While it’s easy to name ten ultimate hip hop albums. the same ones keep coming up in lists. I’m not saying these are better than… I’m just trying to expand or remind people there’s more than Gangstarr, Redman, Pete Rock & CL, Biggie, Tupac…
Great albums are personal and usually we listen to them on our own. So, I returned to the archives and dug out a selection that have served me well over the years and I still enjoy to this day. Good hip hop is timeless, don’t sleep!
Hard to Obtain – Ism & Blues. 1994 Atlantic Records.
If you’re a fan of this era then you must check em out. the main thing that sets this album apart from others at this time is its loop based with programmed drums, the selection of jazz/funk loops were wayyy ahead of the time. Often changing breaks and always funky, lots of ear candy (vocal snippets, horns…. )
You can feel the energy and joy the emcees were having – pure hip hop.
This album is as relevant today as it was in 94. The only downside now is the wax will make a dent in your wallet.
Da King & I – Contemporary Jeep Music. 1993 Rowdy Records.
Damn this album is seriously dope. especially if you like deep filtered basslines and breakbeats. Very jazzy loops, the production is solid with great vocals.
A perfect example of early 90s hip hop that still holds its own today.
Ed Og & the Bulldogs – Life of a kid in the ghetto. 1991 Polygram Records.
A Ground breaking album. Lyrically mature, this album has stuff for the party and deeper tracks like “be a father to your child” and the title track is a superb story set to wicked breaks. Ed blends the old skool styles and the new we all love from early 90s rappers.
The music is funky and jazzy, way ahead of its time.
Main Source – Breaking Atoms. 1991 Wild Pitch Records.
If ever there was a classic frm this era then this is it. Funk/soul breaks expertly crafted with large proff flowing.
This album is a powerhouse raising the bar both lyrically and the production.
Live at bbq introduced nas & akinyele to the world.
Special Ed – Youngest in Charge. 1989 Profile Records.
Ed was 16 when he recorded this. Very intelligent word play, he could hold his own against the older rappers of the time, whilst being super cocky like most 16 yr olds are. It’s a fun album set to bouncy funk breaks.
Theres a few tracks that havent aged well, but the majority of the album is still a treat.
Lords of the Underground – Here comes the Lords. 1993 Elektra Records.
This album was big back in the days and I still meet kids today rocking it.
A true masterpiece. great rhymes, funky as hell, produced by the legend Marley Marl. A head-boppin blend of old and new skool.
Jeru the Damaja – The sun rises in the East. 1993 Payday Records.
DJ Premier set the background with deep jazzy breaks. This album marked the new era in hip hop.
Jeru’s verses are as relavant today as they were in 93. Rough, rugged, raw & real come to mind plus he has such a kool voice and flow that its intoxicating.
A very deep album, conscious and entertaining.
OC – Jewelz – 1997 Payday Records.
This album is just so damn fine. OC is murdering the mic with a host of guest emcees & producers incl DJ Premier, Buckwild, Da Beatminerz, Lord Finesse…..
An album you can get lost in. Very nu skool, it doesnt get better than this people.
Show & AG – Goodfellas. 1995 Payday Records.
If you like dark hard hitting beats bordering on horror then your in for a feast here. It’s a broad range from late night lounge to head noddin to straight up brutal and as you’d expect from Showbiz it all works together as an album. There’s guest producers plus AG on the mic with appearances from many great emcees.
This is a must. Defining sound of the underground in mid 90s.
Krewcial – 25/8. 2004 BBE (Barely Breakin Even).
A modern one for ya now. The album intro is by Chuck D. Krewcial is an artist who is well known in the industry hes been on tour with a long list of well established names. There’s a nice selection of featuring emcees and singers. The beats will keep your head boppin.
Very soulful neo influences but still managing to keep it tru and real hip hop.
Check out “On Point” feat Kazi & Ohno or “Krewcial”.
Soul Position – 8 Million Stories. 2003 Fat Beats/Rhymesayers Entertainment.
Rjd2 on the beats with blueprint rockin the mic. SP are one of those rare combos that just work. Blueprint has always been one of those dudes, clever, funny, wildly creative and doesnt care. RJ is known for neo modern stuff but as he shows us he can make great modern hip hop for both the old and younger generations.
Louis Logic – Sin-a-matic. 2003 Solid Records.
Be warned – this is not for the easily offended. This is a depraved ride into the mind of very talented dude. totally over the top, Louis goes where most wouldnt dare,
Then he just keeps going…and going. If you cant deal with southpark dont check this one.
“Best Friends” is genius.
Moleman – Ritual of the Mole. 2001 Fat Beats.
Basicaly this is three producers from chicago Panik, Memo & PNS – they collab with many emcees. Back the late 90s they dropped “Buried Alive” ep and a few yrs later “Locked” an many more.
It’s pure underground hip hop feat all sorts of emcees. it’s as real as it gets.
feat Juice, Louis Logic, MF Doom, Aesop Rock, Slug…
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