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#1 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

Hey guys, I'm looking for advice.

As per the title, I have been loving me some rap recently, and need some help identifying what people would say is essential.  I suppose I've liked and listened to it for years, but never properly explored the genre and now I feel like I want to go deeper.

So, I've been listening to Milli Vanilli and I...                       ...I jest.

What I've been listening to is:  Nas,  NWA, Tribe Called Quest, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Ice Cube, TuPac, Eminem, Will Smith (don't care what you say, that guy is good on the mic) and a couple of others.

So anyway, what are the essential albums?  Who should I be strung up for, for not mentioning in the list above?
#2 Posted by Ben_H (3439 posts) -

I'm no expert in rap or hip hop but I've been listening to a lot of these lately. (Warning the backing tracky-thing of the first song is infectious.  I've listened to that song like 15 times today)

I listened to Aesop Rock probably 7 years ago and recently rediscovered them after hearing a song playing on an SC2 stream.

I noticed you did not mention Wu-Tang.  You need to listen to them.

#3 Edited by AltonBrown (947 posts) -

Paul's Boutique and Ill Communication.

#4 Posted by Jimbo (9998 posts) -


#5 Edited by DAFTPUNK (1213 posts) -


  this is real hip/hop
#6 Posted by TheSlip (47 posts) -
#7 Posted by nemt (858 posts) -

Fabri Fibra is the greatest rapper in the world.
#8 Posted by Molenator85 (237 posts) -

In addition to what you mentioned, Slick Rick, Eric B and Rakim, Public Enemy, and Outkast.

#9 Posted by ProfessorEss (7523 posts) -

Redman's Doc's Da Name 2000.

#10 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

Loving it guys.  I think the last time I listened to Wu-tang was when the game was out (I'm breaking barriers here) - good shout.

Totally forgot about Beastie Boys - love some of their stuff.

Quite liked the sound of that Aesop Rock.  

Plenty of names here, a lot I've never even heard of...  Really appreciate it guys.  Keep it coming if you can, I will now refer to this thread any time I need some knowledge
#11 Posted by SSully (4326 posts) -


#12 Posted by Sincillian (530 posts) -

I'd say Lupe Fiasco's mixtapes and his albums The Cool and Food and Liquor. Lasers, his most recent album, is a good one too but not at good as the others. Lupe's metaphors are insane and somehow stay very intellectual. 

I'd possibly also say some Kid Cudi. However, that's basing it off of three songs I've listened to from him I really enjoyed. Wait no fuck him....

Find as many Andre 3000 songs as possible and listen to them and enjoy the uniqueness he has that makes him great.  
#13 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

Dead Prez?

#14 Posted by jlev880 (204 posts) -

All Eyez On Me - 2Pac, great album
Atmosphere is pretty good
Dr. Dre and Ice Cube(NWA included)
and if you are into good rap with video game music then definitely check out Random(aka Mega Ran)

#15 Posted by Jemenez (274 posts) -


   Enta Da Stage is an amazing album by Black Moon
#16 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

Man, loving the sound of Kool Keith!

#17 Posted by Djstyles92 (953 posts) -

Look up Nujabes.  Feather is an amazing song

#18 Edited by Bromeliad (20 posts) -

Do yourself a favor and check out Madvillainy by DOOM and Madlib for some quality East Coast Underground. 

And if you hear that and like the loose flow Das Racist's 2 first mixtapes are very much worth checking out and free.
I love the fast, loose, off-the-dome style of the aforementioned groups but full disclosure: I am really really white.
#19 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5818 posts) -


#20 Posted by phish09 (1110 posts) -

The first Kurtis Blow album rules.  Early KRS-One is great too.  I'd highly recommend his album Edutainment.

