Top Ten Greatest Rap Albums

The Top Ten

1 Illmatic - Nas

The big difference between illmatic and mmlp is this. Lyrical content that defines what real hip-hop is, was, and should be. Illmatic is Highly intelligent, creative, down to earth, and UPLIFTING to the struggles from where hip-hop culture originates from. Not knocking M, he's brilliant, but illmatic captivates us because the stories their represent black culture before the major corporate take over of hip hop (rap is dead). Mainstream rap is much different now...(money, killing, drugs, ) Most eminem fans didn't even listen to rap until he became famous, which is like the kids today who think Justin Bieber is the king of pop. A white fan base can carry you along way (bieber) with or without talent so I don't think its the fact that people have a problem seeing Eminem as the best because he's white...its just the fact that his mainstream message...I've had a pretty hard life, I'm angry, so I should act out and think crazy, isn't really what hip hop/rap is about.

Best hip-hop album ever, bar none. While Eminem is skilled, there has never been, and there never will be, a better album than Illmatic, which happens to be Nas at the top of his lyrical game, which is considerable, to say the least. The production was near perfect with DJ Premier on the boards for some of the tracks, and LES and Q-Tip had their moments as well. This album changed hip hop fundamentally, and that is why there is no better album. - strategicnuclearmoose

It isn't necessarily the message sent in the album, even though they are deeply inspiring, it's the flows that Nas brings when he speaks in this album. Each cut seems to always bring a lyrical synchronism that no other album I've ever heard. It's been 20+ years and this album still has some of the lyrically colorful combination of bars in the history of rap, and the craziest part is that he did this in 1994 when nobody had ever heard of this kind of synchronizing of words and melody in the history of music. Not to mention, Nas was 19 years old when creating this piece along with intellectually stimulating lyrics that continuously throughout time make you keep wondering, who's world is this? The craziest rap album of all time because it's simple, not over the top, yet it grows on you and never, ever gets old because it's straight, 100%, real. And, at the end of the day, isn't that how the rap game is supposed to be exemplified? How real things can be? Naw, Nas killed it in 1994 and ...more

GOAT

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2 The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem

Lyrically fluent, honest, shocking, incredible album. If you hate Eminem now, go out and buy this album and listen 1-18. You will find it difficult to not respect him. Believe Me!

Everyone can say what they want about Eminem, just because he is white. But this album is a masterpiece, each song is shockingly brilliant and is just incredible. Stan is one of the greatest stories I have ever heard in a song and songs like Criminal, Who Knew and The Way I Am are classic songs that told all his critics and haters to shut up and listen to what he had to say. He made this album with no fear and that is what makes this album so special.

Everyone on here doesn't like a white guy being at the top of rap but that's just the way it is.

Eminem ASIDE FROM OTHER ARTISTS ON THIS ALBUM, IS NOT THE SAME SKIN COLOR. IMAGINE THE STRUGGLES HE WENT THROUGH TO MAKE IT TO THE TOP, AND THAT'S WHERE HE BELONGS. IF HE WAS A WACK RAPPER HE WOULDN'T EVEN BE MENTIONED. BUT EVEN IN A LIST LIKE THIS, HE BEATS OUT 2PAC, ENOUGH SAID. HOLLA

The MMLP is a classic album and cannot be beaten so the fact that Illmatic is above this is very hard to believe. Illmatic may be a great album but it comes no where near the quality of the MMLP. These are reasons why:

1) Originality- Nas talks about living in the ghetto which is a topic that NWA and other rappers have already rapped about. But no one has heard of a WHITE guy growing up in a ghetto.

2) Rhymes- Eminem's vocabulary is considered to be the best out of any artist. It's amazing that he had never even passed grade 9 and he still can rhyme using words some people couldn't even say.

3) Emotion- Nas tells a story in a way that you can picture his life. Eminem tells his in a way that makes you truly feel like you lived it. He's just so powerful.

4) Humour- Not all songs need to be serious to be fantastic songs and Eminem proves that with amazing songs like "The Real Slim Shady, "My Name Is" and "Under The Influence"

5) Rap Speed- Lets see Nas ...more

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3 Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G.

This is what hip hop rap is all about. All the songs are just over the top. This album changed the game. This album changed east west beef. Long kiss goodnight. Pushed it to level in hip hop that will never be reached again. Puff outro took it to BEYOND beef. All the tracks came out on the radio. The only album that has done that to this level. Illmatic from nas is original greatest album. This isn't a album the is the gospel of hip hop. The murder no the killing of pac and big changed the game no changed the world. This album is forever the best album ever made. His storytelling his delivery his heart was on display. His life was in this and his death is in this. It's not a album it the man in words. It's a thin line between love and hate. Love It or hate it this debate is over. As the words of rick flair to be the you have beat the man. The man is dead and took the title with him.

