Best Hip Hop Albums

The Top Ten
1 Illmatic - Nas

Often heralded as the "hip-hop bible" by fans and critics alike, Illmatic is proof that you don't need an hour long CD to create a classic album. Nas crammed into 39 minutes more potent material than most rappers are able to produce in twice that amount of time. With A-list producers (DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock and Q-Tip) supplying the beats, 19 year old Nasir Jones dispensed endless chains of multi-syllabic rhymes throughout his debut LP, tossing vivid imageries and metaphors like confetti. Illmatic is the paradigm of exotic lyricism and stellar production. Not only is this the greatest hip-hop album of all time, it's the most essential hip-hop album.

Top Tracks
It Ain't Hard To Tell
The World Is Yours
New York State of Mind
Memory Lane

Very few hip hop albums come close to the influence, mastery, and lyrical storytelling of illmatic. I can honestly say this album gets better every time you listen to it! From the first track, your transported right in the middle of queens bridge New York. I won't spoil it for you, but this is truely a masterpiece and a prime example of how great hip hop can be!

11/10 Great!

This is really the greatest rap album ever made. The album was cut short because of bootlegging but even half finished, nobody will ever be able to top it. Also Eminem has been highly overrated on this list. I don't get how you can put the Eminem show over public enemy etc.

way the hell better than all eyez on me. that's not even the best pac album other than fake mainstream fans everyone knows all eyez on me is well known not to be the best. Illmatic makes it look bad by comparison this is a master piece. Song by song its perfect. The production fits in very well with his complex lyrics it's the perfect album...
Anyone who actually apreciates hip-hop and not hip-pop will like illmatic much better. Me against the world was the best 2pac album anyway not top 10 but his best maybe top 20 or 30.

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

It's fun, it's dark, it's beautiful, it's inspiring, it's unapologetic and it's super-memorable.
While other hip-hop albums' lyrics may come across as clever, they will never stick as much as "Ghostface, catch the blast from a hype verse," "Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia," "The hell-raiser, raising hell with the flavor," "I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side," or even "Patty-cake, patty-cake, hey! I'm Method Man! "
I could go on and on.
Every beat is catchier than influenza, no MC in the Clan is wack, they all have distinct personalities, and the lyrics are witty when they want to be but also know when to be poignant and hard-hitting. It brims with personality and undoubtedly changed the game for the better.

No matter how much times I listen to this album, it never gets old. This is the only album where I can listen from the first to last song without cringing.

I agree with Henry way better than all eyez on me that album was 70 filler. Other than paid in full and illmatic enter the wu-tang is the best.

How is that overrated 2pac album #1? 36 chambers is so much better than anything on this list so far other than illmatic.

3 The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem

Almost certainly one of my favourite hip-hop albums of all time, definitely my favourite Eminem albums, with songs like
"The real slim shady"
"The way I am"
"Kill you"
And my favourite, Stan (Ft. Dido)
Brilliant albums, definitely worth a listen To!

Oh, and P.S also check out;
The Slim Shady LP,
The Eminem show,
2001, (Dr Dre)
And get rich or Die tryin' by 50 cent, 'cause if you like this album, you will like these too!

My favorite one is The Real Slim Shady, but really there all brilliant! Go Eminem A.K. A The best rapper alive. But I do ammit Tupac is pretty good. We all love you Eminem! Keep on with the brilliant songs! Also look at the views for The real Slim Shady on YouTube!

By far the best rap album ever,this man is a lyrical genius.All the albums listed here have some outstanding tunes but this rap album is outstanding from start to finish, that's what makes this not just the best rap album but the best album off all time.So will the real SLIM SHADY please stand up and take your award for best rap album ever.

Eminem is the most successful rap artist of all time! He sold 19 million copies worldwide of this album and it is the most successful, it has Stan, Way I Am and Real Slim Shady! The full package!

4 Ready to Die - Notorious B.I.G.

An album made by the Notorious BIG is always a great album! This album is "Highly Influential" acclaimed by many critics.

