The 25 Best Hip Hop Album’s of the 1990’s

#25. Big L – Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous – There are a lot of “what if’s” surrounding the 90’s era… A large number of prolific rap stars died in this era which subsequently hurt the 2000’s era of rap enormously… Out of all of the rappers lost in the 90’s, none had a bigger impact on the overall game then Big L… Big L wasn’t just a great rapper, he was also responsible for giving some of the biggest rap stars of the 90’s/00’s (Jay-Z, Camron, and Mase) their first “major looks” in raps “mainstream”…

#24. Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time & Space) – Who would’ve thought that an album made by a bunch of people named after insects could be this good!… “Rebirth of the Slick (Cool Like Dat)” is one of the most overlooked hip hop gems of all time!…

#23. Canibus – Can-I-Bus – Remember when I said that the 90’s was filled with a lot “what if’s”? … Here’s another one… What if Canibus never got into a bunch unnecessary “rap beefs”? Could you imagine how different Canibus career trajectory could’ve of been if he hadn’t  essentially blacklisted himself from the rap game!… The next time you listen to the Nas track “Imagine That”, keep Canibus “what if” career in your thoughts…

#22. Dr. Dre – The Chronic 2001 – The “Big” hits on this album make up for the excessive amount’s of interludes and utter nonsense that goes on throughout parts of this  project… You would think that an album that was recorded and produced by Dr. Dre would be a much “tighter” overall product… You could probably cut at least  10 minutes out of this joint, and i don’t think anyone would notice…

#21. Big Pun – Capital Punishment – A damn near perfect album from one of the games best lyricist ever!… If someone wants to grip about the low placement of this album on this list I would completely understand…

#20. Gza – Liquid Swords – RZA’s production in the 90’s was on a completely nother level! The amount of classic material he pumped out in this era is unparalleled by any other producer… Dr. Dre might of had a more prolific producing career overall, but for that 7-8 year time period where RZA was on “top of his game” no other producer could “touch” him…

#19. Mobb Deep – The Infamous – New York “gangsta rap” wasn’t really a thing before this album came out in 95… New York had always been the home to some of the best lyricist’s to ever touch the mic, but the “gunplay” talk in their music had always seemed to be an afterthought… Mobb Deep was the first N.Y. group to transfer a west coast style rap music (gangsta rap) and add their own distinct east coast twist to it… By the Late 90’s every N.Y. rapper was on the gangsta rap tip… Most N.Y rappers during that time period were dressed in army fatigues and were carrying “Desert Eagle’s” around like they had just returned from the Gulf War… The sudden “shift” was wild to see…

#18.  Outkast – ATLiens – I think this album threw a lot of rap fans for a loop when it initially came out… Outkast debut album gave off the impression that they were “Southern playas”, but “ATLiens” quickly changed all of that, and started the tradition of every Outkast project sounding distinctly different from the last…

#17. 2Pac All Eyez On Me – If rap fans expected 2Pac to be “changed man” after he  left prison in late 95′, they were in for a disappointment… I mean technically the man  did change a bit, but it was only for the “worse”… Thanks impart to his latest partnership with “Death Row Records”, it was like 2Pac had “flipped” a switch in his brain, and he now seemed hell bent on causing total chaos throughout the entire rap industry… A year after his prison release he would be shot dead in Las Vegas, leaving us all wondering “what if”…

#16. N.W.A – N*ggaz 4 Life – I might be the only person in the world to feel this way, but I personally perfer this album over “Straight Outta Compton”… I don’t think it’s better per se, but if you were to ask me which album I’ve played more on my IPhone over the years, it would most likely be this album…

#15. Notorious B.I.G – Life After Death – Making a follow up album to “Ready to Die” couldn’t of been easy… The list of people who’ve followed up a classic debut album with an equally as classic sophomore album is fairly short… Even some of the best MC’s of all time have succumbed to the sophomore album pressure over the years…(*cough* Nas *cough*)… I could’ve sworn that I just heard something right now?!?… I wonder what it was???…

#14. Makaveli – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory – What MC in their prime would release an album under a  pseudo name? That’s something that no rap label would ever encourage! I guess when the artist is as big as 2Pac you pretty much have to go with the flow… I’m kind of surprised that Kanye West hasn’t attempted something like this yet… Yeah temporarily changing your name for an album definitely seems like a “Kanye move” for sure…

#13. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx – The RZA strikes again! The one “problem” I’ve had with earlier Wu-Tang albums is those insufferable karate excerpts they would be laced through half of the track listing… I don’t mind hearing them once, but when you have to constantly re listen to them over and over again just because you want to listen to your favorite track, the sh*t gets old quickly…

#12.  A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders – “A Tribe Called Quest represent  represent”!… It wouldn’t be a proper 90’s hip hop list without this group getting a lot of shine on it… All of the Tribe albums from the 90’s are great!… Oh wait… I meant to say all the Tribe albums from the 90’s that aren’t titled “The Love Movement” are great!… Yeah that’s a more accurate statement…