Although I haven't listened to EVERY rap masterpiece yet, I have listened to all the ones mentioned above. But honestly I love every song on this album! My favorite! Don't get me wrong, I ain't 'bout the West Coast-East Coast thang. I love 'Pac but I like this more than "All Eyez on Me". I'm still yet to listen to other 'Pac albums like "Makaveli - Killuminati: The 7Day Theory" and "Me Against the World" but I listen to TONS of music and this is my favorite album! Don't download songs. You need the whole thang.

Possible one of the best hip hop albums of all time, this album put east cost hip hop on the map. This introduced biggie to the world. The lyrics are so clever and the flow is perfected. This is real hip hop. Every song is just amazing. This should be in the top 5.

Love illmatic but It doesn't have enough songs.

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4 Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan

Amazing group of rappers, all did an amazing job on this album, making it one of the greatest rap albums of all time!

Greatest masterpiece of all time.

Revolutionized hip hop and paved way for nearly every hardcore rapper after 1993.

No contest

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5 All Eyez on Me - 2Pac

Pac is the greatest rapper of all time

Pac has been dead for 15 years and he is still in First place with over 75 Million albums sold.

2pac was and is the greatest writer, rapper and personality of the rap game.

People call this trash because pac didn't have some huge ass political statement on it but you know what? Those concepts, of political and conscious hip hop are not what makes 2pac one of the greatest. He made an album that could vary in terms of mood track to track, but kept the same concept, had great production, and 2pac demonstrates his RAPPING skills. Not his skill at choosing a genre. Now don't get me wrong, dear mama, changes, etc. I have nothing WRONG with those, it's just not what makes him the best, just the simple concept of having conscious songs, but people act like those are automatically his best. 2pacalypse wasn't an amazing album, sure it had good lyricism at times and certainly bright spots, but if he spent his career with lots of songs of that album that were highlighted in his albums, never changed production quality, never improved technically, in terms of rapping, and never honed his lyrical skills any more, he wouldn't have so much respect. This is why this ...more

Pac is deep heartfelt for every struggle I ever bin thru there's a Pac song 2 make me feel better

All eyez is the greatest by far it was a2 disc and he wrote it so fast it would go platinum today no artist

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6 The Chronic - Dr. Dre

This one in my opinion should be top 3. From track 1 to the last it's all good. Everybody I know likes this album, don't know why it's so low

The debut album of one of the most respected hip-hop producers in the world

The Chronic changed everything in the rap game from a musical and production stand point. Most rappers today were probably not born at the time this album dropped. It's a true classic album that should be number 1

He's the best producer of all time and best selling rap album of all time

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7 The Eminem Show - Eminem

every song on this album is good it never gets old - 3anegroes

Only guy who could have 2 albums in top 10

for me till i collapse was the reason i bought the album - Phuffu

Eminen doesn't just have the best rhymes or rapping capabilities overall, his puns and rhyme schemes are so intricate that it takes a couple of times after listening to an album/song to understand the underlying messages and brilliance in his music. This album is an absolute classic. Em is definitely the goat, period.

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8 To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

To pimp a butterfly might not be as easy to listen to as gkmc but it makes up for it with its rich themes and jazz incorporation. And also from Wesleys theory down to mortal man there is literally no filler, no skip panos tracks even including the interludes. This album focuses on themes of fame leading to depression and feeling empty then realizing that your fortune and newly discovered fame has led you to abandoning your home where your loved ones still fight a continuous battle against poverty gangs and discrimination. To close it all off he asks the audience that if his life went wrong or he made a bad decision would you still love him and his music? After that track started to fade he continued with his letter that he had been reading pieces of at the end of each son only to realize that it was dedicated to Tupac. Then, something even more surprising, Tupac responds! Kendrick and Tupac talk back and forth about philosophical views and just life itself. This is, quite honestly the ...more

This album will not get the proper recognition until Kendrick is all set and done. People often don't recognize the legacy of something until the truly digest everything. As Jay-z said, "They say they only miss you once you're dead or you're gone".

