Fuck me, this is dragging on for a bit innit? For those who are just tuning in, there’s a recap from 1 to 50 here. For the rest of you, who have no doubt been fiending for this for the past week, lets start at 51 and see how far we get, eh?
51) Ice T – O.G. Original Gangster
Easily Mr Marrow’s best album, “O.G.” saw him polish up both his lyrical delivery and his content to the point where, even though he was often relaying the same LA street tales as brothers-in-arms NWA (see what I did there?), Ice’s versions didn’t carry the same ‘eau de Hanna Barbera’. This album saw Ice at his peak – the theme to the movie that first saw him grace the silver screen ‘New Jack City’ slots in perfectly beside the gritty realism of ‘The Tower’, the highly psychological ‘Mind Over Matter’, and the violently descriptive ‘Pulse Of The Rhyme’. The fact that this is the best outing on the boards from his production team, The Ammo Dump, makes this a perfect contender for the top 100.
52) Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggy Style
I guess we should keep it on the West Coast for a short short. Was there really any way that this album was NOT going to make it on here? The perfect marriage of Dre’s new G-Funk sound and the soft spoken twang of Calvin Broadus didn’t just meet all the pre-release hype – it exceeded it beyond anyone’s imagination. This record is truly the one that made gangsta rap fully accessible to MTV and set the scene for everyone to milk the G-Funk formula to death. And despite the fact that it was quickly proven that Snoop really can’t rap for shit beyond ‘A-B-C-1-2-3-D-P-G-L-B-C’, he’s the ONLY muhfucka that could get away with such an average microphone performance. (Of course the beats are a major factor too – but Snoop is just THAT DUDE.)
53) Snoop Doggy Dogg – The Doggfather
Which is why THIS album also makes the list. Unfairly shitted on to this day by many, simply because it was Dre-less, it still gets regularly outings on the tables in chez Altrap. DJ Pooh takes over control on the boards, and with the help of Daz and Soopafly, lays down some pure FONK for Snoop to chatter over. Pooh rips Zapp’s entire catalogue with a surgical precision not seen since the heady days of EPMD – how anyone can listen to the title track, ‘Up Jump The Boogie’, ‘Groupie’, ‘Snoop Bounce’, or ‘You Thought’ and not nod their fucking head is beyond me. The fact that Snoop is single-handedly responsible for rejuventating the career of Charlie Wilson is just one more reason to ride for Calvin (no sodomite.) Go on – listen to it again, and admit y’all fucked up by keeping this shit on the shelf. Thank me later.
54) Dr Dre – The Chronic
Another relatively easy choice for the list, this has aged much better than its 2001 followup. I remember copping the tape shortly after it dropped and listening to it on a flight from Boston to Dublin – I ran it all the way through, and then took it out and listened to Redman and EPMD the rest of the entire flight, pissy because ‘Deep Cover’ wasn’t on it, and safe in the knowledge that Dre couldn’t fuck with the funk the way Erick & Parrish were doing it. Anyway, House Of Pain were ruling the airwaves in ’92 anyway, right?
55) Dogg Pound – Dogg Food
Holding its own with “The Chronic” and “Doggy Style” is a task that Daz and Kurupt’s album achieves with relative ease. With Dre and Daz on the boards and Death Row at the height of their powers, it was almost a given that this album would sound musically great, but there was always the fear that as supposed ‘2nd tier’ artists, Daz and Kurupt on the mic would be overshadowed by the mainstays of the label over the course of an entire album. These fears were unfounded though, as the duo attacked the mic with a genuine hunger, as Dre steered the album in the correct musical direction. One black mark against this album though – this is the one where Nate Dogg established himself as the king of hooks and following its success he popped up on EVERY muhfuckas shit over the next few years. (Sidenote: I finally came up on another copy of the ‘Respect’ 12″ a few months back – this is one of the best instrumental tracks EVER. Ipso Facto Cunto.)
