Top Ten Greatest Rap Albums

The Top Ten

Illmatic - Nas Illmatic - Nas Product Image

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.

not mad at the 1 spot I believe to pimp a butterfly is overall better and this album is high and told to be the best because old heads and todays listeners think its one of the best pushing it to be the best but I can admit it's a dated work that an old head isn't lying about when they say how great it is.

Don't let Eminem pass this. Even though Eminem is a goat, this is definitely the one album you'd want everyone to be familiar with. If you listen to 1 hip hop album, make it this.

The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem Product Image

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.


This album has sold more copies than most artists have sold in their life. This album is pretty much the Thriller of rap albums. And Stan. Damn. Em totally takes the level of storytelling in that song to the next level to the point where it's basically more of a story than a song. I get chills every time I listen to that song. Even songs like the Way I am and Marshall Mathers show us an angry side of Shady where he gets real about the negatives of fame and his blunt, unfiltered point of view about things. This album is pure perfection, nothing gets better than this.

Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die - The Notorious B.I.G. Product Image

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.

Really a shame he only released two albums before his death. His flow is really easy, great songs like "Things Done Changed", "Juicy", and "Gimme the Loot" talking about the struggles of growing up, his rise to fame and luxury, and his life of crime.

As someone who's more of a rock fan, this album convinced me that hip hop can be excellent when done by a master like biggie.

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu-Tang Clan Product Image

The greatest rap group ever deserves the greatest album ever.

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.

To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar Product Image

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

Powerful album, not an easy listen at all, this is art. He is able to capture the struggle's of a black youth in the streets and use the metaphor of a caterpillar transforming into something as beautiful as a butterfly as a perfect analogy. Depicts struggles of depression, self medication, racism and police brutality. It has a lot of influences but the sound is uniquely Kendrick's. 10/10

There is really nothing like this album. In 20 years, once nostalgia sets in, this is going to be revered in the top 3 rap albums of all time.

this is the best rap record of all time if you don't think so dedicate your self into more hip hop then come back to this album and you will agree

All Eyez on Me - 2Pac All Eyez on Me - 2Pac Product Image

This thing has hit after hit, the charisma and energy are insane, doesn't feel like there's a low point, at least not in the first half.

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

The Chronic - Dr. Dre The Chronic - Dr. Dre Product Image

Great album, has the best intro of all time and actually has the best beats in all rap historsy, funkiness at its finest

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

Every single Track is a standalone milestone! Nothing more to say

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

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West Product Image

Eminem's albums are alright bc he's a technically proficient rapper. But Kanye looks at the overall picture.

Everything about this album is art. It's a modern day concept album. The beats are grand and opulent and showcase the best in hip hop at their collaborative best. Kanye brings his A game lyrically to match his guests.

And if you have to take an album to represent the hip hop genre (think Thriller for pop or Abbey Road for the rock), then this is the representative.

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.

Classic, one of greatest albums ever made. Just close your eyes and let Kanye perform on the stage that he sets with this album

Production, features, lyrics, artistry, beats, everything here is perfect and is his best album, which is a huge claim

The Eminem Show - Eminem The Eminem Show - Eminem Product Image

Only guy who could have 2 albums in top 10

Because most of the people who are voting know nothing about Hip-Hop.

every song on this album is good it never gets old

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

This is my favorite album. Not favorite Em album. Not favorite rap album. My favorite album.

Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A. Product Image

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.

This Is An Album That Changed history. One of the only albums that had a parental advisory sticker at the time. And the first group to ever say the Police. Many people can agree that this is one of the greatest rap albums of all time. With songs like Straight Outta Compton, the Police, Gangsta Gangsta, Express yourself, And 8-Ball are great, These are some of the best rappers of all time. Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E are a great example.

The Contenders

good kid, m.A.A.d. city - Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d. city - Kendrick Lamar Product Image

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.
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
(Nearly the entire album, and it has great bonus tracks on the deluxe version too)

The storytelling on this is insane, great production, great lyrics.
Even though a lot of these songs work well alone, it definitely is an entirely different experience as an album and should be heard start to finish.

my favorite album of all time. There are literally 0 skips on this album. ZERO! and what an amazing storyline to go with it

Few years from now this and tpab will be considered true work of art

Life After Death - The Notorious B.I.G. Life After Death - The Notorious B.I.G. Product Image

I have never heard a rapper spitting the same level of consistency on a double disc album like Biggie
Unfortunately somebody gotta die and that somebody was Biggie

Biggie smalls is the illest. One of my favorite albums period.

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.

Best album of all time in history. 1997. The highest peak of music genius..notorious b.I.g

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

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

The use of samples and sound effects to create musical tracks with Chuck D's booming vocals and Flava Flav's adlibs on top makes this a brilliant masterpiece.

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.

Reasonable Doubt - Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt - Jay-Z Product Image

What a debut! Smooth, catchy and really polished, this is the jewel of Jay-Zs star studded crown.

