The 50 Greatest Hip Hop Albums of All Time

  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.  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.
  9.   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.
  10.  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.
  11.  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.
  12. OutkastAquemini  (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”.
  13.  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.
  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 FiveThe 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. 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
  18.  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. 
  19.  Kanye West- The College Dropout  (2004)   Kanye’s debut album changed the entire rap landscape when it dropped after four laborious years in 2004.  Key Tracks: Through the Wire, Jesus Walks, All Falls Down
  20.  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.
  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.  Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly  (2015)  A true powerhouse of social and political commentary, Kendrick’s third studio effort earned him a record 11 Grammy nominations and cemented his status as the most important MC of the last decade.  Key Tracks: Alright, King Kunta, The Blacker the Berry
  24.  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?
  25.  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?.
  26.  Jay-Z- The Blueprint  (2001)  Despite the bad fortune of being released on September 11, 2001, The Blueprintsold 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.
  27.  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.
  28.  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.
  29.  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.
  30.  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).
  31.  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.
  32.  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.
  33.  Dr. Dre- Chronic 2001  (1999)  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.
  34.  Black Star- Mos Def & 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.
  35.  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.
  36.  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’.
  37.  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.
  38.  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.
  39.  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.
  40.  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.
  41.  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.
  42.  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.
  43.  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.
  44.  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.
  45. 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.
  46.  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.
  47.  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.
  48.  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).
  49.  MF DoomOperation Doomsday  (1999)  The debut album from British MC Daniel ‘MF Doom’ Dumile, Operation Doomsday was a revelation for independent hip hop at the turn of the 21st century.  Key Tracks: Red and Gold, Go With the Flow, Doomsday
  50.  Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  (2010)   A monster record and perhaps the beginning of the end of “old Kanye,” a master at his most masterful.  Key Tracks: Monster, All of the Lights, Runaway 


Honorable Mentions:  Pete Rock & CL SmoothMecca and the Soul Brother, Method Man- Tical, Outcast- Stankonia, Nas- I Am…, LL Cool J- Mama Said Knock You Out, Slick Rick– The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Geto Boys- We Can’t Be Stopped, Madvillain- Madvillainy, Beastie Boys- Check Your Head, Run DMC- King Of Rock, Wyclef Jean- The Carnival, Ice T- O.G. Original Gangster, DJ Shadow- Endtroducing…, Missy Elliott- Supa Dupa Fly, A Tribe Called Quest- Midnight Marauders, Salt N Pepa- Blacks Magic, Kurtis Blow- Kurtis Blow, Big Daddy Kane– It’s a Big Daddy Thing, Eric B. & Rakim- Follow the Leader, Ultramagnetic MCs– Critical Beatdown, Gang Starr- Daily Operation, Common- Like Water for Chocolate, KRS One- KRS One, Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, Puff Daddy and the Family– No Way Out, 50 Cent– Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Eminem- The Eminem Show, Jurassic 5- Quality Control, Nas- It Was Written, Ghostface Killah– Supreme Clientele, Lil Wayne– The Carter III, Redman- Whut? Thee Album, Public Enemy- Fear of A Black Planet, DMX- It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, J Dilla- Donuts, 3rd Bass- The Cactus Album, Busta Rhymes- When Disaster Strikes, Drake– Nothing Was the Same, Scarface– Mr. Scarface is Back.


      • I agree, but hip-hop began in the 80’s and thrived in the 90’s.

        Love The Infamous album, very underrated, nice to see it on this list.

        If you wanted to force another 2010-2019 album i’d throw any of the Drakes in, or Astroworld, but it seems a little too soon to tell.

      • This list centered way to much on popularity!!! Without going into great detail ill just state the obvious. Having Em and Jay z at 24,26 notifies the whole list. Listen i think Kendrick is fantastic….take nothing away from him. But absolutely cannot put any of his albums like 10 spots ahead of Em or Jay z!!!!

