The following artists were not selected because they are the best musicians of their respective genres, though many are. They were not selected because they were the very first to do what they did, though many were. Rather, these twenty artists populate this list because they significantly and irrevocably reshaped the musical landscapes of which they were a part. They brought their respective crafts from the fringe to the mainstream, virtually compelling the public to pay attention or be left behind.
1) The Beatles- What is there to say? There's everything before the Beatles, and then there's everything after. They forever changed popular music and defined a generation.
2) Elvis- Say what you will about the King, but the impact he had on popular music cannot be understated. He brought black music to the white masses and gave birth to rock and rock in mainstream America.
3) Robert Johnson-The OG of the blues, the man who sold his soul to the devil so that the world could eventually come to know rock music.
4) James Brown- The hardest working man in show business is rightfully referred to as The Godfather of Soul. While Elvis and the Stones may have been responsible for bringing black music to white people, James Brown brought white people to black music.
5) Bob Dylan- One of the first to inject poetry into his music, Dylan popularized folk music while poignantly speaking to the heart of the 60's generation struggling with an unpopular war and alienation from their parents. Before Dylan, song lyrics largely consisted of simplistic, poppy love ballads.
6) Run DMC- Though not the first guys to ever rhyme into a microphone, Run DMC cemented hip hop as a legitimate art form and brought it to the masses with the help of Aerosmith, Mtv, and a generation of music listeners ready for the next big thing in music.
7) Little Richard- One of the seminal architects of Rock and Rock, Richard Wayne Penniman drew on gospel, rhythm & blues, funk, and boogie-woogie and combined it with an off-the-wall persona to create a show like no one had ever seen.
8) Chuck Berry- John Lennon once said "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry." From "Maybelline" to "Johnny B. Goode", Berry, perhaps more than any other artist, put all the pieces together to truly give birth to rock and roll music.
9) The Velvet Underground- Drawing their name from a book about the secret sexual subculture of the early 1960's, Lou Reed and John Cale would go on to create the most seminal experimental/art rock band the country had yet seen. Buried within their verses were the seeds of punk, alternative, and grunge rock.
10) Led Zeppelin- Though predicted to go down like the Hindenburg, Zep created and perfected the hard rock sound. There are few today who didn't draw some influence from the dream team lineup of Page, Plant, Bonham and Paul Jones.
11) Nirvana- Almost overnight, hair metal was out, flannel shirts were in, and "commercial" rock would never be the same again.
12) Bob Marley- When you think reggae, you think Bob Marley, plain and simple.
13) Hank Williams- Though only gracing this earth for a brief twenty-nine years, Hank unquestionably cemented his status as the king of country music. He even found time to bequeath to the world five famous offspring. Are you ready for some football???
14) Charlie Parker- A living personification of the beatnik era, "Bird" was one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. He pioneered the fast tempos and harmonically structured improvisations of the Bebop sound.
15) Black Sabbath- The Godfathers of Heavy Metal, Ozzy and friends made dark music popular.
16) George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic- P-Funk doesn't play funk music, they are funk music. George and the gang continue to dominate the airwaves, lending samples to everyone from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre to Missy Eliot and Outkast.
17) Louis Armstrong- Satchmo might not be the greatest jazz musician to ever pick up a trumpet, but he's arguably the most important, as the lovable pioneer legitimized the art form for mainstream (read: white) audiences.
18) The Sex Pistols- They crammed punk down mainstream England's throats by injecting a crude, rude, completely irreverent and downright shocking style into popular music.
19) NWA- NWA gave birth to gangsta rap with their raw, unyielding lyrics and all-star lineup that individually would go on to dominate West Coast rap for the next decade.
20) Kraftwerk- One of the most sampled groups of all time, Kraftwerk originated the electronic sound. Coming out of Dusseldorf, Germany, founding members Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter pioneered several groundbreaking musical technologies and techniques, including the Minimoog, Synthanorma Sequencer, and the vocoder. Their use of looping and sampling would eventually be central to the rise of hip hop and techno.
Winning Percentage: .692
Defining Coach: John Wooden
- Kareem Abdul-jabbar
- Bill Walton
- Reggie Miller
- Gail Goodrich
- Jamaal Wilkes
- Kevin Love
- Russell Westbrook
- Marques Johnson
- Baron Davis
- Sidney Wicks
Winning Percentage: .761
Defining Coach: Adolph Rupp
- Dan Issel
- Cliff Hagan
- Frank Ramsey
- Antoine Walker
- Rajon Rondo
3) UNC- Established: 1911--5 championships and 18 Final Four appearances
Winning Percentage: .737
Defining Coach: Dean Smith
- Michael Jordan
- Bob McAdoo
- James Worthy
- Larry Brown
- Billy Cunningham
- Vince Carter
- Rasheed Wallace
- Walter Davis
- Jerry Stackhouse
- Sam Perkins/Antawn Jamison/Brad Daugherty
Winning Percentage: .639
Defining Coach: Bob Knight
- Isiah Thomas
- Walt Bellamy
- George McGinnis
- Dick Van Ardsdale
- Tom Van Ardsdale
Winning Percentage: .704
Defining Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
- Grant Hill
- Elton Brand
- Jeff Mullins
- Carlos Boozer
- Shane Battier
- Corey Maggette
- Luol Deng
- Mike Gminski
- Mike Dunleavy
- Christian Laettner
Winning Percentage: .721
Defining Coach: Phog Allen
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Clyde Lovellette
- Paul Pierce
- Danny Manning
- Jojo White
Winning Percentage: .661
Defining Coach: Rick Pitino
- Wes Unseld
- Junior Bridgeman
- Jack Coleman
- Rodney McCray
- Butch Beard
Winning Percentage: .638
Defining Coach: Jim Calhoun
- Ray Allen
- Richard Hamilton
- Clifford Robinson
- Caron Butler
- Rudy Gay
Winning Percentage: .599
Defining Coach: Tom Izzo
- Magic Johnson
- Kevin Willis
- Zach Randolph
- Jason Richardson
- Steve Smith
Winning Percentage: .553
Defining Coach: Billy Donovan
- Mike Miller
- Al Horford
- Jason Williams
- David Lee
- Vernon Maxwell
Marlin Brando once said "To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication." Just a short generation later, Jim Carrey would observe "Until Ace Ventura, no actor had considered talking through his ass." Yes, there is no recipe for what makes great acting and no surefire way to distinguish it from the talking asses of the world, perhaps in no small part because when it's at it's best, it doesn't seem like acting at all. Ranking artistry is never easy, if not downright impossible. It's undeniably subjective, contentious, and almost sure to offend. Of course, that's never stopped us before.
Rankings were made taking into account overall ability and range, strength of the roles taken, longevity, influence, and awards won. Listed alongside are each actor's best works, also loosely ranked according to how each exemplifies their talents. Actors must have appeared in at least one 21st century feature film for consideration as "modern."
- Robert De Niro: The Godfather II, The Deer Hunter, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Once Upon a Time in America, Mean Streets, Heat, Cape Fear, Casino, The King of Comedy, Brazil, The Mission, Meet the Parents, Silver Linings Playbook.
- Al Pacino: The Godfather II, The Godfather, Scarface, Heat, Scent of a Woman, Carlito's Way, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, Donnie Brasco, The Insider.