56) 2Pac – All Eyez On Me
Aw fuck it. Lets make this a Death Row edition shall we? Fuck “Me Against The World” – its average nonsense from a cat who can’t decide whether he’s going to rep the Bay, Baltimore or NY, and who’s selection is beats is downright awful. “All Eyez On Me” though sees Pac ‘Bishop up’ and become the cartoon thug that he figured the rest of the world always wanted to see… the fact that he makes this decision over some fantastic beats makes this the audio equivalent of a bad car crash, and you can’t help but tune in. Contradictory and bloated it may be, but there’s still a hell of an album in amongst the fat. ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’, ‘All Bout U’, ‘Got My Mind Made Up’ and the title track are arguably some of the strongest tracks in Pac’s catalogue. (Cue Pac dick rider invasion.)
57) 2Pac / Makaveli – The Don Killuminati The 7 Day Theory
Conspiracy, conschmiracy. The paranoia obviously brought out the best in Pac on the mic during the time leading up to his death – this album stands testament to this fact, and also to the fact that his quality control inspector was finally putting in some work. The beats and the micwork here stand head and shoulders above every other 2pac release, and even with Afeni’s mutiple attempts to
cash in on her son’s work keep the memory of her son’s work alive, this album is easily the best 2pac album ever released. Obviously, the Black Elvis was completely off his rocker during the recording of most of it, but its entertaining in the extreme to hear him describe how Camel Joe Jay-Z and Nas are sending ninjas to assassinate him, how Dr Dre is a regular at the Blue Oyster, and how Puffy is a member of Al Quaeda. Or something.
58) Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
Many think that this album has matured less like a fine wine and more like a bottle of mayonaisse left out in the heat. I disagree. For one it has ‘Who’s The Mack’ on it – one of the finest Cube tracks ever. For two – it has some classic Bomb Squad production on it, just before Chuck, Hank and Eric all went off the deep end and started thinking that they could get away with making shite and it would still sell because carried the Bomb Squad moniker (I see you Chief Groovy Loo.) For three, its fucking Cube’s first record post NWA. And he’s angry. Matter of fact, he’s the nigga ya love ta hate. And JD was gafflin’ on here too. What more do you want, you clueless idiots?
59) Ice Cube – Death Certificate
Ice Cube’s response to those who figured that the angry shouty ‘Cube from NWA’ was the only look he could give the Hiphop listener. Here he couples it with the angry, shouty ‘Cube who’s down with the Nation’ and kicks off at mutiple targets over some fine board work from Sir Jinx. At times thought provoking, at times humorous, at times militant, at times downright offensive, Cube still hits every target he aims at – from the plight of the black community to his old NWA cohorts. After as perfect an album as this, its not surprising that the only direction afterwards was down, and while the first halves of both “The Predator” and “Lethal Injection” are near perfect, the second halves are godawful. The rest of his catalogue (save the “Kill At Will” EP) is complete poo. And lets pour some out for “Are We There Yet?” too. Fuck me though (not an invite), this is a great fucking album.
60) WC & The Maad Circle – Ain’t A Damn Thang Changed
Carrying the same flavor and style as the first couple of Cube solos (not surprising as O’Shea oversaw the whole album recording process) this album flew under many people’s radar on initial release. Its not the first time Dub-C got this treatment either – his album as part of Low Profile was also unfairly slept on by the majority (who are now paying through the ass for Ebay copies now.) Anyway… “AADTC” saw WC, a pre-sell out Coolio, Chilly Chill and co busting hardcore CPT gangsta rap over classic Sir Jinx production. Its a simply constructed album, that sounds amazing. And many of you don’t have it. Because you’re all gay.
That’s your lot for tonight. I’m off to watch Kevin Federline’s exclusive performance on the Teen Choice Awards. Yeah – I keeps it THAT real.
40 slots left. Are you sweating for your own personal favorite yet?