9. Fat Joe - Represent
While he wasn't exactly the 2nd coming of Kane, Joe showed flashes of brilliance on his debut album, including the energetic "Watch the Sound" and the brawny "Flow Joe."
8. Masta Ace - Slaughtahouse
From start to finish, Masta Ace's 2nd full-length album cuts with the precision of a machete and serves as an ode to east-coast grassroots hip-hop culture.
7. KRS-One - Return of the Boom Bap
KRS-One's brash response to critics who charged that he had deserted the gritty territory of his Boogie Down albums.
6. De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate
Displaying some maturity and vulnerability that eclipsed the playful vibe on their first 2 albums, De La showed that they weren't allergic to change.
5. Souls of Mischief - 93 'til Infinity
Brandishing infinite levels of excitement and energy, Souls redefined West Coast underground with their first album.
4. Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
Unlike most hip-hop albums of its era, Enta Da Stage eschewed confrontational raps and opted for brooding, electrifying brand of hip-hop.
3. Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle
Snoop's glossy delivery, timely cadence, and haunting hooks were essential to Doggystyle's success. Gangsta rap never sounded so friendly.
2. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
Tribe's 3rd disc offered a brigade of melodic, Crisco-slick classics like "Electric Relaxation" and "Award Tour."
1. Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers
36 Chambers served as a launching pad for Wu-Tang members, many of whom went on to drop platinum records. Much of its success can be attributed to: RZA's unparalleled beatsmithing, the lyrical triumvirate of GZA, Ghostface, and Raekwon, the eccentricity of ODB, as well as the charisma of Deck and Meth. 36 Chambers was so gloriously chaotic that no other crew dared to replicate the Wu recipe.