Top 101 Hip Hop Albums of All Time

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

400 thoughts on “Top 101 Hip Hop Albums of All Time”

  1. 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.

    • 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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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