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Added by mojack on 10 May 2014 09:23
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2005: Best Rap Albums

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In the world of hip hop, hell on earth is Compton LA, a hotbed of gang violence and poverty. But the true worst place on earth makes Compton seem like paradise. Mogadishu Somalia. "Capitol" of a country that is by and large not a country at all, but an anarchic region. Torn apart by civil war the government shrunk into irrelevance and many of the country's intellectuals and well off fled the country. Among these was the father of K'naan, who went to Toronto Canada and began making plans to have his family brought over with him. K'naan grew up in Mogadishu, seeing murder, rape, every vice imaginable, friends dying, babies being shot, imagine it. One of the things that kept him going was packages sent by his father, such as rap albums. When he eventually made the trip to Canada K'naan knew what he wanted to do. Make music, a mix of rap and all sorts of soul. And pouring out his memories of Somalia to the people of Canada and beyond. A task even more important now with the issue of Somali pirates thrust into the international spotlight. This is a massively unappreciated masterpiece of world-hip hop, and one of my favorite albums.

Rating: 5
Highlights: My Old Home, Smile, If Rap Gets Jealous, Strugglin'
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People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 0
A Piece of Strange - CunninLynguists
Whoa. The Cunninlynguists released a great debut album, lotta fun, interesting production, great lyrics. But as of their second album it seemed like (though it was good) that they were gonna be yet another one album wonder of little real note. If it were a better world they would be a driving force in their region, but like Blackalicious they would fade and then vanish entirely within three or so albums. A tale as old as time, just the reality. Foolish dreams to hope for more. Then... they released A Piece of Strange. Like it's almost too good to be true the members of the group seemed to suddenly take it upon themselves to save the south. And no region at any other time probably needed saving more then the south in 05'. But the Cunnin' boys were the ones to do it. Simply put. This LP is a tapestry of everything that ever made the south awesome for rap. It recalls the moody musing of Goodie Mob, the clever artistry of Outkast, and the slow moving soul beauty of UGK. All at once. Fuckin' nice. A real triumph that the dirty south needed more then ever. And when alls said and done, people will be looking back on this, and not the Ying Yang Twins.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: Since When, Brain Cell, The Gates, What'll You Do
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People who added this item 197 Average listal rating (113 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
Late Registration - Kanye West
Another classic only a year later? Who does Kanye think he is? Ice Cube? On his second album West does more of what he was doing on the first, but keeps it fresh and inventive, in many ways surpassing the debut. He had established a new approach to soul-rap production, made the midwest into it's own force, and forced the current rap "king" 50 Cent to get on his guard, that's a lot to follow up on. But Ye knew that the best thing would be to hold the course for now. And he reaches the peak of his Chi-Soul sound with the amazing blast of 70's "Touch the Sky" where he also shows off his new protege Lupe Fiasco. And then Diamons From Sierra Leone is some other shit. This is no rehash by any means. There's some amazing production on here. Amazing songs, and great guest spots. And it established Kanye as a force and face within music, rather then just a one hit wonder. It's wonderful that someone so good is not only recognized by the mainstream but in many ways one of the mainstream leaders. Though he may have flown off into controversial directions after this, these first two albums will pretty much secure his legacy.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: Heard Em Say, Touch the Sky, Diamonds From Sierra Leone, Hey Mama
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
True & Livin - Zion I
Seeing Blackalicious go under was a depressing sight, but while their promise is gone, Zion I's still shines brighter then ever. Seriously. I continue to be nothing less than amazed at these guys. Three albums in and I'm as fascinated as I was from the debut. And how little buzz they get! Even among the indie fans? Shameful. Though they've at least secured the attention of grade A guest stars, Talib Kweli and Del tha Funkee Homosapien guest on here (and Talib's spot is one of the album's best). On their first two albums Amp Live's production was otherworldly, sounding like it was from space on the debut, and all over the goddamned place in their sophomore LP. But here he's opted for an earthy soul-rap approach, and no quality is lost at all. Instead Zumbi takes to it like a fish to water, almost like he was meant for it, his creaky delivery almost giving the music an oldy delta blues feel occasionally. This is a great soul rap album for a genre that has ruled the alt rap circuit in this decade, one of the best. It's not quite a masterpiece due to a significantly inferior second side, but while it's in the zone you'll believe in Hip-Hop again.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: Bird's Eye View, Luv, Soo Tall, Temperature
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People who added this item 65 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Be - Common
The midwest in the 90's was the world of one man, Common, there were others of course, but he held his own for virtually the entire decade, seeing the end of the golden age, the fall of the west coast, the corruption of the east coast, and his own involvement in the neo-soul edged anti-jiggy scene of the Soulaquarians which carried over into the 00's. And then, as his trist with the Soulaquarians and Erykah Badu cooled off it seemed like Common would start losing relevance. Instead out of nowhere a fellow Chicagoan completely exploded the Chi-Town scene into a new entity of soul-rap. So this is naturally Common's inevitable Kanye album. The one where Kanye produces most of the music for him (even guesting on the mic), oozing the whole thing with that new sound of the Midwest and reasserting Common's place as the cities emcee forefather. A fantastically simple and short album, a formula that works great from a guy whose already done some experimenting and needed to come back down to earth gently.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Be, The Corner, The Food, They Say
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
A.W.O.L. - Az
At last! The best AZ album since Do or Die for sure, in every damn category. Good beats, good guests, good emceeing, good lyrics. It trounces his last three, including that so-called comeback of Aziatic. AZ has always had the potential for plain ol' satisfying goodness, but for some reason it takes some doing getting him up again. New York Hardcore rap had been floundering in the 00's, and the crap of G Unit and the Dipset weren't helping matters, so it's extra nice to see a veteran of the scene putting out quality. Also goddamn, will Premo ever stop making amazing beats? "The Come Up" os as classic a beat as they come. AZ and Premo should do an album together, not just a few songs. Could help put both of them back on the map, and could help regain the image of the hardcore big apple. Ghostface and Nas can't do all the heavy lifting folks.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: Never Change, Can't Stop, The Come Up, Magic Hour
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The second collaboration between Murs and Slug, and for the same purpose, a joke contest to see which can have sex with Lisa Bonet first. And it's a big step up from the first installment in every way. Both Atmosphere and Slug do a pretty great job on the mic here, surpassing the so so performance from before. The biggest leap though is that a real producer got the production duty this time, no offense Grouch but stick to rapping. Ant does the production here and it's pretty nice, not sounding like Ant usually does, more on the line of a warm soul sound. The length is also more substantial, which I liked. It just feels more like a real product they put time and effort into, whereas before it felt like a one off side. Both guys were in a sorta personal career high so I guess it makes sense. If I were Lisa Bonet maybe I'd have sex with them.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: Morris Day, Early Mornin' Tony, Breaker Down Like a Shot, Woman Tonight
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People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
The Documentary - The Game

