Rap Albums To Check Out

A brief description of my five favourite rap albums and why they aren't just like most of the horrible rap being put out today.

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First of all, I am a rock fan recently turned onto some rap just to mix things up a little. I realise lots of ignorant children will give me one star without reading the article and missing the point that the purpose of this article is to introduce the members of UG to good rap. Frankly, I don't care if you do, cause it proves you're just going along with the rock clique and bashing a genre you haen't heard anything decent from.

I'm sure you, like I, are tired of crap like 50 cent and G-unit along with the rest of all the flavourless rap being put out today. I think these horrible (yet somehow popular) MC's are the reason rap is viewed so negatively on this site. So without further ado, I will list my 5 favourite rap albums that actualy feature talented MC's, and may change your perception of rap like it they did mine.

Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation To Hold Us Back (1988)

The best rap album of all time in the eyes of many. First of all, you won't find any rapping about hoes and bling on this record. It's a political record with ingenious lyrics that made some pretty controversial statements. And it's quite a varied record, with some elements of funk and rock thrown into the beats make this album not only strong lyricaly, but strong musicaly as well.

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (1989)

This is the album that brought "Gangsta Rap" into the mainstream. While this genre is bland and flavourless now, this album was very original way back in 89, giving a lyrical documentary of life on the streets of Compton LA. Fresh and fun, the lyrical rants of Eazy-E, MC Ren and Ice-Cube are quite humourous yet still are serious enough to make a some powerful statements.

The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)

The first white rappers of importance may seem washed up now, but back in the day they put out some of the greatest rap albums ever. Full of awseome samples and fun hooks, Paul's Boutique flows very nicely and the trio from new york made themselves a sure classic. While none of the songs on here were as big as "Fight For Your Right To Party" or "Sabotage," it's more consistent as a whole and therefore remains the fan favourite.

The Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang Clan: 36 Chambers

My personal favourite rap album, The Wu-Tang Clan were made up of a total of 9 members for this album. Now for an ordinary rap group this would be a ridiculous number of MC's, but TWTC are far from ordinary. Each MC brings something different to the table, and most of them have a voice that sets them apart from the rest. The whole concept behind this album was that after it's release, all nine members would release solo projects, each receiving their own royalty checks. It not only worked brilliantly, but also gave us some more wonderful albums, most notably GZA - Liquid Swords and Raekwon - Only Built for Cuban Linx.

Nas - Illmatic (1994)

Hailed as the greatest rap album of the 90's, Nas' debut is a wonderful whirlwind of amazing lyrical ability. Tupac writes nursery rhymes compared to this talented lyriscist. While short for a rap album, the sheer quality of the tracks makes up for it. The only bad thing about this album is that Nas would never be able to follow it up with something just as good, a point which critics never fail too touch upon.

There you have it. So even if you try one or two of these albums and still hate rap, you'll get alot more respect from me and people like me, because at least you tried and formed your own opinion of this interesting genre.

