5. Jay-Z - Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter
Jigga's ambivalent half-thug, half-gentleman personality is largely at play on this chart-topping opus, which offered hits like "It's Hot" and "Big Pimpin."
4. Method Man & Redman - Blackout
For the hardcore Redman fan, Blackout posed some of the freshest rhymes you'll ever hear. By contrast, Meth was more laid-back and flavorful. Together they made black magic.
3. The Roots - Things Fall Apart
This mid-career success for the Roots was a huge step forward from the righteous fury of their first 3 LPs. They even bagged a Grammy for the Scott Storch-produced "You Got Me."
1. Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
A white MC from Detroit? Unflinching paeans to drugs and violence? The task before Eminem seemed illogical at first, but he turned trials into Grammy trophies within a year. Complaints about his "evil" music failed to stifle the album's success, as The Slim Shady LP went on to sell over 5 million copies. This manic slice of dysfunction is also responsible for some of Eminem's best songs.