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Added by mojack on 7 May 2014 04:57
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1999 Best Rap albums

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People who added this item 71 Average listal rating (39 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
If a single king had to be crowned for the second wave of alternative rap, and most certainly for the east, it would be unquestionably Mos Def. No one put out a more quintessential high quality release then this, one that ignored no corner of the wave and could act as it's spokesman. The first wave of alt rap was generally more cuddly, it had a vaguely hippy tinge to it, colorful, and quaint. The second wavers were not interested in this at all. They were more abrasive, more down to earth, and far more emboldened. They had to be, they occupied a world where the golden age momentum was gone, where they made their own luck and especially on the east, they had to fight against an oppressive occupying force. And the sermon on the mount for the second wave is this album. Forward, uncompromising, blunt, and aggressively intelligent, something I think is perfectly communicated by the cover. For 17 straight tracks Mos rips through a variety of soulful beats only stopping to croon at a few points. Aside from the token awful Busta Rhymes guest spot (Do It Now), these are near flawless. He in particular drops some brilliance on the opening track about the way hip hop is and where it's going, where are you at? That's where hip hops at, and where's it going. A message that still goes unheeded today as rap hipsters whine about the supposably "dead" genre that they could be trying to help instead of mourn. Everything about this release is momentous, a self expression not encapsulated since Ice Cube's Death Certificate. And did it defeat Mos Def's archenemy Puffy? Well you tell me. Which one is talked about nonstop and typically tops best of lists to this day? You tell me. Unlike on Black Star or the various Rawkus singles this didn't seem like an underdog release, not reveling in it's own obscurity and indieness like some other acts. This isn't wasting it's time with that shit. Instead it's looking Puffy right in the eye, on the same level, unblinking. It's not an underdog, it's already a champion.

