9. Busta Rhymes - The Coming
Following the Leaders of the New School's breakup, Busta Rhymes reintroduced himself to the world with the mass of restless rap anthems on The Coming.
8. UGK - Ridin' Dirty
Ridin' Dirty is UGK's most commercially successful album to date. It captured the pure essence of the Texas duo through gems like the title track and "One Day."
7. Redman - Muddy Waters
By the time Redman's 3rd album rolled around, he'd already sealed his reputation as one of the brightest MCs of the 90s. Muddy Waters' brilliance was simply a bonus.
6. De La Soul - Stakes Is High
The theme here is De La's concern for the state of hip-hop. But rather than whine all day about rap's ailments, they offered innovative rhymes and great production as the cure.
5. The Fugees - The Score
Fugees' 2nd album The Score was so huge that everyone quickly forgot about their first. Indeed, it was a remarkable improvement on the lackluster Blunted on Reality.
4. Ghostface Killah - Ironman
Accompanied by RZA's dark, eccentric beats, Ghostface unleashed a combustive debut rife with thought-provoking tunes.
3. OutKast - ATLiens
WIth Organized Noize at the production helm once again, OutKast emerged with an album that rival its predecessor for greatness.
2. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Sprinkles of slick one-liners here, bits of braggadocio here, Reasonable Doubt established Jigga as a charismatic rapper.
1. 2Pac - All Eyez on Me
Most rappers hardly consider themselves role models, but if you asked kids what they wanted to be in '96, they'd tell you 2Pac was the man. Fresh out of jail, 'Pac released All Eyez on Me, an album that highlighted his brazenness. It embodied snapshots of his character: the celebratory ("No More Pain"), the sentimental ("Life Goes On"), the occasional wordsmith ("Got My Mind Up), and the vitriolic ("Can't C Me").