284 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Tom
    u no what, i agree, i don't listen to rap a lot but u gotta appreciate some of the talent that these older groups had.
    Lymbe
    Some rap songs (old school of course) can be as heavy as metal songs, u don't actually need the distortion when u have a good beat and low voiced lyrics. However im not going to give credit to a genre of music that plays everytime i switch a music channel or station. It's all the same, and it will be, that's why everyone now is trying to sample metal riffs into their rap, cause they run out of ideas
    XeNoCiDe730
    Metallica420: 2nd Rap sucks ass i hate it i didn't even bother reading this article as soon as it said Rap Albums to Check Out i knew just how to flame it man this is a guitar site there ain't no guitars in rap man. Peace No guitars in rap?...Ever heard of Nocturnal Rage?...I thought so...even Outkast has some good bass and guitar lines...and no i dont mean "hey ya"...Just another uninformed argument from an ignorant genre basher but whatever
    lazeboi
    Jurassic 5 rule! They use loads of different instruments and samples, modern rap ignores important aspects of hip hop such as origional beats and slick mc's in favour of the "star's" personal image as it is more marketable to kids that buy singles. They will also steal the hooks first discovered by previous hip hop artists and pass them off as their own achievment.Proper live hip hop groups perform with live band instead of just decks like cypress hill etc... 50 cent and 'artists' like him are to hip hop what busted are to punk...nuff said.
    Nirvana101
    YourMusicSucks: Rap ***ing blows. If I could give you negative stars I sure as hell would.
    Me to. Just out of curiosity I went and downloaded one song from that public enemy album. I listened to about 5 seconds of it before I puked everywhere. Rap ***ing sucks huge goat balls and anyone on this forum agreeing with this guy is a fag and not a guitar player. E.Nygma: Other good albums to check out: 1. the Roots - Things Fall Apart 2. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising 3. UGK - Ridin Dirty 4. the Geto Boys - We Can't Be Stopped 5. Scarface - the Diary 6. Eightball and MJG - On Toop of the World 7. Goodie Mob - Still Standing 8. Lil' Flip - the Leprechaun 9. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders 10. Black Sheep - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing 11. the D.O.C - No One Can Do It Better 12. DJ Quik - Safe and Sound, or Rhythmalism 13. LL Cool J - B.A.D. (Bigger and Deffer) oh, and I'll put a rap/rock one on here for all you guys that like that 14. Rehab - Southern Discomfort Holy shit buddy, what the *** do you listen to, rap or actual music that has the slightest guitar in it?
    metaljunkie
    like its been stated old school always was and always will be better no matter what genre it is....back then to get in the biz all you needed was A LOT of talent nowadays you just need to know the right people no matter how crappy you sound...
    ryansomebody
    Beastie boys were the shit back in the day, but their new stuff is crap. From "fight for your right to paarty!" to "ch-ch-check it out."-how sad
    toha33
    Great article. How about some Outcast? those guys are good, I love ''Ms.Jackson'' that song is great. And they're like jazz/blues/rap style. Andre300 plays guitar there.
    NUBIENLOC76
    first id like to address ENygma & RedGibson I really respect your opinion and "E" a little more work on the lyrics but for Cookie "that is such a gay s/n"I was only refering to Ozzy not the all of Black Sabbath and have ya ever hear of The Roots a RAP BAND Black Jack Jhonson, hell ill even take you back to LIving Color "Vernon Reed" and i also saw mention outkast and a couple others. But I dont speak on subjects that i dont know about/ the rap you hate is the rap mainstream puts out / real rap heads dont listen to the radio / it's underground mixed tapes that blast out my stereo/ I like classic rock,Led Zep is the best man/ you can squeeze my lemon til the juice squirts dead in ya face man/ and you say Ozzy got more talent /like he is less violent/ you like Emenem but say rap is a fad/ i dont like em anyway i think hes a fag/ and all the metal heads get online and they brag/when Bio Hazard got w/Public Enemy you was all on their nads/ rap is the only industry where you can make some grip/ exploit the culture and dont even like the shyt/red gib & nigma got a lil knowlege/ oh you thought the next line was sumthin bout college / no but David Banner "rap artist" went to graduate school but you say rap is dumb and guns and roses are cool? these are all my opinions so i dont care if you like it but im done with this article so flame me if you dont like it. :-P
