Top 100 Hip Hop Albums

26
HHGA’s Top 100 Hip Hop Albums

HipHopGoldenAge Top 100This top 100 is based on our personal preferences; and just a little bit on the impact these albums had on Hip Hop’s culture and history. Since these are our personal preferences, this list may not reflect what YOU think or what popular / general opinion might dictate. So feel free to discuss, but don’t hate – respect our and other people’s opinions.

Do you think albums are missing from this top 100 or should not have been included? That we ranked some too high or too low? Hit us with your opinion & your top 10 in the comments!

Criteria:

  • Albums are released before 2000;
  • Albums with too much annoying skits (De La Soul, Wu Tang, Dr Dre & others) score lower than they could have based on actual song quality;
  • The more we still listen to an album today, the higher it scores.

 

  1. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988) US | EU
  2. Run DMC – Raising Hell (1986)  US | EU
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory (1991)  US | EU
  4. Nas – Illmatic (1994)  US | EU
  5. Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Beatdown (1988)  US | EU
  6. Gang Starr – Step In The Arena (1991)  US | EU
  7. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full (1987)  US | EU
  8. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick (1988)  US | EU
  9. Eric B & Rakim – Follow The Leader (1988)  US | EU
  10. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded (1987)  US | EU
  11. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (1988)  US | EU
  12. The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better (1989)  US | EU
  13. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)  US | EU
  14. EPMD – Strictly Business (1988)  US | EU
  15. Eric B. & Rakim – Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em (1990)  US | EU
  16. Main Source – Breaking Atoms (1991)  US | EU
  17. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders (1993)  US | EU
  18. Jungle Brothers – Straight Out The Jungle (1988)  US | EU
  19. De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead (1990)   US | EU
  20. Gang Starr – Daily Operation (1992)  US | EU
  21. Eazy E – Eazy Duz It (1988)  US | EU
  22. Ice T – Original Gangster (1991)  US | EU
  23. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)  US | EU
  24. MC Lyte – Lyte As A Rock (1988)  US
  25. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Mecca And The Soul Brother (1992) US | EU
  26. KRS-One – Return of the Boom Bap (1993)  US | EU
  27. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)  US | EU
  28. Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (1990)  US | EU
  29. Showbiz & AG – Runaway Slave (1992)  US | EU
  30. EPMD – Unfinished Business (1989)  US | EU
  31. Jeru the Damaja – The Sun Rises in the East (1994)  US | EU
  32. Biz Markie – Goin’ Off (1988)  US | EU
  33. Big L – Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous (1995)  US | EU
  34. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (1992)  US | EU
  35. De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)  US | EU
  36. Diamond D – Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop (1992)  US | EU
  37. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (1987)  US | EU
  38. Public Enemy – Yo! Bum Rush The Show (1987)  US | EU
  39. The Roots – Things Fall Apart (1999)  US | EU
  40. Dr Dre – The Chronic (1992)  US | EU
  41. Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle (1993)  US | EU
  42. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)  US | EU
  43. Stetsasonic – On Fire (1986)  US | EU
  44. Black Star – Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (1998)  US | EU
  45. Lord Finesse – Return Of The Funky Man (1992)  US
  46. Public Enemy – Apocalypse 91, The Enemy Strikes Black (1991)  US | EU
  47. Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die (1994)  US | EU
  48. A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990)  US | EU
  49. Kool G Rap and DJ Polo – Road To The Riches (1989)  US
  50. GZA/Genius – Liquid Swords (1995)  US | EU
  51. Masta Ace – Slaughtahouse (1993)  US | EU
  52. Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician (1990)  US | EU
  53. Common – Resurrection (1994)  US | EU
  54. Paris – The Devil Made Me Do It (1990)  US | EU
  55. Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night (1997)  US
  56. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Wanted: Dead or Alive  US | EU
  57. Brand Nubian – One for All (1990)  US
  58. Eric B. & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique (1992)  US | EU
  59. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (1986)  US EU
  60. The Geto Boys – The Geto Boys (1990)  US | EU
  61. Black Sheep – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing  US | EU
  62. Gang Starr – Moment Of Truth (1998)  US | EU
  63. Run DMC – Tougher Than Leather (1988)  US | EU
  64. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane (1988)  US | EU
  65. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper (1988)  US | EU
  66. Digable Planets – Blowout Comb (1994)  US | EU
  67. Marley Marl – In Control Vol. 1 (1988)
  68. Outkast – ATLiens (1996)  US | EU
  69. De La Soul – Buhloone Mindstate (1993)  US | EU
  70. LL Cool J – Radio (1986)  US | EU
  71. O.C. – Word … Life (1994)  US | EU
  72. De La Soul – Stakes Is High (1998)  US | EU
  73. Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997) EU
  74. Above The Law – Livin’ Like Hustlers (1990)  US | EU
  75. Ice-T – Power (1988)  US | EU
  76. The Roots – Illadelph Halflife (1996)  US | EU
  77. Black Moon – Enta Da Stage (1993)  US | EU
  78. Organized Konfusion – Stress: The Extinction Agenda (1993)  US | EU
  79. Gang Starr – Hard to Earn (1994)  US | EU
  80. KMD – Black Bastards (1993)  US | EU
  81. Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)  US | EU
  82. Too Short – Life Is … Too Short (1988)  US | EU
  83. AZ – Doe Or Die (1995)  US | EU
  84. Ice T – Rhyme Pays (1987)  US | EU
  85. Souls of Mischief – 93 ’til Infinity (1993)  US | EU
  86. Nice and Smooth– Nice and Smooth (1989)  US | EU
  87. Fugees – The Score (1996)  US | EU
  88. Wu Tang Clan – Wu Tang Forever (1997)  US | EU
  89. Boogie Down Productions – By All Means Neccessary (1988)  US | EU
  90. Mantronix – Mantronix (1985)  US | EU
  91. 3rd Bass- The Cactus Album (1989)  US
  92. Just Ice – Back To The Old School (1986)  US | EU
  93. Redman – Whut? Thee Album (1992)  US | EU
  94. A Tribe Called Quest – Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996)  US | EU
  95. T La Rock – Lyrical King (1987)  US | EU
  96. MC Shan – Down By Law (1987)  US
  97. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Main Ingredient (1994)  US | EU
  98. Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud – Girls I Got Em Locked (1988)
  99. Chill Rob G – Ride the Rhythm (1989)  US | EU
  100. Ghostface Killah – Iron Man (1996)  US | EU

