Rap music albums

Rap music albums DEFAULT



#1 4 wks

Certified Lover Boy


OVO Sound


Expensive Pain

Meek Mill

Atlantic, Maybach


Sincerely, Kentrell

YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Atlantic, Never Broke Again



Kanye West



F*ck Love





Rod Wave



Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon

Pop Smoke

Victor Victor Worldwide

2 Platinum066888

My Turn

Lil Baby

Motown, Quality Control

3 Platinum084579

The Melodic Blue

Baby Keem

Baby Keem, pgLang


The Voice Of The Heroes

Lil Baby & Lil Durk

Motown, Alamo, Quality Control


Hollywood's Bleeding

Post Malone


3 Platinum0109111412

Legends Never Die

Juice WRLD

Interscope, Grade A


A Gangsta's Pain

Moneybagg Yo

Interscope, CMG, N-Less


Goodbye & Good Riddance

Juice WRLD

Interscope, Grade A


The Off-Season

J. Cole

Interscope, Roc Nation, Dreamville


Hall Of Fame

Polo G



Trust Fund Babies

Lil Wayne Featuring Rich The Kid

Rostrum, Young Money


Hamilton: An American Musical

Original Broadway Cast

Atlantic, Hamilton Uptown

8 Platinum0292121719

Trip At Knight

Trippie Redd




Curtain Call: The Hits


Interscope, Aftermath, Shady

7 Platinum096192021


Travis Scott

Grand Hustle, Cactus Jack

4 Platinum0163--2222

2014 Forest Hills Drive

J. Cole

Columbia, Roc Nation, Dreamville

3 Platinum0127202123


Polo G



Death Race For Love

Juice WRLD

Interscope, Grade A


good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar

Interscope, Aftermath, Top Dawg

3 Platinum0130
Sours: https://www.billboard.com/charts/rap-albums
Independence Day

Independence Day

The third full-length studio release for the London-based rapper features guest appearances from Clavish, Headie One, Potter Payper, and Sus.


August 3, 2021
The latest full-length studio release for the Alabama-born rapper features guest appearances from Nelson Bandela, BbyMutha, Turich Benjy, Big Rube, CoCo O., Cool-Aid, Peso Gordon, Nick Hakim, Asal Hazel, Kamilah, Jaybee Lamahj, Liv.e, Maxo, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Skiiiwalker, Swaggy Q, V.C.R, and Vonbeezy.
The House Is Burning

The House Is Burning

July 30, 2021
The first full-length release in five years for the Tennessee rapper features guest appearances from 4r Da Locals, 6LACK, Amindi, Kal Banx, Duke Deuce, Iamdoechii, Lil Uzi Vert, Jay Rock, Smino, SZA, Jay Worthy, and YGTUT.
We're All Alone In This Together

We're All Alone In This Together

The second full-length studio release for the British rapper features guest appearances from Snoh Aalegra, James Blake, Boj, Stormzy, and WizKid.


July 16, 2021
The second posthumous release for the rapper features guest appearances from 21 Savage & 42 Dugg, Beam, Bizzy Banks, Chris Brown, Future, Kid Cudi, Kodak Black. Dua Lipa, Pharrell, Pusha T, Quavo, Rah Swish, Rick Ross, Takeoff, The-Dream, TRAVI, and Kanye West.
All Over the Place

All Over the Place

The second full-length studio release for the British rapper features guest appearances from 21 Savage, Anne-Marie, Bugzy Malone, Craig David, Deno, Digital Farm Animals, Future, JAY1, Lil Durk, Polo G, S-X, and YUNGBLUD.
Vince Staples

Vince Staples

July 9, 2021
The fourth full-length studio release for the Southern California rapper was produced by Kenny Beats and features a guest appearance from Fousheé.
Baw Baw Black Sheep

Baw Baw Black Sheep

July 9, 2021
The second full-length release for the Irish hip-hop artist features guest appearances from Snoh Aalegra, grouptherapy., J Ivy, Kingstarlight, Dee Lilly, MF DOOM, Cam O'Bi, RHEA, and Tinashe.


