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Beat of the Day
pete rock and c.l. smooth
straighten it out
Nice. Mecca and the Soul Brother is one of my all-time top 5 favorite hip hop albums.
It's a great one. But now I'm itching to know the other four in your top five.
 Top 5 albums is way to narrow a field for me to keep it to. So many excellent contributions to Hip Hop in that era that can be Top 5 on many people's list, but not enough to justify my exclusion of others. But I could argue in favor of that one. It hasn't been the same since Tupac & Biggie died, moreover the likes of P Diddy and Master P starting the current trend of saturating the airwaves with insta-rap and high fructose hip hop.
high fructose hip hop. That's hilarious.
Now that I think about it, Will is right. 5 is super tough. Hell, even 10 is hard. But I'll cop out and give 20 a shot. In no particular order:
Public Enemy: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique
Organized Konfusion: Stress: The Extinction Agenda
Pete Rock & CL Smooth: Mecca and the Soul Brother
Boogie Down Productions: Edutainment (really, I ride for KRS's whole catalog)
Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star
Raekwon: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (IMHO, the best of all the Wu-Tang albums)
MF Doom: Operation Doomsday (Madvillainy also gets consideration here)
A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory (Better than Midnight Marauders, IMHO)
Big Daddy Kane: Long Live The Kane
Kool G Rap: Wanted Dead Or Alive (or Live and Let Die, both excellent)
Run DMC: Raising Hell
Biggie Smalls: Ready to Die
Company Flow: Funcrusher Plus (also partial to El-P's solo joint, I'll Sleep When You're Dead)
Common Sense: Resurrection
De La Soul: De La Soul is Dead (Tough call over Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes is High, which are both outstanding)
Dr. Octagon (Kool Keith): Dr. Octagonecologist
The Roots: Illadelph Halflife (Probably the best Roots album)
Slick Rick: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
 Ah'ight, you're EC like me, but I have to throw in a few more for serious consideration:
Das Efx: Dead Serious (also proved they were not one-trick ponies with Straight Up Sewaside which in my opinion is better)
Redman: There Iz A Darkside
Busta Rhymes: E.L.E.
EPMD: Strictly Business (tied with Unfinished Business)
Ice Cube*: His first three albums produced by Public Enemy's Bomb Squad, so had a WC flow with a distinctly EC edge. Honorable Mention to Da Lench Mob
Eric B & Rakim: Follow The Leader
Souls of Mischief: 93 to Infinity
Del Tha Funkee Homosapien: ...gotta go with No Need For Alarm; I Wish My Brother George Was Here was more fun, but Del (perhaps rightfully) hated the production.
The Pharcyde: Bizarre Ride
Heavy D & The Boyz: Peaceful Journey, honorable mention to Blue Funk
Digital Underground*: Everything up to and including The Body Hat Syndrome, but Sex Packets was their most definitive)
Scarface: Mr. Scarface Is Back
Ice T: Power
X Clan: To The East Blackwards
Brand Nubian: One For All
Queen Latifah: All Hail The Queen and Black Reign
Fat Boys: Fat Boys
Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince: He's The DJ I'm The Rapper
LL Cool J: Bigger & Deffer
The list can't really end for me. I left out a lot of folks and groups that deserve mention among the best, if not for the full canon of their work or a single album that stands out as the best of the best, they were certainly memorable. Strange you didn't mention LL; B&D was a game changer in the same way Run-DMC and Public Enemy's second albums were... If I were to do a definitive list of the top rappers individually and as a group all-time, I'd take all year on my own blog to do it.
I will add that almost anything DJ Premier produced, whether with Gang Starr or for others is classic. Next we need to discuss Top 20 or so Performing DJs (not just producers, but the ones who could scratch the living @#$% out of a groove...)
 Several of your choices (Follow the Leader, Strictly Business, Sex Packets) would have made my list if I extended past 20, in addition to others (Like Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride, the first Cypress Hill album and The Artifacts' first joint, too). I have to admit that I've never really been a big LL guy, though. It's also interesting that neither of us picked anything by Jay Z or Tupac.
7) I put my list on today's Beat of the Day. The only Jay Z record I really like is "Reasonable Doubt."
 It's not so much my list as it is an extension of yours, which I like as well. Too much stuff for me to make a list-list out of, honestly. I agree, the stuff I listed would be under consideration for a top twenty, but not necessarily the greatest of all time. Not big on Jay Z because I think of him more as an opportunist, but a talented one (as opposed to P Diddy, let's say). We also didn't list Dr. Dre or Outkast or, for that matter, any southern rappers (Scarface is more West than south and Texas is a place all it's own like D.C.)...
Tupac is complicated. He has some classic tracks scattered over several albums, but he was really hard to embrace for two reasons: his aggressive persona (which like the picture of him spitting at the camera flew in the face of his fun and interesting solo debut from Digital Underground) and the seemingly glossed over observation that his flow for most of his songs was so similar or patterned that almost all his songs were interchangeable with any beat or music. Some rappers flowed to whatever beat or music they heard, and then some just wrote stuff and made music behind it; Tupac to me epitomized the latter which he did so well that it was easily exploited after his death with so many vault recordings, but it got on my nerves more often than not. He really could flow with the best, but seemed handcuffed to a particular rhyme scheme (possibly a certain VIP's "influence" and perhaps a source of discord between the two).
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