Top 25 Albums

#11 The D.O.C. - No One Can Do It Better (1989)

Before Dre found Snoop, he had the D.O.C. I was going to school in Brooklyn, and the only time you could see rap videos was on a weekend show with Ralph McDaniels called Video Music Box. D.O.C.'s video for "It's Funky Enough" premiered, and D.O.C. had an L.A. Kings hat on. When I came to school on Monday, half the kids in Brooklyn had L.A. Kings hats on. It was official. The whole album was great, especially the last cut, "The Grand Finale," with The D.O.C. and N.W.A.

#12 Eric B. & Rakim - Follow the Leader (1998)

If I ever have a son, his middle name will be Rakim. "Lyrics Of Fury" is probablly, lyrically, the best rapping anyone's ever done. The line I love most is on "Follow The Leader": "I can take a phrase that's rarely heard/Flip it/Now it's a daily word." That's what every writer aspires to. It's the flyest shit I've ever heard. I have that on a wall in my office. The coolest thing about Rakim is that he's the only rapper who really has a mystique. He's still to this day the most mysterious guy in rap. He's not quite Sly Stone, but people wonder.

#13 Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords (1995)

For my money, Liquid Swords is the best Wu-Tang Clan album. It's like the Songs in the Key of Life of rap. It's so fucking smart and so hard. Everybody's on there, too. You don't really need a Wu-Tang album; Liquid Swords is all you really need to know. As you grow older, you look for records that hold up. And Liquid Swords holds up.

#14 Ghostface Killah - Supreme Clientele (2000)

This will go down as the last great Wu-Tang album. "Stroke Of Death" is so gangster it makes you wanna stab your baby sitter. There's a record on there that's just a scratch; Ghostface lets the beat play for four seconds, then keeps bringing it back. My other favorite Wu-Tang albumis Ol' Dirty Bastard's Nigga Please. It's so much fun. It's kind of like There's A Riot Goin' On, because he was that high.

#15 Geto Boys - The Resurrection (1996)

The last line of the whole album is "I'm the type of nigga that throws a party when the flag burns/I'm at the point of no return." When I heard that lyric, I was like, "OK, you got me, man." The whole Resurrection album is Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill getting politically conscious, but in a Geto Boys way. It's gangsta, and it's an incredible record. It's also (Audioslave/Rage Against The Machine guitarist) Tom Morello's favorite album.

#16 Wyclef Jean - The Carnival (1997)

Forget all that you know. Much like Liquid Swords, The Carvinal is the best Fugees record. It's better than The Score. They're all on there -- it's Wyclef Jean, it's Lauryn Hil, it's Pras, it's that John Forte cat who's in jail. And it's all of them at their best. Even the Neville Brothers are on the album. They rap in French; "Gone Till November" is on there; it's insane. Go back and listen to this album, and try to block out all his other records. It's like watching Rocky. If you forget about most of the other Stallone films, you have a masterpiece.

#17 Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990)

This is the original Best of Both Worlds. You've got the East Coast and the West Coast together. And you've got Ice Cube at his maddest. He was the mack. I remember when Ice Cube played at the Apollo on this tour. Every rapper in town was there. It was like seeing Hendrix or some shit. From 1990 to 1994, Ice Cube was unquestionably the best rapper in the world -- without peer.

#18 Scarface - Mr.Scarface Is Back (1991)

Everything Biggie did, everything 'Pac did, everything Jay-Z does was originally done on the first Scarface album. Biggie kills himself at the end of his first record; well, Scarface did it three years earlier. He was the first guy to do his rhymes in the first person about robbing people and drug dealing; he was the first guy to really talk about being depressed and being institutionalized, and how his mama is scared of him. He is the most underrated rapper of all time and absolutely in the top three. You cannot get to four without mentioning Scarface. Any rapper knows that.

#19 Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt (1996)

I love this CD and I hate it. I love it 'cause it's Jay's best record -- best beats, best flow -- and I hate it 'cause since it came out every rap record is trying to copy it. What Jay-Z did with Reasonable Doubt is take the Scarface formula and pretty it up for New York. Reasonable Doubt is his real Blueprint. I still listen to it.

#20 Nas - Stillmatic (2001)

Do you know what I like about Stillmatic? Jay-Z (who is famously dissed on the song "Ether") should have gotten a co-producer's credit on it, because Nas was definitely floundering just before it. It's like Mama Said Knock You Out eleven years earlier, where a guy just reclaimed his spot with some great records. There's a record on there called "2nd Childhood" about people who won't grow up, that's just so fucking smart.

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