The second studio full-length studio release for the Maryland rapper features guest appearances from Jay Electronica, Swae Lee, Lucky Daye, MF DOOM, Offset, Rico Nasty, Sevyn Streeter, SIR, Slick Rick, T-Pain, The Neptunes, Westside Gunn, and Young Thug.
Planet Her

Planet Her

June 25, 2021
The third full-length release for the Los Angeles rapper features guest appearances from Ariana Grande, JID, SZA, The Weeknd, and Young Thug.
Call Me If You Get Lost

Call Me If You Get Lost

June 25, 2021
The sixth full-length studio release for the rapper features guest appearances from 42 Dugg, Daisy World, Domo Genesis, Brent Faiyaz, Fana Hues, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, NBA YoungBoy, Teezo Touchdown, Ty Dolla $ign, and Pharrell Williams.


The latest full-length release for the New York City-based rapper features a guest appearance from Sideshow.
Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep

Broken Hearts and Beauty Sleep

June 18, 2021
The nine-track mini-album from the Southern California rapper features guest appearances from Big Freedia, Blood Orange, Jay Cue, Kari Faux, God Colony, Bruno Ribeiro, and Jamila Woods.
Mother Nature

Mother Nature

June 18, 2021
The latest full-length release for the Benin singer-songwriter features guest appearances from Yemi Alade, Blue Lab Beats, Burna Boy, Ghetto Boy, EARTHGANG, Salif Keita, Lionel Loueke, -M-, Mr Eazi, Sampa The Great, Shungudzo, and Zeynab.
Culture III

Culture III

The fourth full-length studio release for the hip hop trio features guest appearances from Justin Bieber, Cardi B, Drake, Future, Juice WRLD, Polo G, Pop Smoke and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.


June 4, 2021
The second full-length release for the British electronic producer features guest appearance from Baths, Iceboy Violet, Le3 bLACK, Nova, Eden Samara, and Xzavier Stone.
The Voice of the Heroes

The Voice of the Heroes

The 18-track collaborative album from lil Baby and Lil Durk features guest appearances from Meek Mill, Travis Scott, Rod Wave, and Young Thug.
Exodus 1:7

Exodus 1:7

The posthumous release for the rapper features guest appearances from Benny The Butcher, Bono, Conway The Machine, Cross, Denaun, Icepick, Infrared, Jay-Z, Brian King Joseph, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Moneybagg Yo, Nas, Exodus Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Swizz Beatz, The LOX, Usher, and Westside Gunn.
Pray for Haiti

Pray for Haiti

May 21, 2021
The latest full-length release for the rapper features guest appearances from Melanie Charles, Keisha Plum, Tha God Fahim, and Westside Gunn.
Kommunity Service

Kommunity Service

The debut full-length studio release from the collaboration between rappers YG and Mozzy features guest appearances from A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Blxst, Celly Ru, S3szn, G Herbo, E Mozzy, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, and Young M.A.
The Off-Season

The Off-Season

The sixth full-length studio release for the rapper features guest appearances from 21 Savage, 6lack, Bas, Lil Baby, and Morray.
Super What?

Super What?

The second full-length collaboration between Czarface and MF Doom features guest appearances from Del the Funky Homosapien, DMC of Run-DMC, Godforbid of THD, and Kendra Morris. It was recorded in April 2020 before MF Doom's death in October 2020.
There Is No End

There Is No End

April 30, 2021
The posthumous release from the drummer features beats recorded before he passed away in 2020 and completed by producer Vincent Taeger and co-producer Vincent Taurelle with vocals from Nate Bone, Danny Brown, Nah Eeto, Jeremiah Jae, Koreatown Oddity, Lava La Rue, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Marlowe, Ben Okri, Sampa The Great, Skepta, Tsunami, and Zelooperz.


April 30, 2021
The 12th full-length studio release for the hip-hop artist features guest appearances 21 Savage, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Justin Bieber, Big Sean, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Cardi B, DaBaby, Drake, James Fauntleroy, H.E.R., Jay-Z, Jeremih, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion, Migos, Nas, Post Malone,, Puff Daddy, Roddy Ricch, Rick Ross, Bryson Tiller, and Justin Timberlake.
Michigan Boy Boat [Mixtape]

Michigan Boy Boat [Mixtape]

Sours: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/albums/genre/date/rap
  1. Body armour tattoo
  2. Home depot trim
  3. Eufy wall mount