          • It’s all relative. I think it’s a great list of great albums and that was a good job. I agree with the top 3. However, I think Chronic is No. 1, Big No.2, and Nas No. 3.

      • List is good but to 90s centric, ready to die, Illmatic are seriously good albums and act as benchmarks, but some of the 90s stuff is to high like snoop dogs doggystyle above mbdtf and to pimp a butterfly, can’t take that seriously. Even though it’s new you gotta put some respect on the new stuff, Kanye and Kendrick gotta land somewhere in the top 10 no discussion. Outside of that though realy good list

  1. This is one hell of a list, I love it, and while I would put up a few others, I think this is a good starting point for anyone trying to get into hip hop in general.

    • I agree and people are complaining but it’s an opinionated list,a really good one imo

  2. This list sucks ass. You have no Kanye, who is known as having one of the best if not the best discography in hip hop. Where tf is MBDTF, College Dropout, Late Registration, etc. No kendrick either? No Madvillainy? Lmao we get it bro you only like 90’s gangsta rap

    • Because the OG’s laid the foundation for those artists. Kanye has a great discography, but you can’t disregard the masterpieces that influenced Kanye in the first place. There’s a reason it’s Greatest Hip Hop Albums “Of all time” and not “of the 2000’s”. But, of course, music is subjective.

      • I feel ya Ethan W on emphasizing the OG stuff that influenced the newer generation, but we absolutely MUST have some K-Dot on this list.

        • Also, despite the potentially misleading title, Dr. Dre’s album 2001 was actually released in 1999… “9-5 plus four pennies! Add that shit up D.R.E. right back up on top of things.”

      • But that is exactly what Kanye is to this generation. Graduation was the change from gangster rap to other sounds. Without Kanye none of the non gang rappers would be relevant right now.

    • Spitting facts bro!! No Graduation, MBDTF, Late Registration… This list is a joke! Aswell, no K., Drake, J Cole, or Rocky.

    • You sound like a dumb kanye fan
      These are all classics
      Kanye’s albums nothing but shit in front of these

      • Coming from someone who isn’t even a Kanye fan, there are multiple kanye albums that should be on here. Only an old head would deny the fact that kanye is one of the greatest rap ARTISTS of all time. The only people I would put ahead of Kanye are (in no particular order) MF DOOM, Andre 3k, and Kendrick.

    • I’m just now seeing this list and after they made numerous adjustments to the list I feel that Atrocity Exhibition should definitely be somewhere in here. I also disagree that Its Dark and Hell is Hot is only an honorable mention. Run The Jewels 2 should also be included either really late on the list or as an honorable mention imo.

    • LMAO, Kanye is Known for what? He is known for a lot of things but having a great discography is not one of them.

  3. The Carter 3 has to be here, I don’t care where but it’s disrespectful to hip hop not putting that masterpiece up

  4. How you overlooked Slick Rick’s “The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick”? That’s the most classic rap album ever. Should have been in the top 5, maybe #1 on the list. Slick Rick is the most favored rapper of all those on your list and I guarantee they would agree Slick Rick should have been on the #1 spot.

    • I have to agree with you. The omission of “The Great Adventure of Slick Rick” invalidate this list. It’s one of the earliest concept album in rap that I can remember.

      The Editor need to update this list…at least go back an listen to this album.

  5. How y’all not have OutKast first album!!! They have dope joints but that southernplayer Cadillac joint.

  6. Kendrick’s 2015 album is just a masterpiece, & so is Ye’s Graduation. Eric B & Rakim cannot be anything outside top 5. Niggas influenced your number 2 & 1. Then again, it’s all subjective.

  7. I understand that these projects laid the foundation for newer artists, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect them completely. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Graduation, Good Kid m.A.A.d. City, To Pimp A Butterfly, Under Pressure, Late Registration, College Dropout, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Tha Carter III, and Acid Rap are all masterpieces that deserve to be on this list.

