Friday, August 31, 2012

Top 5 Most Influential Rap Albums

Rapping's roots go back more than half a century, and hip-hop has existed since the 70's, but the genre didn't really take off commercially until the 80's.  Since then, we've seen some great rappers and heard some great hip-hop songs.  Most have the albums on this list to thank for opening the door.

5: Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A., 1988) - The album featured Dr. Dre as producer, Ice Cube and Eazy-E (among others) rapping, and included multiple songs written by the D.O.C., which amounts to an all-star lineup. Combine this with envelope pushing and controversial tracks such as "F*ck tha Police," and you understand why N.W.A. was given the moniker "World's most Dangerous Group."  They were pioneers of gangsta rap and everything it has become.  The album was made better by the group's subsequent break-up and feuding.

4: Sugarhill Gang (The Sugarhill Gang, 1980) - This is the album that contained the 1979 single Rappers Delight, the first hip-hop song to attain commercial success (reaching top 40 status).  This simply paved the way.

3: The Message (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, 1982) - Contained one of the most influential hip-hop songs ever--The Message--which provided biting social commentary and cleared a path for socially minded rappers Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Nas.  The song turned an eye to the unglamorous aspects of life in the inner city.  Before this, rap was about boasting and bragging.

2: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Public Enemy, 1988) - Public Enemy's second album--and Chuck D's finest--was filled with biting social commentary and high-tempo songs that underlined the urgency of the black nationalist, anti-white supremacist lyrics.  Rolling Stone ranked this album at 48 in its top 500 albums list, the highest ranking for any rap album.

1: The Chronic (Dr. Dre, 1992) - Dr. Dre's solo debut that also premiered the debut of Snoop Doggy Dogg was most important for its blending of funk and gangsta rap, creating the G-Funk sub-genre.  Its influence was (and remains) so strong that you can often tell whether a hip-hop song was recorded before or after The Chronic just by the sound.

This one is open for a lot of debate, so let's hear it.  Drop a comment below to share your take on the most influential rap/hip-hop albums, and check us out on Facebook, where you can like our page to get daily updates and funnies sent right to your friend stream!


  1. I'd have to say that the 1986 one-two punch of RUN DMC's "Raising Hell" (with the Aerosmith "Walk This Way" cover) and the Beastie Boy's "License to Ill" (the first hip hop LP to top the Billboard Album Chart) should command a spot on this list for kicking the door wide open for rap to cross over from niche musical genre to mainstream mainstay.

    That, and I think they're both dope. Word.

  2. Very fair points, and both were considered. It's hard to narrow it down when talking about influence. I'd love to add both (especially Beastie Boys), but don't know what I'd cut to do it--how can I put them ahead of NWA?

  3. Check out this poll that has just started. Go vote for the best rapper of all time. By the way.. digging this post. i vote Chronic for the number one though. Man that album had some beats.

  4. Thanks Chris. I think The Chronic was #1 also. Looking forward to seeing who ends up on top in your poll! Come back and post the results when you have them...