Here Are the Rap Albums Hip-Hop Fans Have Owned on Every Platform

Here Are the Rap Albums Hip-Hop Fans Have Owned on Every Platform

These are the albums veteran hip-hop fans can’t stop listening to, no matter what platform or device.

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Screenshot: N.W.A // Jay-Z // Stones Throw Records/YouTube

Although Hip-Hop is only around 50 years old, it’s already the most popular genre in the country. Throughout its history, it continues to change and involve as new artists and sounds are introduced.

But, even as the genre changes, there are still those albums that have always been in rotation, whether that’s on a cassette tape, CD, vinyl or on streaming services. These are the rap albums hip-hop heads have owned on every platform.

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Nas - Illmatic

Nas - Illmatic

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Screenshot: Nas/YouTube

Considered by many hip-hop purists to be the greatest rap album of all time, this is the one young fans who are just getting into the genre are told to listen to. This classic project transports you to Nas’ world in Queensbridge, New York.

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Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die

Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die

The Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy (Official Video) [4K]

The best rap album from arguably the best rapper of all time, Biggie Smalls. How can hip-hop fans not keep this album in constant rotation? The number of hits for this project is endless. It includes “Warning,” “Big Poppa,” and “Juicy.”

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Outkast - ATLiens

Outkast - ATLiens

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Screenshot: Outkast/YouTube

Outkast has the greatest discography out of any hip-hop group in history—argue with ya momma. While other projects they have released may have been more popular, this is the album that truly put the group on the map. It was a toss-up between this project and Aquemini, but I love this album so much that I had to put it on the list.

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N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (Official Music Video)

Many artists have used the word “Gangsta Rap” or “Reality Rap” when referring to their music. But N.W.A. is the group that popularized it. Their debut album introduced some of the greatest figures in the genre’s history including Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Eazy-E. This album is so important to the West Coast that hip-hop fans can’t help but appreciate it.

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2pac - All Eyez on Me

2pac - All Eyez on Me

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Screenshot: 2pac/YouTube

The most influential and beloved rapper of all time, periodt. In his short life, 2pac inspired so many fans and this was the album that truly expanded his fanbase. His first album with Death Row records is filled with west-coast bangers.

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Dr. Dre - The Chronic

Dr. Dre - The Chronic

Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - Nuthin’ But A G Thang (Official Video) [Explicit]

Dr. Dre’s work with N.W.A. was respected, but the moment he turned solo and started Death Row Records is when his career took off. While N.W.A. might’ve put the West Coast on the map, Dre is the creator of the sound. The Chronic is filled with his signature G-funk production that defined an entire coast. Rap lovers have no choice but to return to this.

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Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle  

Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle  

Snoop Dogg - Who Am I (What’s My Name)?

Why Snoop has made it difficult to listen to any album released on Death Row Records since he took over the label, this album is too important to not leave off. Doggystyle is one of the most-anticipated rap albums of all time thanks to Snoop’s showing on The Chronic. What fans got from the Long Beach artists is a project filled with timeless west coast bangers.

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A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory

A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario (Official HD Video)

It was either The Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders. Both projects are considered some of the greatest of all time and both have some of the best cover art in music history. But I decided to go with The Low End Theory. A Tribe Called Quest is responsible for inspiring the sound of some of the greatest artists in music history including Outkast, Kanye West and Pharell Williams. There’s no question rap heads continue to listen to the album that helped inspire an entire generation.

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Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck (Official Video)

I could’ve included solo projects from Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, GZA and Method Man, but I decided to go with the album that introduced them all. Enter The Wu-Tang set the standard for how large hip-hop groups create albums. How could I not include an album that launched the careers of so many talented and legendary MCs.

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Jay-Z - The Blueprint

Jay-Z - The Blueprint

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Screenshot: Jay-Z/YouTube

If you consider your left a commercial hip-hop listener or a backpacker, or you fall somewhere in the middle, there’s one artist that is considered by all to be the greatest of all time, and that’s Jay-Z. Not only are his albums exceptional, but his longevity proves that he’s relevant in any generation. The Blueprint was the album that cemented Hov is the best in the game and continues to be cherished by fans everywhere.

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Madvillain - Madvillainy 

Madvillain - Madvillainy 

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Screenshot: Stones Throw Records

MF Doom is the greatest villain in the history of rap, and this album is the most villainous hip-hop project of all time. This project stands out in DOOM’s legendary discography because it is a collab with one of the best producers of all time, Madlib. Unlike other projects on this list, this project is timeless, it doesn’t sound like it came out in a particular era, which is why hip-hop fans have to make sure to have it in their collection.

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Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

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Screenshot: Lil Wayne/YouTube

There was a time when Lil Wayne was the biggest rapper in the world and nobody came even close. When he released Tha Carter III in 2007 Weezy was on top of the world and nobody could touch him. For fans who were just getting into rap when this album came out, Wayne is considered the greatest of all time.

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Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

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Screenshot: TDE/YouTube

While this album has not been out as long as others on this list, it’s sure to be in constant rotation as K. Dot is one of the best lyricists of all time and arguably the best rapper of his generation. This album represents the beginning of Lamar’s meteoric rise.

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J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive

J. Cole - 2014 Forest Hills Drive

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Screenshot: J. Cole/YouTUbe

While each project is good in its own right, if there were to be an essential J. Cole album, it would be 2014 Forest Hill Drive. Even without a proper single, this album still had bangers for fans to enjoy. Similar to Kendrick, this album is not as tenured as others on this list, but there’s no doubt it will be played as long as the genre exists.

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Drake - Take Care

Drake - Take Care

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Screenshot: Drake/YouTube

Drake has run the rap game for the past decade. While some may be respected more lyrically, nobody performs better when it comes to numbers. Drake’s sophomore studio album Take Care is the standard in terms of the Canadian rapper meshing together rap and R&B. Damn-near every song on this project was a hit. It will continue to be the climax for the most popular artist of this generation.

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