- Daniel Day-Lewis: There Will Be Blood, Lincoln, Gangs of New York, My Left Foot, The Last of the Mohicans, In the Name of the Father, The Age of Innocence, The Crucible, The Boxer, Nine.
- Jack Nicholson: The Departed, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Shining, Easy Rider, Chinatown, Batman, A Few Good Men, As Good As It Gets, Terms of Endearment, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Pledge.
- Peter O'Toole: Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett, The Ruling Class, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Stunt Man.
- Tom Hanks: Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Road to Perdition, Cast Away, A League of Their Own, Big, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, Catch Me if You Can.
- Dustin Hoffman: Rain Man, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Lenny, Marathon Man, All the President's Men, Papillon, Sleepers.
- Paul Newman (D): Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, Hud, The Sting, The Hustler, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Color of Money, Road To Perdition, The Verdict, Nobody's Fool.
- Robert Duvall: The Godfather, The Apostle, Apocalypse Now, Network, Tender Mercies, The Great Santini, Get Low, To Kill a Mockingbird, M*A*S*H, The Natural.
- Anthony Hopkins: Silence of the Lambs, The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands, Nixon, Amistad.
- Denzel Washington: Malcolm X, Training Day, Glory, American Gangster, Inside Man, Remember The Titans, Courage Under Fire, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, Crimson Tide, Flight, The Bone Collector, The Manchurian Candidate, The Siege, Antwone Fisher.
- Gene Hackman: The French Connection, Bonnie and Clyde, Unforgiven, The Conversation, Mississippi Burning, Hoosiers, Superman, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Poseidon Adventure, Get Shorty.
- Clint Eastwood: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Dirty Harry, Gran Torino, Escape from Alcatraz, In the Line of Fire, The Bridges of Madison Country, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Hang Em High.
- Morgan Freeman: The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Se7en, Million Dollar Baby, Glory, The Dark Knight, Gone Baby Gone, Driving Miss Daisy, Street Smart, The Sum of All Fears, Batman Begins, Outbreak, Amistad, Along Came a Spider, High Crimes.
- Robert Redford: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson, Out of Africa, The Natural, All the President's Men.
- Sean Penn: Mystic River, 21 Grams, Milk, Dead Man Walking, Carlito's Way, The Thin Red Line, I Am Sam, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Colors, Sweet and Lowdown.
- Michael Caine: Sleuth, Alfie, The Dark Knight, The Cider House Rules, Educating Rita, Hannah and Her Sisters, Little Voice, The Quiet American, The Italian Job, Harry Brown.
- Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Capote, The Master, Synecdoche New York, Magnolia, Doubt, Almost Famous, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Charlie Wilson's War, The Talented Mr. Ripley.
- Ben Kingsley: Gandhi, Schindler's List, House of Sand and Fog, Sexy Beast, Shutter Island.
- Harrison Ford: Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fugitive, Blade Runner, Witness.
- Gary Oldman: JFK, The Dark Knight, Leon, Harry Potter, Sid and Nancy.
- Sean Connery: James Bond films, The Untouchables, The Hunt For Red October, Murder on the Orient Express, The Rock.
- Leonardo DiCaprio: Blood Diamond, The Departed, The Basketball Diaries, Django Unchained, Shutter Island, Inception, Gangs of New York, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, Titanic, Revolutionary Road.
- Geoffrey Rush: Shine, The King's Speech, Quills, Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Kevin Spacey: Se7en, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, LA Confidential, The Negotiator, A Time to Kill, Glengarry Glen Ross, Outbreak, Superman Returns, The United States of Leland.
- Russell Crowe: LA Confidential, Gladiator, The Insider, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Romper Stomper, 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Master and Commander, Blood Oath.
- Willem Defoe: Platoon, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Boondock Saints, Shadow of the Vampire, To Live and Die in L.A.
- Ralph Fiennes: Schindler's List, Harry Potter Franchise, The English Patient, The Constant Gardener, Bernard and Doris.
- Dennis Hopper (D): Easy Rider, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers, Speed, Apocalypse Now.
- Jon Voight: Coming Home, Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Runaway Train, Ali.
- Martin Sheen: Apocalypse Now, The Departed, Badlands, The American President, Wall Street.
- Ed Harris: Pollock, Apollo 13, The Truman Show, A Beautiful Mind, The Hours, Gone Baby Gone, A History of Violence, Empire Falls, The Rock, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Abyss.
- Richard Dreyfus: Jaws, American Graffiti, The Goodbye Girl, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Mr. Holland's Opus.
- Matt Damon: Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan, The Departed, Rounders, The Bourne Identity, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ocean's 11, Syriana, School Ties, Dogma.
- Brad Pitt: Se7en, Fight Club, The Assassination of Jessie James, Twelve Monkeys, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Sleepers, Ocean's Eleven, Babel, Inglourious Basterds, Snatch, True Romance, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Legends of the Fall, Interview with the Vampire.
- Christian Bale: The Machinist, The Prestige, The Fighter, The Dark Knight, American Psycho, Batman Begins, 3:10 to Yuma, Empire of the Sun, Rescue Dawn, I'm Not There.
- Ian McKellan: Gods and Monsters, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Richard III, X-Men, Apt Pupil.
- Johnny Depp: Edward Scissorhands, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Blow, Finding Neverland, Donnie Brasco, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Platoon, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood.
- Edward Norton: Fight Club, American History X, Rounders, The Illusionist, 25th Hour, Primal Fear, Keeping the Faith, The Italian Job, Red Dragon, The People vs. Larry Flynt.
- Liam Neeson: Schindler's List, Kinsey, Batman Begins, Taken, Michael Collins.
- Tom Cruise: Magnolia, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Born on the Fourth of July, Minority Report, Risky Business, The Color of Money, Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, The Firm, Mission Impossible, Tropic Thunder, Top Gun, Vanilla Sky, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicle.
- Christopher Walken: The Deer Hunter, Catch Me If You Can, A View to Kill, The Dead Zone, At Close Range.
- Tommy Lee Jones: The Fugitive, No Country For Old Men, Lincoln, JFK, In the Valley of Elah.
- Harvey Keitel: Mean Streets, Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs, Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction.
- Samuel L. Jackson: Pulp Fiction, A Time to Kill, Django Unchained, Jackie Brown, The Negotiator.
- John Malkovich: Places in the Heart, The Killing Fields, In the Line of Fire, Of Mice and Men, Being John Malkovich.
- James Earl Jones: The Great White Hope, Field of Dreams, Jack Ryan Franchise, Coming to America, Star Wars.
- Jeff Bridges: The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart, True Grit, Starman, The Fabulous Baker Boys.
- William Hurt: Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News, A History of Violence, Too Big to Fail.
- Benicio Del Toro: The Usual Suspects, Traffic, 21 Grams, Che, Sin City, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Snatch, Guerrilla, The Argentine, The Pledge, The Way of the Gun.
- Warren Beatty: Bonnie and Clyde, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, Bugsy, Bulworth.
- Javier Bardem: No Country For Old Men, Biutiful, Before Night Falls, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Mondays in the Sun.
- James Caan: The Godfather, Misery, Thief, A Bridge Too Far, Brian's Song.
- Alan Arkin: Wait Until Dark, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Catch-22, Little Miss Sunshine, Argo.
- Mel Gibson: Braveheart, The Patriot, Lethal Weapon, Ransom, Mad Max.
- Christopher Plummer: The Sound of Music, The Insider, Malcolm X, Beginners, The Last Station.