Top Songs

Big Poppa
Machine Gun Funk (biggie's first single)

The greatest most influential album of all time! Biggie Smalls is the greatest rapper in history, this album was so successful and every song is amazing!

Just pure CLASS! thousands of flows, each one better as the best flow of rappers nowadays! every track is amazing! and those beats will make your neck break! it never gets boring! for me its clearly one of the four best hip hop albums ever! together with doggystyle, 36 chambers and good kid maad city! MASTERPIECE!

What an album! This should be higher than the Marshall Marthers LP.
This has great songs like:
Who Shot ya
Ready to Die
Big Poppa
Suicidal Thoughts

This should be in the top 3

5 All Eyez on Me - Tupac

This album is the greatest rap album of all time. Here's why, it has over 20 tracks of pure Tupac, who is also the greatest rapper of all time. The album has everything from hardcore gangsta rap, to poetic masterpieces about how life is in the ghetto. This rap album will forever be the greatest rap album.

Hands Down Greatest Album of all time. In his short lived career due to him being shot, he went two times diamond on two of his albums, and this was one of them. It is rare to find an album that you like every single song in, but this album has many greats combined into one.

This album can: calm you down, cheer you up, ignite your anger, ignite your passion, make you think. Can another album do that? I don't think so.

Excellent lyrics. Pac is the best of all time. R.I.P. By the way what is Fort Minor doing on here? They are garbage.

6 To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

I know people are gonna say it's too soon to be considered, but I honestly think To Pimp A Butterfly is the greatest hip hop album of all time. No other rapper has been able to blend Funk and Jazz into hip-hop so magnificently before! On Avant-Garde and experimental beats Kendrick raps about the struggles of being black in the United States, and talks about issues such as police brutality, institutionalized racism, and suicidal deprssion. No other album in the history of music has been so personal, experimental, cunning, and riveting as To Pimp A Butterfly, and not only is it the greatest rap album of all time, it ranks among the greatest albums of all time in any genre.

Best rap album of all time hands down. The storytelling, songwriting, versatility, lyrics, production, and just everything else about the album is near perfection, everything song on the album has great meaning, great lyrics, and the flow and rhythm is great as well. The album is also very unique and very different from any other hip hop album. This album is an instant classic and should be number 1 on the list

This is undoubtedly one of the best hip hop albums of all time. It perfectly fuses so many genres and each song has a personality and incredible message of its own. Impeccably crafted with fantastic lyrics and top-notch production. This needs to be higher up the list; just because it's new doesn't mean it can't be one of the greats!

Understandable why it's 21st right now, but in time this will rise up and hit number 1. Absolute masterpiece, you could write essays on each track on this thing, and the messages Kendrick is giving us are incredibly accurate and can relate to the time we are going through

7 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West

This is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all time, Kanye is considered of of the greatest artists ever, it was considered the best album of 2010 everywhere, and Runaway the greatest song of the year. Everyone who hated Kanye for the Taylor Swift thing changed their minds and admitted he was a genius when they heard this. One of the greatest albums of all time. OF ALL TIME.

Most overrated hip hop album of all time. Definitely should not be in the top 10 or even top 30, there are so many better hip hop albums that most people who think this is good have probably never heard. I don't care how experimental the production is, Kanye is just not a good rapper.

8 The Chronic - Dr. Dre

Possibly the best West Coast album produced ever! Snoop Dogg gets a full introduction in the world of hip hop and G-Funk is born.

The greatest and the truest definition of what a gangster album should be, Dr. Dre was one of the innovators and creators of G-Funk.

Dr. Dre produced possibly the best album ever made and gave Snoop a preview of what its like in the business.

How can you compare such an album to any other in the world. This is so unique and innovative work from Dr. Dre

9 The Eminem Show - Eminem

The best Eminem album, it has all great songs and is a fast paced amazingly great party anthem! Till I Collapse and Without Me are two big HITS!

