A to the L’s 100 Favorite Hiphop Albums Of All Time (Part 2)

100 List Part 2

In Part 1, I reached 14 before I got pissed off and my wife started yelling at me for not spending enough time with her. If you didn’t know already, I live a very showbiz life.

Anyway, here’s some more of the 100. Remember fuckers, ITS NOT IN ORDER… so don’t start whining because we’re at 14 and Rakim hasn’t popped his head up yet (I see you Millz.) Also don’t take that statement as a declaration of the fact that The R WILL appear on this list – he may or may not. Its my list, not yours. Make your own if you’re not happy.

Enough tomfoolery, let me get some more down in writing before I’m called to muck out the stables or some shit…

15) A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
The Low End Theory
Another one of those albums that bears the tag ‘oft overlooked’. While critics rush to give the Tribe’s 2nd and 3rd album the props they rightfully deserve, they usually forget about the debut where Phife, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed, and the incomparable Jairobi quietly and carefully paid their dues as the rest of the world kicked up a fuss over their Daisy Age cousins. Of course ‘Can I Kick It’ made a little mainstream dent, but its the Lou Reed-less rest of the album, chockful of golden jazz loops, that really brings the boom-bap ‘boom-bip’ and gives this its place in the ‘classic’ section.

16) A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory
The Low End Theory
Most heads rate this as their favourite Tribe album. Me, I’ve overplayed it to the point where its my 3rd favorite, plus I don’t think it has aged that well either. This joint, of course, was the one that finally announced the ‘arrival’ of the Tribe – of course the smart ones amongst us already knew the quality of the Linden-Boulie squadron, but many non-believers wrote them off after “Travels” as some kind of 2nd rate De La with weaker hooks. Don’t front, because y’all know that’s how it was. “LET” though blew the cobwebs away and championed the boom-bap sound, with rumbling bass and crisp snares dominating many’s a mixtape during the early 90’s. And of course, I don’t need to tell you about the third best posse cut of all time (after ‘The Symphony’ and Show & AG’s ‘Represent’)…

17) A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Midnight Marauders
The pinnacle of the A Tribe Called Quest’s career. There really only was a downward movement to come following the release of this album. All heads nodding? Check. Streets on lock? Check. Material to stand the tests of time? Check. How could they ever top this? From the sublime first single, ‘Award Tour’, to the ode to Leandro Barbosa. to the shimmery ‘Lyrics To Go’, the Tribe hit every target they aimed at with quality music. Harder than their debut, but more polished than their sophomore effort, “Midnight Marauders” still sounds as good today as it did on its initial release date.

18) EPMD – Unfinished Business
Unfinished Business
Strategy will want to kill me for leaving off “Strictly Business”, but ‘U Gots To Chill’ and the title track aside, there’s little on that album that really gets repeated play from me anymore. This album however is in constant rotation, featuring as it does E and P slaying sucka-ducks with a lot more professionalism than on their debut. On their day, there’s not much that is ever fucking with the heavyweight style of ‘So Whatcha Saying’ and ‘The Big Payback’, while ‘Knick Knack Patty Wack’ and ‘Get The Bozak’ introduced breaks made famous later by Dr Dre and DMX. There’s also the unintentional humor of Erick on ‘Who’s Booty’ declaring, “You can call me gay or a tootie frootie.” Ok then. Oh and don’t forget that this album also contains one of the WORST Hiphop records ever made, with ‘You Had Too Much Too Drink’ needing a hefty alcohol intake before becoming even remotely listenable.

19) EPMD – Business Never Personal
Business Never Personal
Another album that features a group at the very pinnacle of their powers. Rugged, jeep beats are the order of the day here, with Erick and Parrish’s swarming production of funk loops and heavy bass conquering all. ‘HeadBanger’ aside there’s no tracks that instantly leap out as being head and shoulders above the rest – instead this is a cohesive collection of classic 90’s Hiphop from start to finish, with ‘Hear Nothin’ But The Music’, ‘Boon Dox’, and ‘Nobody’s Safe Chump’ especially impressing. Even when they jack Troutman for the umpteenth time on ‘Crossover’, they still recycle it again in a fresh manner. EPMD are just fucking dope, bitches.

20) Diamond Shell – The Grand Imperial Diamond Shell
The Grand Imperial Shell
Huh? What? As luck would have it, TGIDS hit me up on myspace about 2 weeks ago and I was able to quickly ‘stan’ him into oblivion, peppering him (nh) with questions about new music, lack of albums, and the fact that he looks and sounds like Zev Love X (or MF Doom to Pitchfork geeks who only listen to Dangermouse.) So anyway, for those who unaware, Shell is Biz Markie’s brother, and this superb album is the only one he’s ever released (another victim of Cold Chillin’ politics no doubt.) Produced entirely by Biz and Cool V, cuts like ‘Bugged Out Day At Power Play’ and ‘Back Again’ seemed to indicate a promising career for young Shelly D… sadly, the hilarious ‘Oh What A Night’ is the only cut that made any kind of a dent, becoming a staple of Yo MTV Raps in the mid-90s, before it and Shell faded from view forever.

21) Clipse – Lord Willin’
Lord Willin'
A modern-day classic of sorts, the Virginia duo drop arguably the cleverest drug rhymes ever committed to wax over some of the best Neptunes production to date. Is it glorifying the slangin’ game? Fuck yeah… but when Pusha T and Malice toss out so many sharp narcotic innuendos over beats like those on ‘Grindin’, ‘When The Last Time’ and ‘Cot Damn’ it makes it so much easier to overlook the negativity. The quality of this album is of course the main reason that many want to burn the Jive offices to the ground for the constant release-date-shifting of its follow-up.

22) Fat Joe – Jealous One’s Envy
Jealous One's Envy
Way back before he started sporting pink furs and getting ethered by 50 Cent, Fat Joe actually put out some decent music. Pre-Pun, he even concentrated on making sure his own shit was tight, and “Jealous One’s Envy”, the follow up to his clumsy “Represent” featured stellar production from Primo, Diamond D, and LES amongst others. Shit, he still holds the crown as the rapper who best jacked ‘Sexual Healing’ on a track. Its Primo’s stuff that kills on here though, with his remix of ‘The Shit Is Real’ still making appearances on many a mixtape. Joey, Joey… where did it all go wrong?

3 Replies to “A to the L’s 100 Favorite Hiphop Albums Of All Time (Part 2)”

  1. “Bronx Keeps Creatin It” is that HIT. Best tune on that Fat Joe and an all timer that no one mentions.
    Clipse is a definite. Damn I need a vinyl copy of the Dimaond Shell album cos I haven’t had a cassette player for years.

    Am I really the only person that thinks Business Never Personal was a falloff?

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