- Nick Nolte: Affliction, The Thin Red Line, Warrior, The Prince of Tides, Cape Fear.
- Christoph Waltz: Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, Carnage.
- Will Smith: The Pursuit Of Happiness, Ali, Six Degrees of Separation.
- Robin Williams: Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo, Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire.
- Don Cheadle: Hotel Rwanda, Traffic, Crash, Devil in a Blue Dress, Ocean's Eleven.
- Kevin Costner: Dances with Wolves, Field of Dreams, JFK, The Untouchables, Bull Durham.
- Michael Douglas: Wall Street, Traffic, Wonder Boys, The American President, Basic Instinct.
- John Hurt: The Elephant Man, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Alien, Scandal, The Hit.
- Bruce Willis: The Sixth Sense, Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, Sin City.
- Kevin Bacon: Animal House, The Woodsman, Sleepers, Apollo 13, Mystic River.
- Robert Downey Jr.: Chaplin, Tropic Thunder, Less than Zero, Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes.
- Nicholas Cage: Leaving Las Vegas, Adaptation, The Rock, Raising Arizona, Face/Off.
- Max von Sydow: The Seventh Seal, The Exorcist, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Three Days of the Condor, Never Say Never Again.
- Paul Giamatti: Sideways, Cinderella Man, American Splendor, The Illusionist, Cold Souls.
- Joaquin Pheonix: The Master, Gladiator, Walk the Line, Quills, The Yards.
- Billy Bob Thorton: Monster's Ball, Sling Blade, A Simple Plan, The Man Who Wasn't There, Friday Night Lights.
- George Clooney: O Brother Where Art Thou?, Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air.
- James Woods: Salvador, Once Upon a Time in America, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, Contact.
- Bill Murray: Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Rushmore, Ghostbusters.
- Joe Pesci: Goodfellas, Raging Bull, My Cousin Vinny, Casino, Lethal Weapon, Home Alone.
- Kenneth Branagh: Henry V, My Week with Marilyn, Hamlet, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing.
- Heath Ledger: (D) The Dark Knight, Brokeback Mountain, The Patriot, 10 Things I Hate About You, Candy
- Woody Allen: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Deconstructing Harry.
- Josh Brolin: No Country for Old Men, W., Milk, True Grit, Goonies.
- Tim Robbins: The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River, The Player, Bull Durham, Bob Roberts.
- Forest Whitaker: The Last King of Scotland, Good Morning Vietnam, Bird, Panic Room, American Gun.
- John Travolta: Pulp Fiction, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Primary Colors, A Civil Action.
- Donald Sutherland: M*A*S*H, JFK, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Ordinary People, The Dirty Dozen.
- Colin Firth: The King's Speech, A Single Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
- Mickey Rourke: The Wrestler, Sin City, Diner, Barfly, Angel Heart.
- Martin Landau: Ed Wood, North By Northwest, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Rounders.
- Viggo Mortenson: Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence, The Road, Eastern Promises.
- Steve Buschemi: Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Ghost World, Living in Oblivion, The Big Lebowski.
- Albert Finney: Murder on the Orient Express, Tom Jones, The Dresser, Under the Volcano, Erin Brockovich.
- Gary Sinise: Forrest Gump, Of Mice and Men, Ransom.
- Laurence Fishbourne: The Matrix, Apocalypse Now, What's Love Got to Do with It.
- Ryan Gosling: Half-Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Drive, The Ides of March.
- John Turturro: Barton Fink, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, Miller's Crossing.
- William H. Macy: Fargo, Seabiscuit, Boogie Nights.
- Daniel Craig: Skyfall, Casino Royale, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Road to Perdition, Defiance.
- Casey Affleck: Gone Baby Gone, The Assassination of Jesse James, Good Will Hunting, Ocean's Eleven, Chasing Amy.
- Jim Carrey: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Man on the Moon, The Truman Show, Ace Venture, Dumb and Dumber.
- Guy Pierce: Memento, LA Confidential, The King's Men.
- Jeremy Renner: The Hurt Locker, The Town, Dahmer.
*Best Actor/Supporting Actor Academy Award winning performances appear in italics
Baseball is a game of legends, larger-than-life stars ever ingrained in our public psyche. However, all too often, the off-the-field personalities get lost in the shuffle, dwarfed in the eyes of history by the Babe Ruths and Jackie Robinsons of the world. Here then is the Mount Rushmore of those other legends, the pioneers and innovators that built baseball into the game it is today.
1) Alexander Cartwright, Jr.-- In truth, there is no big bang of baseball, no moment when the inspiration for what would become the American Pastime was beamed down from the heavens. For centuries, men had played cricket, rounders, and other various contests featuring bat and ball. However, if you're going to point to one man who truly set the wheels of baseball in motion, that man is Alexander Cartwright. Cartwright was a bank teller and volunteer firefighter who for many years had played various ball games around the parks of New York City. Though many of these games roughly resembled what we now know as modern baseball, Cartwright showed up one day with some new found inspiration. As his friend Duncan Curry recalls of that Spring afternoon in 1845, "Cartwright came to the field...with his plans drawn up on a paper.... He had laid out a diamond shaped field with canvas bags filled with sand or sawdust for bases at three of the points and an iron plate for home base. He had arranged for a catcher, a pitcher, three basemen, a short fielder and three outfielders. His plan met with much good-natured derision, but he was so persistent in having us try his new game that we finally consented more to humor him than with any thought of it becoming a reality." Cartwright would proceed to codify a set of accepted rules and engineer what is widely accepted today as the first organized baseball game between his Knickerbockers and the New York Club at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey, June 19th, 1846. Three years later, lured by the California gold craze, Cartwright began trekking westward, along which he would spread the gospel of baseball. Barely twenty years following that day in Hoboken, there were thought to be over a thousand organized baseball clubs scattered across the country.
Note: Though many think of Abner Doubleday as the creator of baseball, history has all but proven this to be myth. In 1907, The Mills Commission, appointed to determine the origin of baseball, concluded that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839." However, Doubleday never claimed this distinction in any of his writings, and it was even determined that at the date of the alleged invention, Doubleday was a cadet at West Point, his family having moved away from Cooperstown a year prior. Adding further doubt is the fact that the primary testimony on behalf of Doubleday lay with a man named Abner Graves, who after shooting his wife two years later wound up spending the rest of his life in an insane asylum. So yea, not the most credible of witnesses. On June 3, 1953, Alexander Cartwright was officially declared by Congress to be the inventor of modern baseball.
2) Henry Chadwick-- Often the best way of conferring legitimacy upon something is simply by committing it to paper. A British-born journalist in the mid-nineteenth century, Chadwick was one of the first to cover the infant game in print, writing up game summaries for the New York Clipper. In it, Chadwick originated the box score, giving birth to a national obsession with baseball statistics and records that persists to this day. He also penned the "Base Ball Manual" and "Beadle's Dime Base Ball Player," guide books in which he described rules, techniques, and star players of the game. The American Pastime was on its way.