    metaljunkie
    jeez some people need to be more open minded to other things...people gotta realize that the guitar is used in rap..a lot..it just makes use of an effects pedal (or a few) acctaully rap can be compared to rock just with more effects used in the studio...i might get some flames for this but whatever
    leijsa
    Overrated: Check out Classified, GREAT underground Hip Hop artist from Halifax. Makes me take back everything I said about rap, well ok, not everything.... [POSTED: 10 July 2005 - 00:15
    I agree completely, Classified is cool. His song The Maritimes is addicting. Makes me proud to be from Halifax. I think most rap is good, but I really can't stand 50 Cent. I remember hearing "In Da Club" when I was in grade 7, and I absolutely hated it. And everyone hated me for hating it. I don't listen to rap on a daily basis, but if I'm hanging out with my friends getting ready to go out or something we listen to rap. And to NUBIENLOC76, that was awesome, what you just did there.
    RedGibsonSG
    Jayz did an unplugged show a while back on MTV. Now I'm not a Jay-Z fan, but that was sweet. Living Colour, that was awesome. Plus rock and blues were sorta stolen from another form of music. So to the guy who said rap needs to stop taking "their/our songs"...well they're just using what rock took from their predecessor
    XeNoCiDe730
    And David Banner is garbage...I heard his Mississippi album...All the tracks sounded the same: A catchy lil jon-like beat and lil john or banner screamin "yea" and other stuff...There was one good song i think...The only one that didnt talk only bout bitches and hos..."caddilacs on 22s" and thats it think
    #_of_the_beast
    i dont mind old rap, like wu tang and tupac, but this new stuff is just complete trash. Its all the same. Im pretty sure the words Rim, Club, and Ho are used in every rap song coming out today.
    RedGibsonSG
    I never listed my "good" rap. I was going off whats those guys were saying. I like what I like, I don't expect other people to like it. I mean, f*ck, i get flamed by other guitar players for like Zeppelin...b/c they're "hippy rock". Obviously people are dumbasses and don't know what the hell they are talking about. All I'm saying is that you, yourself(in general) haven't found what you like about it. I ***ing hate country music, but I find things about that that I do like, and then I can stand it somewhat and get something out of it. I don't just throw the whole genre out of the bus and listed to the same exact music by bands that all sound exactly the same.
    anonymouse
    Its all well and good praising rap on a rock/metal dominated forum site thingy, but honestly, whats the chances of a rap site ever praising rock/metal?
    Haagse
    What about Anthrax? Didn't they have a little rap session or two?
    RadVolta85
    Abyssal. Whatever you're listening to is not rap. You can't listen to one 50 Cent album and say "Oh it's bass heavy. All rap is like this" Sure, rap is harder than hip-hop, but it's not all bass heavy. My Top Rap Artists: Public Enemy Dr. Dre NWA Jurassic 5 Kanye West Tupac Ma$e Top Hip-Hop artists: K-OS The Roots Talib Kwali Mos Def De La Soul K-OS is wonderful with the spanish guitar. He rips through some pretty impressive solos on his latest album. As for Anthrax, yes. Public Enemy and Anthrax had a rap session.
    RedGibsonSG
    And how can you say rap doesn't praise rock/metal? If some guy just flamed rappers for using rock/metal riffs? Imitation is the biggest form of flattery.
    proguit933
    there is good new rap but its more underground, check out immortal technique or benefit, they dont rap about bitches and hoes n shit, they rap more about social injustice n shit, and its crazy as ***, check out obnoxious by immortal technique or so sick by benefit, dr. dre aint bad either, the rock rap fusion shit is just disgusting though with bands like linkin park, ugh
    E.Nygma
    Oh and Nirvana101, for your information. the Roots are a live band (guitars, drums, bass)that rap. Nas did a song with 2Pac(posthumously) called Thugz Mansion, that is just them rapping over an acoustic guitar. In the glory days of MTV, LL Cool J did a legendary performance on MTV Unplugged. He was the first rapper to do the show, and it was great. By the way having a guitar in it does not make it music, look at GWAR.
    E.Nygma