    • It’s literally a quote from RZA. You know, the notorious dumb ass that also happens to be the head of the Wu-Tang Clan?

  8. These are solid albums, but this list is way too narrow narrow to be a “greatest hip-hop albums of all time list.” These albums are nearly all hardcore hip-hop albums from ’87-’00. It’s both inadequate and close-minded to not consider anything in the past two decades. Pinata, TPAB, Madvillainy, MBDTF, RTJ2, there are so many fantastic albums that came out this millennia.

    This also fails to consider more “underground” works from the 90’s. No Endtroducing…? Hell, I’d even take Funcrusher Plus, or some Slum Village.

    I respect you for putting together a list, and no matter what you pick, you’ll piss someone off, but damn, there’s more to hip-hop than just this.

    • I don’t agree with a lot of these albums but it’s an opinionated list,there is no wrong answers

  9. Not an awful list, but for me Eminem’s best album is The Eminem Show. I can see why the MM LP and Slim Shady LP would be in some people’s mind ranked higher, but in terms of dude’s writing, quality and everything else.. The Eminem Show tops it. So while I don’t have a problem with his first 2 being in any top 50 list.. The Eminem Show better be on the list too.

  10. And how is a Redman album not on here?? Whut? Thee Album and Muddy Waters are better than a lot on this list. Ice Cube’s Death certificate? Predator not even in honorable mention? No Ghostface.. no Scarface? Wtf

  11. Whoever came up with this lisr sucks. Has Doggystyle at nr. 9. Even though it is classic and I respect it is no way in hell better than All eyez on me,Life after death, Run DMC, Aquamini ,Paid in full or The Marshall Mathers LP. And how is Resonable doubt better than the Blueprint. And how is the Marshall Mathers lp so low on the list. THE FUCK.

    • this list needs too get updated asap! i’m guessing ur in ur 40s & married…can’t rank music when your a completely different human being nowdays! stop reminiscing on your teenager days & redo this chart!! its no1 fault but yours that your a miserable married man nowdays compared to when you wasn’t pussy whipped & in still in school!! your list is total definition of a 40 year old ranking hip hop off of when he was 18-20y/o…don’t update until you get divorced!! dorkkk

  12. Kanye was not the leader of rap that wasn’t about gang related shit. Outkast taught people like Lil Wayne the laid back lazy style of lady crooning which people like Kanye picked up. Also Kanye picked up inspirations from Jay-Z and his mixture of older R&B samples and gospel influence from artists such as Lauren Hill. Kanye is brilliant and has incredible production and song writing throughout his discog and I do agree that some of his work should have been on this list.

  13. It’s a shame Pete Rock didn’t make this list. Mecca and the Soul Brother should be on here, as should Pete Rock and InI’s Center of Attention, which is my personal favorite hip hop album of all time.

  14. Damn everyone leaving reviews needs to calm down. Music is a very subjective thing and things influence different people in different ways

  15. However wrote this stopped listening to hip hop during the mid 2000s and doesn’t have much interest in underground hip hop. That’s fine but just don’t call this list “the 50 greatest hip hop albums of all time” call it “the 50 greatest popular hip hop albums between the 1980s and 2000s

  16. No Vanilla Ice? No M.C. Hammer? No mention of the greatest single rap song of all time, ‘Get Juiced’ by O.J. Simpson? This list is invalid.

  17. The fact that Ultramagnetic MC’s Critical Beatdown is nowhere on this list immediately makes it invalid. C’mon man……….And no Doom either? FOH

  18. At the time of writing this comment, this is seriously one of the best top 50 lists I’ve ever seen. Great balance between East coast / West coast, and 80s / 90 / 00s. Obviously all GOAT lists are opinionated, but overall I thought this was pretty unbiased. Only two albums I can think of that should have made this list are Be (Common) and Madvillainy (Madvillain).

