80. 2Pac - All Eyez On Me
Tupac Shakur was fresh out of jail when he released All Eyez on Me, and you could hear the raw thoughts of a man grappling with his inner conflict. On one hand side was the brazen cuts that showed his tough side; on the other, he was soft as a pillow, immortalizing dead homies on the sentimental "Life Goes On."
79. Diamond - Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop
Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop announced Diamond D not as one of the best producers on the mic. It also gave us a sneak peek of hip-hop's future -- in sound and rhyme. Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop featured fierce rhymes and beats by the likes of Big L, Fat Joe, and Q-Tip, among others. Finding early promotional copies of this album today is like find unicorn blood.
78. Kanye West - The College Dropout
Kanye West's first album, The College Dropout, was one for the ages. His hunger on this album is unmatched. Warm, sample-heavy production backs up Mr. West's self-conscious lyrics. The Colleged Dropout appealed to both mainstream and underground audiences.
77. Reflection Eternal - Train of Thought
76. Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
A 24-year-old bleach blonde rapper from Detroit? Not your typical image of a hip-hop artist at the turn of the decade. But once Eminem opened his mouth, no one could question his skill. The Slim Shady LP sold over five million copies and solidified Em as a new force in rap.
75. DMX - It's Dark & Hell is Hot
DMX's debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, arrived in May 1998 and established him as the hottest thing in rap. At a time when Bad Boy stars like Mase and Diddy ruled radio with a pop-friendly sound, X went the dark route. He barked (literally) his way to the top of the charts, thanks to key singles "Get at Me Dog" and "Ruff Ryder's Anthem." And "How's It Goin' Down" with Faith Evans showed this dog wasn't all bark all the time.
74. Mobb Deep - The Infamous
One of rap's greatest duos, Mobb Deep brought QB dun talk to hip-hop audiences in the 90s. East coast hip-hop was a competitive space in the 90s, and Mobb's first album, Juvenile Hell, flew under the radar. In 1995, Havoc and Prodigy made huge creative leaps with The Infamous. With Havoc serving up hardbody beats and Prodigy thrilling listeners with cinematic crime rap, The Infamous became one of the most influential gangsta rap albums.
73. Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
While De La Soul was brewing Daisy Age rap in the east coast, Pharcyde was diligently paying attention out west. Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde has so many fun, irreverent moments and ("Oh Sh*t") and angst ("Officer") and mush ("Passin' Me By"), but not once do the zany fellas on the mic compromise passion for a bitter whine.
72. Geto Boys - We Can't Be Stopped
It's hard for those who weren't there to understand, but the Geto Boys were rap heroes to every little ghetto boy or girl in the Gulf Coast who dared dream of counting bars at a time when east coast and west coast were vying for rap supremacy. Of course, it's a great album full of raw tales every hood can relate to, from Houston to Haiti.
71. Biz Markie - Goin' Off
The Human Beat Box came onto the scene with jokes in his veins and a boogers-out attitude on the mic. With Marley Marl weaving some of the tightest beats of the Golden Era and Biz dropping lung-cracking rhymes, Goin' Off affirmed Biz Markie as a certified master of ceremonies.