List of hip hop albums considered to be influential

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This list provides a guide to the most important hip hop albums, as determined by their presence on compiled lists of significant albums: see the "Lists consulted" section for full details. Inclusion on a list is indicated by numbering after each release. The brief accompanying notes offer an explanation as to why each album has been considered important. The organization of the list is by date of release, ranging from Run-D.M.C.'s eponymous debut in 1984 to Jay-Z's 2001 album, The Blueprint.

Since for the period of 1979–1983, hip hop was a music for 12" singles rather than albums,[1] the absence of old school hip hop from the list has been compensated for by providing it with its own section of notable releases. Notable compilations of songs which contain important hip hop breaks (short percussive interludes used as the rhythmic basis for a hip hop song) are also included.

Breakbeats[edit]

The break, the instrumental portion of a record (of any genre, though perhaps most often funk or rock) that emphasizes the percussive pattern, has been the fundamental unit of much of hip hop music. The collections below collect the original songs that contain some of the most popular breaks in hip hop.

  • Super Disco Brakes (Winley) [2] Vol. 1 was released in 1979, making it one of the first releases connected to hip hop culture, and almost certainly the first breakbeat record.[3]
  • Ultimate Breaks And Beats Vols. 1–25 (Street Beat, 1985–1990) 5 This comprehensive and influential series began just as the sampler was taking a central role in hip hop music.[4]
  • Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Hip Hop Vol. 1 (Rhino, 1997) 5 One of the few breakbeat collections not of dubious legality.[4]

Old school hip hop[edit]

  • Live Convention '82 (Disco Wax, 1982) 1 This is a bootleg of a live event at T Connection on which one can hear various extracts and breaks, and Grand Wizard Theodore cutting up "Do the Funky Penguin" with rap over the top.[2]
  • Wild Style (Animal, 1983) 1 3 The soundtrack to the movie Wild Style has historical weight and yet "still feels like now", in the words of Jeff Chang.[5]
  • Go-Go Crankin' (4th & B'way, 1985) 5 Go-Go Crankin' is a hard-to-find early compilation of the related genre go-go. See also Meet Me At The Go-Go (Sanctuary, 2003).[6]
  • The Best of Enjoy Records (Hot Productions, 1989) 3 5 Enjoy were responsible for some of the most essential old school recordings; some contained here are "Superrappin'", "The New Rap Language" and "Feel the Heartbeat".[7]
  • The Sugar Hill Story - Old School Rap To The Beat Y'all (Sequel, 1992) 5 This is the definitive collection pertaining to the earliest hip hop label, compiled for Sequel by David Toop.[8]
  • Street Jams: Electric Funk Vols. 1–4 (Rhino, 1992) 5 These are compilations of the sub-genre electro.[9]
  • Cold Crush Brothers: All The Way Live in '82 (Tuff City, 1994) 5 The Cold Crush Brothers were a direct inspiration for The Sugarhill Gang. This live 1982 recording obviously does not contain their 1984 single "Fresh, Wild, Fly and Bold", but it is an essential old school document. See also Cold Crush Brothers Vs. The Fantastic Romantic 5 (Tuff City, 1998).[10]
  • Pumpkin: The Tuff City Sessions (Old School Flava, 1995) 5 Pumpkin was the musician, percussionist and band leader behind many old school tracks for the Profile, Enjoy, and Tuff City record companies. This collection does not have his own "King of the Beat" (Profile, 1983) and suffers from poor sound quality, but captures some of his performances for Grandmaster Caz, Spoonie Gee and others.[11]
  • Spoonie Gee: The Godfather of Hip Hop (Tuff City, 1997) 5 Almost all of the best releases by "perhaps the first great MC" are compiled here.[12] Not to be confused with The Godfather of Rap (BCM, 1988).

List of important albums[edit]

1984[edit]

1985[edit]

1986[edit]

1987[edit]

1988[edit]

  • MC Lyte: Lyte as a Rock (First Priority, 1988) 1 2 3 4 5 The treatments Lyte gives rap competitors and ex-boyfriends in tracks like "10% Dis", "I Cram to Understand U" and "Paper Thin" make this debut one of the best albums of the era.[29]

1989[edit]

1990[edit]

  • Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet (Def Jam, 1990) 1 2 3 6 7 Fear of a Black Planet, containing the singles "Fight the Power" and "Welcome to the Terrordome", was the similarly incendiary follow-up to It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.[35]

1991[edit]

  • De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy, 1991)1 2 3 5 7 Following the success of their debut, De La Soul killed off their hippy image, producing this sometimes frustrated, sometimes uplifting album with rich grooves in both moods.[42]
  • Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1991) 1 2 3 4 5 Sardonic and menacing, marijuana-toking Cypress Hill's debut had B-Real's unmistakable nasal-whine delivery and extraordinary beats on this commercially successful record.[44]

1992[edit]

  • Dr. Dre: The Chronic (Death Row, 1992) 1 2 3 5 6 7 10 The era of wide-scale sampling would draw to a close in the wake of this hugely successful and hugely influential record, which used live band "interpolations" to create a slow, laid-back music, forming the background to raps of chilling violence.[49]

1993[edit]

1994[edit]

