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Top 101 Hip Hop Albums of All Time

October 12, 2006

A couple of months back I found myself debating with a coworker the finer points of Hip Hop, all-time greatest albums and a bunch of other things that could never fully be settled for any reasonable period of time. Like the usual banter it ended up going on and on with no end in sight, so in order to end the debate, or more likely because a good part of me just wanted to argue on my own terms, I created my own list of the top 101 Hip-Hop albums of all time. Feel free to bring on the debate, criticisms, and missing items because I’m sure that I left out a few, but at the same time… mine is better than yours and I’d love to argue about it all day long! By the way… only the first 25 or so are in any particular order.

Top 101 Hip Hop Albums of All Time

  1. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
  2. Nas – Illmatic
  3. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
  4. Mobb Deep – The Infamous
  5. Organized Konfusion – The Extinction Agenda
  6. Gangstarr – Daily Operation
  7. Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – Mecca & The Soul Brother
  8. Showbiz & A.G. – Runaway Slave
  9. Jay Z – Reasonable Doubt
  10. Diamond D and the Psychotic Neurotics – Stunts, Blunts, and Hip Hop
  11. Gza – Liquid Swords
  12. Organized Konfusion – Organized Konfusion
  13. De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead
  14. Boogie Down Productions – Criminal Minded
  15. Group Home – Livin- Proof
  16. Smif and Wesson – Da Shinin’
  17. Gangstarr – Moment of Truth
  18. Ghostface Killa – Ironman
  19. Jeru The Damaja – Sun Rises In The East
  20. Black Moon – Enta Da Stage
  21. Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Links
  22. Notorious BIG – Ready To Die
  23. Ghostface Killa – Supreme Clientele
  24. Brand Nubian – All For One
  25. The Beatnuts – Street Level
  26. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The 36 Chambers
  27. Run DMC – Raising Hell
  28. O.C. – Word Life
  29. EPMD – Unfinished Business
  30. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
  31. Main Source – Breaking Atoms
  32. De La Soul – Stakes Is High
  33. NWA – Niggaz4life
  34. Kool G Rap – 4,5,6
  35. Prince Paul – Prince Among Thieves
  36. Big L – The Big Picture
  37. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill
  38. Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
  39. BDP – Edutainment
  40. Fat Joe – Jealous Ones Envy
  41. Akinyele – Vagina Diner
  42. Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader
  43. Alkaholics – 21 & Over
  44. Biz Markie – Goin’ Off
  45. KRS One – Return of the Boom Bap
  46. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride To The Pharcyde
  47. Boogie Down Productions – Live Album
  48. MOP – Warriorz
  49. Das Efx – Dead Serious
  50. Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Beatdown
  51. Boogie Down Productions – The Blueprint of Hip Hop
  52. Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
  53. Redman – Dare Is A Darkside
  54. Onyx – Bacdafucup
  55. Mos Def – Black On Both Sides
  56. Notorious BIG – Life After Death
  57. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
  58. Makavelli – The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
  59. O.C. – Jewels
  60. The Roots – Things Fall Apart
  61. Souls of Mischief – 93 to Infinity
  62. Out Kast – Southerplaylisticcadilacfunkinmusic
  63. Rass Kass – Soul On Ice
  64. De The Funky Homosapien – No Need For Alarm
  65. Mobb Deep – Hell On Earth
  66. Pharoah Monch – Internal Affairs
  67. Grand Puba – Real To Real
  68. Original Flavor – Beyond Flavor
  69. Camp Lo – Uptown Saturday Night
  70. Dr. Dre. – The Chronic
  71. Onyx – All We Got Is Us
  72. Smooth The Hustler – Once Upon A Time
  73. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet
  74. De La Soul – Buhloon Mindstate
  75. EPMD – Business Never Personal
  76. Gangstarr – Hard To Earn
  77. M.C. Lyte – Eyes On This
  78. Redman – Muddy Waters
  79. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full
  80. Dr. Dre – Chronic 2001
  81. Out Kast – Aquemini
  82. M.O.P – Firing Squad
  83. Common – Resurrection
  84. M.O.P – Warriorz
  85. Madvillain – Madvillainy
  86. Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus
  87. Masta Ace – Slaughta House
  88. Blackstar- Blackstar
  89. Showbiz & A.G – Good Fellas
  90. Big L – Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous
  91. Bahamadia – Kollage
  92. 3rd Base – The Cactus Album
  93. The Lost Boyz – Legal Drug Money
  94. Black Sheep – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  95. Pete Rock – Soul Survivor
  96. Lord Finesse – The Awakening
  97. Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
  98. Common – Like Water For Chocolate
  99. Leaders of The New School – Case of the PTA
  100. Busta Rhymes – When Disaster Strikes
  101. The Roots – Illadelph Halflife