3) Harry Frazee-- History has not been kind to Mr. Frazee. The infamous former owner of the fledgling Boston Red Sox will forever be linked to the disastrous transaction that sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees, damning the Sox to nearly a century of futility. However, that may not be the only raw deal Frazee got. In truth, and this is coming from a die-hard Red Sox fan, Frazee had his hands tied, making a move that almost any other owner in his position would have made. For starters, Ruth was the ultimate diva of his day, a drunk, a womanizer, a hothead (at one point throwing a punch at an umpire), an egomaniac, and the farthest thing from a team player. During the 1919 season, Ruth refused to continue pitching, continually undermined his manager, and even went 'Manny being Manny' on his teammates by pulling himself out of the last few games of the season. That year, the Sox would finish sixth (in the two years following his departure, they would actually climb a spot to fifth). After that season, Ruth demanded that his salary be doubled, an unheard-of figure that Frazee simply could not pay. Ruth then proclaimed that he wouldn't play until his demands were met, all but forcing Frazee to negotiate a trade. Due to an ongoing dispute with American League president Ban Johnson, Frazee was effectively banned from dealing with any team but the White Sox and Yankees, two teams that also defied Johnson's corrupt reign. (Johnson's hatred of Frazee in part stemmed from his belief that Frazee was Jewish, violating an unwritten rule within the game to keep Jews out of the ranks of ownership. Frazee was in fact Presbyterian.) It's hard to fathom that the only other offer on the table would actually have been more catastrophic than the one that ultimately transpired, but that's exactly the case. The White Sox offered up superstar "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and cash, an intriguing offer were it not for the fact that just months later, Jackson would be suspended for life for his role in the Black Sox scandal. At the time, the Ruth transaction was actually seen by many as being favorable for the Red Sox. In subsequent years, numerous inaccuracies were perpetuated about the Sox owner, many of which were motivated by the ongoing belief in his Jewishness and the notion that a cash-strapped Frazee selfishly sold Ruth to finance his landmark play No, No, Nanette. (which actually didn't come out until six years later) As we all know, Ruth would go on to transform the Yankees into a dynasty while the Red Sox would go titleless for 86 years. Whatever blame Frazee deserves, the impact of his decision upon the future course of the game is impossible to deny. For more on Frazee's misplaced maligning, check out the illuminating Glenn Stout piece 'A Curse Born of Hate.'
4) Kennesaw Mountain Landis-- When in 1921, baseball decided that it was finally necessary to bring in a commissioner, the game was reeling from the revelations of a fixed World Series. That commissioner was Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Upon the appointment, The Sporting News summarized Kennesaw's stated mission: "to clean out the crookedness and the gambling responsible for it and keep the sport above reproach...he would have no mercy on any man in baseball, be he magnate or player, whose conduct was not strictly honest...The Judge will be the absolute ruler of the game." During his time in office, Landis did indeed rule with an iron fist, at once banishing the eight guilty players who had conspired to throw the World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. The ruling that was ultimately established-- 'Any player, umpire, club or league official or employee who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor had a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible'-- would go on to be the damning assertion used against Pete Rose several decades later.
Under his reign, Landis also helped usher in the live ball era. From 1903-1921, small ball had been the order of the day, as a series of factors contributed to an unprecedented decline in offense. Among them was the common practice of leaving baseballs in play for much of the game until they were brown with dirt, making it harder for batters to pick up while in flight. Balls also became softer with repeated usage, resulting in a greater difficulty to drive with power over the course of the game. Upon assuming power, Landis immediately legislated that balls be removed from play at the first sign of wear, causing an immediate uptick in offense as batters could not only see pitches better, but when they did, it would travel further on contact. Landis also outlawed the spitball, further shifting advantage away from the pitcher. From 1903-1919, the league-wide ERA had been 2.80. In the decade that followed, it had jumped to 4.00. Upon his death in 1944, Landis had transformed the game, restoring both its excitement and integrity.
5) Mel Allen and Red Barber- Baseball on the radio would make its debut in the summer of 1921, as a man named Harold Arlin called the Pirates-Phillies match to an almost non-existent audience. However, it would be over a decade more before baseball received its true airwave ambassadors in Allen and Barber. Known and beloved primarily as the voices of the Yankees and Dodgers respectively, Melvin Israel and William Barber were the first truly iconic broadcasters in American sports history. Initially concerned that radio would discourage people from actually showing up to the park, owners soon found the medium to be an unparalleled promotional tool for their sport (not to mention a great way to generate additional income). By the 1940's, Barber's presence was so ubiquitous in Brooklyn, The Daily News mused "A person could cover the length of the beach of Coney Island and never lose his voice." Perfectly suited to the pace and nature of the game, radio was instrumental in broadening the game's reach and appeal, expanding fan bases and turning local stars into national heroes.
6) Branch Rickey-- There is perhaps no man more responsible for changing the complexion, both literally and figuratively, of the modern game more than that of Branch Rickey. When Rickey was named the general manager of the St Louis Cardinals in 1925, minor league teams operated independently of big league clubs, auctioning off their top prospects to the highest bidder. Rickey decided to buck the system, buying his own minor league clubs through which he could develop talent and directly funnel players to his major league franchise. It took only a single year as GM before the Cards captured their first World Series, and in time the homegrown talent of Pepper Martin, Stan Musial, and Dizzy Dean would take three more pennants for the Gashouse Gang between 1928-1932. By 1940, Rickey's farm had steadily expanded into an empire, claiming ownership of an astounding 32 teams while maintaining working agreements with 8 others. Rickey moved on to the Dodgers in 1942, where he would continue his prowess in developing young talent, producing such stars as Duke Snider and Gil Hodges from within the organization. However, his most important achievement was the signing of Jackie Robinson from the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs in 1945. Upon his major league debut two years later, Robinson would bring a pennant to Brooklyn, opening up the doors to full-fledged racial integration in the years to come. Dickey soon left for Pittsburgh, where he would once again shake the baseball establishment with the drafting and promotion of baseball's first Hispanic player in Roberto Clemente. When he ultimately retired in 1955, Rickey had introduced the modern farm system, racially integrated the game, popularized the use of the batting helmet and batting cage, and created the first spring training facility. Moreover, he was perhaps the earliest proponent of what we now call sabermetrics, valuing such indicators as on-base percentage over average to further his advantage over the competition. A maverick in the truest sense, Branch Rickey remains the most influential figure in the history of baseball, if not the entire sports world.
7) Walter O'Malley--You're in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Walter O'Malley and have a gun with only two bullets. What do you do? Shoot O'Malley twice. To many 1950's Booklynites, the Dodgers were everything. In one fell swoop, O'Malley ripped it all away, unapologetically moving the team to Los Angeles following the 1957 season. The vitriol knew no bounds as the Dodgers' owner become public enemy #1 to a city reeling in grief. Harsh as it was, O'Malley's infamous decision would mark a pivotal moment in the course of baseball history, as professional baseball was finally introduced to the West Coast. America's pastime had for half a century been concentrated predominantly in the Northeast, with the westernmost team being St. Louis at the time of O'Malley's ascendancy. The first domino to fall had been the Boston Braves, who in 1953 relocated to Milwaukee. However, it was not until the Dodgers split town that the game truly underwent a tidal shift. O'Malley knew that to make baseball a reality in the West he would have to recruit a partner, and so inserted himself as key player in facilitating the Giants move to San Francisco as well. The entire complexion of American baseball had changed, as O'Malley's Dodgers helped make baseball a truly national game.
