Ghetto | In My Neighborhood | Peace to My Nine | 187 Proof
27. X Clan - Xodus
“Revolution, evolution, the solution / No amendments, and burn the Constitution…” (Fire And Earth)
X-Clan: you either love them or hate them. They have such a unique sound, especially because of Professor X’s contributions, it really is not for everybody. Anyway: the production on this album is tight, and Brother J is a dope emcee. With the rise of gangsta rap and the g-funk sound in the early 90s, X-Clan’s pro-black, spiritual subject matter was on its way out – this album deserves not to be slept on, though. An excellent follow up to their debut To The East, Blackwards.
Top tracks: Fire And Earth | Xodus | A.D.A.M. | Cosmic Ark
28. Da Lench Mob - Guerillas In Tha Mist
“Come down and beware of the black fist / The guerillas straight mutherf***in killers in the mist” (Guerillas In The Mist)
This album is HARD. Hard beats and hard-ass lyrics that may be difficult to digest for some. But that’s just the intention, isn’t it? Da Lench Mob is an Ice Cube project and it shows. It bears a lot of similarities (sonically and content-wise) with Cube’s previous year classic Death Certificate – the same anger and hunger can be felt here.
Top tracks: Guerillas In Tha Mist | Ain’t Got No Class | Lord Have Mercy | Lost In Tha System
29. Grand Puba - Reel To Reel
“I’m gettin G’s, no more time for the line of free cheese / Here’s the four one one hon, the one who gets the job done / I know you know the flavor of the Puba…” (360 What Goes Around)
Brand Nubian‘s frontman Grand Puba‘s first solo album. This album is more about clever metaphors and punchlines than socially relevant lyrics – it’s mostly a light and fun album where Puba is content to show off his skills as an emcee. Not quite a classic like Brand Nubian’s debut One For All, but a great album nonetheless, a typical early 90s East Coast album which deserves a place in any Hip Hop collection.
Top tracks: 360 ( What Goes Around) | Check Tha Resume | Soul Controller | Big Kids Don’t Play
30. DJ Quik - Way 2 Fonky
“Oh yes I’m new and improved, and to a funky-ass groove / My name is Quik and I’m smooth, and I’m makin’ yo’ ugly b*tch move” (Way 2 Fonky)
DJ Quik has always been his own man, with his own signature funky and smooth sound and his own ‘stable’ of protegees and affiliated artists. This is his second album and another solid effort, maybe just a little less consistent than his classic debut.
Top tracks: Way 2 Fonky | Jus Lyke Compton | America’z Most Complete Artist | Only Fo’ Tha Money
31. House Of Pain - House Of Pain
“I’m the cream of the crop, I rise to the top / I never eat a pig ’cause a pig is a cop / Or better yet a terminator / Like Arnold Schwarzenegger / Trying to play me out like as if my name was Sega” (Jump Around)
House Of Pain was responsible for one of the biggest Hip Hop party anthems ever with Jump Around. Cypress Hill‘s DJ Muggs’ signature sound along with Everlast’s hoarse sound resulted in that all-time top banger. The rest of the album sounds much the same. Catchy hooks, hard-edged production – what’s not to like?
Top tracks: Jump Around | Shamrocks And Shenanigans | Top O’ The Morning To Ya | House And The Rising Son
32. Grandmaster Caz - The Grandest Of Them All
“Grandmaster Caz, the legend, Old School veteran / I got the title Grandmaster from being better in / Rappin’ and rhymin’ than all the others / Cause I’m in a class that only three can claim – Moe Dee, Melle Mel and me / But not in that same order, try reversing it / Go on stage, I don’t be rehearsing sh**…” (I’m A Legend)
Cold Crush Brothers’ frontman Grandmaster Caz, together with Kool Moe Dee and Melle Mel, is one of the true pioneers of emceeing and one of the best emcees in the game, ever. Sadly he never was able to release an album to match his legendary status. The production on this album is not all that, but you’ll want to own it for Caz’s lyricism.
Top tracks: I’m A Legend | The Old School | Star Reach | The Hitman
33. Willie D - I'm Goin' Out Lika Soldier
“F*** a loose screw, let me enlighten / I got a whole mothaf****** toolbox need tighten / Fast like lighting, punch like Tyson / It’s a clash of titans when I start fighting” (I’m Goin’ Out Like A Soldier)
Willie D has a very distinct sound and delivery, and he has the power of voice and personality to get his messages across. This is an album that can be expected from one of the Geto Boys, with subject matter much in the vein of the previous’ year group effort We Can’t Be Stopped. Although it is a fine album by all means, Willie D is better as part of the Geto Boys, as Scarface and Bushwick Bill complement his style. Willie D probably knew this too, as he would rejoin the group a few years later. Some strong songs on this album, but some weaker ones too – all in all, a must-have for Geto Boys fans at least.
Top tracks: I’m Goin’ Out Lika Soldier | Clean Up Man | Trenchcoats-N-Gangsta Hats | My Alibi
34. Fu-Schnickens - F.U. Don't Take It Personal
“As I soothe in the groove, cause I’m smooth like Mr. Rourke / Doobely-zoo Mr. Wu, no need to be rude but F.U / Cause I ain’t got nothing to prove…” (La Schmoove)
A typical early 90s West Coast album in the Tung Twista/Das EFX tradition. One excellent emcee (Chip Fu) and a number of stand-out tracks are not quite enough to compensate for the two mediocre emcees and a few filler tracks – but all in all a fun and perfectly enjoyable album.
