I can remember when I was younger, a good friend of mine Matthew F Knouff, passed me a cassette tape of some rap music, music like which I had never heard before. From the moment that I started listening to this music on my Walkman (yes, that long ago,) I was absolutely hooked and ever since way back then, I have been a huge hip hop head. The industry has changed somewhat throughout the years but I still like to keep on top of what is hot. I was asked by a good friend of mine recently to list my top 3 hip hop albums of all time and after 3 weeks of thinking about it, here are my final selections, let me know what you think.
Nas – Illmatic
I was slightly reluctant to choose this album because of the amount of times that it features at number 1 spot one magazines make lists such as these. With that being said, I simply can’t leave this 93 classic out and for me, it is probably the best hip hop album ever recorded. What Nas does on this record is perfectly tell the story of life in early 90s New York and he does so with a flow and a style which has never been rivaled. Nas is no normal rapper and he perfectly took on his influences to create this seminal hip hop album.
Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle
This was the cassette that was passed to me at such a young age and it is the worldwide arrival of the now super-famous, Snoop Doggy Dogg. In the wake of Gangsta Rap, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg set about changing the face of rap music with this funky and fun album. Snoop’s flow is so smooth on this record and with Dre digging through his collection of Parliament and Funkadelic samples to create G-Funk, this was a match made in rap heaven. Much like Nas after Illmatic, Snoop was never able to release another album quite like Doggystyle and this was without question one of the most important rap albums of all time.
Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
In a world where rappers seem to have got list in amongst autotune and pop choruses, it was incredibly refreshing to hear Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar take over the game with his honest and brutal storytelling. Lamar manages to channel the influences of early 90s hip hop and splice it with a modern and gritty sound. Lamar’s tales about his upbringing and his life in the streets are shocking and entertaining and he conveys feelings in a way that no rapper has ever since the golden era in the mid 90s. Lamar should be respected by the entire hip hop community for the fact that he has successfully managed to not only revive a dying form of music, but also drag it into the future. This is exactly what Lamar has done on his 3rd studio album DAMN, and this is an album that will stand up to the test of time.