2021 in hip hop music

Day Artist(s) Album Record label(s) Entering chart position2 Big30King of KillbranchN-Less, Bread Gang, Interscope
  • Debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200
3 DrakeCertified Lover BoyOVO Sound, Republic Records[347]
  • Debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
DuckwrthSG8*SuperGood, The Blind Youth Jehry Robinson The Name Is Not ImportantStrange Music, INgrooves[348]Little SimzSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101 Music
  • Debuted at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart
S1mbaGood Time Long TimeRax, ParlophoneVarious artists Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (soundtrack)Marvel Music, Hollywood, Interscope[349]
  • Debuted at No. 160 on the Billboard 200
10 AZDoe or Die IIQuiet Money Records[350]Baby KeemThe Melodic BluepgLang, Columbia[351]
  • Debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200
CommonA Beautiful Revolution Part 2Loma Vista RecordingsJazz CartierThe Fleur PrintPetal Garden, PIVTL Projects Masked WolfAstronomicalTeamwrk, ADA, WarnerWileyAnti-SystemicWiley Records 15 Injury ReserveBy the Time I Get to PhoenixSelf-released[352]17 Andy MineoNever Land IIReach Records/Miner League
  • Debuted at No. 152 on the Billboard 200
Curren$y and Kino Beats Matching RolexesJet Life RecordingsLil Nas XMonteroColumbia[353]
  • Debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200
M1llionzProvisional LicenceTen Percent Music Elite Group
  • Debuted at No. 10 on the UK Albums Chart
Moor MotherBlack Encyclopedia of the AirAnti- RecordsMozzyUntreated TraumaEMPIRE
  • Debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200
RittzS.O.S.CNT Records Tion WayneGreen with EnvyWarner UK, Atlantic UK
  • Debuted at No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart
ZillaKamiDOG BOYRepublic, Hikari-ULTRA, Inc. 20 OutlawzOne NationOutlaw Recordz, Dough Networkz 21 Marlon CraftHOMECOURT ADVANTAGE, VOL. 1Self-released 24 BluThe Color Blu(e)New World Color, Dirty Science, Nature Sounds[354]Dark Lo and HavocExtreme MeasuresH Class Entertainment, Next Records, LLC D SmokeWar & WondersWoodWorks, EMPIREG-EazyThese Things Happen TooBPG, RVG, RCA[355]
  • Debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard 200
Larry June & CardoInto the Late NightThe Freeminded, EMPIRE[356]MoStackHigh Street Kid 2MizerMillion Entertainment, EMI
  • Debuted at No. 40 on the UK Albums Chart
TwistaShooter ReadyGMG Entertainment Westside GunnHitler Wears Hermes 8: Sincerely Adolf (Side B)Griselda, EMPIRE[357]
  • Debuted at No. 196 on the Billboard 200
Young RoddyGod Family MoneyGOOD$ENSE, Babygrande[358]YoungBoy Never Broke AgainSincerely, KentrellNever Broke Again, Atlantic Records
  • Debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
30 PapooseSeptemberHonorable Records
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_in_hip_hop_music
Grey Area 16.

Grey Area

March 1, 2019
The third full-length release for the British rapper Simbi Ajikawo features a guest appearances from Cleo Sol.
We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service 17.

We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service

November 11, 2016
Phife Dawg passed away in March 2016 before the final studio release for the rap group that includes guest appearances from such artists as Anderson Paak, Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Elton John, Talib Kweli, Kendrick Lamar, and Jack White.
Eve 18.


August 23, 2019
The third full-length studio release for the North Carolina rapper features guest appearances from J. Cole, D'Angelo, GZA, JID, Leikeli47, Mereba], PJ Morton, Queen Latifah, K.Roosevelt, SiR, and Elle Varner.
Send Them To Coventry [Mixtape] 19.

Send Them To Coventry [Mixtape]

November 13, 2020
The debut mixtape from the British rapper features guest appearances from Mahalia, M1llionz, BackRoad Gee, Boy Boy, Eight9FLY, Lz Dinero, Ni Santora, Shakavellie, and Stizee.
Original Pirate Material 20.

Original Pirate Material

October 22, 2002
This is the debut album by the London garage (or in this case, bedroom) band, which consists solely of 21-year-old Mike Skinner. Whether or not this style of music (very English rapping over garage/house beats) will translate well overseas remains to be seen, but garage (and especially Skinner) is the current flavor of the month with the UK music press.
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty 21.