8) Marvin Miller--Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association is the most powerful union in all of sports, and no man deserves more thanks for that fact than Marvin Miller. Elected head of the MLBPA in 1966, Miller soon made his impact felt, negotiating the first collective bargaining agreement with owners, increasing minimum salaries, introducing the all-important independent arbitration practice, and eventually ushering in the age of free agency with the invalidation of the reserve clause. Under the reserve clause, players had been effectively married to their initial club, with that club retaining their rights from year to year not so unlike a piece of property. To make matters worse, those players unhappy with their compensation were forced to settle their disputes with the commissioner, who, as having been hired by the owners, was naturally biased in his rulings. In 1974, after Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood brought the issue of the reserve clause's inherent unfairness to the forefront, Miller encouraged pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to refrain from signing a contract for the following year and instead enter arbitration. Peter Seitz, the arbiter, ruled that the players had no legal ties to remain with their clubs and were free to pursue other offers. The reserve clause had effectively been abolished and the era of free agency had begun. During Marvin's tenure, which stretched from 1966-1982, the average player's salary rose from $19,000 to $241,000. His work signified a colossal shift in the balance of power between athlete and owner, an impact enjoyed every time a player signs on the dotted line to this day.
9) George Steinbrenner-- Before there was Jerry Jones, before there was Mark Cuban, there was George Steinbrenner. Loud, irreverent, controversial, and hyper-controlling (changing managers 20 times in his first 23 years as Yankees owner), George Steinbrenner was the archetype for the larger-than-life sports owner. Buying the Yankees for a measly $8.7 million in 1973, he turned them into a $1.6 billion franchise, the gold standard for sporting excellence the world over. Today, ballplayers earn more than the GDP of small countries, and perhaps no man is more responsible than the Boss. With it came unprecedented market inequality, as the Yankees payroll grew to such exorbitant levels that it literally sextupled that of the smallest market teams. Contracts are now bloated to the point of absurdity (see: Werth, Jason and Rodriguez, Alex) as owners from around the league struggle to keep up with the Evil Empire.
10) Bud Selig-- Sadly, when all is said and done, Bud Selig will go down first and foremost as the man that presided over the Steroid Era, baseball's black eye. However, to pin him solely as "The Steroid Commissioner" is to overlook the vast amount of good Selig was actually able to accomplish for the sport. Assuming the role of acting commissioner in 1992, the former Milwaukee Brewers owner's first act was to realign the divisions and institute a wild card, expanding the postseason roster to eight teams. Achieving permanent status in 1998, Selig would go on to make a series of other important changes, including the introduction of revenue sharing and interleague play, the expansion of instant replay, and the creation of the World Baseball Classic. He also presided over a 400% explosion in league revenue and brought baseball to both Arizona and Tampa Bay. Time will tell just how favorably future generations look upon his legacy, but one thing is for certain: Uncle Bud left baseball in a vastly different place from how he found it.
Warning: consider this your spoiler alert to end all spoiler alerts. Read on at your own peril. (But seriously, if you haven't seen any one of these movies, just shame on you. Honestly now...)
- The shower scene. Done aaaaaand done. -Psycho
- Fredo breaks Michael's heart; pays dearly -The Godfather II
- Tony Montana introduces Sosa's men to his little friend; meets a few dozen of their own -Scarface (1983)
- The wood chipper.... -Fargo
- Daniel Plainview drinks Eli's milkshake; bludgeons him to death with a bowling pin -There Will Be Blood
- Vader conquers his dark side; gives Palpatine the shaft (or vice versa) -Return of the Jedi
- Serial bank robbers discover that karma is a bitch -Bonnie and Clyde
- David Mills "becomes wrath" -Se7en
- After futile attempts to hang, rack, and dismember the Scottish warrior, William Wallace finally finds freeeeedooommm!!!! -Braveheart
- Hannibal Lector escapes his cell; borrows a face for the ride -Silence of the Lambs
- And you will know my name is the LORD when I lay my vengeance upon thee" -Pulp Fiction
- Travis Bickle reaches his breaking point; murders Sport and his two bodyguards in the bloodbath of a finale -Taxi Driver
- Willard terminates Kurtz with extreme prejudice (ie. a machete); gives him a true taste of "the horror..." -Apocalypse Now
- Bambi's mother gets capped by "man" -Bambi
- Scorpio asks himself one question; finds his luck to be lacking -Dirty Harry
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid finally reach the end of the line; go out guns a blazing -Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
- Smiegol strangles Diegol; gives himself the worst birthday present ever -Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
- Tommy and Jimmy go to town on Billy Batts; load him into Henry's trunk for eventual disposal -Goodfellas
- "...Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings" -Network
- Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes -The Godfather
- A raincoat-donning Patrick Bateman axe-murders his colleague to the "clear, crisp sound" of Huey Lewis and The News -American Psycho
- Drago breaks Apollo-Rocky IV
- Holly Martins shoots his old mate Lime; puts an end to a truly epic sewer chase -The Third Man
- Mola Ram rips out his sacrificial victim's beating heart; lowers the poor bastard into lava pit. Kali maaaaa..... -Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Kaizer Soze cleans house. And like that, he's gone... -The Usual Suspects
- "Put your mouth on the curb..." -American History X
- Bill killed... -Kill Bill 2
- Raymond shakes his mother's spell; commits matri, step-patricide -The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- The Joker makes a pencil "disappear" -The Dark Knight
- Charlie gets hung out to dry -On The Waterfront
- McClane wishes Hans happy trails. Yippie-ki-yay indeed... -Die Hard
- Leonard gets sniped; plunges off Mount Rushmore -North By Northwest
- Carla Jean Moss (presumably) finds out just how much one can lose on a coin toss -No Country For Old Men
- Death by paint... -Goldfinger
- The Moe Greene special -The Godfather
- Hal opts not to open the pod bay doors after all -2001: A Space Odyssey
- The McManus brothers dispose of nine Russian crime bosses in Nomeni Patri Et Fili Spiritus Sancti -The Boondock Saints
- Leonard Shelby murders in reverse -Memento
- Vizzini pulls the old switcheroo, dies anyway -The Princess Bride
- William Munny goes postal on Little Bill, henchmen; respectfully declines his offer for a rendezvous in hell -Unforgiven
The Counselor (2013) Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men). Starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem. A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) After successfully crossing over (and under) the Misty Mountains, Thorin and Company must seek aid from a powerful stranger before taking on the dangers of Mirkwood Forest--without their Wizard. If they reach the human settlement of Lake-town it will be time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. And, where has Gandalf got off to? And what is his secret business to the south?
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (2014) Thorin and Company have reached Lake-town and it is time for the hobbit Bilbo Baggins to fulfill his contract with the dwarves. The party must complete the journey to Lonely Mountain and burglar Baggins must seek out the Secret Door that will give them access to the hoard of the dragon Smaug. If Bilbo and the others are able to gain the treasure, will they be able to keep it? And will they discover what has become of the wizard Gandalf?
Noah (2014) Directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, and Douglas Booth. The Biblical Noah suffers visions of apocalyptic deluge, and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.
Happy Valley (???) Directed by Brian De Palma and starring Al Pacino. The story of disgraced college football coach Joe Paterno.
Man of Steel (2013) Starring Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner, and Diane Lane with writing contributions by Christopher Nolan. An alien is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world. (Trailer)
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (2013) Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd, and Christina Applegate. The continuing adventures of San Diego news anchor Ron Burgundy.
Kill Bill Volume 3 (???) Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Uma Thurman.
Sinatra (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. The life story of legendary singer and actor Franck Sinatra.