Rating: 5
Highlights: Love, Rock n Roll, Brooklyn, Mathematics
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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Things Fall Apart - The Roots
Just like Common The Roots had been a micro-force in the old guard scene of alternative rap, but one who saw out the storm of the mid-90's and emerged all the stronger and ready to take the place of the fading or faded past luminaries of the genre. But also like Common they weren't just replacements, they were a strong singular entity who brought new ideas and innovations to the table. Rap bands had been attempted in the past, namely Stetsasonic, but it was basically a complete wilderness for the genre, and so on this strength The Roots offered America a thing that was basically unheard of as well as something more rock oriented people could warm up to. If Iladelph Halflife was a dark boom bappish listen, it did have a hit with the smooth yet serious "What They Do", so The Roots have gone in that singles direction with a whole album of neo-soul rap. Neo-Soul began it's quiet rise in the late 90's, and it had a warm close relationship to the second wave of east coast alt rap. Where does a live music meet the studio world of rap? Well a rap band! The Roots were perfectly positioned to make the combo of the two better then others, and they nearly make a masterpiece in the process. The fender rhodes gets a real workout here, and while I'm not the keyboard's biggest fan it's pretty damn dope for the most part. Aside from really hitting on a new sound here the best thing is that ?uestlove is starting to show as a genius drummer, his beats burst out from behind the other elements and steal the show here and there. Black Thought also comes into his own, as the soon to be main emcee. Malik B never did much for me, so I don't get why people act as if The Roots minus him have lost anything integral. Black Thought was always the entire focus for the mic and that's nowhere more evident then here. This new neo-soul hybrid style gave birth to a loose confederation known as the Soulaquarians, and this could be seen as their first album.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: Dynamite, Ain't Sayin' Nothin' New, Double Trouble, Love of My Life
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People who added this item 121 Average listal rating (65 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
2001 - Dr. Dre
A mere six years back from this and it was a world where Dre was lord. The Chronic and Doggystyle both sat atop the rap world and turned the west into a juggernaught. Three years back and that juggernaught was collapsing, Death Row records with it. Dre had retreated to Death Row from the abuses of the Ruthless records management and that of Eazy E. Retreated into the hands of Suge Knight, who would prove to be even worse with his criminal business tendencies. So at long last Dre arrived at where he is today, his very own Aftermath records. Finally out the hands of corrupt and crazed overseers Dre is allowed to sit comfortably in his own chair and produce as ever he did. The golden age was over but Dre had seen the signs and gotten out and away from it's dying traditions. Hell Dre was an architect of the golden age period. So no wonder he knew it was about to implode. So he hid for a few years then resurfaced with this super long producers album. Which is as good as a product as ever he's made. The emceeing is hit or miss, but it's completely beside the point next to the good doctors beat-smithing (with some help from the likes of Scott Storch). Treat it like an instrumental collection, a sonic display and you'll be happy. For what it's worth though, the rappers are an interesting selection, bringing together his fellow Death Row refugees (Snoop, Kurupt, Nate Dogg) and Dre's new proteges (Eminem, and Likwit betraying Xzibit). It's like an emergency summit for West Coast hardcore rap, where the goal is to show they can still kick ass. And to that end? It's a big success. It's important to note that Dre is not making G Funk here, he's better then that to still be trying to cash off his past successes. The style we're most familiar with these days that he graced Eminem and 50 Cent albums with is coming into shape, and while it's nowhere near as amazing as his past work it's still great to listen to.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: Still D.R.E., What's the Difference, Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode
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People who added this item 341 Average listal rating (203 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
It's already easy to completely forget that a crazy ass white man once stood atop the rap world spitting and cussing at all that challenged him, but from 99 to 02 it was true. That man was Eminem. And boy did he have a mouth on him, a clever fucking mouth. No one in hip hop is able to make anything quite so bitterly funny as Slim and it's really his main selling point. It's funny to me to see how hip-hop hipsters these days seem to be busy rewriting history and to try and peg Em as being some dumb drooling 50 cent style commercial monster that no "real" rap fan would ever claim as good. In fact I bet some of ya'll are reading this right now. Dude, no. Sorry, you're just wrong as hell. True Em is heavily overrated like Lil Wayne is today, winning all those grammys and being declared the best rapper ever by all sorts of people who had no idea what they were talking about. But that doesn't change that Em really is a Class A emcee. The production isn't quite on the same level as the rhymes, but even that is much better then you might recall, with a few obvious Dre classics and mostly just solid grounding for his amazing rhymes and delivery. This isn't really the shocking Em album, at least not today, especially to seasoned hip hop fan ears. But it was never good because of shock, it's basic skills are all very well done. It lead to an immediate leap into the media stratosphere by Slim, one so fast it was offputting practically. And a very refreshing change from Ruff Ryders and Jiggy rap wouldn't you say? Too many people are excited about his bland recent material and I think they forget what Eminem is about. Well, remind yourselves.

Rating: 4
Highlights: My Name Is, Brain Damage, Role Model, I'm Shady
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
A Prince Among Thieves - Prince Paul
Dre wasn't the only legendary rap producer reasserting his powers over the new generations for the new millennium. In fact he was outdone by how much Prince Paul was throwing his weight around. Both men had produced the two most important albums in the entire hip-hop world. One exploded gangsta rap, the other exploded alternative rap. Producers of this level don't just fade away from relevance. No, instead over ten years after their heyday they decide to do things like make unprecedented ambitious projects that are nearly unthinkable in scope. What is this album? It's a short movie in album form. That's exactly right, it's written, casted, scored, and even had a music video that semi followed the plot. Hell, Chris Rock even tried to get the thing optioned as a real film. The story follows a young man trying to become a rapper, who is lead astray then betrayed by his former wannabe rapper friend. He is brought around various seedy city personalties from pimps to weapons dealers. He gets in prison through a mysterious cop sting, which when he gets out finds out was his friend's doing. His friend has since stolen his rap demos and made a hit off them, the two men get in a gun battle and our hero dies. Prince Paul has gotten together an all star cast here, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Keith, De La Soul, Chris Rock, Chubb Rock, RZA, Xzibit, Sadat X and more. Playing fitting roles (Keith is deranged weapons salesman, Kane is a high class pimp etc). It's an amazing conceptual triumph that probably only Paul could do. The album is filled with great moments, the song that plays out a phone dialogue, Chris Rock's hilarious crack-head, Chubb Rock's mob boss, it would be more fun if only the story wasn't such a downer. It's a challenging listen for how much attention it requires as well as time investment, but it's only fitting to give as much to a guy like Paul. He has earned your time and attention more then almost every other producer.