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

OutKast's Big Boi goes solo with an album featuring guest appearances from such artists as Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monae, B.o.B., Gucci Mane, Too Short, and George Clinton.
Psychodrama 22.


The debut full-length studio release for the British rapper features guest appearances from Burna Boy and J Hus.
RTJ2 23.


October 27, 2014
The latest release from Killer Mike and El-P features collaborations with Travis Barker of Blink-182, Diane Coffee, and Zack de la Rocha formerly of Rage Against the Machine.
Miss E... So Addictive 24.

Miss E... So Addictive

May 15, 2001
This is the third album for Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, and it again features the acclaimed production work of Timbaland. Guests include Busta Rhymes, Redman, Method Man, Ludacris, Eve, Jay-Z, and Ginuwine.
RTJ4 25.


June 3, 2020
Released a few days early (for free on their website), the fourth full-length studio album for the rap duo features guest appearances from 2 Chainz, Zack de la Rocha, DJ Premier, Josh Homme, Greg Nice, Mavis Staples, and Pharrell Williams.
Coloring Book [Mixtape] 26.

Coloring Book [Mixtape]

May 13, 2016
The third mixtape from the Chicago rapper (an Apple Music exclusive for two weeks) features gospel elements as well as guest appearances from such artists as 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber, Francis and the Lights, Future, Jay Electronica, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Young Thug.
Big Fish Theory 27.

Big Fish Theory

June 23, 2017
The second full-length studio release for the rapper features contributions from such artists as A$AP Rocky, Damon Albarn, Kilo Kish, Juicy J, Ty Dolla Signn, and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
Illmatic XX [20th Anniversary Edition] 28.

Illmatic XX [20th Anniversary Edition]

The remastered reissue of the rapper's debut 1994 release a disc of remixes, demos and unreleased versions of songs.
Hell Hath No Fury 29.

Hell Hath No Fury

November 28, 2006
This long-delayed second album for Virginia brothers Malice and Pusha T was produced in full by The Neptunes.
The Greatest Story Never Told 30.

The Greatest Story Never Told

February 15, 2011
The long-awaited debut album by the Brooklyn-based rapper is produced by Just Blaze and features guest appearances from Q-Tip, Jay-Z and other notable artists.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II 31.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II

September 8, 2009
The Wu-Tang Clan-member releases his fourth solo album featuring such artists as his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members, Jadakiss, Beanie Sigel, Lyfe Jennings, Styles P, Busta Rhymes, and Slick Rick.
Charity Starts at Home 32.

Charity Starts at Home

September 27, 2011
The latest album for the rapper who also is a member of Little Brother and The Foreign Exchange features guest appearances by 9th Wonder, Big K.R.I.T., Evidence, Elzhi, and Pharoahe Monch.
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert 33.

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

September 3, 2021
The fourth full-length release for the British rapper was produced by Inflo and features guest appearances from Obongjayar and Cleo Sol.
Run the Jewels 3 34.

Run the Jewels 3

December 25, 2016
Available as a free download, the third LP (not including cat-related material) from the duo of El-P and Killer Mike includes contributions from Danny Brown, Zack de la Rocha, Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), Boots, and Kamasi Washington. Originally scheduled for release in January 2017, it arrived as a surprise on Christmas Day in 2016.
Call Me If You Get Lost 35.

Call Me If You Get Lost

June 25, 2021
The sixth full-length studio release for the rapper features guest appearances from 42 Dugg, Daisy World, Domo Genesis, Brent Faiyaz, Fana Hues, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Wayne, NBA YoungBoy, Teezo Touchdown, Ty Dolla $ign, and Pharrell Williams.
Reservation [Mixtape] 36.

Reservation [Mixtape]

July 17, 2012
The Brooklyn rapper's 14-track mixtape featuring guest appearances by Kool A.D. and Nicole Wray was released for free on the Internet.
Alfredo 37.


Sours: https://www.metacritic.com/browse/albums/genre/metascore/rap

Albums rap music

Best hip hop albums of all time: classic hip-hop albums revealed

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The best rap albums of all time - including NWA, Nas, 2Pac and more.

Best hip hop albums of all time: classic hip-hop albums revealed

It's the perfect time to celebrate the best hip hop albums and the best rap albums of all time. Last year hip hop the grand old age of 45. It began with a birthday party in the recreation room of an apartment building, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, in the west Bronx, New York City, hosted by Clive Campbell, also known as DJ Kool Herc.