This beats Marshall MAthers LP and all his other works, in my opinion his only good work! Besides this his other work is not that BIG!

One of the dopest albums ever, Eminem at his best. Just an amazing piece of work from Slim Shady, one of the greatest rappers of all time.

Till I Collapse is one of his greatest songs in my opinion.

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

This album is already crowned as an "instant classic" by all the hip hop magazines... Listen to it yourself! It is a classic and is one of the greatest albums of all time! This album should be up there with ready to die, Illmatic, chronic, Doggystyle and so on... Aftermath always drop classics!

This is the bluepront for hip hop albums released in the next ten years. It combines current sounds with excellent lyricism and is one of the greatest concept albums of all time. It is a detailed character portrait of not just Kendrick, but many kids growing up in the ghetto or violent places. Must listen!

Kendrick's story telling ability is at its peak in this album. He paints a picture ao vivid with his lyrics it's almost like reading a book. It should be before ALL of Eminem's albums and should be number #10

This album is just so great all around great lyrics, amazing flow and amazing beats. This should be higher up.

The Contenders
11 It Takes a Nation to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy

No way there are 13 rap albums better than this. Should be no lower than 2. Absolutely incredible, it came out 30 years ago and still sounds revolutionary. Nothing like it.

Not enough people realise the importance of this album, needs to be higher. Probably one of the hardest albums I've ever heard.

One of the most revolutionary albums of all time. It's aged quite well too.

12 Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A

The true gangsta album! Everyone always likes to be "Gangsta" THIS is where it started, that is why NWA is so influential because of this album that started it all! And it also has the two biggest gangsta songs and NWA songs, F The Police and straight Outta compton!

Number 10 should be much higher! This is not only one of the most influential albums ever made its also one of the best. Way better than any so called Gangster rap that's been released in the last 10 years

NWA are so influential and this album started it all! Straight Outta Compton, F The Police, Gangsta Gangsta & DOPEMAN (Remix) this album had made history! at least top 3!

13 The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest

Great album, midnight marauders is still better though. But not by much

One of the best Hip Hop albums of all time, and also has some of Hip Hop's best tracks (Probably as good as Illmatic in my opinion)

14 Madvillainy - Madvillain

Not only is this one of underground hip hop greatest album, the best album madlib and doom have ever been apart of, but Madvillainy is one of the greatest Hip Hop album of all time. This is one of hip hops finest albums.
unlike other hip hop albums that drag for an hour. This album was able to be around 46 minutes long. With 22 tracks. That might sound like it would have a lot of filler. But no, each tack is able to be well flashed out. What's even better is the fact that this album has some creative samples.
There is not a track here that feels lazy or has no interesting features in it. That's what makes this album amazing, it's able to bring so much creative beats and lyrics in multiple tracks in under 46 minutes. DOOM strange cryptic flows compliments the abstract beats of the album. This album brought a new and interesting sound to hip hop.
The fact it's not even in the top 10 proves the users here really have no idea what makes a true hip hop masterpiece.

20 is too low for an album likes this. When a rapper like MF DOOM and a producer like Madlib get together, you know it's gonna be fantastic. This is deserving in the top 10's by far.

The best hip-hop album ever created, without question.

Entertaining from beginning to end.

15 2001 - Dr. Dre

2001 is so much better than The Chronic in so many ways. It sold better, it had more hit singles on it, there wasnt always the annoying appearance of Snoop Dogg in every SINGLE song! This has to be in the top ten no matter what!

This album stands out by its great build-up and constant high quality. Where most albums dip on at least a couple of tracks, 2001 by Dre never never drops in quality. Even the skits are classics!

How is this not in the top ten. It has so many greats such as:
Forgot about Dre
Still D.R.E
The Next Episode
Big Egos
What's the Difference
The Watcher

The rapping and production skills are top notch

Unbelievable performance by Dr Dre the greatest rapper of all time! A lot of amazing artists are in the album and a good skit as well!