  19. Are you kidding me?! DMX it’s dark and he’ll is hot is a top 3 album for sure. This list sucks

  20. Love the 90s hiphop
    I think this is the best collection but one album is mising
    A swedish hiphop band
    Goldmine-Cartwheels and Handsprings

  21. Great list!! Please add mentioned albums in a list too , and I would add DMX’s Flesh of my flash and … And then there was X . These albums are absolute classic!!

  22. This is actually really bad what the fuck😂 Twisted fantasy and to pimp a butterfly are both top 5 if not top 3. Marshall mathers lp is also top 5, and good kid maad city is top 15 if not top 10. Tf is this. Also college dropout and late registration both deserve a spot somewhere in this list. Way too focused on 90s rap.

  23. Tupac all eyez on me album should’ve been number one, Me against the world album should be number two and the don killuminati the 7 day theory should’ve been top 15.

  24. Where the heLL is mumBle rap on this list…no Future, Uzi Vert, 6ix 9ine, xxxtension, MiGoZ, LiL puMp

    Less 90s ganGsta…moRe millelenial MumBLeZZzzz!!!!

  25. Exactly that’s a classic and THA CARTER III is Top 5 best first week rap album sales – 1 million copies first week LEGENDARY overall a great Album….THA CARTER II should be on up here too another CLASSIC

  26. No THA CARTER III & THA CARTER II u trippin 2 CLASSIC Albums right here
    And Tha Carter III is top 5 best first week rap album sales – 1 Million copies LEGENDARY don’t sleep

  27. Biggie – Ready To Die… Number 1? you must be kiding me. This isnt serious
    2pac – Me Against The World is much better, and i aint saying its the best… but come on, lets be serious. The Numer 1 is NAS – Illmatic, no discussion.
    But the 2 biggie albums arent even top 10

  28. Funny, everybody asks why their favorite is not in the list and so on. Fact is, because someone here wrote, the list would be to much 90’s centric, that HipHop and Rap was alot better in the 80’s and 90’s, when you take the average, than it is today. Sorry that i must say this and i really try, not to see it through rose-colored “everything was better in the past” glasses, but rather evaluate it neutrally.

    The older songs often (i don’t say always) had better and more meaningful lyrics than today, then there was more experimentation in them. Videos were not so important, which results in focus more on the song itself and to be true, in todays videos you see the same women shaking their same asses around some pool all the time, which is also boring to watch in the long run. Next thing is, that you also tended to believe that the people really experienced what they were saying in their songs back in the time. Today, i listen to that stuff and think, what a bullshit, maybe 14 or 15 year olds still believe that sh.., the rest of the listeners don’t anymore.

    But i don’t want to generalize that completely and badmouth all of today’s musicians. There might be a few exceptions, but on average it went downhill with music like HipHop and Rap. That’s comparable to Pop music i have the feeling, which used to be really good and versatile, back in the 80s when synthesizers were relatively new and you had this wide range of sounds in all these Pop songs. And now all the new appearing Pop songs sound kind of the same.

    It’s as if music producers, at some point around the turn of the millennium, had deciphered the formula that makes a song (regardless of genre) sell well, and this formula is then applied to nearly every new songs that appears. Unfortunately, this formula, in the vast majority of cases, takes away the individual soul of a song, which makes everything sound almost the same (typical mainstream) and which I find really terrible in music. Where is the individuality gone in alot of music genres?

    And the worst thing is, that many young people, that started listening to music in the last 10 years for example, think that this is cool music. But almost every beat has been there before and is just some slightly modified sample of some song from the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s. Only these people don’t know this. 🙂

    But understand me correctly. Of course i know, that our parents might have said something similar about our music back then, compared to their own. But at the same time, it’s still a fact, that it’s never been the case, that so many songs in the TOP100 sound almost the same like it is today and like it is in the last around 10 years. You could run the most of these songs in a big big MegaMix one after the other and as a DJ, you wouldn’t even have to bother alot with BPM’s and all the sound-transitions, because everything sounds similar today anyway. Like i said, it’s like a decoded formula you came up with, to sell your song well to the young target audience. And THAT was never there before, you can see how sales-tactics of producers and record-companies destroy the soul of the music, because only marketing is in the foreground and everything else takes a back seat to such an extent that it almost hurts.