Today it's home to some of the most vital, culturally relevant music in the world.

UPDATE: It's been revealed that Tyler, The Creator is to receive a Cultural Influence Award at the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards. Given the rapper has given us some stunning tracks - from his time with Odd Future to his successful solo career - we think that the award is well deserved.

And what better way to celebrate this most colourful, confrontational and controversial of musical art forms than by rounding up the definitive 35 greatest hip hop albums of all time.

You can read our in-depth selections below. But, after much voting, Nas - Illmatic is your top pick, and Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) comes in a close 2nd.

Vote for your favourite. And you can submit unmissables we may have missed below.

Voted Your No1

Voted Your No1

Nas - Illmatic

Nasir Jones made this debut album at the age of 20, already armed with the calm perceptiveness and been-there-done-that attitude of a much older ghetto vet, though sometimes his inner callow youth shows itself.

View now on Amazon

Best hip hop albums

Year: 1994

Despite being home to groups like Wu-Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest, New York appeared distinctly second best to the sounds emanating from California in 1994. All that changed with the release of Nasir Jones’s debut album, the iconic Illmatic. With production duties served by DJ Premier and Large Professor, Nas’s rhymes reflected upon ghetto life in the Big Apple. Raw, powerful and unforgettable, Illmatic opened the doors for a new generation of MCs to burst through. Speaking of which…

Key track: NY State of Mind

Kendrick Lamar is up there with the greatest rappers of all time. The speed he can spout his lyrics is unparalleled, as is the clarity with which you hear them. There’s a rhythm in his rhyming that has been missing in hip hop’s latter years. Here, his third album, he perfects perfection. The likes of King Kunta are crowd pleasers, a raging funk masterclass named after the main character in Roots. He’s angry and he has every right to be. Then there’s the poetic For Free? that sounds like nothing else. There’s chaos throughout, punctuated by moments of beauty and Thundercat’s ever-present bass. But you never know what you are going to get with each track which is fine by us.

Year: 1993

Released on the same day as Midnight Marauders, the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album was arguably the most important hip hop album of the Nineties. It not only introduced the world to a collection of colourful characters, but redefined the sonic language of hip hop. RZA’s production was sparse, pieced together with esoteric samples and dialogue from kung fu movies, while the raps from Method Man, Ol Dirty Bastard, GZA, Chef Raekwon, Ghostface Killah et al were incendiary.

Key track: Protect Ya Neck

Year: 1994

It’s a shame that today The Notorious B.I.G. is known as much for his role in the unfortunate East Coast/West Coast rap wars of the mid-Nineties. He was one of the greatest rappers of all time. A vital release in New York’s move towards hardcore gangsta rap, Biggie’s storytelling skills are to the fore on tracks like Juicy, Gimme The Loot and Things Done Changed. The mind boggles as to what Biggie could have achieved if he wasn’t senselessly lost in 1997.

Key track: Juicy

Year: 2004

Underground hip hop was in rude health at the turn of the millennium. The likes of Cannibal Ox, Quasimoto, Aesop Rock and co were producing inventive music that was raw, wry and futuristic. The collaboration between MF Doom (RIP) and Madlib was certainly in the same vein. A hypnotic take on hip hop it melded the duo’s distinctive talents – Doom’s cerebral raps and Madlib’s unconventional beat – into something both charming and mystical.

Key track: America’s Most Blunted

Year: 1996

Hip hop double albums aren’t generally worth the entrance fee. All Eyez On Me changed all that. After a spell inside, 2Pac was focused and angry ahead of his magnum opus. This attitude was channelled into 27 tracks of sparkling virtuosity. The thug life with which he had previously flirted with is wholeheartedly embraced and the result is an epic record of G-funk and gangsta rap that managed to take on the mainstream. And win.

Key track: California Love (Remix)

Year: 2000

The notion of a credible white rapper was a joke for eons – not helped by Vanilla Ice. All that changed with Eminem. A confrontational, provocative and sardonic wordsmith – and another protégé of Dr. Dre – he released three classic albums on the spin in the late-Nineties and early-Noughties. It was the middle release – The Marshal Mathers LP – that captured the witty, irreverent and rebellious spirit best.

