Masta Ace- A Long Hot Summer
Blackstar- Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Blackstar
Sean Paul- Dutty Rock
Mos Def- Black On Both Sides
Camp Lo- Uptown Saturday Night
Dilated Peoples- Expansion Team LP
Erykah Badu- Baduizm
Felt- A Tribute To Lisa Bonet
Ghostface Killah- Ironman
Hieroglyphics- Full Circle
Jay-Z & Linkin Park- Collision Course
Jurassic 5- Power In Numbers
Nelly Furtado- Whoa, Nelly!
Masta Ace- Disposable Arts
Sade- Diamond Life
Mac Miller- The High Life
N.W.A.- Straight Outta Compton
Here We Go With The List
34. Mac Miller- K.I.D.S.
Nikes On My Feet
Yes i admit listening to this nonstop when it came out i can proudly say that i am ashamed. he pretty much made Asher Roth's I Love College into a full project yet somehow it came out softer than Asher's ode to college life. if i could go back in time and punch myself for listening having this on rotation i would knock a motherfucker out like marquez did to pacquiao
33. Pete Rock & CL Smooth- The Main Ingredient
Take You There
It really doesn't get much better than Pete Rock laying down some beats. CL Smooth could grace those tracks in a unique way that no one else could on a Pete Rock creation. The combination of CL's storytelling and Pete's soul sampling was something to behold and just makes me wonder why DJ and MC combos don't come up together today like they used to anymore because having that chemistry provides some truly beautiful music. and for the love of god can someone please explain why sean kingston's irrelevant ass was the first three videos when i was searching for that pete rock & cl song on youtube
32. Method Man- Tical
Release Yo Delf
I saw Method Man in concert last year and his 40 year old ass was still rocking the crowd. Shows you how great he is as an MC to be that old playing songs off his debut album that can still get the crowd live. Johnny Blaze is a legend bruh. How many 40 year olds are you gunna see crowd surfing and tearing down a house? from Bring The Pain to Meth vs Chef theres too many bangers. Plus this was the first Wu solo release so Meth had the pressure to need to deliver because he set the tone for all the other Wu solos and Chef, Deini, and Genius knew for sure they had to bring their A+ game when it was their turn.
31. Freddie Gibbs- Cold Day In Hell
Menace II Society
Freddie Gibbs is that dude. A throwback artist in the sense that you would not wanna run into him when he's having a bad day because he will fuck you up. I never lived in Gary, Indiana but after listening to Gangsta Gibbs i feel like i've been hustling in the streets my whole life. He is undoubtedly the best gangsta rapper out today and so versatile too. He is master of flow who can get on any type of track and kill it. I don't remember the last time i heard a wack verse from freddie. True talent and consistency. And you better hope i'm not listening to this while i'm walking down the street and you look at me the wrong way because i might just Rob Me A, Rob Me A
30. Wiz Khalifa- Kush & OJ
In The Cut
As whack as wiz is now you gotta give it up to him for breaking into the industry. I have to do more research on this but i believe wiz helped revolutionize the mixtape game by creating a loyal fanbase underground and selling out his own tour to the point that major labels could not ignore this weird tatted up alien out of James Harrison's backyard of Pittsburgh. word to roger goodell. at the same time he kind of fucked the game up because his weed party rap style was made into a genre pretty much and when a bunch of dudes are trying to copy someone else, it's not original. But whatever he's happily ever after with Kanye's sloppy seconds and i'll bet $20 he's paying child support in 5 years even tho Amber makes hella money anyway but she a gold digger and wiz is too high to see that. don't say i didn't warn you Wisdom Successor (arabic lesson of the day asa lama lakum)
29. Pharcyde- Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Soul Flower Remix
More classics of the debut album of the LA hip hop quartet. Their album just turned 20 years old and i'm sure a lot of the old heads are feeling real old if they remember when this was released. This album is great because its filled with stories that everyone can relate to. They were relatable because they didn't have some over the top persona but they actually told true stories. They were naive in a sense but in a good way. Fatlip even admitted that he thought people like Biggie and Ice Cube were actually telling true stories through their raps causing Pharcyde to tell us real shit that actually happened. Takes a lot of balls to admit Oh Shit was not made up. Word to Fatlip.
28. Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Can we please get some love for Lauryn Hill. Not only was she the first hip-hop artist to receive a major grammy when she won for Album of the Year but her influenced is best heard all over the radio today. If you wonder why there's an influx of "artists" who attempt to rap and sing it's because of Ms. Lauryn, not Drake. Plus unlike some aforementioned artists Ms. Lauryn can actually do both well. Need more evidence of her influence, just check how many mixtapes there are that start with the title of The Miseducation of.....whoever. A true classic. Hopefully Lauryn can get her shit together and pay her taxes or whatever she needs to do and hit up wyclef. Hitting up Pras is optional.
27. Zion I- Mind Over Matter
The first time i heard a zion I track was The Bay on MTV: My Block, shout out to Nump. Then i kinda forgot about them until they came up again on my Hieroglyphics pandora channel and i had to find out for myself what else they got. I ended up finding Mind Over Matter and would listen to the tracks on youtube while at work making calls. This duo is unique and stay true to their sound and fanbase. I'm pretty sure they had many chances to sign with a major label but they refused to sell out and for that their legends. Don't leave your girl in the room with Grandpa Too Short.
26. Linkin Park- Hybrid Theory
In The End
This was everybody's shit back in the day. I remember my sister getting this cd burned for her and was also probably the first time i was introduced to the great industry of music pirating. Too many bangers off their debut. i also think the album cover is one of the sickest to ever be created. Now i don't scream or yell for anyone but if you throw one these tracks on people over in Kazahkstan are gunna here me. shout out to corkey buchek. To chester, dj hahn, and the criminally underrated MC mike shinoda you made going to computer lab after school worth going to. shout out to mr. shelley
25. Dr. Dre- 2001
Now i have yet to listen to this album all the way through but i have heard every song on here damn near 100 times each. i have no idea how it happened but this is just some stuff you can't escape. And i know i'm not the only one who this has happened to. After waiting for detox to drop dre dropping 2001 7 years after the chronic doesn't seem that long. and to think there are kids today who know dre soley off of some headphones and that's not even the kids' fault. will anyone care when or if detox comes out? everyone says no now but if that ever comes out it's gunna go hard. Dre is a perfectionist and it's something like 12 years in the making, he has so many artists to choose from it has no other option than to be great if it comes out.
24. Lupe Fiasco- Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
Before Lupe tried to become some kind of preacher and tell everyone the truth on subjects he doesn't research, shout out to that wikipedia and youtube conspiracy theory research, Lupe had some of the best pen game. He had puns, flow, dope beats, and a great storytelling ability with some good hooks. I don't know what happened to him from then until now but at least he'll always leave us wanting more and never quite satisfied.
23. Ab Soul- Long Term 2: Lifestyles of the Broke and Almost Famous
Turn Me Up feat. Kendrick Lamar
First I thought the title was great. It pretty much sums up all striving artists. Then the Black Hippy Mascot got into it and just started rattling off words like a true walking dictionary as he is affectionately known as. You could hear the hunger that Solo has in his voice which he still carries to this day. Completely different subject matters than his retail debut Control System and even tho i like that one i prefer LT2. Relatable story of being an unknown cat in a big world and just trying to get noticed and find a way in life. This was part of the string of tapes and releases that really put TDE into the category we know today as the best label for quality music we have today. Not one weak link in that group. Don't sleep on Jay Rock
22. Schoolboy Q- Habits & Contradictions
Hands On The Wheel feat. A$AP Rocky
(tell me why it took like a year for me to notice the girl in the ski mask)
Here we go again the with another Black Hippy banger. Schoolboy dropped this and proceeded to make people everywhere wake up and realize Black Hippy wasn't just Kendrick and three other dudes. Schoolboy is in his own drugged up high off his ass world and it is a perfect match for the music he is putting out. It was a prequel to his project from the previous year Setbacks and he explained that those setbacks were caused from those habits & contradictions that he was involved in. I don't know how much he learned from those setbacks but maybe everything for the Q'ster is a Cycle. Don't look to Quincy if you're looking for some conscious rappers (if you a short attention span brotha like me skip to 2:50, or just watch the whole video).
