Rolling Stone has named what they think is the best and some fans aren’t in agreement.
Rolling Stone did it. When you’re putting together an album list, two hundred seems like an excessive amount. We had to make some difficult decisions because the history of rap albums is so rich and varied. There are so many iconic artists with deep catalogs, so many constantly evolving sounds, and regional scenes. That’s why we focused on hip-hop in the English language. Similarly, a list of dancehall, reggaeton, and grime albums that are hip-hop-adjacent would be fun and fascinating to revisit in the future.
A Tribe Called Quest or Outkast album was always a safe bet, but if we had to choose between a classic artist’s third (or fourth, or fifth) album and an album that would make the list more interesting, we tended to choose the latter. Ultimately, the result is a list that spans the entirety of hip-hop history, Rolling Stone went from the genre’s earliest days to its artistic zenith in the late 1980s and early 1990s with Public Enemy, De La Soul, Eric B. and Rakim, and others, to the era of the gangsta rap movement, the rise of the South, and the emergence of the genre’s biggest stars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj.
We found ourselves less swayed by the “golden age” mythology as we dug and listened to this list than we might have been had we done it 10 or 15 years ago. Hip-hop is a genre that changes and expands more rapidly than any other in music history. It’s now or never for a fan of Cardi B, Tyler, Polo G, or Playboi Carti.
Rolling Stone Top 20:
- The Notorious B.I.G. – “Ready To Die”
- Outkast – “Stankonia”
- Jay-Z – “The Blueprint”
- Public Enemy – “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back”
- Kendrick Lamar – “To Pimp A Butterfly”
- Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
- Missy Elliott – “Miss E…So Addictive”
- Wu-Tang Clan – “Enter The Wu-Tang 36 Chambers”
- A Tribe Called Quest – “The Low End Theory”
- Lauryn Hill – “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill”
- Drake – “Take Care”
- Clipse – “Lord Willin'”
- Dr. Dre – “2001”
- Ghostface Killah – “Supreme Clientele”
- Eric B and Rakim – “Paid In Full”
- Cardi B – “Invasion of Privacy”
- Kanye West – “Yeezus”
- Madvillian – “Madvillainy”
- Lil Kim – “Hard Core”
- Future – “DS2”
You can view the rest of the list HERE.