Key track: The Real Slim Shady

Year: 1992

Not to be outdone by his former protégé Ice Cube, Dr. Dre didn’t take long to release another landmark album by an N.W.A. alumni. Not only was The Chronic acclaimed immediately, it ushered in a new sound within hip hop – G-funk. Instantly recognisable due to the use of synthesisers and an all-encompassing bass, it made a solo star of Dre, and introduced his latest rap ward to the world: Snoop Doggy Dogg.

Key track: Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang

Year: 1993

Of all the acts beloved of the rap fraternity that coalesce around the head-nodding sound of ‘backpack hip hop’, A Tribe Called Quest are the most cherished. In truth, we could have chosen two other ATCQ albums in this spot – 1991’s The Low End Theory is another stone cold classic – but Midnight Marauders elevated Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and co to legendary status. Their jazz-rap fusions were nothing new, but this was them working at the top of their game.

Key track: Award Tour

Year: 1988

If Public Enemy was hip hop’s militant conscience, NWA (or Niggaz With Attitudes to give them their correct uncompromising moniker) were the hoodlum wing. Their debut album was a brazen example of six individuals who didn’t give a f**k. From the brutal opening triptych of songs (Straight Outta Compton, F**k Tha Police and Gangsta) to the groovy Express Yourself this was indeed a riotous display of street knowledge.

Key track: Straight Outta Compton

The Infamous is hip-hop by candlelight. It’s packed with stripped-bare beats, stark piano, the screeches of the city in the background. Samples are used but muffled as if the album had to be made in hiding. It’s gangster rap but run through Queensbridge slang, the closest an album has got to the feeling The Wire gave us when we first watched it. Havoc and Prodigy are two of the greatest rappers, with the likes of Q-Tip and Raekwon coming along for the ride. We dare you to hear first the snare, then the bass of Shook Ones, Pt.II without getting shivers. Stunning stuff.

Year: 1993

There must have been something in the air in November 1993. Two weeks after ATCQ and the Killer Bees released their era-defining sets, a cocky tyro mentored by Dr. Dre released his debut set. Then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Doggystyle was another landmark record. Coated in G-funk finery, Doggystyle opened up a portal into a horizontal West Coast world of weed, sunshine and unforgettable grooves.

Key track: Gin And Juice

Year: 1998

After Fugees disbanded in 1997, few could have predicted what was to follow. Granted, it was obvious in Lauryn Hill the trio had a sparkling talent, but even the most ardent admirers must have been shocked by her first solo album. Mixing classic soul with a reinvigorated R’n’B and leaning on her hip hop roots, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was another crossover success.

Key track: Doo Wop (That Thing)

Year: 1987

The first golden age of hip hop was kick-started by the art form’s standout DJ/MC pairing, Eric B and Rakim. A master class in breaks, beats and rhymes, Paid In Full laid down the gauntlet to thousands of wannabe crate digging producers and rappers. Standout tracks include the title track (soon to be remixed into sonic nirvana by Coldcut), Eric B Is President and I Know You Got Soul.

Key track: Paid In Full

Year: 2004

Today Kanye West is known for his bizarre celebrity lifestyle as much as his music (and that still rocks by the way), but a decade ago, West was a serious underground hip hop icon. Having breathed new fire into Jay-Z with his production work on The Blueprint, West’s true calling was rapping himself. If there were doubts he could match his Roc-a-Fella employer there were quickly dispelled with the release of The College Dropout. A vivacious album dripping in hooks and cheeky raps, it set in motion the merry-go-round that West still expertly deals in to this day.

Key track: Through The Wire

Best hip hop albums

16. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

View at Amazon

Year: 1988

If, as Chuck D has repeatedly stated, rap is the black CNN, Public Enemy’s second album was their revolutionary state of the nation address. The stark, eerie music bordered on the nihilist, while its doubtful anyone has used hip hop to shine an unwelcoming light on America’s manifold ills in the manner of Chuck D before or since. Don’t believe the hype? One listen to these rebels without a pause will cause you to reconsider.

Key track: Bring The Noise

Year: 1996

Today, Jay-Z is the biggest active hip hop star. In 1996 he was just another aspiring rapper who, to use his parlance, had led a hard knock life on the streets of New York. This hustle was the backbone of his awesome debut set. Featuring the likes of Can’t Knock The Hustle, Brooklyn’s Finest and Dead Presidents II, it was a stunning combination of frontline reportage and frankly ice cool rhymes. A star had been born.