This album is the best album of all time in my opinion. Kendrick attacks controversial topics fearlessly and from a variety of angles. We live in a time when stating your opinion is harder than ever. It is much easier to offend people than it was 20 years ago. Kendrick manages to avoid controversy and still get his point across in regards to the highly sensitive topic of racism. As a white, middle-class male, I should HATE this album. Yet, Kendrick presents his points in such an elegant, clear, fair way, that it makes me love this album and his perspective. Along with racism, Kendrick tackles problems such as the thirst for worldly pleasures, whether it be wealth(Wesley 's Theory) or sex(These Walls).

The story ...more

This album will definitely slowly rise to the top of this list. While a very new album, this is certain to go down in history as one of, if not the best rap album ever produced. Music is extremely well written, but they wouldn't pull any weight without Lamar's supreme lyrical talent. This album will go down in the history books.

To pimp a butterfly is the most complete album as it can get. The production quality, the bars that KDot chooses to lay, the stories and the visuals are all stunning.
As it is in all fields of competitiveness, as time goes on people get better at the sport. Jesse owens, considered to be GOAT in track events, his run times are lesser than the top 10 in the track today. Drawing parallels, kdot is the perfect example of evolution in the rap game. Production quality is much better than other albums in this list, the vocals sound exquisite, the stories touch a cord, but most of all the visuals (which were not a priority in the erstwhile generation) are all solid. This album also has the longevity of Illmatic and will live on for years to come. On the track list front, it has songs that appeal to wide range of audiences, from the poppy/groovy King kunta, dance number 'i' complemented by 'u', to the raw and unadulterated emotion on Blacker the berry, it takes listeners on a ride keeping ...more

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9 Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A.

It has been years since I first heard it and I still come back to it regularly, it never gets old, or loses it's edge. Has there ever been an opening track like Straight Outta Compton? Did there even need to be another track on the album after that? Probably not... But there is, and start to finish it's just one absolute classic after another, for me it's the highest point of RAP ever, and I honestly don't see anything else coming close to the genuine edginess or relevance this has in abundance. The honesty and humour that embelish it's excellent social commentary is something even the most talented of wordsmiths cannot replicate and the fact that the listener never once gets a sniff of pretension speaks volumes for what the album has to offer, there are great artists, great producers, great lyricists, great innovators, great pioneers, and great events that change the course of things to come, but has there ever been a RAP album that oozed all of this greatness combined from every ...more

Sold more than one million records and had no radio play or video play was crazy, some can't sell a million records with 3 singles

This started it all for westcoast and gangsta rap just an awesome album which which crossed the line in the best way possible.

First time I heard this album it blew my mind! Almost 30 years later it continues to destroy any competiotion! How this is not number one will always amaze me, even today you can hear the influence this album had on modern music.

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10 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back - Public Enemy

This was back before political rap went off track. Personally I thinks its gotten out of hand. Chuck-D was brillant at gettin his message across without tryin to be contriversal. This might be thought of as a critism but its praise for not trying to stir up the media into givin them free promotion because the quality of this album speaks for itself

This is my favourite album ever! You should know this should be on first place, Rolling Stone ranked it higher than any hip-hop album on the list

This is it, people. I know there's a separation between fans of old rap and modern rap, but give this a listen. It's good to know where your music came from.

Classic

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The Newcomers

? Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik - Outkast

What is this doing here this has to be at least 50 - RackumFrackum

? Whut? Thee Album - Redman

The Contenders

11 good kid, m.A.A.d. city - Kendrick Lamar

Great Album, the beats are pretty good but the storytelling from front to back is just wonderful. Insane lyrics, the whole album together tells a story of his life in Compton. The album doesn't fall of much at any point.
Highlights:
Swimming Pools (Drank)
B*tch Don't Kill My Vibe
Backseat Freestyle
The Art of Peer Pressure
Poetic Justice
Good Kid
m.A.A. D City
Real
Compton
(Nearly the entire album, and it has great bonus tracks on the deluxe version too)

So consistent. This is the only album where every song is a hit. The lyrics flow so well and the story they tell us is a masterpiece mix of memories, struggles, and goals. This album has a bonus track that also includes all amazing songs. From Backseat Freestyle, to Poetic Justice, to Real, this is hands down the best album of the 2000's and one of the greatest albums of all-time.

There is not one song on this album that I do not enjoy. The production was amazing, and the way the songs were put together was fantastic. Kendrick Lamar displays his lyricism and flow, as well as his story telling. Out of the bonus songs, Black Boy Fly is by far the best. If you haven't heard this album, then you're about to be obsessed with this for the next month.

There is literally not a single mediocre song on this album. Every single song is outstanding and this album was WAY better than To Pimp A Butterfly.

