Hip-hop heads often point to the 1990s as a defining juncture in rap music. That era spawned so many classic albums that the Golden Agers still idolize it till this day. Instead of the "monkey see, monkey do" attitude of today's scene, 90s hip-hop thrived on originality. On one hand, you had the unflinching brazenness of N.W.A.; On the other, the swift charm of De La Soul. The same era that gave us Snoop Dogg's twisted tales also brought us Common's smart-guy charisma.
While compiling this list, I was reminded of a time when hip-hop had the power to move souls. Pull up a chair, grab a cold drink, and buckle up, as we take a trip down memory lane to relive some of hip-hop's finest moments. The list is ranked by year (9 from each year).
From Ice Cube's blood-boiling Death Certificate to Nas' brain-rattling Illmatic, I give you the 90 greatest rap albums of the 90s.
Artwork © Columbia