Key track: Dead Presidents II

Year: 1999

Thanks to his work with De La Soul and his Black Star collaborative album with Talib Kweli, anticipation on the underground hip hop scene was high ahead of Mos Def’s debut solo set. After the release of Black on Both Sides, however, it wasn’t just the underground that appreciated the charismatic character born Dante Smith (and who now goes by the name of Yasiin Boy). A politically aware album, but one that piles on the infectious beats and effervescent rhymes, Black on Both Sides was confirmation that Mos Def was one of the most talented stars pushing hip hop forward ahead of the new millennium.

Key track: Ms Fat Booty

Year: 1996

Fugees were inescapable in 1996. The trio – Wyclef Jean, Pras Michel and Lauryn Hill – had made some waves on the underground with their first album, Blunted On Reality, but with The Score everything changed. Hip hop gone pop, without conceding to the mainstream, The Score catapulted Fugees and their conscious songs to stardom. Some complained there were too many covers (Killing Me Softly and No Woman, No Cry among them), but when they sounded this fresh and vital, that was just purist posturing.

Key track: Ready Or Not

Year: 1991

Given the strong personalities at play in N.W.A. it wasn’t surprising Ice Cube’s departure from the group was acrimonious. He poured his vitriol into his solo releases. This reached an apogee on his second album, Death Certificate. An unapologetic treatise at the state of things at the start of the fin de siècle, it was both coruscating and visionary, and not without controversy. The furore surrounding its release might have lessened in the intervening years. Its power most certainly hasn’t.

Key track: No Vaseline

Year: 1989

Despite what the likes of Public Enemy, N.W.A and 2 Live Crew might have suggested otherwise, not everyone involved in hip hop in the late Eighties was angry. De La Soul, alongside the likes of The Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest (along with others known as the Native Tongues Posse), were the polar opposite – they were Afrocentric urban hippies pushing a sunshine-soaked vision of hip hop named the Daisy Age. Their debut album was a joyous mixture of soft rock samples, hilarious skits and psychedelic rhymes. It’s positive attitude chimed perfectly with the loved-up acid house era in which it was produced.

Key track: Me Myself and I

Year: 2003

Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ arrived in a blaze of glory in early 2003. Thankfully, amid the hype there was a classic album to back up all the verbals. In Da Club was the worldwide smash that’s still infectious today, but this was just one high (literally) among a cavalcade of hip hop anthems. What Up Gangsta sets the scene – placing Fiddy in the lineage of Biggie/Nas/Jigga – while Many Men (Wish Death) and High All The Time ensure the taut pace is never broken.

Key track: In Da Club

A concept album that takes Wu-tang alumni Raekwon and Ghostface Killah into Mafiosa territory. Only Built For Cuban Linx is a stunning, cinematic album that is up there with Wu-tang's best work. Although it’s strictly Raekwon’s debut, Ghostface is everywhere on this and all the better for it - just listen to Criminology to hear the lyrical swordplay at work.

Year: 1989

Licensed To Ill might have introduced the world to the Beastie Boys, but following its release the trio were routinely dismissed as brattish frat rappers. Paul’s Boutique, released nearly three years, showed otherwise, demonstrating that Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA really did have the skills to pay the bills. Criminally ignored upon release – probably because it wasn’t Licensed To Ill Part 2 - it is now recognised for what it is: a multi-layered hip hop masterpiece.

Key track: Shake Your Rump

Year: 1984

Yes, The Sugarhill Gang and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five had taken hip hop into the mainstream, but Jam Master Jay, D.M.C. and Rev Run were the first group to properly legitimise it with the release of bona fide classic albums. Their self-titled longplayer was a confrontational fusillade of minimal electro, crunching beats and mesmeric rhymes, as exemplified by It’s Like That, Sucker M.C.s, Rock Box and Hard Times.

Key track: Hard Times

Year: 2003

OutKast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below is one of the most audacious moments in hip hop’s rich history. A double album – in essence two solo albums by Andre 3000 and Big Boi – it takes in everything from G-funk to pop, Southern soul to blues, electronica to rock. In this sense it’s everything the artform of hip hop started out as – a cultural sponge imbibing the best that music has to offer. An in Hey Ya! They had the kind of worldwide hit that every musician would die for.

