Fads in music come and go, but it feels like hip hop music has remained popular for a while now. Of course, the albums that have come out in the last couple of years sound a lot different from the ones from over a decade or two ago. Instead of straight-up rhymes and rhythms, we now have Drake crooning about some strippers or Future mumbling about some drugs. But there are overarching themes that have stayed consistent with similar up-tempo beats and common narratives of inequality and disenfranchisement. Here are five albums that came out a while ago but haven’t yet lost their relevance!
1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill (1998)
Lauryn Hill annoys a lot of people these days by showing up late or not at all to her performances, but this album is still amazing, which is probably why people still shell out money for her shows. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” is a blistering commentary on both male and female relationships, and “Lost Ones” is reminiscent of her days in Fugees.
2. Aquemini by OutKast (1998)
Really, any album by OutKast has held up against the test of time. But Aquemini is particular tends to get overlooked because it doesn’t have quite the same amount of big hits on it. Songs like “Synthesizer” and “Rosa Parks” are particular standouts that give this album a definitive spot on this list.
3. The Score by Fugees (1996)
And speaking of Lauryn Hill, she started her singing days in the three outfit band Fugees. The group’s second album, The Score, is full of amazing hits like “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Ready or Not”. It’s got some reggae vibes courtesy of Wyclef Jean’s Haitian roots, and they’re also one of the first hip hop groups to successfully feature a female singer as its main voice. It’s a clear classic.
4. Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z (1996)
This album is unfortunately missing from many streaming services that aren’t owned by Jay-Z, but his first album, Reasonable Doubt, also might just be his best. It begins with Jay’s life on the streets and continues to tell a story of the rapper throughout. This is the album that started his prominence in the rap game, so it’s one you surely won’t want to miss out on.
5. All Eyez on Me by 2Pac (1996)
2Pac made West Coast rap famous, and to thank him for his services in the rap industry, take a listen to the album that gave him the boost to the top. It’s a fantastic and also super long album that’ll keep you jamming from the first song to the last. It’s certainly not hard to understand why all eyez and earz were on him while he was alive...