40. The Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
As if Biggie knew this would be his last album, he stuffed it with as many songs as he could muster -- street anthems, radio hits, comedic skits, and a wide cast of co-stars. Life After Death is certified diamond for sales totaling over 10 million units.
39. GangStarr - Hard to Earn
Hard to Earn varied from Gang Starr's previous albums: it was harsher and more insular. It also captured Guru and Premier's growing frustration with sucker emcees.
38. A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Authentic, fun and beautifully produced, Tribe's stunning debut appealed to lovers of alternative hip-hop and still inspires today.
37. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca and the Soul Brother
Pete Rock and CL Smooth helped usher in a pivotal point in hip-hop with their mix of smooth, horn-heavy beats and sophisticated rhymes.
36. 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.
35. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
Dark, raw and provocative, Fear of a Black Planet produced classic cuts like "911 Is a Joke" and "Who Stole the Soul."
34. Ghostface Killah - Ironman
Backed by RZA's slick and somber beats, Ghostface dropped a combustive debut rife with rich stories and wild metaphors.
33. Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
After a messy breakup with NWA.E=Following a bitter split from N.W.A., Ice Cube filled his debut album with dark stories of,manic frustration.
32. Redman - Whut? Thee Album
Redman's wild sense of humor is the main star of Whut? Thee Album. But the album is also notable for its rousing energy, funky party jams, and ferocious boasts.
31. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
As critics were busy writing off Beastie Boys as a one-album wonder, Ad-Rock, Mike, and MCA went back to their L.A. studio and worked feverishly on their follow-up to the monumental Licensed to Ill. The result was Paul's Boutique -- an album that packed a combination of creative depth and layered production.