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.

The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest Product Image

Probably my most listened to rap album so far.
The beats/jazz are great, the lyrics are great (see Show Business and The Infamous Date ****). Really makes you pay attention to what Phife and Tip are saying. Combine that with head boppers like The Jazz and Buggin' Out and you've gt a quintessential jazz rap album.

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!

No doubt the most influential rap album of all time. Q-Tip is an amazing emcee and everything about this album is near perfect

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.

Madvillainy - Madvillain Madvillainy - Madvillain Product Image

I believe this is the 2nd best rap record of all time behind to pimp a butterfly

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.

If you like something more abstract, this album will scratch that itch.

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

Me Against the World - Tupac Me Against the World - Tupac Product Image

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

All Eyez On Me over Me Against The World? that's a lie. I beg to differ because Me Against The World is lyrically consistent unlike All Eyez On Me. This album shows Tupac at his prime and wasn't rushed like All Eyez On Me. In one of the most controversial years of his life he still dropped one of greatest albums hip hop has to offer and that's saying something.

Paid in Full - Eric B. & Rakim Paid in Full - Eric B. & Rakim Product Image

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

"I hold the microphone like a grudge, B'll hold the record so the neddle don't budge"

These two set the bar high. Very high. Crazy rhymes, clear flow, and top-notch beats.

Everything that came after owes this album something.

Man y'all got little doped up 18-24 yr olds voting! That's the ONLY reasoning for this masterpiece not being in the top 3! I bet even the other rappers in the top 10 will attest to it!

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.

Liquid Swords - GZA Liquid Swords - GZA Product Image

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".

NOT IN TOP 10? Everybody know this album is one of the best of all time, at least top 10

2001 - Dr. Dre 2001 - Dr. Dre Product Image

This should be WAY higher. Maybe the most well produced albums of all time Along with the chronic, with each song from top to bottom having amazing features, rapping, and production. This is is especially impressive being that the song has over 20 songs and still manages to make every song enjoyable. A classic indeed.

Are you kidding me? Top 5 at least like the beats in this album are amazing. I personally think this is better then the chronic. This should be top 5 end of story

Still Dre, Forgot about Dre, The Watcher man this album is just amazing, it has the best beats of all time and some of the best lyrics of all time, well produced, pace and instrumentals differ with each song but don't lose their edge, just download it...

Yeah by far the best rap album ever made, from the watcher till the message all songs are damn good

The Slim Shady LP - Eminem The Slim Shady LP - Eminem Product Image

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.

Common 19 is to low for this album should be way higher, I get that it's not top 5 but common should easily be top 10 every track was fire.

Graduation - Kanye West Graduation - Kanye West Product Image

Not one Kanye album sounds similar to the other and I think that's beautiful! This plunged Kanye into mainstream with its killer production and authentic sound! Good choice!

Great album, shows how ye can incorporate numerous sounds into his music

Kanye is just perfect on this album almost reaching his prime.
The stories are both about overcoming hunger, success, going for your dreams
It's an actual graduation.
Best albums of all time for me, after My Dark Twisted Fantasy.

This is the best rap album of all time. Not even a Ye fan

Raising Hell - Run DMC Raising Hell - Run DMC Product Image

This disc was far too influential to be left out of the top 25. It took early hip-hop to people who wouldn't have heard the genre otherwise.

walk this way, its tricky, my adidas

The College Dropout - Kanye West The College Dropout - Kanye West Product Image

Not only was this a good album, but it was funny! The skits and some of the lyrics had me laughing out loud, something I didn't know I can expect from a rap album.
Not only is this one of Kanye's best works, but its definitely a memorable album period.

Superb album from start to finish, there's no dip in quality. The songs and skits are brilliant. The best part is probably the last 3 songs and last Call is a great ending.

This is probably the best list overall on this site even if there's too much love for Eminem as always.

The fact that ANY eminem album is above this is hilarious

WOW! Can't believe albums like recovery can be on top of this masterpiece.

Get Rich or Die Tryin - 50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin - 50 Cent Product Image

One of the best albums out of the 2000s, ties up nicely and has a lot of bangers, I definitely see why Eminem and Dre took 50 under their belt.

Greatest album, either this or the marshal mathers lp. Listen to the whole album front to back. In the club, if I can't, 21 questions, like my style, pimp, blood hound, patiently waiting, wanksta to name a few. The whole track list had songs that would've been singles for any other rapper but this list needs to update and be real with the truth...

There's a reason this album sold over 10 million copies. It is amazing. 50 cent raps like he is already on top of the rap game, this combined with Dr. Dre's beautiful production makes for one of if not the best album of the 2000's. Who in the world hasn't heard In the club

Best album ever, doesn't have one bad track. The beats are crazy good and 50 cent just tears it up. I could listen to it all day. My personal favorite songs are in the club, wanksta, PIMP, if I can't and like my style but they're all very good.

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