21. Kid Cudi- Man On The Moon: The End of Day
Soundtrack To My Life
While it is true that Cudi can make some depressing ass music that just makes you want to kill yourself it seems he didn't get that way until after he got famous. His debut album was no doubt something different at the time of its release and lowkey had an influence on the game. I mentioned before Lauryn Hill influenced artists to rap and "sing" young Scott Mescudi pretty much knows he can't sing and didn't try belting out the hooks. He kind of just rode the beat and it came out sounding real nice. Cudi lets you into his life and obviously is gunna get hate for that but its whatever. What's he up to these days anyways
20. Andre Nickatina and Mac Dre- A Tale of Two Andres
Andre N Andre
Two Bay Area legends on one album. Granted this was recorded after Mac Dre passed away, TIP, but you woulda never known. The pictures that these two can paint is something out of a Bob Ross special. They're hustlers who don't give two fucks about conforming and have styles that are unique to themselves. Heard of the Hyphy movement? The biggest thing i owe to The Black Jim Jones is that he taught me how to style with Air Jordans and Anchor Blue jeans, shout out to pig nasty. Dre Dog is still doing his thing while the Mac D-R-E continues to get his posthumous love that he deserves for being a true pioneer in Bay Area culture. Remember kids, Mac Dre was telling people to thizz before dubstep became popular.
19. Foreign Exchange- Leave It All Behind
Remember when i said Lauryn Hill inspired many questionable rappers/singer. Phonte is the exception. Dude can rap his ass off and got bars when it comes to singing. Don't believe me, how many of you can hit those high notes on take on me. Well Tigalo of Little Brother fame, if you don't know them check them out- ever hear of 9th Wonder, wanted to do a side project and teamed up Nicolay. Nicolay is a producer from some European country i don't know and/or care about. Crazy thing about these two was that they never even met. All their work was done via email and managed to gain some grammy nominations for their efforts. 20 years ago who woulda thought you could score a grammy nomination working with some dude you never seen, met, had an actual conversation with, and did everything online. And If your wifey makes you sleep in the living room just tell them I wanted to play XBOX on the big TV anyway. Tigalo Tigalo Tigalo Tigalo
18. 50 Cent- Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
If I Can't
Nobody could escape In Da Club. Shit was a certified banger and in the process gave everyone a new birthday song. I needa follow 50's model for success: be mediocre on one label, start dealing drugs because my music sucks and my label won't release an album, get shot because of dealing drugs, get out the hospital and start making some fire mixtapes, proceed to have Eminem and Dr. Dre mentor you. 50 btw was key in changing the mixtape game by flooding the market with music and building a fanbase and buzz in the streets so props to him. Early stages of the business man we see today. A true classic and probably the last debut album to live up and exceed the hype surrounding it. Also he made it cool for gangstas to sing their hooks for the first time since Pac died, RIP Pac.
17. Eminem- Marshall Mathers LP
Now this is the first rap album i ever owned and listened to all the way through. I remember getting this for Christmas one year and couldn't wait to listen to it. Now being 9 years old and this being the first rap album i was about to listen to i had no idea what i was getting myself into. I heard The Real Slim Shady and remember My Name Is from his debut on the radio i figured all his songs were like that. Long story short, i never heard the word Fuck so many times but i loved every minute of it. It was the first time i heard skits on an album and was possibly the first time i thought Em had a couple screws loose up there. This just brings back memories of going downstairs to play this cd in the stereo when my parents were asleep and being in awe of him dissing LFO. Still have that shit too on cd so chyea.
16. E-40- My Ghetto Report Card
Tell Me When To Go
Now the King of Slang released his most commercially successful album in the thick of the Hyphy movement and this album proceeded to become the Bible, Gospel, the Hyphstitution, Declaration of Hyphdependence, Qu'ran whatever you wanna call it. These were the good days of being young and ignorant and just not giving a shit about anything. 40 fonzarelli is still going strong today and remains on that 25/8 grind releasing three albums in one day and shit like that. i can't really write what this album meant to bay kids and the hyphy movement as a whole so i guess it was something you had to be there for. i feel bad for you non-Bay kids aka Hyphtiles.
15. Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
14. Fugees- The Score
Let's be honest, this album is as great as it is because of Lauryn Hill. That's not a knock on Wyclef or Pras but it's just the facts. The other two were definitely instrumental behind the scenes and had some dam good verses laid down but Ms. Lauryn Hill stole the show. This album was a breath of fresh air. I didn't even listen to it until well after it came but even i could see that it was different, unique, and original. Lauryn, Wyclef, and not so much Pras flexed their spitting prowess all over the album while Lauryn gave us a sample as to what is in store when she blessed us with Killing Me Softly, 1 time.
13. The Roots- Illadelph Halflife
Push Up Ya Lighter
The Legendary Roots Crew. the name says it all when talking about how great they are. ?uestlove and Blackthought (can he please get some love) have been holding it down for over 20 years while an array of musicians have come and gone, yes scott storch was once a member. and finally made it big time too by being the house band on the Jimmy Fallon show, shout out to whoever put that together, but i digress. This album is so good that it prevents me from listening to the band's other albums because i eventually just keep coming back to this. Once again so many classics on this album and great features too from Dice Raw, Common, and Raphael Saaqiq, shout out to Tony! Toni! Tone!, among others. Also how the change in sound from before and after ? vs. Scratch is just some boss shit my opinion, uggh. Also if someone else says Kids These Days remind them of The Roots i will slap them. Just because they both use bands and the former has one token black guy rapping does not make them similar. Would you call Lil Wayne and Jimi Hendrix similar because they both play the guitar or Lil Wayne and Tony Hawk are similar because they skate. Didn't think so.
12. Outkast- Aquemini
While everyone is petitioning Obama for random shit can we petition him and get 3Stack to realize he can get more money by jumping back in the studio with Big Boi than doing Gillette commercials. Their album built off of the their first two in terms of innovating their sound and constantly pushing the envelope. That's that Dungeon Family shit, how is Future the way that he is yet claim Dungeon Family. I still don't know if they are ahead of the game or just from another planet. All i know is that if this dropped tomorrow it would be a hit because nothing else sounds like it. I don't recall any other group or artist trying to replicate the sound because they can't fuck with it. And if there is let me know and help relieve me of some of my ignorance. And the album cover....c'mon that's that flossy, fly, playa shit on another level right there. Even Silky Johnson would have trouble hating on these two, hate hate hate hate hate.
11. Blu & Exile- Below The Heavens
First Things First feat. Miguel Jontel
Blu came out of nowhere in 07 with some fire laced by Exile to come out with one of the best debuts ever. He chose to go with a simple formula, just being honest and telling stories. Blu didn't have to make anything up and the album is easily relatable to young cats everywhere. Also had a feature from a certain Art Dealer Chic all the way back in 07, yes i'm talking about miguel. I don't know why Blu can't come up with something as good as his debut but i'm not gunna hate on him and his million projects that he does. You can't really hate on an artist who tries to do new things and not stay confined to what people want so much respect there but c'mon man, just release something as good like once every three years or something.
10. Digable Planets- Reachin' (A New Refutation For Time And Space)
Where I'm From
Digable Planets was the shit i was playing everyday last summer. It took me a long ass time to discover them but once i did i was blown away. They had a kind of spoken word vibe spit over jazz samples thus becoming innovators in the jazz-rap subgenre of hip hop. Their debut also either won or was nominated for a grammy i don't remember but they were getting some love in a time where white people detested hip hop and they still do but it was worse back then. For those who havn't given them a listen you probably have heard this song before because E-40 sampled the hook on Yay Area. Or this one which saw a Ladybug Mecca line get sampled and turned into a hook for Uncle Snoop's Candy, shout out to snoop.
9. No Doubt- Tragic Kingdom
Here's my shit right here. It was either sophmore or junior year of high when i first played this cd but when i did i didn't stop. Gwen Stefani in my opinion is the best front woman in history. I never gave Janis Joplin a listen, RIP Janis, or gave Blondie too much of a listen either, shout out to Debbie Harris, but Gwen is that girl. I would have had her as one of the people i dedicated my blog to but i forgot about her plus she famous enough anyway. I'll listen to Just A Girl, turn that shit up, and sing every word i don't care no Ocean, shout out to Ashy Larry. Everyday on Bart to and from school this album was playing on the ipod and made the trip bearable. Go on tour again and make the tickets cheap so i can see you guys, word to broke college kids. Only problem i have with gwen stefani is what in the world were you thinking when you were dating your Indian guitarist, dude is ass ugly.