    First of all Nirvana101, I listen to music that I like. Regardless of genre. When I was a kid, I listened to my dads music (the Eagles, CCR, the Doobie Brothers, Jim Croce), then in H.S. I discovered rap. I found the lyrical wordplay interesting, and sometimes funny. I still listened to rock though. Then came the hair bands and then grunge. The hair music was fun, then grunge was depressing. But the music was great. Then when grunge ended, I found nothing new in rock that I liked, and so I listened to mostly rap. It was better at parties and in da club. Then rap started getting repetitive. I got bored with it. So a friend got me into playing acoustic, and I started going back and checking out old music that I missed the first time around. See down here in the dirty south, we didn't get MTV in the bible belt, so I missed quite a bit, oh and the radio sucks here. The closest rock station (not classic rock)is in Dallas, and hard to pick up. Now I'm much more selective in what I listen to. If I like it it's good, to me. Oh and I could list a hundred great albums from any genre but since the article was about rap, I thought I might drop a few of my favorite rap albums on you. Expand your horizons a lil bit. Rap is not for everyone, and if you truly don't like it I respect that. But I expect the same respect in return.
    JonnyBhoy
    I dont really like rap but ive got to admit that some bands like rage against the machine and Outkast. Oh and Run DMC are good too.
    RedGibsonSG
    But you have to remember. Those artists themselves are giving the rights, or playing it it themselves. JIMMY MOTHERF**KER PAGE played in a Puff Daddy song, was even in the video. He said he was a fan. But I do agree...stuff like mike jones is irritating. But people playing the crap out of things...now that is the radio station and video stations fault. The rappers or artists or whatever are doing their job. If it gets picked up or played more, thats America's fault.
    PearlJamania
    o but 2 the guy who wrote the article. nice. sorry bout the triple post guys! no1s gonna read down this far anyway tho
    PearlJamania
    sorry guys. but man, who thinks i cud get a record deal with lines like that? man... im awesome...
    PearlJamania
    to the guy that thinks he nos more than me cos hez as black as the sun bitches wat up dawg... 16 lines... I like bitches i like hoes i like cars and those lollie eskimoes (hehe man im awesome!) i dont like rap i think its low i like rock and thats how it goes rap music is an oxymoron but rock music gives me a hard on (wtf?) led zeppelin, now they wrote some real songs it took some huge skills to sing along (well)(this sucks) im getting bored cos rap musics boring kinda makes me feel like snoring the other guitarist in my band is called nick morling i dont no anything else that rhymes with boring well i do but i cant b botherer anymore thats ok tho cos ur mommas a ***** (oooo burn lol) id b even cooler if i swore not to write this crap thing anymore.
    zephead69
    i give this article 5 stars, if i could i'd give it more...my favorite band of all time is led zeppelin, but that doesn't mean that i'm not open to listening to some hip hop...there's a lot of good hip hop artists, you just have to look for them, because some of the best hip hop is the stuff that ISN'T on MTV all the time, like Gangstarr, Jurassic 5, Atmosphere. these three are prime examples, also talib kweli, and mos def, when they're together in blackstarr, it's even better. Black moon are a good hip hop group as well. there's also a rapper from frisco named andre nickatina, now i guess you could call his stuff more gangsta rap then hip hop, but his lyrics are actually smart and witty, and he rarely talks about bitches or partying, but if he does, it's some of the hardest, yet witty shit i've heard in a while...while 50 cent and g-unit are rapping about stuff like drinking champagne and rolling around in an escalade, andre raps about cooking up cocaine and stuff like that, he's like the tony montana of hip hop hahaha but yeah, bottom line. all you 'tards that are bashing on people for listening to rap or hip hop, go eat a bowl of dick and open your minds...you're just being hypocrites, saying that rap sucks, and that rock is the ONLY WAY TO GO, and then you turn around and criticize the author of this article for telling people what to listen to... p.s. a couple months ago, this british d.j. danger mouse (who is an avid classic rock fan) combined jay-z's the black album, and the beatles' white album and made THE GREY ALBUM....i was a bit skeptical, but if you can, find the version of "99 problems"...danger mouse uses "helter skelter" for the background beats, and it works seamlessly
    neocon58