    I realize that nowadays, when you can quickly download a song as an mp3, it’s much harder, to sell CD’s/records, than it was 30 or 40 years ago, where the alternative to the real record was a tape-recording with lower soundquality. Today this had changed completely. But do all songs have to follow this shi..y mainstream guideline therefore? I would like to see more individuality in the songs again and as long as that doesn’t happen, I’ll stick to the older songs of the past decades, no matter what genre of music it is, they just sound more mature to me and I know, that I’m not alone with this opinion, many middle-aged people see it in a similar way and even some younger ones, who have already listened through many older songs too and not only the current charts.

    Okay iam finished. Wow, so much text. Whoever reads it completely, gets a prize. 🙂

  29. Wise Intelligent – Killin u for fun
    Arsonists – As the world burns
    Afu-Ra – Body of the life force
    Lord Finesse – The awakening

    But anyway good list!

  30. Lauren Hill album was 98 percent R&B. Maybe album sales influence this list. No diss to Miss Hill. That’s the case Big Willie style should’ve made the list. Anyway how about Canibus 3000 bc or Goodmob soulfood

  31. This is a great list. I don’t think Eminem albums held up very well. I loved em when I was 15 and they sold because… white people. After hearing a few tracks from the first one it just doesn’t hold now. Anyway, Sex Packets: Digital Underground in place of the worst of the slim shady albums and I’m all in.

  32. i love the 90s & 90s music but dang dude was just totally bias towards any album released after 1999🤦🏾 where’s your listening versatility? if your gonna do a TOP 50 RAP ALBUM LIST u cant be bias u gotta be open to every time period of rap ( besides the 80s that decade of rap was boring). But i see where he comming from he’s obviously a old head who grew up on 90’s rap or its just a troll tryna make the typical rap album list. And it’s obviously that he gave REAL opinions to the albums he knows, that’s wrong but ok

    • abnjay00 i can tell you the reason. And the reason is not, that anyone here is biased or something like that. The reason why nearly no songs from the last two decades into the list is, that today the musicians concentrate more on making a good video than making a good song with senseful text and good beats. The real Rap has died long time ago and since Rap/HipHop has reached mainstream, the quality of the songs goes totally downhill. Nonsense texts which only children maybe can find cool. I stop listened to new Rap stuff 20 years ago.

  33. I think this list is pretty accurate. I may have added the Eminem Show, 2014 Forest Hills Drive (J.Cole), KOD (J.Cole), or Don Killuminati: The 7-Day Theory (2Pac), and/or Me Against the World (2Pac). But again that’s completely my opinion.

  34. How is DMX a honorable mention? Makes me question the validity of this list considering the fact that he had 2 platinum albums in a year.

  35. glad to see Paul’s Boutique get the respect it deserves. Without that album, believe it or not – a lot of those top 20 albums wouldn’t even be there. RIP MCA

  36. I listened to every album on this list, and all the honorable mentions and all the albums are so fire. I just have a couple tweaks for the honorable mentions. DAMN by Kendrick Lamar and 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J Cole could be added as those were two of the best albums of the 2010’s. Awesome list

  37. I agree with a lot of the list but I think Tupac should have made more appearances on here and some shifting could have been done. I’m from Louisville but more keen to east coast and I completely agree with #1. READY TO DIE is a absolute masterpiece by whom I believe was the goat. I know that is a bold statement but I stick by it. Close to him is Nas,Pac,Slim,Rakim and I am going to catch some shit for this but Slick Rick. Ricky could have progressed to the point where he was a 90s rapper but he fucked it up. Great list and I don’t totally agree with it but it’s fair. There could be some more west coast artists on it although west coast hip hop from the 90s besides pac was based more on beats than lyricism.

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