8. Nirvana- Nevermind
Come As You Are
Kurt Cobain's crazy ass was a genius. His craziness no doubt helped him as a songwriter and the result was we got their first mainstream success Nevermind. The album completely changed music at the time creating a new sound while simultaneously ushering in "alternative rock" onto the radio. Smells Like Teen Spirit comes on and i'm turning that shit up, head banging, and air guitarring all while driving i don't care. Must have album for any music lover. The day it was released was also noted as being the single most influential day in white people history, finally surpassing Larry Bird beating Magic in the NBA Finals.
7. Nas- Illmatic
I can't really say much that hasn't been said about Nas Escobar's first born. 20 years old when the album was released and the world found out they had a prodigy on their hands. Say what you want about Nas being set up for success because of the all star lineup of producers bestowed upon him but he tore those beats a new one. How many artists out there do you think could rip up beats from the hottest producers today and spit a classic out. Not many and Nasir did this at the age of 20. Who cares if accusations about Nas not being about that life are true. He lived in those Queensbridge projects with crazy motherfuckers, shout out to Metta World Peace, and lived to tell us about it. Not only this but Nas had one guest verse on the album Life's A Bitch feat AZ which is how a debut album should be. i don't understand when artists release debuts nowadays but every track has a feature on it, kinda defeats the purpose of a debut SOLO album. Another thing on this album cover's influence everyone that puts baby pictures on either their album covers or makes it their profile pictures, this man made it acceptable. salute. Anyways Nas gets bonus points for keeping the album to 40 minutes. No bullshit straight to the point I came I saw I conquered rap shit.
6. Slum Village- Fantastic Vol, II
What's It All About feat. Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes said a while back that he thinks this is the greatest production job done by one producer on an entire album, front to back. I'm going to have to agree that Dilla did his thing on this. RIP Jay Dee. Dilla never got the mainstream recognition he truly deserved but I don't know if he cared too much. Obviously everyone wants to be recognized for their work but at the end of the day he just wanted to keep makin classics. Unfortunate that SV couldn't get along seeing as the original group ened up breaking up and eventually Baatin and J Dilla passed away. RIP Baatin. SV is still around but it just isn't the same especially without the man behind the boards. He consistently made those beats to bob your head and snap your fingers like no one before or since has been able to. If your're unsure if you wanna check this just look at the respect they had. Some of the people who got on the album were Pete Rock, D'Angelo, Q-Tip, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Real recognize real.
5. Sublime- Sublime
Sublime's third studio and self titled album took on some mythological aspects. Lead singer Brad Nowell passed away before the album was released and was a shame because this is the album that broke Sublime through to the mainstream. RIP Brad Nowell. They had a style unto themselves combing rock, reggae, ska, hip-hop, and blues into one. Just a great album, listen to it and you'll fall in love with it. Never have i once seen or heard of anyone changing the song when a Sublime song came on.
4. A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory
Verses From The Abstract
When I first made the list I had the first three Tribe albums on the list but as i was reading over what i had written for all the other albums i noticed i was not only talking about the album but why i liked the artist as well. I didn't wanna do that three times for ATCQ so i just chose my favorite one out of the three. Tribe, along with the Native Tongues consisting of groups such as De La Soul and Black Sheep, helped bring afro-centric hip hop to the forefront. They were dasheekied out and had positive lyrics to combat the gangsta rap and hustla lyrics of their peers. Of course Q-Tip dominated the tracks as he had on the first album but we got to hear more of Phife Dawg this time around and thank god for that. The chemistry these two had was unlike anything i ever heard before and the two would constantly finish off each other's sentences and go on with 8 bars of their own or whatever. I still don't know what Ali Shabazz Muhammed's purpose was but i'm pretty sure Tip would cut him loose if he was dead weight. If you're a Tribe fan definitely go see their documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.
