So, you don’t think you like hip-hop? Just not your thing, you say?
Well, hip-hop is here to stay; it’s been around for 40 years. It’s time to expand your musical horizons. These seminal albums can convert even the most outspoken hip-hop hater.
Scarface The Fix (2002)
Amazon calls this “a brilliant hip-hop album with the soul of a blues record. Dirty South iconoclast Scarface has never been afraid to get deep; at this point a lot of his young-man wildness has been replaced by a mature understanding of life’s cyclical nature. Lyrically complex and leaning heavily on somber chords, acoustic guitars, and scratchy soul samples, The Fix is not a light and bouncy throwaway album, but one that demands repeated listening.”
Mobb Deep The Infamous (1995)
“Mobb Deep went from gimmick kiddie rap duo to hip-hop’s dark horsemen of the apocalypse. Gritty and nihilistic, Prodigy and Havoc ushered in a post-gangsta era of reality rap that privileged vivid street narratives over mere drive-by posturing. As well, production by themselves and guests like Q-Tip kept the soundscape moving beyond just the dissonant drone of ‘Shook Ones.’ ‘The Infamous’ captured Mobb Deep at the beginning of their rebirth, before their formula became redundant.”
8. Jay-Z The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)
Many non-hip-hop fans might know Jay-Z primarily as Mr. Beyonce, but his music is worth a listen or ten.
LA Weekly says “‘The Dynasty: Roc La Familia‘ is the first time where street Jay and songwriter critic darling Jay intersected, making for a great introductory outing.”
7. A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders (1993)
The third album by the group, it was released two years after A Tribe Called Quest’s second album, “The Low End Theory,” and reached #1 on the R&B/HipHop Charts and #8 on the Billboard 200 in 1993. “Midnight Marauders” is also seen by many fans and critics as a classic jazz rap album.
6. Nas Illmatic (1994)
Illmatic, the debut studio album by American rapper Nas is considered one of the major landmark albums in East Coast hip hop. It has appeared on numerous best album lists.
5. Jurassic 5 Quality Control (2000)
Called “one of the most consistent rap albums in recent memory,” this album is the perfect blend of old school, rhyme routines, awesome beats, and endless style.
4. Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989)
One of the best party albums of all times, “Paul’s Boutique” reached double platinum status in 1999. Clever, innovative, and hilarious, “Paul’s Boutique” is a must-listen that’s been called “one of the most inventive rap albums ever made.”
3. Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1998)
Slick Rick’s debut album, it is among a small elite group to receive a perfect five-mic score from The Source magazine. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums. Hip hop artist Nas cites it as one of his favorite albums. It’s definitely worth checking out!
2. Dr. Dre The Chronic (1992)
“The Chronic” is a terrific first album for newbies. Dre’s use of samples mixed with his gift for melody make for essential ’90s gangsta rap listening. Some say that The Chronic is the best L.A. hip-hop album ever.
1. De La Soul Three Feet High & Rising (1989)
Everyone loves De La Soul, whether they know it yet or not.
“De La’s debut represented a new path for hip-hop, a reaction to conventions that had turned into clichés. It was friendly and playful enough to cross over to a pop audience (thanks to Prince Paul’s production, which found the funk hiding inside Steely Dan and ‘Schoolhouse Rock’), but complicated and tough enough to be hugely influential in the hip-hop world. Cryptic but ecstatic, and sometimes sexy (especially the ingenious double-entendre ‘Buddy’), Trugoy and Posdnuos’s lyrics invented a ‘new style of speak,’ dense with self-invented slang and metaphors. The hits, including ‘Say No Go’ and ‘Me Myself And I,’ are delightful, but the little sketches and sound-experiments between them make the whole disc flow effortlessly.”