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Hip Hop Til You Drop


Continuing my quest to get metal-heads interested in other genres, I present to you my favorite rap and hip hop albums you should hear before you die. They are only somewhat in order of preference.

Created by: flightoficarus | 13.04.2015



1. Aesop Rock - Labor Days
I love every one of this guy's albums. Best rapper in the underground if you ask me. His flows are great and lyrics very evocative and introspective.
2. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
Fusing jazz tracks and inspirational lyrics proved a match made in heaven. Everyone should hear this at least once.
3. Nas - Illmatic
This album blew me away and in many ways started me down the road to the rest of the albums on this list.
4. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Another big album for my future in hip hop. That opening track is just as heavy as any metal.
5. Mobb Deep - The Infamous
One of the darker sounding groups on this list. You will probably recognize "Shook Ones Pt. II."
6. Smif-n-Wessun - Dah Shinin
New to this one, but I see myself spending a lot more time with it. More classic 90's hip hop that was overshadowed by commercial releases.
7. GZA - Liquid Swords
Some sight this as the best Wu-Tang album ever made. They may be right. Kung Fu soaked hip hop.
8. Cunninglinguists - Oneirology
Another underground act, this one from the dirty south. They have many great albums, including the much lauded A Piece of Strange. I only slightly prefer this later offering.
9. The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready To Die
The best die young. Amazing album with tons of single-worthy tracks.
10. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
This 1992 post-NWA release is arguably the strongest and most enjoyable to come out of the split. As the introduction to "Lyrical Gangbang" states, "this should be played at high volume, preferably in a residential area.
11. Eminem - The Slim Shady LP
Probably my favorite mainstream rapper of all time. He is prolific for a reason with his unmatched mastery of fusing puns with clever rhyme-schemes. I also recommend MMLP, MMLP2, and Recovery.
12. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
While he has put out a number of solid albums and stellar singles, The Blueprint stands as his most consistently enjoyable and well-crafted album. It sports the given title for a reason.
13. Jedi Mind Tricks - Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell
If "symphonic rap" was a thing, this would be it. Out of this world production and killer deliveries. Lots of thought-provoking tracks about war, sweatshops, and family to name a few.
14. Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
Underground classic that is criminally unknown. Aesop-sounding beats meats Vinne Paz-sounding delivery. Great lyrics.
15. Illogic - Celestial Clockwork
Underground recommended by Apothecary. New to this one, but it is pretty stellar. Similarities to Aesop Rock in delivery, lyrics, and production. He even contributes a verse.
16. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Some of the earliest corny, white-boy rap to grace the genre, Beastie Boys didn't try to fit in. They brought their punk rock ethos and sense of humor instead.
17. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
Before the hard feelings, RZA produced one of the most well-known Wu Tang albums with the very talented Raekwon.
18. Busta Rhymes - The Coming
Roughly 100lbs ago Busta was one of the fastest and most enigmatic rappers around. He's still one of the fastest.
19. Bone Thugs N Harmony - E. 1999 Eternal
Breathe of fresh air with a completely new take on flow. Fast and furious. "Down '71" is a banger.
20. The Fugees - The Score
Pre-crazy Lauren Hill with Wyclef and Pras. They were never the same after this album.
21. Method Man - Tical
Method does two things well: smoke blunts and make stellar tracks. Wu Tang forever.
22. Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele
Aggressive, but with some lovely beats. Another great Wu-Tang spinoff.
23. Danny Brown - XXX
Naughty, naughty lyrics; but with such great beats and an unrivaled level of MC boasting. You will be laughing out loud. Check out "Monopoly" to hear what I mean.
24. Twista - Resurrection
Sadly mostly unknown due to releasing in the same year as the more commercially successful album of the same name by Common, this may be Twista's finest album. He takes a break here from being one of the fastest rappers alive to focus on dark lyrics and flows born from the streets of Chicago.
25. Bad Meets Evil - Hell The Sequel
Em and Royce reunite to make one of the best hip hop albums of 2011.
26. Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner
Quirky, unique rapper from the UK I learned about thanks to a Chris Rock list.
27. Mos Def - Black On Both Sides
Just a completely fun album from start to finish.
28. Madvillain - Madvillainy
Take Madlib and Dr. Doom-mask-wearing MF Doom and you get this underground hype-train. The short track lengths and long list make this look like a grindcore album, but it is decidedly pretty chill, albeit experimental.
29. Outkast - Aquemini
Southern rap from two guys who said forget convention. No one sounds like Andre, and the way that he and Big work together is perfection.
30. Eric B. and Rakim - Follow The Leader
This utter classic inspired legions of socially-conscious storytellers.
31. Common - BE
He has quite a few great albums, with understated beats and social lyrics. This is my personal favorite, produced by a pre-ego Kanye West.
32. Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
Before he settled down with family-friendly movies, Cube was one of the most militant, outspoken rappers out there.
33. Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
Horrorcore done right. "Diary of a Madman" is a masterful piece of chilling beats and harsh verses.
34. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I like his first 3 albums a lot, but he really hit it out of the park with this one. Mountains above anything else to come out on the radio that year. How he went from this to Yeezus is beyond me.
35. Tyler The Creator - Goblin
It's a bit of a toss-up between this and Bastard, but I am lame and can't get enough of "Yonkers." Tyler continued to grow and show complete disdain for conventional production with Wolf. His new album, Cherry Bomb, hits even as I write this today.
36. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
While I was not a fan of his 2015 outing, Doris is one of the best to be released from his crew.
37. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
More great rap from Chicago. He has become more known over the years, but never matched the from-the-streets sound of this album.
38. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
Dre, Easy, Cube. 'Nuff said.
39. The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Great flows with humorous lyrics. Another great release from '92.
40. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Bring the Noise.
41. Tech N9NE - All 6's And 7's
More rapid-fire rapping with some really solid tracks.
42. Pig Pun - Capital Punishment
"Still Not A Player" is a classic, but there are plenty of equally jamming deeper cuts.
43. 2Pac - All Eyez On Me
Plenty of filler on this album with the cheesy R&B moments, but between them you will find some great lyrics and rhythms.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by flightoficarus ]