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12 Reasonable Doubt - Jay-Z

This album and illmatic are the best two rap albums ever made and it will always be that way. So many genius songs on this album its unbelievable. To name a few, can't knock the hustle, politics as usual, devils, cashmere thoughts and friend or foe

Jay-Z at his best, overlooked.
D'Evils *****
Dead Presidents ******
Regrets ******

Jays flow solely on dead presidents states that the album is one of the greatest ever.

Classic. Amazing lyrics, storytelling, flow, and instrumentals. Everything you want in a great rap album.

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13 Life After Death - The Notorious B.I.G.

Why is this so low. This is considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time. It is 1/7 albums of rap to be Certifed Diamond selling over 10 million albums and it can't even make the top 10. The Notorious B.I.G.'s 2nd and last studio album to be finished before his death. With singles like Hypnotize, Mo Money Mo Problems, and Sky's The Limit are top ten hits. Other songs on this album are great like Ten Crack Commandments, Kick In The Door, Going Back To Cali, and You're nobody till somebody kills you. Beating Puff Daddy's " No Way Out " album to nominated a Grammy. How can this not make the Top Ten.

How is the carter 3 bigger than this! Damn mo money mo problems and notorious thugs are the bomb! B.I. G should be there next to
1. Ready To Die-Notorious B.I. G
2. Illmatic-Nas
3. Life After Death-Notorious B.I. G

The answer to All eyes on me, Mo Money Mo Problems has to be one of the greatest songs of all time.

How is this 13 this a work of art the best rap album ever

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14 The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest

This definitely should be high up on this list. Tribe were the pioneers of making positive and socially conscious rap and so many countless rappers were influenced by this album. Not to mention this album introduced the world to the legendary Busta Rhymes!

Listen to this in your cozy chill time and you'll be amazed. Their lyricism, smoothness and combination of jazz and rap is out of this world, really.

Smart lyrics drizzled over smooth, jazz rap layers

I absolutely love A Tribe Called Quest!

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15 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West

One of the best Albums ever. Kanye West at his magnificent best. The production is perfect, All the songs are amazing there is not one bad song on this album, Kanye steps up his lyrical game, his flow is great and the features all shine whether it be Nicki's verse on Monster or Rick Ross's verse on devil in a new dress. Kanye uses My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as a platform to show that after the Taylor Swift incident he is not just one of the most creative rappers of all time but one of the best artists of all time. The best album of the decade so far and truly a masterpiece from start to end. Thank you Kanye Omari West for blessing us with a truly timeless album which just like Illmatic, Ready to Die and other classic albums we will be telling our grandchildren 50 years from now.

Your kidding right, all the way down here? This masterpiece of an album that just got rated 8th best in any genre all time by Entertainment Weekly, which was the best rap album by over 20 spots. Every single song on the album is incredible.

Amazing. You have to consider what Kanye went through in his life making this album, after the Taylor Swift incident he went to China to think and write. He had recently lost his mom in 2007. He almost committed suicide from the flak he was getting. If you think about it this album was about his life. The name is also amazing

Favourite album ever

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16 Me Against the World - Tupac

Come on all eyes on me over this? Please. No disrespect to all eyes on me because it is a great album but has more filler than my Mothers stomach. Me against the world is pax at his best. He is also in one of the worst places in his life but that gave way to amazing music. The only track that I would consider even slightly mediocre is outlaws

dear mama, temptations, so many tears

From the day he entered the game, to the day he died, to this day seen as the greatest rapper of all time, in this album you can see amazing ganster rap songs and also really emotional songs

I honestly think this is better than all eyes on me

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17 Paid in Full - Eric B. & Rakim

Without this album, we would have never had most of the albums listed above. Eric B is one of the best DJs of all time combined with one of the best rappers of all time. Every song on the album is incredible. Start to finish. Some people might not like the beats anymore because they are used to the way music is produced now. The imagery Rakim uses in every song on this album is unparalleled to anything I've ever heard. "Dance with the speaker till You hear it blow, then plug in the headphones because here it goes" lots of double entendres "whoever's outta hand imma give them handles, light em up blow em out like candles, or should I just let them melt? " Literal meanings to aspects you wouldn't normally think of like using the "rhyme can't be kept inside" breaking the word inside into different bars. Rhyming paragraphs with paragraphs conveying a logical message. Playing with syllables. Using math. He proves he ain't no joke to start off the album. "As the rhyme goe on" gets rougher ...more

Yes I do love most of the albums above this, Tupac and biggie were legends as is Eminem. the wu-tang clan is raw and rugged bringing their own style and Nas is my favourite rapper and illmatic is my favourite album. but this is the best album not our favourites. paid in full is a pure blood classic that every rapper that came after these two (all of the above) owes a large chunk of their success to. this album inspired so much talent in the rap scene its almost a crime this isn't at least in the top 5

Im guessing a bunch of suburban teenage wiggers are voting since eminem, lil wayne, and 2pac are the top 3. Em and Pac are good I will show them some respect but lil wayne is garbage. Rakim set the standard for hip-hop and this is the thanks he gets lil freakin wayne is ahead of him.