#21 Posted by JayDee (442 posts) -

fuck outta here with all that backpack shit.

here are some jawns that are essential, not gonna list stuff you put in your op

ridin dirty
super tight
stakes is high
enter the wu
only built 4 cuban linx
supreme clientele
6 feet deep
liquid swords
hard to earn
step in the arena
mecca and the soul brother
the coming
dogg food
safe and sound
soul food
dah shining
wanted dead or alive
breaking atoms
criminal minded
return of the boom bap
ready to die
life after death
operation stackola
organized konfusion
stress the extinction
internal affairs
whut the album
dare iz a darkside
muddy waters
train of thought
great adventures of slick rick
fantastic vol. 2
bizarre 2 the ride
lord willin'
do you want more???
illadelph halflife
things fall apart
critical beatdown
mr. scarface is back
the diary
we can't be stopped
the war report
doe or die
in a major way

very incomplete but oh well

more recent joints

below the heavens
the hybrid
my beautiful dark twisted fantasy
late registration
trap muzik
urban legend
the black album
game theory
thug motivation 101
the recession
underground kingz
the documentary
doctor's advocate
deeper than rap
teflon don
hell hath no fury
pilot talk 1 and 2
monkey barz
album of the year

#22 Posted by nemt (858 posts) -

xfd at all the nerd rap recommendations
#23 Posted by JayDee (442 posts) -
#24 Edited by NickLott (793 posts) -

I'm not a rap expert but I'm a big fan of Saul Williams. 

#25 Posted by McGhee (6075 posts) -

I don't really listen to much rap/hiphop, but anything Doseone touches is gold: Themselves, Subtle, 13 & God, etc.

Subtle is beyond good. It is on another level in music. Unbelievable.

#26 Posted by Contro (2040 posts) -

Gotta have Biggie if your'e gonna have Pac.

#27 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4821 posts) -
@djstyles92 said:

" Look up Nujabes.  Feather is an amazing song "

Everything Nujabes did was freaking amazing lol, but yeah Feather is one hell of a song

Also check out Substantial, Shad, Busdriver, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rhymefest, and The Roots. As for specific albums, I'll recommend Black Star. It might as well be platinum printed on a disc because that record is so good. I could sit and talk hip-hop all day if you wanted me to, but I'm too tired to go off on a rant and list every artist I think you should listen to and every album you should have lol

Oh and I totally agree, Will Smith was sick wit it back in the day
#28 Posted by Example1013 (4807 posts) -

This thread is noticeably lacking Mos Def and Talib Kweli (both solo and together).

  That's the best audio quality for the song.

Someone needs to post Mos Def, since I don't really have much for him besides Black Star.

Sean Price needs to be on any list.

Rock should be there, too (Heltah Skeltah was already mentioned, but still).





For albums, just buy Gutter Rainbows. I'm not even joking, just buy it. Straight-up go out and get the CD, and rip it lossless. Kweli deserves every penny he gets for that album and then some.

#29 Posted by deathfury (539 posts) -

As other people have said, Aesop Rock, Nujabes and Deltron 3030 are all great

#30 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -
@Mongoose said:

" Hey guys, I'm looking for advice.

As per the title, I have been loving me some rap recently, and need some help identifying what people would say is essential. 
Here are 5 random essential albums:

Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) - Wu Tang Clan
The Chronic- Dr Dre
Paid in Full- Eric B. and Rakim
Criminal Minded- BDP
Nas- Illmatic

Here are 5 random essential songs:

T.R.O.Y - Pete Rock and CL Smooth
It Was a Good Day- Ice Cube
Straight outta Compton- N.W.A
Children's Story- Slick Rick
Regulate- Warren G

Here are 5 random essential rappers:

MC Ren
Notorious BIG
Big Daddy Kane

This is what I would say is essential. It's an extremely small sample, I would also recommend you check out:




for a wide variety of great hip hop recommended by the community. There's some incredible stuff on both threads.
#31 Posted by Hot_Karl (3309 posts) -

I'd say that Fishscale by Ghostface Killah is essential (it's also my favorite rap album ever).  And for the most part, you won't go wrong if you get stuff by other Wu-Tang members (Meth & Red's collaborations, Raekwon, etc), stuff by Eric B & Rakim, Grandmaster Flash (if you want to go real old-school),Run DMC, Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, MF Doom & Madlib, J Dilla, Public Enemy, OutKast (especially Big Boi's solo album- genius) and older Ice Cube stuff (anything pre- War & Peace)

#32 Edited by Bubbly (258 posts) -

People have already said it, but Outkast's first three albums.


#33 Posted by Chop (1998 posts) -

I could total drown you in recommendations but you have enough of that already. Instead I'm just gonna tell you to get one album, my favorite album. 