Comments

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Comments: 14   Visited by: 44 users
06.05.2015 - 18:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Any similar lists for other genres in mind?
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06.05.2015 - 18:43
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by RaduP on 06.05.2015 at 18:34

Any similar lists for other genres in mind?


Always. Currently I have ones for post-hardcore, punk, and indie. I may do some others. Perhaps electronic or alternative/grunge. I have also been meaning to do a "Nü metal that doesn't suck" list.
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06.05.2015 - 19:48
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by flightoficarus on 06.05.2015 at 18:43

Written by RaduP on 06.05.2015 at 18:34

Any similar lists for other genres in mind?


Always. Currently I have ones for post-hardcore, punk, and indie. I may do some others. Perhaps electronic or alternative/grunge. I have also been meaning to do a "Nü metal that doesn't suck" list.

I would forever be in debt if you did one of electronic Boards Of Canada-ish music
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One day there will be no heart at all?
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06.05.2015 - 19:59
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by RaduP on 06.05.2015 at 19:48

I would forever be in debt if you did one of electronic Boards Of Canada-ish music


Hm. Listening now as I am unfamiliar. Not sure how close I can get to that. cEvin Key's solo stuff is similar. I'd recommend The Ghosts of Each Room or The Dragon Experience. He also performs under Doubting Thomas for the classic The Infidel. Then there is Crystal Castles, the Portal (game) soundtrack, perhaps Bassnectar, and certain Deadmau5. I don't listen to much of this ambient stuff, so I don't have much else to offer in that way.
----
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06.05.2015 - 20:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by flightoficarus on 06.05.2015 at 19:59

Written by RaduP on 06.05.2015 at 19:48

I would forever be in debt if you did one of electronic Boards Of Canada-ish music


Hm. Listening now as I am unfamiliar. Not sure how close I can get to that. cEvin Key's solo stuff is similar. I'd recommend The Ghosts of Each Room or The Dragon Experience. He also performs under Doubting Thomas for the classic The Infidel. Then there is Crystal Castles, the Portal (game) soundtrack, perhaps Bassnectar, and certain Deadmau5. I don't listen to much of this ambient stuff, so I don't have much else to offer in that way.


Well, thanks anyways
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08.05.2015 - 20:59
Lit.
Account deleted
I remember when a list like this would get 80% flames and 20% positive comments. I miss old Metal Storm.

I've never really been big into hip hop, but even I can say it wouldn't hurt for you to have some more classics like 3 Feet And Rising, Doggystyle, Cypress Hill, Run D.M.C., D12, etc.

Also, a metal-as-fuck guy I found a couple of weeks ago named Ill Bill. His album The Hour Of Reprisal is basically a rap album that's a huge love-letter to metal:

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08.05.2015 - 21:31
mz

Thanks a lot for this list. I've always loved hip hop/ rap but didn't have time to really get into and didn't have any source of recommendations. This will help a lot.
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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08.05.2015 - 21:43
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Guest on 08.05.2015 at 20:59

I remember when a list like this would get 80% flames and 20% positive comments. I miss old Metal Storm.

I've never really been big into hip hop, but even I can say it wouldn't hurt for you to have some more classics like 3 Feet And Rising, Doggystyle, Cypress Hill, Run D.M.C., D12, etc.