Related posts:

  1. Paul C Tribute T-Shirt By BEATPATTERNS
  2. Bobbito Garcia Talks Serato + Rejected Organized Konfusion Demo Tape
  3. DJ Premier Explains Iconic Gangstarr Logo
  4. The Significance of DJ Premier
  5. DJ Jazzy Jeff Talks Serato, Favorite Albums, Production

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

fresh November 13, 2006 at 1:38 pm

Yeah, I’m a month late on this but I had to comment since your top 3 is identical to what my top 3 would be. A few I would have added:

Lords of the Underground – Here Come the Lords
Artifacts – That’s Them
Fugees – The Score
D-Nice – Call Me D-Nice
Nice N Smooth – Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed
Eminem – The Slim Shady LP

And I would have replaced Niggaz4Life with Straight Outta Compton.


BLG January 17, 2007 at 6:31 pm

Why is Straight Outta Compton by NWA not on the list? It


Alexben824 July 12, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Are you fucking kidding me. How is Ready to Die not on everyones top three.


Desmond February 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

how is lifestyles ov da poor and dangerous not in the top 10 is more realistic. It is one of the most over looked albums. Big L (RIP) is one of the best mcs to ever have lived he deserves way more credit then he gets


Rafferty September 14, 2008 at 11:47 am

because not everyone is 17 years old?


BIg g September 15, 2008 at 1:08 am

Two big omissions are ghetto millionaire by royal flush and sex and violence by KRS One. These are incredible albums I dare anyone to dispute it.


BIg g September 15, 2008 at 1:15 am

belay my last. That was sex and violence by BDP


BIg g September 15, 2008 at 2:00 am

Rafferty do you know what year ready to die came out?
17 yr. olds you can do better than that.


Oskar preo July 2, 2009 at 10:29 pm

What the Fu_k ? Organized Konfusion? Seriously? Two albums in the top 12 ? Was your cousin in the group or something? Showbiz & AG before Reasonable Doubt? I dont know? Lets do the math, 36 Chambers was FAR better of a complete album than 75 percent of your top 25. This equals – you failed.. Company flow’s “Funcrusher Plus” was a great and innovative album throughout and i’m sure a lot of the Mcs in this list would agree. Bush Babees “Gravity” was an instant classic.. I aint tryin to hate but, i hate that list buddy…very pissed


PSYNTAX January 24, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Personally I LOVE this list…Organized Konfusion is probably the GREATEST LYRICAL HIP HOP GROUP OF ALL TIME. Their self titled debut has been dubbed by writer Stanton Swihart “the quintessential cult hip-hop album from a decade full of forward-looking efforts”, while writer Tom Dogget had this to say about them, “Their self-titled debut is probably the most praised album you’ll find on (, and though “Stress: The Extinction Agenda” is not necessarily better, it contains the second coming of the God emcee in the form of Pharoahe Monch”. If there is a flaw on this list it has nothing to do with Organized Konfusion. I am “very pissed” at Oskar preo’s criticism of this list. You are hating, ignorantly. Just because you either didn’t like or haven’t heard Organized’s 2 best albums, doesn’t mean that you can say that the list has failed.


miguel January 2, 2010 at 8:38 pm

The D.O.C – No One Can Do It Better
not on here???