HipHopGoldenAge Top 100 Albums HHGA

26 thoughts on “Top 100 Hip Hop Albums

  1. bionicsimba says:

    Ready to Die 48th?! Those skits must really have annoyed you.

    My top ten:

    1, Ready to Die
    2. Midnight Marauders
    3. Black on Both sides
    4. Things Fall Apart
    5. It takes a nation…..
    6. Bizarre ride to the…
    7. Operation: Doomsday
    8. J5
    9. Enter the 36 Chambers
    10. Hello Nasty

  2. Ieshia says:

    1.Slick Rick-The Adventures of..
    2.EPMD-Strictly Business
    3.BDP-Criminal Minded&By All Means Neccessary
    4.Brand Nubian-One 4 All
    5.Main Source-Breaking Atoms
    6.Black Moon-Enta da Stage
    7.PeteRock&CL Smooth-Mecca&the Soul Brother
    8.BIG-Ready to Die
    9.Redman-Whut?The album
    10.Busta Rhymes-When Danger Strikes

  3. Good research. You named a lot of classics on here. One good thing that stood out to me, is how many times you have De La Soul on the list. They don’t get enough credit for consistently creating dope Hip Hop for so many years. De La has many dope albums, at least 4 of which you mentioned, which is a good look.

    I’m sure we can all name a few personal favorites that you might not have included but this is definitely a great start. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. One. Kurt Nice.

    • Thnx for the kind words.

      And you’re right: to each his own. A lot of people expect or automatically place artists like Jay Z, 2Pac & Biggie high on this kind of list – and that’s fine. They all have some dope and even classic songs. But personally I never was a big fan of any of them and don’t play their albums much (except Ready To Die). I took 100 albums which I have on regular rotation, regardless of what is expected in a list like this (Jay Z, 2Pac).

      And I agree on what you say about De La Soul – 4 of their albums in an hip hop album top 100 is definitely not too much. (I would have placed their first two even higher if not for the skits ;))

      CB/HHGA

  4. tbordage says:

    My Top 10
    10. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
    09. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
    08 M.F. Doom Operation Doomsday
    07. N.W.A. Straight Outta Compton
    06. Snoop Dog Doggystyle
    05 Nas Illmatic
    04. Wu Tang Clan Enter The 36 Chambers
    03 A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
    02 Gang Starr – Hard to Earn
    01 Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

  5. bboyslt says:

    The question where’s 2pac album??

    • Read my comment above homie 😉

      2Pac definitely made a bunch of classic songs and he was blessed with superstar charisma which made him an iconic figure (even more so after death), but imho opinion he never made an album that was worth listening to from beginning to end again and again – that’s why he didn’t make MY top 100.

      Personal preferences. Like I said: to each his own.

    • Nasty Mic says:

      Exactly! What kinda hip-hop album list doesn’t have 2Pac?

  6. dereck72 says:

    1. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
    2. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full
    3. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
    4. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
    5. Brand Nubian – One for All
    6. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
    7. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded
    8. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
    9. Gang Starr – Hard to Earn
    10. De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising

  7. Nasty Mic says:

    1. Fugees- The Score
    2. Jeru the Damaja- The Sun Rises in the East
    3. Nas- It Was Written
    4. Nas- illmatic
    5. Mobb Deep- The Infamous
    6. 2Pac- 2Pacalypse Now
    7. Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation off Lauryn Hill
    8. Digable Planets- Blowout Comb
    9. Mobb Deep- Hell on Earth
    10. 2Pac- All Eyez on Me

  8. Ogee says:

    Not a good list in my opinion, u ve so many people in d wrong order and then u don’t ve quite a number of albums as well. No Death Certificate by Ice Cube n Illmatic is a classic but shouldn’t in any way b ahead of NWA straight out of Compton. That was a ground breaking album and should be up there with public enemy. That album paved d way 4 such n so many mcs.