The hype for this album is amusing to say the least. There's a review on this site for instance that declares this the only west coast album that has mattered in the 00's. Aside from being an incredibly stupid and even hilarious statement, it does at least prove an example for exactly what this album's reputation is. It is instead, while a mainstream success, and a decentish album, far from being the poster boy for new millennium west coast hip hop. For one this hasn't defined the west in any way. If anything has it's the various alt rap forces of the "renaissance" it experienced in the early 00's, guys like Madlib and Cut Chemist. this will no doubt remain the high mark. Not that that's saying much.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: Dreams, Hate It Or Love It, No More Fun And Games, We Ain't
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People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Tha Carter II - Lil Wayne


By most people's accounts this is the summit of Waynedom, and what can I say? This was good stuff no doubt. STILL ridiculously long, but focused and consistent at the very least. Not to say it isn't overrated, as well as Wayne himself for that matter, but in terms of the mainstream there isn't a lot of competition. A lot of folks treat him like the second coming of 50 Cent, an inexplainably popular figure who is being claimed as the "best alive". The difference is Weezy is actually a decent emcee and clearly cares about what he's doing. 50 was a big dumb lummox who resorted to gimmicks to keep himself in the spotlight, who had almost no real talent. Wayne is not Fitty. Not by a longshot. He has a lot of room for improvement, but for now I'll take him as a popular figurehead for the genre. We could and have been doing worse for awhile now. And I do honestly believe he's capable of great things, if this is the right direction I want him to keep going down it.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: Best Rapper Alive, Grown Man, Hustler Musik, Shooter
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2005 was a pretty darn great year, hell it was a fantastic year, the most quintessential of the 00's years in terms of summing up the rap of the decade, and even with the negatives of that statement there was plenty of greatness around, the best year of the 00's by a fair distance.

Though living through it one probably would never have known. I know I didn't at the time. All I saw was CRUNK CRUNK G-UNIT DIPSET CRUNK Kanye West CRUNK CRUNK. It's this sort of mindset that creates the myth that rap is dead. No it's not the golden age anymore, wether a silver age is around the corner or not is anyones guess. But for the time being it will take effort to find the great stuff rather than it being everywhere you look. The only person you have to blame for not finding good post-90's rap is yourself. Don't be lazy, dig in those crates.

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Hip Hop Best Album Directory (21 lists)
list by mojack
Published 4 years, 5 months ago 1 comment



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