Lately, there’s been a lot of debate regarding whether or not Tha Carter III is a classic. Some people even cited it as one of the most influential albums of the hip-hop genre.
I don’t want to get into that argument because I think Complex had a very accurate assessment. (Read the article by clicking here)
Instead, I’d like to list some truly influential records.
“Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang
Released in September 1979, it’s considered to be the song that introduced hip-hop music to the masses. Generally, “Rapper’s Delight” is seen as the first official rap song.
Raising Hell by Run-D.M.C.
Run-D.M.C. is undoubtedly one of the most influential acts in hip-hop history. They were the first group in the genre to have gold, platinum, and multiplatinum certifications. Additionally, they were the first to be nominated for a Grammy, first to appear on American Bandstand, and the first to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. Their third (and most successful) album, Raising Hell, featured “Walk This Way” which revived Aerosmith’s career and became one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s.
I don’t want to pick a specific body of work by Public Enemy because all of their music was influential. Known for their politically charged music and criticisms of the American media, the group’s active frustrations and concerns of the African American community were an important part of the golden age of hip hop.
The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest
Bridging the gap between jazz and hip-hop, this was instrumental in the birth of alternative rap.
Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.
This was the debut project for N.W.A. The group was among the earliest and most controversial acts in gangsta rap. Their explicit lyrics included glorification of drugs and crime that caused them to be banned from many mainstream radio stations. They’ve still managed to sell over 10 million units in the U.S.
Illmatic by Nas
Released in the midst of the boiling East-West conflict, Illmatic is commonly regarded as the best hip-hop album of all time.
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan
This was the debut project for Wu-Tang Clan who many critics call the best rap group ever. In 2004, NME named them as one of the most influential groups of the last ten years. In 2008, About ranked them as “the No. 1 greatest hip-hop group of all time.”
Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G.
Not only was Ready to Die Biggie’s debut studio album, but it was the only project released during his lifetime. It launched him into stardom and revitalized the East Coast hip-hop scene at a time when the West Coast dominated the industry. I view Ready to Die as one of the most important rap albums of the 1990’s.
Me Against the World by 2pac
Pac’s third studio record addressed issues such as: racism, police brutality, poverty, crime and his impending prison sentence. Released while Shakur was imprisoned, Me Against the World became an instant commercial success. The album’s considered the best and most introspective project of his career.
The Slim Shady LP by Eminem
Earning him his first Grammy and skyrocketing him into mainstream culture, The Slim Shady LP marked the beginning of Em’s reign as king. He’s received 15 Grammy Awards and sold more than 172 million albums, which makes Eminem one of the most commercially successful artists of all time.
Is Tha Carter III a classic? Was it influential? Let me know what you think.
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