Emil January 17, 2010 at 11:13 am

Talib Kweli – Reflection Eternal



PSYNTAX January 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm

This is an excellent list but I would have some Aceyalone, and Blackalicious albums on here (if there are some on here my mistake), along with a few other inclusions and exclusions but overall probably the most accurate list on any hip hop topic that i have seen on the internet.


Jay January 28, 2010 at 12:43 am

Nice to see M.O.P. The Warriorz mentioned twice…….This list is garbage


Desmond February 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm

definately needs to be revised


Tip February 16, 2010 at 4:51 am

Roots tipping point should be on there…


EarMan February 25, 2010 at 1:33 pm

suck list……simple as that….this list is better

They are obviusly into politics. Here is a far better list

Illmatic (1994)

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Wu-Tang Clan
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Ready to Die
The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready to Die (1994)

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Enemy
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)

Paid In Full
Eric B. & Rakim
Paid In Full (1987)

The Chronic
Dr. Dre
The Chronic (1992)

Aquemini (1998)

Liquid Swords
Liquid Swords (1995)

Straight Outta Compton
Straight Outta Compton (1988)

The Low End Theory
A Tribe Called Quest
The Low End Theory (1991)

3 Feet High and Rising
De La Soul
3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
Ice Cube
AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted (1990)

The Sun Rises in the East
Jeru the Damaja
The Sun Rises in the East (1994)

By All Means Necessary
Boogie Down Productions
By All Means Necessary (1988)

Road to the Riches
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
Road to the Riches (1989)

Reasonable Doubt
Reasonable Doubt (1996)

Criminal Minded
Boogie Down Productions
Criminal Minded (1987)

Breaking Atoms
Main Source
Breaking Atoms (1991)

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
The Pharcyde
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde (1992)

Snoop Dogg
Doggystyle (1993)

Raising Hell
Raising Hell (1986)

Midnight Marauders
A Tribe Called Quest
Midnight Marauders (1993)

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… (1995)

Strictly Business
Strictly Business (1988)

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
Black Star
Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star (1998)

The Infamous…
Mobb Deep
The Infamous… (1995)

Critical Beatdown
Ultramagnetic MC’s
Critical Beatdown (1988)

Paul’s Boutique
Beastie Boys
Paul’s Boutique (1989)

DJ Shadow
Endtroducing….. (1996)

Me Against the World
Me Against the World (1995)

Mecca and the Soul Brother
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
Mecca and the Soul Brother (1992)

Fear of a Black Planet
Public Enemy
Fear of a Black Planet (1990)

No One Can Do It Better
The D.O.C.
No One Can Do It Better (1989)

Enta da Stage
Black Moon
Enta da Stage (1993)

Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous
Big L
Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous (1995)

Ghostface Killah
Ironman (1996)

Word…Life (1994)

Deltron 3030
Deltron 3030
Deltron 3030 (2000)

Train of Thought
Reflection Eternal
Train of Thought (2000)

The College Dropout
Kanye West
The College Dropout (2004)

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)

Illadelph Halflife
The Roots
Illadelph Halflife (1996)

One for All
Brand Nubian
One for All (1990)

The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
Slick Rick
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)

Death Certificate
Ice Cube
Death Certificate (1991)

Hard to Earn
Gang Starr
Hard to Earn (1994)

Long Live the Kane
Big Daddy Kane
Long Live the Kane (1988)

The Blueprint
The Blueprint (2001)

Wrath of the Math
Jeru the Damaja
Wrath of the Math (1996)

Black on Both Sides
Mos Def
Black on Both Sides (1999)


Dnasty March 6, 2010 at 12:59 am

Earman list is better. Paid In full #79? Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


washington March 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Agree with EarMan sorta…nice list with a few glaring omissions. Amerikkka’s Most Wanted has no business missing from any such list. Same with Straight Outta Compton of course. Props for putting Camp Lo on there though, a lot of people forget that one.


west June 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

no pac is a disgrace


dude November 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

Nas- Illmatic
A Tribe Called Quest-Midnight Mauraders/Low End Theory
Wu-Tang Clan- Enter the 36 Chambers
De la Soul- Stakes is High
Should be in any hip hop fans top 20


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