#11.  Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt – Since I’m a diehard “Jay-Z Stan”, It was really difficult for me to leave “Reasonable Doubt” outside of the top 10… I’ve tried shifting albums around thinking that somehow someway I could get it into the number 10 spot, but no matter what I attempted to do none of the “moves” felt right to me… Thus we have “Reasonable Doubt” outside of the top 10… I’m depressed now :/ …

#10. 2Pac – Me Against the World – I’ve stated this several times by now, but I feel like it’s worth saying once more… 2Pac in 1995 was at his absolute pinnacle as an artist! The music in this album had just the right mix of gangsta/conscious/club in it… I felt like his later music (although very good) would lean towards the “negative” far too often… Life is about balance, and IMO “Me Against the World” is the most “balanced” 2Pac album ever made…

#09. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory – Q-Tip is one of a handful of artists who’ve appeared in all of my “best album of the decade” list’s so far. I believe that the only other rapper’s who’ve appeared in all three decades of lists so far have been Jay-Z, Nas, and Big Boi… That’s a pretty stellar group to be a part of!…

#08. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle – I can never understand why the debut albums in the 90’s were so good… Look at this top 10 for example… 7 out of 10 of these albums or “debut project’s”… There most of been something “in the air” during that time period… and I’m talking about chronic smoke either, although I’m sure that was in the air as well…

#07. Outkast – Aquemini – Why were all of the Outkast albums in the 90’s so hard to pronounce? It was almost like Andre 3000 and Big Boi didn’t give two f#cks about their album sales… Imagine telling your grandma that you wanted “Aquemini” for Christmas… You would probably rather opt for some lame a$$ album instead, just so you could avoid the long explanation’s you would have to give to dear ole’ granny… My grandma always gave me cash for Christmas so luckily none of this ever played a factor into the type of music I could get as a kid. The “parental advisory sticker” was Usually the biggest obstacle in my way growing up…

#06. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is my go to album to play for someone who is “interested in hip hop”, but has never actually given it a “college try” yet… The blending of different music genres makes this a one of the easier hip hop album’s for a non fan to grasp. Plus Lauryn Hill’s singing voice is great no matter what genre of music you stick it in, so at the very least they’ll be able to appreciate that…

#05. Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted – Some people would argue that Cube’s first 3 solo albums all deserve to be on this list… Personally speaking, I’ve never “loved” the “Death Certificate” or “Predator” album’s that much… Both albums definitely have their moments, but they both pale in comparison to “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” . Everything about this album was perfection! It as simple as that...

#04. Dr. Dre – The Chronic – How does a guy go from spittin’ on wax that he doesn’t smoke weed because it causes brain damage, to naming his debut solo album after weed a few years later?… Either way “The Chronic” is a classic hip hop album that every fan of the genre should be familiar with in some capacity… A young Snoop Dogg being present on the majority of these tracks was a “major key” for this albums overall quality…

#03. Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers – Having a group made up of 9 rappers was simply unheard of in the early 90’s. There had been sizable “crews” in the past before (NWA and the Posse for example), but not everyone in those groups would rap, and most of them were mainly there for the photo’s… The Wu-Tang Clan on the other hand were an army of lyricists! Each member could rap better than 80% of the rap game at the time, and having tracks that featured 5-6 members rhyming on them were common place… Claiming that the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t change the game when they came out in 93′ would be a flat out lie! No other rap music sounded like the theirs before or sense the groups inception. They were flat out game changers! No other way to say it…

#02. Nas – Illmatic – How is it that an album that is made up 10 songs (actual 9) can  be universally acclaimed as the best hip hop album ever made?… Now don’t misinterpret this as me saying that Illmatic isn’t a great album because it clearly is (#2.), but I don’t understand where the “unanimous #1.” treatment that it receives by hip hop fans comes from… Maybe it’s because most hip hop fans think Nas is the best lyricist of all time or something, and that’s what makes him “more deserving” of the top spot?… If this is the case why don’t more people talk about the “Paid in Full” album by Rakim? Rakim is just as good of a lyricist as Nas (probably better), and Paid in Full is just as good as Illmatic (probably better), so why aren’t rap fans as passionate about that album?… Am I the only person who thinks that the “fanfare” surrounding Illmatic is kind of strange?… Despite what some of you may think… Hip hop music did exist before “Illmatic”, and it was great back then as well… I’m just saying…

#01. Notorious B.I.G – Ready to Die – As far as a complete project goes, I don’t think that any hip hop album was better than “Ready to Die” in the 90’s! The thing that sets this album apart from others is its overall cohesiveness as well as the story that it tells… You get a very clear picture of who Biggie Smalls the person is (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and regardless of what your overall opinion of Biggie is, you can’t help but respect his thoughts and opinions because he gives you a clear explanation of his perspective throughout this entire album. It’s one of the main reasons why people still love Biggie’s music 20 years after his death… Being “real” is a trait that never goes out of style regardless of what era your from…


25 Best Hip Hop Albums of the 2000’s: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/08/23/the-25-best-hip-hop-albums-of-the-2000s/

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