  9. Ogee says:

    No 2 Pac album as well, seems ur list favours the east. 2 many rappers some I don’ t believe should make top 100

  10. Jerome says:

    The only woman on the list is MC Lyte! There’s 2 if you count Lauryn as a member of The Fugees. This is a major oversight. Here’s 10 examples off of the top of my head:

    MC Lyte: Eyes On This
    Queen Latifah: All Hail The Queen
    Queen Latifah: Black Reign
    Yo Yo: Black Pearl
    Roxanne Shante: Bad Sister
    Roxanne Shante: The Bitch Is Back
    The Real Roxanne
    Da Brat: Funkdafied
    Lil Kim: Hard Core
    Foxy Brown: Broken Silence

  11. spoon says:

    Dude your smoking your socks. Tupac all eyes on me is a classic!

  12. m says:

    1. straight outta compton
    2. it takes a nation of millions
    3. the marshall mathers lp
    4. illmatic
    5. follow the leader
    6. reasonable doubt
    7. aquemini
    8. critical beatdown
    9. the slim shady lp
    10. don’t sweat the technique
    11. enter the wu
    12. breaking atoms
    13. paul’s boutique
    14. strictly business
    15. raising hell
    16. the chronic
    17. ready to die
    18. dare iz a darkside
    19. midnight marauders
    20. de la soul is dead

    not a most important list, just the shit i listen to the most/personal favorites.

  13. m says:

    and i meant to throw in low end theory at #6 after follow the leader… so take out de la soul is dead at the end and you have an even 20

  14. Mr_ZoJ says:

    1. Mobb Deep – The Infamous
    2. Outkast – ATLiens
    3. Gang Starr – Moment Of Truth
    4. 2Pac – Me Against The World
    5. The Pharcyde – Labcabincalifornia
    6. AZ – Doe Or Die
    7. De La Soul – Stakes Is High
    8. Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night
    9. Black Star – Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star
    10. Smif-N-Wessun – The Shinin

    ^This is my top 10 most played 90s hiphop albums. I see you dont have some of them in your list. You sleeping!

  15. Lou626 says:

    This is clearly an east coast biased list. Even them Supreme Clientele, It was written didn’t make the cut. The Chronic in the 40’s?!?

  16. m says:

    yo honestly the only thing for me personally that’s missing from this list is the marshall mathers lp, the slim shady lp, dah shinin’, rock box, dare iz a darkside, reasonable doubt, and in my lifetime vol. 1… other than that though this is the best list i have yet to see

  17. Terrell says:

    No eminem ?

  18. It’s a dope list for sure, and I’ve heard 97/100 of them which makes me pumped lol.

    I do gotta say the absence of even one Pac album is beyond sketchy. It’s one thing if he’s not one of your personal favorites but ch’mon mane u have to be more objective for a comprehensive list doe.

    My Top 15

    1. All Eyez on Me
    2. Hell Hath No Fury
    3. The Low-End Theory
    4. Straight Outta Compton
    5. Paid in Full
    6. 36 Chambers
    7. 7 Day Theory
    8. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
    9. Capital Punishment
    10. Soul on Ice
    11. Doggystyle
    12. Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
    13. Illmatic
    14. Funcrusher Plus
    15. Da Storm

  19. @KingAjar says:

    No Business as Usual makes this list a joke especially when Turds like Beats, Rhymes and Life are on here. Also Step in the Arena is too high especially when there are 3 Gangstarr albums that are better. From 1985 to 2000 I have every rap album and Bulhoone Mind State wouldnt even crack my top 100 let alone be ranked above Hard to Earn, Fear of a Black Planet and By All Means Necessary. I won’t list my top 10 but I will say #1 is correct.

  20. Shane J. Veneziano says:

    Killa Top 100.
    Love the omission of Tupac. I’ve caused many a bar fight by saying that is character outweighed his rhymes, esp his efforts after Me Against The World. And thanks to this list, I’ll have Diamond D back into rotation.
    Was hoping to see albums by Heavy D & The Boyz and King T in there, but hey- each to their own.

    my 10-
    Wu-Tang Clan: Enter The Wu Tang
    LL Cool J: Radio
    Redman: Whut? Thee Album
    Run DMC: Tougher Than Leather
    NWA: Straight Outta Compton
    Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince: He’s The DJ…
    ATCQ: The Low End Theory
    PE.: It Takes A Nation Of Millions..
    Nas: Illmatic
    Raekwon: Only Built For Cuban Linx/ GZA: Liquid Swords [Couldn’t split them]

    Bunk.

  21. Q Ball, The 800lb Gorilla says:

    I love the list regardless yet some albums i have to move around because they were groundbreaking. Number1 is definitely #1

  22. Rock says:

    I agree with Q Ball, great list. I think it’s just cool to see all these classics on one list.

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HipHopGoldenAge

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DEDICATED TO REAL HIP HOP. Hiphop from the oldschool early 80s to the golden age of hiphop, late 80s & early to mid 90s.

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