How do I get sucked into these things?
I love hip hop, and when I saw this Facebook question about the top five hip hop albums of all time, I could not resist voicing my opinion.
Mine is a list of ultimates.
Ultimate Production: Paul's Boutique (Beastie Boys)
A vast, dense production that will never be equalled, primarily due to the stiffening of sampling laws. The best production on any album, ever, non-rap included. No honorable mentions because, frankly, nothing comes close. The only album on this list and the list of my top five albums of all time in any genre.
Ultimate Defining of an Era: Fear of a Black Planet (Public Enemy)
The ultimate PE album, and the ultimate political rap album, with no weak tracks. Holds up better than almost any album on repeated listenings. Honorable mentions: Raising Hell (Run-D.M.C.), Paid In Full (Eric B. and Rakim), and, of course, It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back (Public Enemy), To The East, Blackwards (X-Clan).
Ultimate Cool: The Low End Theory (A Tribe Called Quest)
If this album is not in your top 20, at least, you obviously do not own it. Buy now. If you do own it, there is nothing that needs to be said. Tribe changed the face of hip hop with the native tongue school; this is the best of the bunch. Honorable mentions: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing (Black Sheep); 3 Feet High and Rising (De La Soul).
Ultimate Creativity: Mouse & The Mask (Dig) by Danger Doom
A toss-up, for me, between this and Dr. Octagonecologist for lyrical surrealism and humor. Combined with innovative and catchy production, Mouse & The Mask is an underrated classic.
Ultimate Influence: Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.)
Although Ice-T invented gangsta rap, N.W.A. refined it and made it much what it is today. It was hugely influential in style, content, and bringing the west coast into the spotlight. Honorable mentions (for being hardcore, not for being influential): The Marshall Mathers LP (Eminem), and the most underrated rap album of all time, Guerillas in tha Mist (Da Lench Mob).
Pictured: Chuck D and Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. Thank you. Terminator X is a member of the group.