Hip-hop has produced tons of great albums over its 40-plus history. Some of them are worthy of the title "greatest rap album," some more than others. That's the essence of this list. These albums were picked on the grounds creativity, originality, replay value, and overall cultural impact.
Disclaimer: This list is strictly my opinion. It should not be regarded as gospel. Any omission is highly intentional.
100. MF Doom - Operation Doomsday
MF's off-kilter rhymes, scenic skits, and soul-inspired production made Operation Doomsday a unique set worthy of multiple spins.
99. Salt-N-Pepa - Hot Cool & Vicious
Salt 'N Pepa took the rap game by storm and grabbed the attention of both men and women with their titillating ditties.
98. Kanye West - Late Registration
When everyone wondered if Kanye could reenact the magic of his stellar debut, his response was a resounding yes. Late Registration not only built on his previous sound palette, it packed even more lyrical punch than his debut. West was rewarded with a Grammy for his effort.
97. Freestyle Fellowship - To Whom It May Concern
Amidst the thugged-out reign of N.W.A. and Cypress Hill, Freestyle Fellowship countered with lyrical virtuosity.
96. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
An undeniable hip-hop masterpiece that reinforced Eminem's status as one of the most exciting artists of the new millennium.
95. Too Short - Born To Mack
Raw, uncut, and x-rated tales of female conquests abound. At a mere 8 tracks, Born to Mack was indeed too short. But its brevity left very little room for missteps.
94. Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East
Fame proved elusive for the Brooklyn MC, but Jeru's edutainment and Premier's mind-blowing compositions made his debut one of the quintessential 90s hip-hop albums.
93. The Artifacts - Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Skirt-gazing b-boys pose the last stand on graf rap.
92. Juvenile - 400 Degreez
A combination of Juvie's melodic flow and Cash Money's high-end production made 400 Degreez a Southern rap favorite in 1998.
91. The Roots - Things Fall Apart
This mid-career success for the Roots was a huge step forward from the righteous fury of their first 3 LPs.