  • Nas: Illmatic (Columbia, 1994) 1 2 3 5 6 7 As writer Peter Shapiro frames it, Illmatic demonstrated a fitting of production to lyrics worthy of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, an analytical evocation of street life that matched the power of N.W.A., and a command of the microphone not heard since Rakim.[53]
  • Notorious B.I.G.: Ready to Die (Bad Boy, 1994) 1 2 3 5 6 This album's platinum sales, rap skills, and bleak vision mitigated by humor and funk, completed the revitalization of New York hip hop begun with the success of the Wu-Tang's debut a year before.[55]
  • Common Sense: Resurrection (Relativity, 1994) 1 2 3 4 5 "I Used To Love H.E.R." is an extended metaphor for hip hop that attracted much attention, while on tracks like "Resurrection" and "Watermelon" Common's style is warm and witty, the tracks full of wordplay and assured jazzy production.[56]

1995[edit]

1996[edit]

  • The Fugees: The Score (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1996) 1 2 3 4 6 Massive singles aside, this was a dark, downtempo album; it sold over 18 million copies worldwide and was widely respected.[59]

1998[edit]

  • Outkast: Aquemini (LaFace, 1998) 1 3 5 7 Critical, analytical and emotionally intelligent, Aquemini was ambitious and successful both musically and lyrically.[62]

1999[edit]

2000[edit]

2001[edit]

Lists consulted[edit]

Lists 1–5 are exclusively hip hop publications by writers respected in the field. 6–9 are essentially rock publications, though with some breadth of coverage, obviously; 6–7 are American, 8–9, British. 10 is an British dance music magazine that none-the-less had hip hop accounting for more than a fifth of its list. Albums that appear on any four lists or more have been included.

  1. "Hip Hop's Greatest Albums By Year" in Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, Chairman Mao, Gabriel Alvarez & Brent Rollins. ego trip's Book of Rap Lists, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999, pp. 331–337. ISBN 978-0-312-24298-5
  2. "Top 100 Albums of All-Time", The Source, January 1998.
  3. Oliver Wang (ed.) Classic Material, Toronto: ECW, 2003. ISBN 978-1-55022-561-7
  4. Brian Coleman, Check the Technique, New York: Villard, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8129-7775-2
  5. Peter Shapiro, Rough Guide to Hip Hop, 2nd. ed., London: Rough Guides, 2005. ISBN 978-1-84353-263-7
  6. "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", Rolling Stone, November 2003.
  7. "100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005", Spin, July 2005.
  8. "100 Best Albums Of All Time", NME, March 2003.
  9. "Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time", Melody Maker, January 2000.
  10. "Best Albums of All Time", Mixmag, 1996.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ David Toop, Rap Attack, 3rd. ed., London: Serpent's Tail, 2000. (p. 213) ISBN 978-1-85242-627-9
  2. ^ a b Toop, p. 67
  3. ^ Shapiro, p. 384
  4. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 378
  5. ^ Oliver Wang (ed.), p. 163
  6. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 157
  7. ^ Shapiro, p. 124
  8. ^ Shapiro, p. 352
  9. ^ Shapiro, p. 121
  10. ^ Shapiro, p. 64
  11. ^ Shapiro, p. 369
  12. ^ Shapiro, p. 345
  13. ^ Shapiro, p. 5
  14. ^ Shapiro, p. 346
  15. ^ Shapiro, p. 344
  16. ^ Shapiro, p. 351
  17. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 327
  18. ^ Shapiro, p. 228
  19. ^ a b Shapiro, p. 26
  20. ^ Stephen Holden, "Bon Jovi and Bonbons", Pop Life, New York Times, December 30, 1987.
  21. ^ Shapiro, pp. 41–42
  22. ^ Shapiro, p. 126
  23. ^ Shapiro, pp. 32–33.
  24. ^ Shapiro, p. 337
  25. ^ Shapiro, p. 124, p. 126
  26. ^ Shapiro, p. 30
  27. ^ Shapiro, pp. 304–306
  28. ^ Shapiro, pp. 282–285
  29. ^ Shapiro, pp. 253–254
  30. ^ Shapiro, pp. 374–376
  31. ^ Shapiro, p. 198
  32. ^ Shapiro, pp. 84–86
  33. ^ Shapiro, pp. 309–310
  34. ^ Shapiro, p. 200
  35. ^ Shapiro, p. 304
  36. ^ Shapiro, p. 363
  37. ^ Shapiro, p. 389
  38. ^ Shapiro, p. 175, p. 177
  39. ^ Shapiro, p. 302–303
  40. ^ Shapiro, p.42
  41. ^ Shapiro, p. 152, p. 154
  42. ^ Shapiro, p. 85
  43. ^ Shapiro, p. 245
  44. ^ Shapiro, p. 73
  45. ^ Shapiro, p. 365
  46. ^ Shapiro, p. 329
  47. ^ Shapiro, p. 320
  48. ^ Shapiro, p. 299
  49. ^ Shapiro, pp. 108–109
  50. ^ Shapiro, p. 170
  51. ^ Shapiro, pp. 387–388
  52. ^ Shapiro, p. 339
  53. ^ Shapiro, p. 270
  54. ^ Shapiro, p. 290
  55. ^ Shapiro, pp. 281–282
  56. ^ Shapiro, pp. 64–65
  57. ^ Shapiro, p. 259
  58. ^ Shapiro, p. 387
  59. ^ Shapiro, p. 146
  60. ^ Shapiro, p. 187
  61. ^ Shapiro, p.147
  62. ^ Shapiro, p. 294
  63. ^ Shapiro, p. 122
  64. ^ Ahmed, Insanul (November 12, 2013). "Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)". Complex. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  65. ^ Shapiro, p. 189