The Lone Ranger (2013) Directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Armie Hammer. Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of law, into a legend of justice.
Silence (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Andrew Garfield and Ken Watanabe. In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.
The Humbling (???) Directed by Barry Levinson, written by Buck Henry (The Graduate), and starring Al Pacino. A story set on a farm in upstate New York and centered on the sexual (and otherwise) relationship between aged, suicidal actor and a younger woman.
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Written and directed by the Coen brothers. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake. A singer-songwriter navigates New York's folk music scene in the 1960's.
Everest (2014) Directed by Doug Limon (Bourne series) and starring Tom Hardy. British mountain climber George Mallory makes multiple attempts to scale Mt. Everest throughout the 1920s.
The Kind One (???) Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Casey Affleck. The film is set in the 1930s Los Angeles and follows Danny Landon, an amnesiac who works for a violent mobster (a.k.a. "The Kind One"), while he falls in love with this man's girlfriend.
Reykjavik (2014) Starring Christoph Waltz and Michael Douglas. A dramatization of the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Ed Norton and Owen Wilson. The trials and tribulations of Mr. Gustave, who serves as a hotel's perfectly composed concierge.
Brave New World (???) Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (rumored)
Robocop (2014) Starring Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton. In a crime-ridden city, a fatally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.
Imagine (???) Starring Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Michael Caine, Annette and Bening. An old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono inspires an aging musician to live life differently, and he sets out to reconnect with his biological son.
Godzilla (2014) Written by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption). Starring Brian Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Johnson.
Paradise Lost (2014) Starring Benicio Del Toro and John Hutcherson. In Colombia, a young surfer meets the woman of his dreams - and then meets her uncle, Pablo Escobar.
Birdman (2014) Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel). Starring Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Michael Keaton, and Zack Galifianakis. A washed up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family trouble as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.
Rosewater (2014) Written and directed by Jon Stewart. A journalist is detained in Iran for more than 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison.
Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (???) Produced by George Clooney and written by Aaron Sorkin. A thriller set against the backdrop of the war on terror, The Challenge tells the inside story of a historic Supreme Court showdown. At its center are a Navy JAG and a young constitutional law professor who, in the aftermath of 9/11, find themselves defending their nation in the unlikeliest of ways: by suing the president of the United States on behalf of an accused terrorist in order to prevent the American government from breaking the law and violating the Constitution.
The Irishman (???) Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Robert Deniro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. A mob hit man recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa.
Zoolander 2 (2014) Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and Jonah Hill.
Untitled Freddie Mercury Biopic (2014) Directed by Tom Hooper. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen. A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen's appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.
Untitled Sherlock Holmes Project (???) Starring Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen and produced by Judd Apatow. A humorous take on Arthur Conan Doyle's classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson
Out of the Furnace (2013) Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart). Starring Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Willem Defoe, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, and Forest Whitaker. An ex-con attempts to blend into his new surroundings in an Indiana town, but is haunted by a figure from his past.
Hands of Stone (2014) Starring Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez. The legendary Roberto Duran and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel change each other's lives.
The Revenant (???) Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Centering on 1820's story of a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
Oldboy (2013) Directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L Jackson and Josh Brolin. An everyday man has only five days and limited resources to discover why he was imprisoned in a nondescript room for 15 years without any explanation.
Malavita (2013) Directed by Luc Besson (The Professional) and starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones. The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
Alejandro González Iñárritu. Starring Sean Penn. A father lives a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber, and con man in order to provide for his daughter.
The Comedian (???) Directed by Sean Penn. Starring Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig. A look at the life of an aging insult comic.
Knight of Cups (2013) Written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett. A man is in search of love and truth.
The General (???) Directed by Darren Aronofsky. A gritty look at the story of George Washington.
Star Wars: Episode VII (2015) Directed by JJ Abrams.
Jack Ryan (2013) Starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, and Kevin Costner. Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
1) The Notorious BIG- Ready to Die -(1994) Around the years '87-'88, a young crack dealer named Christopher Wallace began entertaining local passersby by rapping into a beat-up amp on the street corners around Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Six years later, he was the biggest rapper in the world. Three years after that, he was dead. During the short flash that was his career, only one album was to be released, a top-to-bottom classic with the eerily prophetic title 'Ready to Die'. This album has it all. Sick beats, brilliant lyrics, crazy flows, and that intoxicating voice of Biggie Smalls. Key Tracks: Warning, Juicy, Ready to Die.
2) Nas- Illmatic --(1994) Five months prior to Ready to Die, this 20-year-old Queensbridge native paired with producers Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip and burst onto the scene with what would be his masterpiece. Calling the album Illmatic after his incarcerated friend Illmatic Ice, Nas originally wanted the cover to feature himself with Jesus in a headlock. Key Tracks: N.Y. State of Mind, Life's a Bitch, One Love.
3) Dr. Dre- The Chronic --(1992) Fresh off of his split with supergroup NWA, Dre took it solo and ended up creating perhaps the best produced rap album of all time. The Chronic would introduce Parliament-laced G-funk to the mainstream and made Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg stars before they'd ever even released albums of their own. Key Tracks: Nuthin' but a "G" Thang, F*ck wit Dre Day, Let Me Ride.
4) Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt --(1996) In 1996, Jay-Z blew audiences away with his debut effort and first release on label Roc-A-Fella records. Sean Carter had been known as "Jazzy", a nickname that developed into his stage name Jay-Z as an homage to his musical mentor Jaz-O and to the J-Z subway lines that stop by Marcy Avenue. Jaz-O had given Jay-Z his first break by recruiting him on the 1989 song
"Hawaiian Sophie." Two decades later, Jigga is a true hip hop tycoon. Key Tracks: Dead Presidents, Brooklyn's Finest, Can't Knock the Hustle.
5) Public Enemy-It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back --(1988) Channeling the black anger and urban tension so in need of an outlet, Nation of Millions was one of the first truly socially conscious hip hop albums. Key Tracks: Bring the Noise, Don't Believe the Hype, Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.
6) The Wu-Tang Clan- Enter The Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers --(1993) In 1993, Ghostface Killah and RZA decided to create a hip hop group whose ethos would be a blend of "Eastern philosophy picked up from kung-fu movies, watered-down Nation of Islam preaching picked up on the New York streets, and comic books." Recruiting the best rappers they could find, RZA set out to produce an album layered with eerie beats, martial-arts movie clips and soul music samples. To decide who appeared on each song, he forced the Wu-Tang rappers to battle with each other. The album's title originates from the 1978 martial arts film 'The 36th Chamber of Shaolin'. Key Tracks: C.R.E.A.M, Protect Ya Neck, Bring Da Ruckus.
7) NWA- Straight Outta Compton --(1988) This debut studio album pioneered gangsta rap and scared a whole lotta white people in the process. Instrumental in shifting power to the West Coast, Straight Outta Compton became the first album to reach platinum status without any airplay support or major tours. Key Tracks: Straight Outta Compton, Express Yourself, F*ck The Police.
8) A Tribe Called Quest- The Low End Theory --(1991) Fusing hip hop and jazz, childhood friends Q-Tip and Phife Dawg and high school mate Ali Shaheed Muhammad created an unique brand of intelligent, socially conscious music. Low End features contributions from jazz great Ron Carter on upright bass. Key Tracks: Excursions, Jazz (We've Got), Scenario.
9) Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle --(1993) Following the success of The Chronic, Doggystyle debuted at number one and sold over 800,000 copies in its first week, the record for a new artist. Key Tracks: Gin and Juice, Who Am I (Whats My Name)?, Lodi Dodi.
10) Raekwon- Only Built 4 Cuban Linx --(1995) Raekwon brought producer RZA and Ghostface Killah along for his solo debut, an album widely regarded as the pioneer of Mafioso rap, a genre later perfected by Biggie and Jay-Z (It was also the first hip hop album to name drop Cristal). It's title suggests that the music was as tough as Cuban link chain jewelry. Key Tracks: Criminology, Glaciers of Ice, Rainy Dayz.
11) Outkast- Aquemini --(1998) Outcast's third studio album took its name from a combination of the duo's astrological signs (Aquarius for Big Boi and Gemini for André 3000). The synthesizer-laden, distinctively Atlanta sounding record took only 2 months to go platinum. Key Tracks: SpottieOttieDopaliscious, Rosa Parks, Return of the "G".
12) The Fugees-The Score --(1996) The second and final album of super-group Wycelf Jean, Lauren Hill and Pras. 18 million sold. Key Tracks: Killing Me Softy, Fu-Gee-La, Ready or Not.
13) 2Pac- All Eyez On Me --(1996) All Eyez was released after Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records and baddest mofo on planet earth, bailed 2Pac out of jail in exchange for signing to his label. Arriving in studio to begin work hours after being released, Pac would lay down what would become his crowning achievement. Key Tracks: 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted, California Love, Ambitionz Az a Ridah.
14) Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force- Planet Rock: The Album--(1986) Respectfully known as the "Grandfather" for his monumental impact on the early development of hip hop, Bambaataa recently became one of the first hop hop artists to be nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Representing Zulu Nation, he released the seminal Planet Rock over two decades ago as a collection of previous singles that had up until then never appeared on an album. Key Tracks: Planet Rock, Looking For the Perfect Beat, Renegades of Funk.
15) Boogie Down Productions-Criminal Minded --(1987) With Criminal Minded, KRS-One and BDP laid the groundwork for gangsta rap, as it was the first album to feature gun-toting MCs on its cover and crime narratives within its tracks. Their hardcore lyrics would become all too real after DJ Scott La Rock was shot and killed a mere five months after this seminal release. Key Tracks: The Bridge is Over, Criminal Minded, South Bronx.
16) Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five- The Message --(1982) Releasing their debut album on upstart Sugarhill Records, DJ Grandmaster Flash and MCs Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Cowboy, Mr. Ness/Scorpio, and Rahiem essentially wrote the rule book on turntablism, break-beat deejaying, and rapping. The title track was the first hip hop song to integrate socially and politically conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: The Message, Scorpio, She's Nasty.
17) Eric B. & Rakim-Paid In Full ---(1987) After Rakim responded to Eric B.'s search for "New York's top MC," the duo got to work after Rakim's friend and roommate Marley Marl permitted them use of his home studio. They would end up creating one of the most influential rap albums ever for its use of samples, internal rhyme, complex lyricism, and laid back flow. Key Tracks: Eric B. Is President, I Know You Got Soul, Paid in Full.
18) Dr. Dre-Chronic 2001 --(2001) Almost a decade after releasing his landmark album The Chronic, Dre took back to the studio to begin work on his long-anticipated follow up. Dre did not mince words about his motivations: "For the last couple of years, there's been a lot of talk out on the streets about whether or not I can still hold my own, whether or not I'm still good at producing. That was the ultimate motivation for me. Magazines, word of mouth and rap tabloids were saying I didn't have it any more. What more do I need to do? How many platinum records have I made? O.K., here's the album -- now what do you have to say?" Point made... Key Tracks: Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode, What's The Difference.
19) The Notorious BIG-Life After Death --(1997)-This double album released posthumously featured guest artists 112, Jay-Z, Lil Kim, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, R. Kelly, The LOX, Kelly Price, and Puff Daddy. Considered a seminal mafioso rap album, it is one of three hip hop albums to ever be certified diamond (10 million US sold). Key Tracks: Notorious Thugs, Hypnotize, Ten Crack Commandments.
20) Run D.M.C.- Run DMC--(1984) Run DMC's debut effort was the first hip-hop album to ever receive a 5-mic rating from The Source. Key Tracks: Rock Box, It's Like That, Sucker M.C.'s
21) Beastie Boys- Licensed To Ill ---(1986)-Some fast facts: It is the first rap LP to top the Billboard 200 chart. It is Columbia Records' fastest selling debut record to date. Kerry King of Slayer made an appearance on the album playing lead guitar on "No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn". The '3MTA3' on the cover image of the plane spells 'EATME' when viewed in a mirror. The original title for the album was Don't Be a Faggot but Columbia Records refused to release the album and pressured Russell Simmons into having the Beastie Boys to come up with another name. Key Tracks: Fight for Your Right, No Sleep Til Brooklyn, She's Crafty.
22) 2Pac- Me Against The World --(1995) Recorded in a matter of weeks before Pac was to go to prison on sexual assault charges, MATW would make the embattled rapper the first and only artist to ever have a number one album while serving a prison sentence. Key Tracks: Dear Mama, Me Against the World, Outlaw.
23) Eminem- The Marshall Mathers LP --(2000) Em's third studio album was gritty, angry, and brutally honest, lashing out against critics and illustrating the troubles that his new found fame had induced. The album sold more than 1.79 million copies in its first week in the US alone, making it the fastest selling solo album ever. Key Tracks: Stan, The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady?
24) Ice Cube- AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted --(1990) Primarily produced by The Bomb Squad, AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted made use of several tracks Cube had originally written for NWA before their acrimonious split. Taking on the American justice system, race relations, poverty, and drug addiction in South Central, L.A., Cube produced an instant classic that is as powerful today as it was two decades ago. Key Tracks: AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, Endangered Species, Who's the Mack?.
25) Jay-Z- The Blueprint--Despite the bad fortune of being released on September 11, 2001, The Blueprint sold over 426,000 copies in its opening week, becoming Jay-Z's fourth consecutive album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Produced by Kanye West and Just Blaze, it was reportedly cut in two weeks, with Jay-Z allegedly writing the lyrics in two days. Key Tracks: Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Renegade, Girls, Girls, Girls.
26) Big L- Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous --(1995) Like Biggie's Ready to Die, Lifestylez was the only studio album to be dropped prior to it's author's murder. The tremendously underrated LP introduced up-and-comers Jay-Z and Cam'ron. Key Tracks: Put It On, M.V.P., Street Struck.
27) Mobb Deep- The Infamous...--(1995) This rap duo is the third act on this list to hail from Queensbridge. Key Tracks: Shook Ones Pt. II, Temperature's Rising, Survival of the Fittest.
28) LL Cool J- Radio --(1985) This first full length album release on Def Jam Records was primarily produced by co-founder Rick Rubin. Key Tracks: I Can't Live Without My Radio, Rock the Bells, I Need a Beat.
29) Outkast- ATLiens --(1996) "It's deep. So deep that listening to 'ATLiens' you might feel like drowning, but the smooth vocals of Big Boi and the earthy flows of Andre always push you back up to the surface. They are players in the truest sense of the word; not just playing for ends but playing to win in the ultimate battle of life over death, good over bad, and righteousness over evil." --Steve Juon, RapReviews. Key Tracks: ATLiens, Wheelz of Steel, Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac).