3. GTA San Andreas: Radio Los Santos
Too $hort- The Ghetto
Technically not an album but whatever. Every boy played this game back in the day and always found their way to Radio Los Santos station while driving in whatever car you just stole with CJ. This introduced me to the old school west coast gangsta rap of the late 80's and early 90's and for that i will forever grateful to DJ Julio G. Too many classics but the ones off the top of my head are How I Could Just Kill A Man, Hood Took Me Under, Nuthin But A G Thang, La Raza, and Eazier Said Than Done. I know for a fact i would not have given N.W.A., Eazy-E, or Grandmaster Flash (because of Ice Cube's sample) a listen.
2. Big K.R.I.T.- Krit Wuz Here/Return of 4Eva
R4 Theme Song
So i cheated here. You how i did that thing with Tribe where i only chose one. I love these two albums (or mixtapes) by young krizzle to just choose one. I've listened to each like a thousand times and they both do not have a single track that is skip worthy. After you listen to Krit you're bouta be claiming to be from Meridian, Third Coast, Mississippi. His actual debut album, Live From The Underground, did not do well commercially but i'm going to blame that on two factors. 1 is a lot of the beats that Krit does are based on samples and for an actual label release there would just be too much hassle in getting the samples cleared and all legal shit out of the way. And 2 is that how can you top these first two and his third was loved critically as well. I heard the argument saying what if Nas released Illmatic and It was Written as free mixtapes and then came out with I Am... or Nastradamus as his label debut. Nas definitely would not be as revered as he is today if that's how it went down. But that is the world Krit is living in and can't really do anything about that. He deals with it by going on tour and being arguably the best live MC out today from what i hear. I never seen him live because Krit didn't show up to a show in LA but whatever as long as keeps putting out quality music it's all love. And i didn't even mention that in addition to laying down those raps he does his own beats. Top notch lyrics, beats, and hunger coming from a country boy in Mississippi is the recipe to make some classic material. He for sure won't sell out either for a bigger audience because he is just too humble for that or at least i hope is since i can't speak for him. Also shout out to krit for stepping his game up on of the more underrated aspects of the game, album cover art. You know he got a mad collection of vinyls because a lot of times producers would pick out vinyls based on the cover art. It just shows his attention to detail on making his music for music lovers. Forever Underground.
1. Wu Tang Clan- Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chambers
Proteck Ya Neck
What else possibly could be said. 9 Mc's from the slums of Shaolin completely took over the game when they dropped their debut. Rza's master plan came together in the form of some kung fu, abstract, never been done before shit that everyone likes. Have you ever heard anyone say this album sucked? if you have make sure you go back to that person and proceed to throat punch them. shout out to big boy. I played this shit everywhere i went. In the cd player in my room, my portable cd player, the car, transferred it to mp3 and bumped it in my ipod, just everywhere i was Shaolin followed. I'm not even a fan of skits but i will listen to every single second off of 36 chambers. The best thing about this was that it filled our appetite yet we still had room for dessert afterwards. We heard Ghost, ODB, Meth, Rae, The Rebel INS, Gza, U-God, Masta Killa gave us a verse depsite being locked up, and even Ruler Zig Zag Allah aka Bobby Digital aka Prince Rakeem aka Rza graced us with his prescence to lay down some bars. Where do I start, Shame On A Nigga, Can It Be So Simple, Da' Mystery of Chessboxin, Wu Tang Ain't Nuthin To Fuck With, C.R.E.A.M., Method Man, Tearz or just just listen to the whole thing. If you have never given this a listen then stop what you're doing and listen to it. The whole album is probably on youtube so listen to it while you wanna impress a lady or man (ladies will win a man's heart right there on the spot), get ready for war, taking a shower, getting ready, cooking bacon, bouta whoop on some unfortunate soul, brushing your teeth, shopping for tampons, bouta take a final it doesn't matter. Anyone can listen to this and love it and if you don't you're just a hater.
As you can probably tell it's only been a couple years since i transitioned from saying Fuck The Radio which can explain some of my choices. This list took a long ass time to do and i never wanna do anything like this ever again so if i do something similar it is sure to be way shorter. Shout out to all three of you who will take the time out to read this and i appreciate it. Remember to tell your friends to check it out. if all three of you tell one other person to read it that's six people right there and the number of people just doubled. peace