1. Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
In 1994, BadBoy Records released an album that is still extremely relevant today, 17 years on. To this day, recording artists still aspire to achieve the quailty of music that Christopher Wallace brought to the game. With hits like Big Poppa, One More Chance and Juicy, Biggie was unstoppable. If it wasn’t for his tragic demise in 1996, could you imagine the material he could be releasing today?
2. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
The third studio album by Eminem was one of his most substantial to this day. When it was released in 2000, it became the fastest selling solo album ever. Containing Stan, The Way I Am and The Real Slim Shady, Marshall let it be known to the world that he was unique and captivating in so many ways. Eccentric, deep, moving and comical, the game would not be the same without him.
3. Tupac Shakur – Greatest Hits
In 1998, two years after our Souljah’s passing, Death Row released Tupac’s Greatest Hits. The album had classics such as Changes, Hit Em Up and California Love. It was a great album for Tupac fanatics and the best album of choice for people who may not have heard many of his tracks before. It expressed everything Tupac represented – love, anger, pain, passion, frustration and a deep intelligence.
4. Kanye West – College Dropout
Kanye’s debut album, which was released in 2004, defined a brand new era in hip-hop. Kanye was fresh, one of a kind and innovative and he took hip hop into the 21st century. Every track was a masterpiece. ( remember Thru The Wire, All Falls Down and Slow Jamz? ) This dude is a true artist who is always one step ahead of the game.
5. Dizzee Rascal – Boy in the Corner
When Dizzee released his first album in 2003, we knew we were in for a treat. With bangers like I Luv U, Jus’ A Rascal and Fix Up Look Sharp, Dizzee was inevitably the first established grime artist. Dizzee paved the way for artists like chipmunk and Tinie Tempah. His album was fun, dark, thought provoking and inspirational to the youths. It demonstrated his durability in the game which is still evident today.
6. Usher – 8701
Released in 2001, it was a breakthrough album for the young star. It contained a whole stack of hits, from You Got It Bad, U Remind Me, and You Don’t Have To Call. It went 4x platinum and is one of Usher’s best albums to date.
7. Boyz II men – Legacy
End Of The Road, I’ll make love to you… need I say more? In 2001, these brothers of soul helped heal many broken hearts with their music, and I’m sure their music will carry on living in the world of love for many years to come. Their amazing voices with their beautifully orchestrated songs made this the love album of the decade.
8. Jay Z – The Blueprint
This was Jigga’s sixth studio album, and although he was established in the U.S at the time, this was his breakthrough album for the world. Holding iconic gems such as Girls Girls Girls, Renegade ft. Eminem and Izzo (H.O.V.A), 2001 was a great year for Jigga. This album had a large of dose of production by Kanye West, which helped both Ye and Hove become real mainstream artists.
9. Beyonce – Dangerously In Love
When Destiny’s Child split, fans around the world were shrieking “WHHHYYYY??” So in 2003, I was ecstatic when I heard Beyonce was releasing her solo debut. Boy, she did not disappoint. With hits like Crazy In Love, Baby Boy and Naughty Girl, Bey let it be known that she was the star of the show. Seven years on since her 2003 debut release, she’s still going hard.
10. 50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
In 2003, 50 released his debut album. 50’s hype was absolutely crazy at the time and his album was highly anticipated. 50 ensured that he did not disappoint. Need a reminder? In the Club, 21 Questions, Many Men… 50 was literally a hit making machine! The public evidently appreciated his efforts, as they put his debut album to number 1 in the charts in its first week of release.