Key track: Hey Ya!

Year: 1991

Alongside De La Soul and Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill were one of the first hip hop acts to crossover to a predominantly white rock crowd. Given their music was designed to reflect (and even enhance) the slacker habit of smoking weed this perhaps wasn’t surprising. But Cypress Hill’s debut album is no curious novelty – the music is withdrawn, almost as if it’s not there, while B Real’s imaginative rhymes were at once unclear and sardonic. It was a combination that would sell more on 1993’s Black Sunday, but this was the apex of Cypress Hill’s multi-racial creativity.

Key track: How I Could Just Kill A Man

After proving to the world that he was one of the best lyricists and rappers around, thanks to his marvelous verses on 36 Chambers, Only Built For Cuban Lynx and his debut Iron Man, Ghostface Killah’s sophomore effort is an absolute wonder. Ghostface weaves grit and candour, stupidity and absurdity into his tracks with ease - offering up gold-gilded hip-hop album that still resonates today. Just listed to Malcolm to hear this.

Year: 2005

Throughout the nineties and early noughties Common ploughed a very unique and idiosyncratic furrow – that of the thoughtful and conscientious rapper. He hit commercial paydirt on his sixth album, Be. Utilising the production work of Kanye West and underground icon J Dilla, Common created a completely unified piece of work on Be. This was the sound of hip hop reflecting upon itself – hence the jazzy backbone and soulful tenor of Common’s voice. The result was magnificent.

Key track: GO!

Year: 1995

Thankfully, it wasn’t all braggadocio in hip hop in the mid-Nineties. Los Angeles four-piece The Pharcyde followed their mesmeric debut, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, with another lesson in irreverent sonic adventure. The jazzy, soporific vibes of Runnin’ recalled kindred spirits A Tribe Called Quest, while the inventive Drop (with an equally original video from Spike Jonze) displayed a steely experimental edge. The group would fall apart after this release with Fatlip leaving, but this was some parting gift.

Key track: Runnin’

There are few who can beat Jeru The Damaja when it comes to rhyming style. He’s clear, concise, his lyrics are bent to a beat and enunciated to perfection, sometimes pausing mid sentence to make sure you are listening. That’s because he really wants you to understand what he has to say. If ever there was a lyric that still resonates, it’s this one from D. Original: “Dirty, because of the skin I’m in, the fact I have melanin, automatically, makes me a felon”. And the album is packed with these; social commentary mixed with science and philosophy, tackling race and even misogyny which is a rare thing in hip hop. Then, again, Jeru is a rare thing as well.

Year: 2002

Not many musicians release their defining work seven albums in. Even less so in the frenetic world of hip hop where youthful bravado generally trumps maturity every time. But then Scarface is different. An astute businessman as well as recording artist, he knows his audience inside out, being able to give them what they want. And The Fix is the arch example of that. A lurid trip into the rags’n’riches lifestyle of hip hop hustlers, it’s a high octane ride from start to finish.

Key track: In Cold Blood

Year: 1998

Those bored by the gangsta rap heyday of the mid-Nineties found much succor in the backpack underground sounds that began to emerge in the later part of that decade. Company Flow represented New York’s wild experimental edge, while on the other side of America, Jurassic 5, with their emphasis on turntablism, were all about recalling the likes of De La Soul. On Jayou, Concrete Schoolyard and Lesson 6: The Lecture, the six-piece pleasingly put a smile back on the face of hip hop.

Key track: Concrete Schoolyard

Year: 2000

Upon release, Let’s Get Free was rightly acclaimed as a clarion call for righteous and political hip hop – not for nothing were the duo of stic.man and M-1 lauded as the most revolutionary rap outfit since Public Enemy. And while Let’s Get Free is a bombastic and unrepentant call to arms, there are lighter touches too, displaying that sometimes subtlety is just as powerful as an iron fist.

Key track: Hip hop

Year: 2006

Hip hop isn’t short of the odd cocksure character or seven, and in Lupe Fiasco the most brazen of musical genres gained another confident young man upon the release of Food & Liquor. Fiasco’s debut album it displayed the nous of a man wise beyond his 24 years. Reminiscent of Kanye West’s The College Dropout, there was a pop sheen to these urbane stories of sex and aspirational stardom. Two things Fiasco wouldn’t be short of from here on in.

Key track: Kick, Push


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