30) Run DMC- Raising Hell --(1986) One of the most important rap albums ever for its success in taking the infant the genre mainstream, Raising Hell silenced critics who had deemed hip hop a passing fad. It made its biggest mark with Walk This Way, a collaboration with Aerosmith that became the first hip hop video in heavy rotation on MTV. Key Tracks: Its Tricky, Walk This Way, My Adidas.
31) Bone Thugs N Harmony- E. Eternal 1999 --(1995) Released four months after executive producer Eazy-E's death, Eternal spawned the landmark single "Tha Crossroads", which won a Grammy, went double-platinum, and tied The Beatles' 32-year-old record (1964's "Can't Buy Me Love") for the fastest rising single on the pop charts. Key Tracks: The Crossroads, 1st of tha Month, East 1999.
32) Black Star- Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star- (1998) The sole album from this power duo, the hyper-intelligent Black Star moniker is a nod to the Black Star Line, an early 20th-century African-American shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey. Key Tracks: Definition, Brown Skin Lady, Respiration.
33) Nas- Stillmatic --(2001) Nas harkened back to his Illmatic days with his fifth release, 2001's Stillmatic, which instantly earned the ever sought 5 mic rating from The Source. Highlighting the achievement was Nas' bitter rebuke of Jay-Z with the "Ether", a scathing counterattack that portrayed his rival as both a plagiarist and sell-out. Key Tracks: Got Ur Self A..., One Mic, Ether.
34) GZA- Liquid Swords --(1995) GZA's second solo album is up alongside Cuban Linx as the best of the Wu-Tang solo efforts. Key Tracks: Duel of the Iron Mic, Liquid Swords, Shadowboxin'.
35) Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill --(1998) After breaking out with The Fugees, Hill released her solo debut in 1998, a fusion of hip hop, soul, reggae, R&B, and gospel. The album garnered ten nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. Key Tracks: Doo Wop (That Thing), To Zion, Everything Is Everything.
36) Mos Def- Black On Both Sides --(1999) Mos Def's debut solo album post-Blackstar featured live instrumentation and socially-conscious lyrics. Key Tracks: Ms. Fat Booty, Brooklyn, Mathematics.
37) Wu-Tang Clan- Wu-Tang Forever --(1997) The long-awaited follow-up to 36 Chambers, Forever showcased their trademark stream-of-consciousness style of rap. Key Tracks: Triumph, Visionz, As High As Wu-Tang Get.
38) Jay-Z- The Black Album --(2003) J's 8th studio album was promoted as his last, though he would obviously renege on that pronouncement not long after. This epic has been mixed with everything from the Beatles and Grateful Dead to Linkin Park and Prince. Key Tracks: What More Can I Say, Dirt off Your Shoulder, 99 Problems.
39) Cypress Hill- Black Sunday --(1993) This stoner opus marked the first time a Latino group would go platinum. They would later be banned from Saturday Night Live after Muggs smoked a joint on-air and the band trashed their instruments while playing their second single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That". Key Tracks: Insane In The Brain, Hits From The Bong, I Ain't Goin' Out Like That.
40) Gang Starr- Moment of Truth--(1998) The fifth studio album from DJ Premier and the late great Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), Moment of Truth was the high water mark within a brilliant, nearly two decade-long career. Key Tracks: You Know My Steez, Brooklyn Trooper, Moment of Truth.
41) De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising--(1989) Produced by Prince Paul, the album takes its title from a Johnny Cash song called "Five Feet High and Rising". Key Tracks: Me Myself and I, Buddy, Eye Know.
42) Eminem- The Slim Shady LP --(1999)-For a kid in 6th grade, I remember exactly where I was when I first heard Eminem introduce himself to the world. This was something unlike anybody I'd ever heard; raw, revealing, humorous, and at the same time brutally violent. The album erupted a firestorm of opposition, as parental groups balked at lyrics that discussed everything from drugging a fifteen-year-old girl to disposing of Em's dead wife's corpse. Key Tracks: Guilty Conscience, My Name Is, '97 Bonnie & Clyde.
43) Beastie Boys- Paul's Boutique --(1989) Incorporating production by the Dust Brothers, the album makes use of samples from 105 different songs. The sampling was uncleared, which was one of the last albums to do so before the landmark Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. case against Biz Markie that forced artists to obtain the rights to any song from which they sampled. Key Tracks: Hey Ladies, Shake Your Rump, The Sounds of Science.
44) Big Pun-Capital Punishment--(1998) As The Source put it, "Capital Punishment is all about execution." To be sure, Pun positively killed it in this debut effort, his spitfire rhyming skills asserting him as one of the most promising figures in hip hop before a heart attack killed him just two short years later. Key Tracks: Still Not a Player, Twinz (Deep Cover 98), You Came Up.
45) EPMD- Strictly Business --(1988) This landmark effort from Eric Sermon and Parish Smith unearthed samples from within a genre to which few other rappers of the era were paying much attention. Contained within its tracks are cuts from ZZ Top, Steve Miller Band, and Eric Clapton. Key Tracks: It's My Thing, Strictly Business, You Gots to Chill.
46) The Roots- Things Fall Apart --(1999) The Roots' fourth studio offering turned out to be their commercial breakthrough. During recording, the group laid down an astonishing 145 songs, which they later whittled down to the 14 that appear on the album. Key Tracks: Adrenaline!, The Next Movement, Act Too (The Love of My Life).
47) Wyclef Jean- The Carnival --(1997) Wyclef kicked off his solo debut with an electric record that combined hip hop, reggae, folk, disco, soul, Son Cubano and Haitian music. As a tribute to his homeland, the final three songs are sung in Haitian Creole. Key Tracks: Gone Till November, We Trying to Stay Alive, Guantanamera
48) Jurassic 5- Quality Control-- (2000) The major label debut of Chali 2na and company played a central role in the development of the alternative rap scene that was burgeoning around the turn of the century. Key Tracks: Quality Control, The Influence, World of Entertainment (W.O.E. is Me)
49) Puff Daddy & the Family- No Way Out --(1997) Originally titled 'Hell Up In Harlem' until the The Notorious B.I.G.'s death, the album topped the album charts in the US with 561,000 units sold in its first week of release. It would go on to win the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. Key Tracks: Victory, Been Around the World, It's All about the Benjamins.
50) Busta Rhymes- When Disaster Strikes... --(1997) Busta's second solo effort reached #3 on the Billboard 200. Key Tracks: Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See, Dangerous, Turn It Up.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth- Mecca and the Soul Brother, Method Man-Tical, Outcast-Stankonia, Nas-I Am..., LL Cool J-Mama Said Knock You Out, Beastie Boys-Check Your Head, Notorious BIG-Born Again, Run DMC-King Of Rock, Ice T-O.G. Original Gangster, Missy Eliot-Supa Dupa Fly, A Tribe Called Quest-Midnight Marauders, Salt N Pepa- Blacks Magic, Kurtis Blow-Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane-Its a Big Daddy Thing, Eric B. & Rakim-Follow the Leader, Gang Starr-Daily Operation, Common-Like Water for Chocolate, KRS One-KRS One, Kanye West-The College Dropout, 50 Cent-Get Rich or Die Tryin', Eminem- The Eminem Show, Nas-It Was Written, Public Enemy-Fear of A Black Planet, DMX- Its Dark and Hell is Hot.
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