Top tracks: La Schmoove | True Fu-Schnick | Ring The Alarm | Movie Scene
35. K Solo - Time's Up
“My flows and raps incredible they never ever will be found / I’m sure they work can you U-N-D-E-R-S-T-A-N-D / No one spells rhymes like Letterman!” (Letterman)
Another solid K Solo album, his second and sadly his last. Supported by the always on point production from fellow Hit Squad member Erick Sermon, K Solo drops some dope tracks on this album. K Solo’s thing always was spelling out the words in his tracks, but there’s more to his style. He’s was always a competent and versatile emcee, who was able to tell stories or just kick straight up braggadocious rhymes.
Top tracks: I Can’t Hold It Back | Letterman | Preminition Of A Black Prisoner | Rock Bottom
36. Rough House Survivers - Straight From The Soul
“Smoother as I ever been / Rougher than a pelican / No skates, hit the brakes / I got what it takes…” (Can You Dig It?)
Bass-heavy boom-bap with horns and jazz breaks – this Mount Vernon crew clearly took lessons from neighborhood legend Pete Rock. Along with highly energetic lyricism and good chemistry from the emcees, the dope production makes this album a forgotten gem and a must-have for fans of that Pete Rock type of production.
Top tracks: We Come To get Wreck | Can You Dig It | So! Surivers, We Can Rhyme | On The Flex
37. The Future Sound - The Whole Shabang, Vol. 1
“Feel the full effect of the future / To wake up the sign of the mind when the ends meet” (When The Ends Meet)
Slept on. With some many quality Native Tongues and Native Tongues-esque albums being released in the early 90s, this one clearly got lost in the shuffle. Not affiliated with the Native Tongues clique, but having much of the same vibe – excellent funky & jazzy production, conscious content – this is a good and sadly forgotten album.
Top tracks: When The Ends Meet (Life Of The Futuristic B-Boy) | Primates In Stitches | This Is A Game | The Function
38. MC Serch - Return Of The Product
“You need a posse the size of the Nazis to attack this / And you’re more optimistic than the Sounds of Blackness / Flip rhymes that rip through the chest cavity / And I keep going and going just like an Energizer battery…” (Back To The Grill)
This is a very solid album from MC Serch, his first solo effort after the two 3rd Bass albums. Serch always was a more than competent emcee, with clever rhymes and humorous punchlines. The production on this album is OK as well. Not a classic maybe, but a dope album nevertheless.
Top tracks: Back To The Grill | Hard But True | Social Narcotics | Return Of The Product
39. Roxanne Shante - The Bitch Is Back
“The q-u-double e-n / Queen of emceeing / Whenever I flow it’s poetry in / Motion, so you can save all the drama / And get the f*** out the way, here comes the Big Mama” (Big Mama)
Roxanne Shante is another one of those Old School Hip Hop legends, who sadly never was able to transfer her considerable live emcee abilities to wax and therefore never was able to release a really dope, classic album deservedly of her status. This is her second and last album, and probably the best of the two. Featuring production of the likes of Kool G Rap, Large Professor, Mister Cee, Grandmaster Flash, and Granddaddy I.U. and considering Shante’s mic skills this album should have been better. As it is, it’s an OK album that’s worth checking out for Hip Hop history purists.
Top tracks: Big Mama | Straight Razor | Trick Or Treat | Brothers Ain’t Sh**
40. The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy - Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury
“TV, it satellite links / Our United States of Unconsciousness / Apathetic, therapeutic and extremely addictive / The methadone metronome pumping out 150 channels 24 hours a day / You can flip through all of them and still there’s nothing worth watching…” (Television: The Drug Of A Nation)
Not really a pure Hip Hop album, but more a crossover effort that mixes up genres, this album is included in this list nonetheless because it has that ‘Hip Hop feel’. Political, conscious, smart (maybe somewhat preachy) lyrics over experimental, innovative and genre-crossing production – a wholly enjoyable and important early 90s album, which would be higher on this list if music in general, not just Hip Hop was considered.
Top tracks: Language Of Violence | Television: The Drug Of A Nation | Satanic Reverses | Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury
- Heavy D & The Boyz – Blue Funk
- Chubb Rock – I Gotta Get Mine Yo!
- Tung Twista – Runnin Of At Da Mouth
- Kris Kross – Totally Krossed Out
- Chi Ali – The Fabulous
- Scientifik – The Most Blunted
- Sir Mix A Lot – Mack Daddy
- JT The Bigga Figga – Don’t Stop Till We Major
- Bushwick Bill – Little Big Man
- Yo Yo – Black Pearl
- C-Funk – I’m Out 2 Stoages
- Success-N-Effect – Drive By Of A Revolutionist
- Esham – Judgement Day Vol. 1.: Day
- Esham – Judgement Day Vol. 2.: Night
- Master P – Mama’s Bad Boy
- Penthouse Players Clique – Paid The Cost
- Totally Insane – Direct From The Backstreet
- Pooh Man – Funky As I Wanna Be
- RBL Posse – A Lesson To Be Learned
- N2Deep – Back To The Hotel
- X-Raided – Psycho Active
- Chunk – Chunk 2: Still The Menace
- Ganksta N-I-P – Southpark Psycho
- Point Blank – Prone To Bad Dreams
- Big Mello – Bone Hard Zaggin
- Double XX Posse – Put Ya Boots On
- Brothers Uv Da Blakmarket – Ruff Life
- Zhigge – Zhigge
- Red Hot Lover Tone – Red Hot Lover Tone
- The Troubleneck Brothers – F*** All Y’all
- Crusaders For Real Hip Hop – Deja Vu, It’s 82