Rating: 4.5
Highlights: The Other Line, Mr. Large, More Than U Know, Handle Your Time
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (12 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Nia - Blackalicious
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People who added this item 26 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
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People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Amplified - Q-Tip
This is a controversial release for a variety of reasons. There's plenty out there who regard this as an absolute sellout garbage pile, where Tip betrayed his roots for quasi-jiggy commercial stabs. Me though? I'm with the "good album" crowd. What this basically is is a continuation of what Tip and Dilla were up to on the final Tribe album. With the exception of two tracks this is entirely the work of the 2/3 remaining of the Ummah. There's a leaf taken from Timbaland in style, but because Dilla is actually a genius (unlike Timbaland) he actually makes it work. True, some tracks fly a little too close to the jiggy sound for comfort, but it never stops being Q-Tip's album or Dilla's production. This shit stays dope in other words. Tip never becomes lazy on the mic or anything, and it easily surpasses The Love Movement at it's own game. Mostly the sound is an early form of the funky neo-soul Q-Tip would be making (and finally perfect in 08') for the coming decade. Don't let the naysayers scare you, this is really pretty damn good and you owe Q-Tip a try for all the good music he's already given you no?

Rating: 4
Highlights: Higher, Breath & Stop, Things You Do, Do It See It Be It
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People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
So How's Your Girl - Handsome Boy Modeling School
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Internal Affairs - Pharaohe Monch
Damned unimpressive solo debut from the better half of the elite Organized Konfusion. What's the deal? Monch had all the potential in the world to crash the shit out of the game and drop a 5 Star classic ala Mos Def. But instead he opted to ignore his strengths and make a play for a hardcore posing album. When I think of Monch I don't think of MOP, Canibus, and Busta Rhymes, but those guests are exactly who he tries to align himself with. It's a solid album, don't get me wrong. But it ranks as possibly the biggest let down in a year littered with big let downs. Monch could have and should have delivered much much better then this. And tellingly he practically vanished after this until 07'.

Rating: 3
Highlights: Queens, Rape, Hell, The Truth
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People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 0
I Am... - Nas
Nastradamus was painfully boring from start to finish, but I Am suffers a different disease, this one of wildly varying quality. There are some gems on here that rank among Nas's greatest. But there's also some of Nas's worst that aren't Oochie Wally. And unfortunately for Nas the weak ones overpower the rest by sheer numbers. And considering what makes and breaks the quality factor here it's extra frustrating. Which is beats beats beats. Nas does a good job mostly throughout on the mic (though even he is not as on point as he should), but damn do most of these beats suck. And when they don't suck? The highlights below? The two Premo beats in particular? Amazing shit. Lots of folks try and claim otherwise but I'm sorry, this is plain weak on the whole, and didn't need to be. Nas fell off.

Rating: 3
Highlights: NY State of Mind II, Small World, Nas Is Like, Undying Love
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By the turn of the millenium rap was no longer a cheeky kid. By all accounts it was now a large relevant embedded part of society that had already passed it's vibrant youth and settled into it's middle age. 1999 saw the end of any dominance held by Master P or Puffy and the rise of the second wave of alternative hip hop. The Soulaquarians especially made their mark on this year, while the mass commercial breakthrough of the South began it's rise to dominance. Unfortunately it was also a year where dozens of acts, some who had been fresh and on fire a mere four years prior, crashed and burned, including nearly the entire Wu-Tang Clan. A troubled entry into the 2000's.

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Hip Hop Best Album Directory (21 lists)
list by mojack
Published 4 years, 6 months ago 1 comment



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