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Top 27 Rap Albums of 2007

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What makes a great rap album? It's about style. It's about artistry. It's about challenging the norm. It's about staying in control of your music, rather than chasing trends. There were many such albums in 2007, so narrowing this list to 27 was a bit challenging. Without further ado, I give you the 27 best rap albums of 2007.

Honorable Mentions: Bayani (Blue Scholars), How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? (Pubic Enemy), and Port Authority (Marco Polo).

27. Consequence - Don't Quit Your Day Job

© G.O.O.D. Music

New rappers often gripe about the state of hip-hop before they even get a chance to release an album. The problem with rookies is that they do all the talking that their music should be doing, and eventually they succumb to the status quo. Consequence, who has been around since the days of A Tribe Called Quest, doesn't waste his major debut lamenting hip-hop's poor health. Instead, he offers his wit and creativity as cure.

"Don't Forget 'Em" [Video]
"Grammy Family" (ft. Kanye, John Legend, & DJ Khaled) [Video

]

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26. Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams

© SRC/Universal
Many of the Clansmen are still grounded in Wu-Tang's hit-you-in-the-face mantra, but group captain RZA now makes soundtracks in his spare time. So, the reunited Wu-Tang clan have to bridge aesthetic galaxies just to make music. This new sense of direction became the perfect catalyst for musical exploration on 8 Diagrams.

25. KRS-One & Marley Marl - Hip-Hop Lives

© Koch

This ambitious effort from hip-hop thespian KRS-One and veteran producer Marley Marl arrived less than 5 months after Nas' controversial Hip-Hop Is Dead ,so it's no surprise that it was barely mentioned in conversation. Still, it's hard to ignore the Teacha's hardbody rhymes backed by Marley's Midas touch.

"Hip-Hop Lives" [Video]

24. Chamillionaire - Ultimate Victory

© Universal Motown

Ultimate Victory boasts some of 2007's best unheard tracks, but Chamillionaire's clean-rap approach left some unimpressed. Critics argued that the album sounds stiff without the N-word and other cuss words that make hip-hop go around. A closer look at Cham's early discography, however, reveals that he never cussed that much to begin with, and this album is barely groundbreaking in that regard. Instead, what sets Victory apart is Koopa's ability to switch from political commentary to street anthems in one breath. He rails against the Bill Reilly's of the world ("Morning News"), pontificates on the essence of hard work ("Won't Let You Down"), and still finds time to elope to his beach house ("Ultimate Vacation").

23. CunningLynguists - Dirty Acres

Dirty Acres, the fourth album from Kentucky's CunningLynguists, is such a joy ride that even their regional shoutouts ("Georgia," "Mexico") are sprinkled with brilliance. Whether tackling spirituality or sensuality, these southern rap vets explore the topics with the same seriousness.
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22. Black Milk - Popular Demand

© Fat Beats
With its balanced dose of deft production and decent rhymes, Popular Demand quickly established Black Milk as a Rookie of the Year contender. Collaborations with Slum Village, Phat Kat, and Guilty Simpson cohere so well, serving as a testament to Black's own imaginative production.

21. Evidence - The Weatherman

ABB Records
Music is more captivating when artists delve into personal accounts. Evidence, one-third of Dilated Peoples, exploits this prominent ideology on The Weatherman LP. The album is consistently dark, as Ev explores topics that he couldn't fully address on group albums. After losing his mom to cancer, he locked himself in a studio and recorded the heart wrenching "I Still Love You." Ev also uses his artistic freedom to reflect on the depression that ensued from his mom's death ("Chase the Clouds Away") and poke fun at his lazy style of rapping ("Mr. Slow Flow").
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20. Scarface - M.A.D.E.

© Rap-A-Lot

Match Scarface's unflinching ghetto reportage with some jittery, cinematic production and the result is M.A.D.E. Raucous, gripping, and ear-grabbing. The tunes on this 10-song album flow easily, like a conversation overheard through a backyard fence.

19. Blu & Exile - Below the Heavens

© Sound in Color

After one listen, you could hardly tell that Below the Heavens is Blu's introductory CD. The 21-year old wordsmith addresses issues that range from label woes to daily struggles with the ease of an O.G. Sound architect Exile provides a coherent backdrop of smooth grooves to back up Blu's clever narratives.

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18. Sean Price - Jesus Price Supastar

© Duck Down Records
Sean Price's everyman charm and self-deprecating taunts return on Jesus Price Supastar. From the album title to the album closer, Price turns conventional thinking on its head and doesn't apologize for it.
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