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The 100 Best Hip-Hop Albums of The 2000s

By Best Rap Albums of 2003

2 of 10

Best Rap Albums of 2001
The 100 Best Hip-Hop Albums of The 2000s

10. Aesop Rock - Labor Days
Aesop is one of the best rapping white boys not named Marshall. The dictionary-toting MC/producer Aesop Rock made his presence known by creating an album that was sonically and thematically superior to hip-hop's bland parity of the time. Compare Prices

9. N.E.R.D. - In Search Of...
When childhood pals Pharrell, Chad, Shay decided to explore their nerdy tendencies on In Search Of..., they were taking a road less traveled. But people didn't embrace In Search Of... because it was different. They embraced this album because it signalled a new wave of alt-rap culture that would prove influential down the road. Compare Prices

8. Cannibal Ox - Cold Vein
Cann Ox's debut was uncompromisingly fierce from start to finish. It still sounds as fresh as the first time Def Jux unleashed it. Compare Prices

7. Missy Elliott - Miss E...
As if real life didn't already offer enough opportunities to hang out with weirdos, Missy Elliott decides to explore the full range of role-playing. One minute she's trying her hand at bhangra. Another minute she's frolicking with zombies in the jungle. Get your freak on, indeed. Compare Prices

6. Cormega - The Realness
Mega fell out of step with The Firm and turned his sorrow into a compelling solo album. Compare Prices

5. J-Zone - Pimps Don't Pay Taxes
Goofy without being cheesy. Evocative without being hopelessly nostalgic. Compare Prices

4. Pete Rock - Petestrumentals
Chocolate Boy Wonder slides behind the boards and drips piano licks over crisp drum blasts. Compare Prices

3. Masta Ace - Disposable Arts
Like a film-noir hero who knows he's capable of outsmarting his nemesis, Ace boldly flaunts his cerebral rap pedigree, wagging his finger at your rap idols along the way. Compare Prices

2. Nas - Stillmatic
As the title suggests, Stillmatic was Nas' attempt to recapture the spirit of Illmatic. It arrived at the height of the legendary Nas vs. Jay-Z rivalry, so a few lines were devoted to that matter, notably the vicious "Ether." Compare Prices

1. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
It's impossible to exaggerate The Blueprint's cultural relevance -- an album so powerful not even Osama bin Laden could stop its flight to the top when it arrived on 9/11/01. The Blueprint launched Just Blaze and Kanye West into the spotlight, made Nas relevant again, and solidified Jay's place as a contender for the crown. From power pop ("Izzo (H.O.V.A.)") to vulnerability ("Song Cry"), Jay demonstrated range and versatility throughout the album. Undoubtedly the best hip-hop album of the 2000s. Compare Prices

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