16 Reasonable Doubt - Jay-Z

Reasonable Doubt is a legend in the Music Industry, and has been by some critics known to be in the top 5 greatest hip hop albums of all time. Jay-Z has made a lyrical masterpiece!

Amazing album and a definite MUST OWN for any die hard, hardcore hip hop fans! This is the real Jay-Z not like the Blueprint 3 pop crap! This is what started his career!

Jay-Z stole lyrics to make his choruses in this amazing unique album! It features amazing songs like DeaD Presidents II and D'Evils which is a lyrical overview of his change in life!

One of the best by one of the greats, classic back to back.

17 Me Against the World - 2Pac

I'm gonna say it, this album is better than Illmatic. This is Pac's best album hands down. The storytelling and just all of the songs in general are amazing. It should be at least top 5 on the list.

My favourite album, by my second favourite rapper, brilliantly moving, sad influential and flawless, in my opinion. Take a listen, you will enjoy!

Also listen to;

All eyez on me (2pac)
Ready to die(Notorious B.I.G)
illmatic (Nas)

Albums dope as hell. With songs like old school, it ain't easy and not to mention dear mama it's easily Pac's best

Get on this list

18 Paid in Full - Eric B. and Rakim

No brainer here. Easily without a doubt one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. Considering nearly all other greatest hip hop albums are influenced by this it deserves a top 5 spot at the very least.

Definitely should be top 10. Rakim is a god

19 Doggystyle - Snoop Dogg

Snoop Doggy Dogg. Everyone was waiting for this album to come out, and when it finally did, every one loved it! It has all his best hits, Murder Was The Case, Who Am I etc!

Not a single bad song on the album, easily one of the best hip hop albums of the 90s let alone all time.

What an album this is. Songs like "What's my Name? " and
"Gin and Juice"

Doggy dogg at his best

20 The Infamous - Mobb Deep

I love this album! Why?
1. Great beats! So dark and powerful
2. Hollywood-movie-like gangster narratives. I don't even care if the storys are real, they give me goosebumps. I'm a white suburban German, I don't even have to try to be a thug.
3. Some really good hit singles. Survival of the Fittest and Shook Ones Pt. 2 come to mind
4. This is a real album! The whole record is coherent, no filler tracks
I highly recommend this!

How is this only 18th? How is "good kid, m.A.A.d city" by Kendrick Lamar in front of this. Two of the very best rap songs I've heard are on this album. "The Shook Ones, Pt.2" and "Survival of the Fittest". Get this higher up.

Such an underrated album, had everything in one album just listen and see for yourself, power of lyricism

21 Paul's Boutique - Beastie Boys

Shame that this is so low... Easily better and more consistent than any of Eminem's releases. This and It Takes A Nation of Millions should be at the top

This album gives you the impression that it's extraordinary so it is!

22 Liquid Swords - GZA

GZA was always the most intellectual member of the Wu Tang, and this is regarded as the greatest solo project ever created by a Wu Tang member! The Genius is a lyrical machine in this! Spitting rhymes and story telling in every song he pulls off in this! Duel of the Iron Mic had to be the best of all the tracks, with great appearances by Inspectah Deck and Ol Dirty.

Genius is a true genius! Liquid Swords goes off and it deserves to be in the top ten! It totally pawns all other pop albums and so called "Rap" albums. A masterpiece into the master mind of GZA, one of the two greatest Wu Tang members of all time.

GZA was always the most intellectual of the Wu Tang. This album received a lot of attention as the best piece of work done solo by a Wu Tang member. Upon its release, the critical response of Liquid Swords was almost universally positive.

23 Midnight Marauders - A Tribe Called Quest
24 Graduation - Kanye West
25 The Money Store - Death Grips

This should be n.1. just perfect: weird, wild, noisy, aggressive but yet the catchiest in Death Grips' discography. Best album by one of the best groups of all time, with an impeccable production, unique use of samples and amazing delivery by MC Ride. 10/10

Needs to be number 1.

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