    *** off, i'm too close minded to appreciate other styles of music. especially rap.
    atc228
    great article man, 5 stars i agree with u, u made some good points at the begining. im going to try some of those, thank you for broadening my horizons..... oh yeah, when i voted the number of votes became "69" hahaha
    Abyssal
    Well, i have heard your "good" rap. And i still dont like it. I think it sucks just as much as the mainstream stuff. But thats my own opinion, so dont go flaming me for that.
    NUBIENLOC76
    YOU ALL ARE TARDS ROCK MUSIC SPAWNED FROM BLACK MUSIC IN THE FIRST PLACE WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK BROUGHT THE BEETLES HERE AND DIDNT GET RECOGNITION FOR IS (LITTLE RICHARD) LOOK IT UP ROCK SPAWNED FROM BLUES(BLACK MUSIC) WHICH WAS PICKED UP BY WHITE COLLEGE STUDENTS WHICH SPAWND INTO HARD ROCK, PUNK METAL HEAVY METAL OR WHATEVER THE HELL YOU ALL CALL IT SO ALL THE MUSIC YOU SAY YOU HATE COME FROM A PEOPLEWHO YOU ALL immulate where the hell you think clapton learned from
    Phonical88
    oh yeah, RZA is also damn good! He did the score for kill bill vol 1. Listen particularly to The ode to Oren Ishii
    RedGibsonSG
    Hey *** you hypnos. Its funny how you come on this site and say the words nigger. I guarantee you wouldnt say that shit to one in person. Im not black, but I'm not a ***ing moron like you.
    The Nameless666
    i really dont like rap at all, i cant stand it...bbut just becuase i dont like it im not saying that all the albums that you listed suck or anything...they are probably very good but rap jsut cant go through my ears without pissing me off. but for all those talented rappers out there, i take my hat off to you
    Drazil
    Man, I have nothing against rap, except for the hatred and violence it breeds. But what in the *** were you thinking? I mean, posting a hip-hop article on aguitar board is like posting 'white power' messages on a BET or Source magazine web site. Honestly, take this stuff where it belongs. Peace.
    Mantiscabinet
    good article! i've been wanting to get into 80's/early 90's rap, and you've steered me well. The way i see it, rap is like rock but twenty years behind. Observe: rock was invented in 50's, rap in late 70's. Lots of colour and almost hippie-ish (especially fresh prince and dj jazzy jeff) in mid-late 80s, hippies of rock in 60s. 90s and 00s are the classic rock and hair metal of rap due to the conceding and talking about women, just like the rock of the 70s and 80s. In the 2010s, we'll start to see "grunge rap" and then late 10s will be "pop punk rap" followed by a 2020s follow up of "emo rap"
    Lord Hypnos
    Rap is gay... there is no talent there, just niggers. Wtf is this shit doing on a guitar forum anyway.
    Phonical88
    Abyssal: Knew i was gonna get falmed for saying that. Well, i create my own lyrics for my band. So why would i even bother to make rap lyrics. And it's not as hard as you think either. Sorry for saying All rap is shit. Didnt really mean it in that way. I meant that "most" rap that i ever heard. But, define what Good Rap is? Listen to The Last Emperor- Heaven and also pretty much any mos def and then we are talking good rapping...
    XeNoCiDe730
    why cant we hate people for the person they are...not the color of their skin!...like you hypnos we hate you becuz your a racist little SOB as metalhead 39 sed and u know damn well u wouldnt say that $hit to anyones face (except maybe ur racist buddies), much less a black persons face... u should hv kept your mouth shut you fckin drone..."rap is talentless $hit, fk niggers" thats the most original thing i've heard all day...but keep to your narrow minded ways and follow your programming you fcking mindless robot cuz we dont care about your opinion once you voice it like that...
    rickmeister
    Very good article and good responses mostly. An example of rock/rap done well: RATM An example of rock/rap gone bad: Limp Bizkits 2 new albums.
    sv1684
    also check out ice cubes first 2 solo albums: Lethal Injection and The Predator.
    XeNoCiDe730
    ummm....lil john doesnt sing...he screams 3 or 4 words (at most) repeatedly with that annoying voice of his...and people want him to be on their records cuz they think its a fast track to increased popularity/fame/ record sales/ etc/...
    RedGibsonSG
    Umm...Lil' Jon produces every single song he sings in. Thats why he is in it. He throws in the singing b/c I guarentee you the artists want him to do that. He gets at least $500,000 for the songs he produces. You may not like him, but he is actually producing at least half of the songs you hear on the radio or see on MTV.