Binary Star - Masters of the Universe 
#34 Posted by Barrock (3553 posts) -

Jedi Mind Tricks, Army of the Pharaohs, Apathy, Celph Titled, mc chris, and Masta Ace outside the usuals like Biggie and Tupac.

#35 Posted by SlantedRoom (265 posts) -

Hey man, Atmosphere is one of my personal favorites. He's probably my favorite artist of all time, regardless of genre. He uses a lot of live instruments on the beats in his newer stuff to give it a nice organic, original sound. I'd recommend everyone check him out!



Also, if I can do a little shameless self promotion here, I happen to be a rapper and I just release my first cd. This is the first single off of it. If you're feelin it, the album is available on iTunes, search T11 Hero(in) Music. If you're not ready for a purchase, you can head over to the youtube channel to check out a couple more tracks. Let me know what you think. Thanks!!



#36 Edited by chrissedoff (2167 posts) -

tha carter 3, king (t.i.), purple haze (cam'ron), teflon don

#37 Edited by Example1013 (4807 posts) -

Shit, I don't think anyone said Mobb Deep yet. Mobb Deep needs to be on here too.


You'd look for at least The Infamous, and probably Hell on Earth, too.
#38 Posted by CarpetRemnant (375 posts) -

I'm no expert but here's something a bit newer I've been enjoying:


#39 Posted by Mongoose (218 posts) -

Shit guys, thanks for all the help.  JayDee, appreciate the long list, everyone else too.

Saul Williams - I seen him supporting Nine Inch Nails once, he was well good.

Thanks for the links to the other threads blacklabeldomm, I'll check them out too.

FUPA11 - shameless promotion justified I think, that sounds real good man.

Now, if anyone ever wants some guitar driven/rock sort of stuff advice - I can return the favour :)
#40 Posted by Meltac (2009 posts) -

You need some De La Soul

#41 Posted by Eristocrat (440 posts) -
I agree with most of what's been said so far, some other stuff I love:

P.O.S. - Never Better
Sage Francis - Personal Journals
Edan - Beauty and the Beat
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions
De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villian

#42 Edited by PenguinDust (12636 posts) -

Maybe I missed it but no one mentioned Public Enemy?  Shame! 
 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - video
Fear of a Black Planet - video 
Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black - video

Those are the essentials in my mind.

Also, I really like Jurassic 5.
Quality Control - video
Power in Numbers - video
Feedback - video 

And Arrested Development's first album was pretty good  
3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... - video

Oops, need to mention The Roots, too
illadelph halflife - video

Things Fall Apart - video
Phrenology - video

EDIT: Looks like I did miss it! :-)
#43 Posted by Raakill (845 posts) -


There's an embarrassing lack of dirty south representation in here.

#44 Posted by quicksand31 (72 posts) -

I like the Roots.  Game Theory and Things Fall Apart are my two favorite albums of theirs.

#45 Posted by quicksand31 (72 posts) -

Oh, and Immortal Technique is really good as well.

#46 Posted by lead_farmer (1041 posts) -
@Mongoose: De La Soul, Dilated Peoples, Pharcyde, Funky DL are all good ways to go.

Also Blackstar's only album.  That album is ridiculously good and anyone who hasn't listened to Mos Def and Talib work together are doing themselves a disservice

#47 Edited by Crabbo123 (5 posts) -






#48 Posted by Isnagov (21 posts) -

Ok, these are awesome lists but you gotta have some instrumental hip-hop as well. DJ Shadow for that, start with Entroducing and listen to hip-hop without politics or money in the way. Then work on Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde for a little freaky-deaky sound. It's like Will Smith and Bone Thugs had a child with a voice three octaves higher. Chill, fast, hilarious rhymes. There is a really solid compilation Peanut Butter Wolf put together for Adult Swim called Chrome Children, especially the J-Dilla track. And nobody mentions The Fugees in this whole list!?! Come on people. Last but not least, check out KMD's Mr. Hood album, the "Who Me" track at the top will let you know if you want the rest of the album or not.

#49 Posted by JayDee (442 posts) -
if it ain't backpack then giantbomb users don't like it
#50 Posted by McSmunions (582 posts) -

a new leak off Tyler's upcoming Goblin coming out May 10th.