Favourite 90s Hip-Hop Albums
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)(1993):
The distinctive sound of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) created a blueprint for hardcore Hip-Hop during the 1990s and helped return New York City Hip-Hop to national prominence. Its sound also became greatly influential in modern Hip-Hop production, while the group members’ explicit, humorous, and free-associative lyrics have served as a template for many subsequent Hip-Hop records. Serving as a landmark record in the era of hip hop known as the East Coast Renaissance, its influence helped lead the way for several other East Coast Hip-Hop artists, including Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, and Jay-Z. Despite its raw, underground sound, the album had surprising chart success. This album put Wu-Tang on the map. It still holds up to this day, if you’re a Hip-Hop fan and haven’t heard this album you should be ashamed of yourself (only kidding, but seriously please give it a listen).
The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994):
A lot of people are either a BIggie or a 2Pac fan. I started off listening to and liking 2Pac at first but after some years I finally gave Biggies albums a proper listen and realised that I found Biggie’s lyrics more descriptive and his punch lines were cleverer than 2Pac’s to me. Once I started listening to ‘Ready to Die’ it solidified my opinion as to who I preferred out of the two. ‘Ready to Die’ is an instant classic. There is a sense of sadness when listening to it knowing that it was his debut and last album before he was shot and killed at the age of 24. Knowing that he had so much more to give is a hard thing to swallow. Be let’s be thankful that he left us ‘Ready to Die’. Tracks like “Gimme the Loot”, “Big Poppa” and “The What” (featuring Method Man) are some of the best tracks from the 90s let alone just on this record. This album is definitely a stand album of the 1990s.
Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (1999):
For me this list cannot be right without including ‘The Slim Shady LP’. It was the first Hip-Hop CD I bought on my own. Hearing Eminem for the first time, I was mesmerized, I couldn’t stop listening to ‘My Name Is’. For some this track is a bit of a bubblegum rap song but for a young boy it was awesome. It was funny and offensive, all my friends were talking about it. This whole album was unlike any at the time. It was so raw and personal, Eminem wore his heart on his sleeve, I think that’s what drew me in. The are some all-round brilliant tracks on here like “If I Had”, “Role Model”, “Rock Bottom” & “Just Don’t Give a Fuck”. There is a good mix of serious subject matter and comedic lines sprinkled throughout this album. Eminem is one of the kings of the punchline, his sense of humour always related to me. This album came at the end of the 90s but definitely ended the decade in good fashion.
MF DOOM – Operation: Doomsday (1999):
I was pretty late to the party with MF DOOM but boy, I’m glad I showed up at all. This album is great, it was the first I heard that was like listening to a comic book. His one liners are great too, there’s alway peppered with a touch of humour. Some stand out tracks are “Red and Gold” , “Tick, Tick…” and “Operation: Greenbacks”. I love the fact that on “Red and Gold” he features King Geedorah which is one of his aliases so it’s basically him on featuring on his own track, genius. This mask wearing dude is one hell of a rapper and a great personality.
Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal (1996):
Heltah Skeltah were Hip-Hop heavyweights, unfortunately the duo group are no longer due to untimely death of member Sean Price, known as Ruck at the time of this album. This was their debut album and it definitely solidified their place in Hip-Hop history. The rawness and lyrical delivery are second to none, speaking of lyrics both Rock and Ruck are up there with the greats. Sean Price grew to be a truly unique lyricist with punchlines for days. What I like most about this record is musically the beats are tinged with a darkness, I slight macabre sound to them, fairly similar to the feel of Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday. This may not be a known album to the casual Hip-Hop listener but to me it is classic and a must hear to any true Hip-Hop fan.