10. Slum Village - Fantastic Vol.2
Two of the three masterminds behind Fantastic Vol.2 are no longer alive, but this album left an indelible mark on hip-hop. SV's experimentation with neo-soul and quirky raps flung the door open for groups like Little Brother and Tanya Morgan.
9. Reflection Eternal - Train Of Thought
Lyricist extraordinaire Talib Kweli and sonic force Hi-Tek collaborate on a masterwork that underlined the Rawkus era in hip-hop.
8. dead prez - Let's Get Free
The most revolutionary hip-hop group since Public Enemy, dead prez helped revive the conscious movement with this powerful debut LP.
7. M.O.P. - Warriorz
M.O.P. hits the pleasure center of high-energy hip-hop lovers. Not for the weak at heart (or ear), Warriorz gets a boost from DJ Premier's grimy production.
6. Blackalicious - Nia
A transcendent mix of lo-fi rap and beautiful noise that eschewed hip-hop stereotypes. Nia positioned itself as the anti-DMX in a realm where gun-toting was the norm.
5. Del Tha Funky Homosapien - Deltron 3030
Rather than chase trends by faking gangsta reality, Del opts to fuse his unabashedly geeky concepts with Dan the Automator's sharp rhythms and emerges with a wildly imaginative debut.
4. Common - Like Water For Chocolate
The epic that signaled Common's stunning leap from booky underground darling to fully realized artist.
3. OutKast - Stankonia
Two dope boys from ATL lay down funky riffs and melodies while dropping musical bombs. The jagged edges fit together like a sonic Jenga.
2. Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP
An undeniable hip-hop masterpiece that reinforced Eminem's status as one of the most exciting artists of the new millennium.
1. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
Ghostface teamed up with The RZA to create an album that redefined hip-hop's cutting edge sensibilities. The rest of the game is still playing catch-up.