Don't let nobody tell you that Rap does not have classic albums! Just like any other genre, rap is blessed with poets and musicians crafting timeless music. Take a look at the best rap albums list right here:
1) To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
Following the success of his previous album “Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City”, Kendrick Lamar followed up with an album so good, even Barrack Obama couldn’t stop praising it! To Pimp a Butterfly was a commentary on racial injustice in America, while dealing with his own demons, as Kendrick rose to superstardom.
There are good debut albums, there are classic albums… and then, there is ILLMATIC! A young rapper from New York sent shock waves around the rap industry with his monumental debut album. Nas’ sharp pen game and gritty production represented the streets of New York to the fullest. Illmatic became a benchmark that rappers still wish they could beat.
Often credited as the founders of “Gangsta Rap”, NWA consisting of Eazy E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yela changed how the rap and the rappers were supposed to be. Claiming to represent the “real ones”, Straight Outta Compton showcased the dark street life in Los Angeles to a wider audience.
4) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
While making this album, Kanye didn’t just want to create an album, he wanted to create a visual and sonic experience. Kanye left no stones unturned, as he put in hundreds of hours of work to make an album that had the melodies of his previous album, but still managed to keep it raw. The result was a unique album that showed Kanye’s genius!
Dr. Dre’s music catalog is unmatched! But when he released his debut album as a solo artist, he unmatched production on The Chronic laid the blueprint for how the West Coast sound should be like. Adding funk and synths to his beats, Dr. Dre’s debut album led the G-Funk revolution, ushering into a golden age for the West Coast hip-hop. Oh, and this album was also a debut for a certain rapper named Snoop Dogg!
6) Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan’s sound was, and still is, refreshing. A collective of ten talented rappers, all from different boroughs of New York was unheard of! With their love for Kung-Fu movies, Wu Tang Clan managed to mesh the sounds of the Kung-Fu movies with grimy New York music. Wu Tang Clan’s impact is undeniable, and it all started with this album.
If there was an album that you “hate it, but you love it” in rap, it has to be sophomore release by Mr. Marshall Mathers. Surrounded by controversy, hate, and his own struggles, Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP is an explosive, unfiltered, hyperbolic mix of emotions, laced with some of the most impressive vocal performances ever in the rap music.
In terms of modern-trap albums, Travis Scott’s supposed “magnum opus” stands out in it’s own way. An ode to Astroworld theme park in hometown, the album is a thrilling ride in itself, with a star studded line up of feature artists and music that is melodic but enthralling at the same time. Like a roller coaster, you’ll feel numerous emotions at once, but it’s guaranteed that it’ll be a unique experience.
Tupac’s impact transcends beyond hip-hop. Tupac as personality that stands on it’s own, and it stands out as more than just a rapper. His honesty and his personality made him a darling all across the world. When he released his first album out of jail, it was meant to be received with much fanfare. But it is Tupac’s honesty that made this album such a classic. Club songs, street anthems, emotional tracks, socially conscious songs, Tupac covered all the bases he could in this masterpiece.
If there is an album that can rival Nas’s Illmatic as the best debut ever, it has to be Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle. Dr. Dre gave enough buzz by letting Snoop feature frequently on his mega hit “The Chronic”, Snoop became a star even before he released his own album! So by the time Snoop geared to release his debut, the whole world had their breath in anticipation of another West Coast classic. And Snoop did not disappoint, earning great commercial and critical success from the album.
After an underwhelming stint as a rock band, Beastie Boys dropped their debut as a rap-rock group in 1986 under Def Jam & Columbia records. With legendary producer Rick Rubin helping them, Beastie Boys broke the “race” barrier in the rap music, as “License to Ill” was well received all across the world, selling over 10 million records. It is also one of the fastest selling album in Columbia Records’ history.
Marketed as a “Retirement” album from Jay Z, Shaun Carter (Jay Z) wanted to create an album that summed up his journey. From amazing collective of producers like Kanye West, Just Blaze, Timbaland, The Neptunes and Eminem, Jay had the beats to rap his heart out, culminating in an album that was Jay Z’s artistic and rapping peak.