Also, a metal-as-fuck guy I found a couple of weeks ago named Ill Bill. His album The Hour Of Reprisal is basically a rap album that's a huge love-letter to metal:


Ha, nice Max Cavalera contribution. This very much reminds me of Jedi Mind Tricks, of which Vinnie Paz is also a metal fan. He even references Dillinger Escape Plan and Calculating Infinity in one of his songs. Thanks for the recommendations. I need to go back to 3 Feet High and Rising. Never enjoyed Doggystyle, D12, or Run DMC. I like Cypress Hill in small doses. There are plenty of albums in my collection not on this list. I was sticking to the ones that hit me hardest.

Written by mz on 08.05.2015 at 21:31

Thanks a lot for this list. I've always loved hip hop/ rap but didn't have time to really get into and didn't have any source of recommendations. This will help a lot.


Glad this list is serving its purpose then. Let me know which ones you like. I am always curious.
----
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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17.07.2015 - 15:21
Lethrokai

Huh, didn't know you were quite the hip-hop fan too, Flight...

Really glad to see I'm not the only one who loves Aesop Rock though. That being said, I'd probably be more inclined to put Skelethon up there, but Labor is a close second.
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Sometimes you just need to roll the dice and look away.
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17.07.2015 - 21:21
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by Lethrokai on 17.07.2015 at 15:21

Huh, didn't know you were quite the hip-hop fan too, Flight...

Really glad to see I'm not the only one who loves Aesop Rock though. That being said, I'd probably be more inclined to put Skelethon up there, but Labor is a close second.


Oh yes, I try to stay abreast of as many areas as possible. Aesop is the king. I wasn't actually all that impressed with Skelethon. For me it's Labor Days and then None Shall Pass.
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17.07.2015 - 23:35
IronAngel

I need to build my hip hop playlist (among other genres...) on Spotify, so I guess I'll use this list for reference. I've heard 11 of these, so plenty to check out. Insofar as I am competent to judge, my faves of these are Oneirology and Madvillainy. Labor Days is great, too. And of course The Low End Theory, Illmatic (the only two hip hop CDs I own), 36 Chambers and Ready to Die, but that's like saying "I like Black Sabbath".

Would go for Marshal Mathers over Slim Shady, myself. Kill You, Stan, The Way I Am, and Kim, are especially killer tracks. I didn't get into Eminem when he was hot, really only discovered him now. The guy is fucking deranged.

What do you think of some of the popular contemporary names you didn't feature? Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Death Grips, Lil Ugly Mane (which seems to be this year's music nerd favorite), Shabazz Palaces, for a few. Overrated hipster garbage, or worth getting into? I see a lot of hip hop on RYM charts and reviewed by people I follow, but I rarely bother to check them out. Need time or experts to sort out the worthy ones for me.
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18.07.2015 - 00:57
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Written by IronAngel on 17.07.2015 at 23:35

I need to build my hip hop playlist (among other genres...) on Spotify, so I guess I'll use this list for reference. I've heard 11 of these, so plenty to check out. Insofar as I am competent to judge, my faves of these are Oneirology and Madvillainy. Labor Days is great, too. And of course The Low End Theory, Illmatic (the only two hip hop CDs I own), 36 Chambers and Ready to Die, but that's like saying "I like Black Sabbath".

Would go for Marshal Mathers over Slim Shady, myself. Kill You, Stan, The Way I Am, and Kim, are especially killer tracks. I didn't get into Eminem when he was hot, really only discovered him now. The guy is fucking deranged.

What do you think of some of the popular contemporary names you didn't feature? Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Death Grips, Lil Ugly Mane (which seems to be this year's music nerd favorite), Shabazz Palaces, for a few. Overrated hipster garbage, or worth getting into? I see a lot of hip hop on RYM charts and reviewed by people I follow, but I rarely bother to check them out. Need time or experts to sort out the worthy ones for me.


Glad this list is encouraging exploration. As for newer stuff, you gotta judge for yourself. Everyone seems to love Kendrick and I really just don't get what the fuss is about. But that's just me. I hear good things about Death Grips as well, but haven't taken the time. My Metal Trenches site keeps me so busy with emails with metal music that I rarely have time to check out what's going on in hip hop now. I'm sure there is plenty of great stuff happening if you know where to look. Anthony Fantano on Youtube covers a lot of it now, almost exclusively. The last new rap album I bought was probably Marshall Mathers 2, which I really enjoy. Deranged, yes, but the man is a lyrical genius.
----
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
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25.06.2017 - 23:40
VIG
Account deleted
Great to see Aesop at number 1! He's my favorite rapper tied with MF Doom!
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23.04.2019 - 22:16
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Where's Lil Xan
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One day there will be no heart at all?
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