I'm one of those suburban wiggas one of the above comments refers to. All I gotta say is F.U., I totally agree, this is top 5 at least, at I've heard the ones before it. These guys are rap royalty, guys like biggie, m/m, kanye, are a total joke compared to these guys. So take your generalization comments off! These albums rank higher because people are no longer aware of great non sell out hip hop artists. No gimmicks, just great rap

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18 Madvillainy - Madvillain

There is no hip hop album that has ever been released quite like this one. MF Doom has a totally unique flow and is easily one of the greatest wordsmiths not only in hip hop history, but in music history. You could read any verse of his at all, and it will blow your mind. Then there's Madlib, who, thanks to his incredibly vast knowledge of music, makes some of the most beautifully abstract instrumentals ever. I could go into great detail about every individual track because they're all fantastic, but I can't. You just have to experience it for yourself. - Mard

It boggles my mind this masterpiece is at 41. Everything about it is great. The lyrics, production, flow, rhymes, and so much more. - Mumbizz01

The best hip-hop album because of lyrics and beats just the best

99% of people voting on this list don't know who MF DOOM or Madlib are but if they did this would be #1. DOOM's rhyming, delivery, and flow mesh perfectly with Madlib's hypnotic and masterfully crafted beats.

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19 The Slim Shady LP - Eminem

I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned, this is Em's 3rd best album. It ain't as good as MMLP and The Eminem Show but it is better than Recovery and Infinite and much better than Encore and Relapse. Rock Bottom is one of his best songs and just shows you how hard and how far it took him to get to the top and no one will have it harder and deserves to be named the G.O.A.T

Are people crazy? This album is #1 of all time! How can you possibly think Encore is better than this? People gotta have more respect for Slim Shady, best lyricist ever, great flow, The Slim Shady LP, has so much good songs, this album is even better than albums like "All Eyez On Me" "Marshall Mathers LP" Illmatic" "Ready to Die", those albums are awesome, but this one is even better!

Of all of Eminem's mainstream albums, why is this last, why is Recovery, Encore and Relapse above this. This was Em at his most shocking and very funny. This is easily his most underrated album. Also that guy who voted for the Carter I and said this "The Cater 3 should be #1 easily. Because Eminem never got a good album like this. This album goes hard just like the rest of Lil Wayne's. Eminem only has like 1 0r 2 good albums where as Lil Wayne has like 10. Lil Wayne= Best rapper alive. Lil Wayne owns the show so everyone just sit down.

Love every song on this album. Mostly My name is, Rock bottom and Just don't care.

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20 Liquid Swords - GZA

Lyrically, this is one of the greatest albums ever made. I'd go so far as to say it's as good (if not better) than Illmatic (lyrically, of course). However the Wu-Tang style is not for everyone, and it definitely took me a while to begin appreciating Liquid Swords. This is what turns people off about this album, it's not like anything you usually here out of a rap song (unless you've listened to Wu-Tang). That being said, if you give this album say, three or four complete listens, then you will realize why this needs to be at the top. Is it the greatest album of all time? No, it's too stylistic for people's taste and very different from any genre of rap/hip-hop. However, I'd take this over big albums like The Chronic or Me Against the World.

Wu Tang Destroys Every One On That List

This is probably the most lyrical album I have. GZA The Genius obliterates everything, stomps on everything, cuts everyone's head off, and he dropped megaton bombs more faster than you blink. A darker atmosphere created by RZA's infamous producing combined with THE GENIUS makes this album so legendary. Never forget guest appearances including Ghostface Killah dropping it on "4th Chamber".

Pure genius, takes a few listens to tge lyrics to get it going.

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List StatsUpdated 25 Jul 2017

11,000 votes
379 listings
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Top Remixes (86)

1. Revolutionary Vol. 2 - Immortal Technique
2. Me Against the World - Tupac
3. Liquid Swords - GZA
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1. The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem
2. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan
3. Illmatic - Nas
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1. The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem
2. All Eyez on Me - 2Pac
3. Get Rich or Die Tryin - 50 Cent
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