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1993 Hip-Hop: The 10 Best Rap Albums from 20 Years Ago

1993 was a big year for Hip-Hop.  It was the beginning of rap’s second golden era, and it ushered in new talent that was able to hold its own alongside already established acts.  But rap has a really short memory.  So while the nine-three offered plenty of quality Hip-Hop albums, some of them have aged better than others.

Therefore, AllHipHop.com has put together a list of rap albums that came out the same year that the Chicago Bulls achieved their first three-peat.  These releases are just as memorable to Hip-Hop listeners as John Paxson’s 3-pointer is to basketball fans in the Windy City.

So without further ado, here are the 10 best rap albums from 20 years ago.

10). Bacdafucup by Onyx: Considering Onyx were signed with Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.), it shouldn’t be surprising that they incorporated rock into their music.  But where Run-DMC did records with Aerosmith, Onyx ventured further with it and entered into heavy metal territory.  To this day, “Slam” can still start a mosh pit.  The group was no fluke; their follow-up LP also delivered, and group member Sticky Fingaz even dropped a great solo album in 2001 as well.

9). Black Sunday by Cypress Hill: As the title suggests, this is a dark collection of songs.  “Insane in the Brain” was a huge hit and it allowed them to showcase their skills to the masses as a result of this project going multi-platinum.  The group’s support of weed also extends beyond the music and makes its way into the liner notes with facts about marijuana and the drug’s positive attributes.

8). 93 ‘Til Infinity by Souls of Mischief: Released when they were just teenagers, this Oakland, California, Hip-Hop collective dropped a too often overlooked West Coast gem.  The four rappers trade-off rhymes smoothly, and many of the tracks transition into each other without any break.  And while the title track is arguably the album’s highlight, the entirety of it proves that the Native Tongue sound wasn’t just limited to the East.

7). Enta Da Stage by Black Moon: This trio isn’t super lyrical, but they make up for it with delivery.  Buckshot especially is able to switch up his style, and that makes the album a great listen.  And while it didn’t perform as well commercially as other notable East Coast releases from that time, it still deserves as much credit as them from bringing New York back from years of Hip-Hop obscurity.

6). Buhloone Mindstate by De La Soul: Unfortunately, this was the last De La album that Prince Paul produced.  Things on this album like the live instrumentation (courtesy of the JB Horns), the musical interlude (“I Be Blowin’”), and homage to old-school (“Breakadawn”), maintain the group’s avant-garde approach.  The intro sums it up best: “It might blow up, but it won’t go pop.”

5). Return of the Boom Bap by KRS-One: For Mr. Parker’s first official solo album, he connected with producers DJ Premier, Showbiz, and Kid Capri, so that it could live up to its name.  The project succeeds and then some.  There is the autobiographical “Outta Here.”  The powerful “Sound of da Police” which compares officers to overseers.  There’s also “I Can’t Wake Up” where he raps from the perspective of a blunt.  And that’s just naming a few.

4). Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. by 2Pac: While this album doesn’t embody the “Thug Life” tattoo on Pac’s torso that some of his later work would, it certainly captures the attitude of the city streets at that time.  From the frustration on “Holler If Ya Hear Me” to the compassion for women on “Keep Ya Head Up,” Afeni’s baby boy was clearly a rebel with a cause who left few stones unturned.

3). Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest: The follow up to The Low End Theory was two years in the making, but the wait was worth it.  When Q-Tip says, “Lyrically I’m Mario Andretti on the momo,” he isn’t kidding.  Couple that with the intricacy of the album’s beats and the result is a beautifully sequenced piece of work which is one of the most memorable releases in ATCQ’s catalogue.

2). Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg: While the chemistry between Dre and Snoop had already been established on The Chronic, Snoop’s official debut surpasses it because of its perfect balance between gangsta rap and pop.  The project has no filler and album cuts like “Tha Shiznit” and “G’z and Hustlas” hold up just as well blockbuster singles, “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and “Gin and Juice.”

1). Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by The Wu-Tang Clan: This album was a game-changer.  The nine-man collective made the most out of raw beats and martial arts metaphors.  The underground feel of the 12-track set was a great contrast to the clean sounds of G-funk.  In short, the Wu presented something amazing and original.  Two decades later, it’s been often imitated, but never duplicated.

What do you think of the list?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section and let the debate begin!

  • RichFromBX

    no argument for #1 but Onyx and Black Moon should be ahead of De La Soul and Midnight Marauders before Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. is a tough one…

  • RichFromBX

    btw, perhaps it’s just me being old school but I don’t know if you can find 10 albums from 2013 that you could line up against these… definitely can’t find 1 that can hold up agains Enter the Wu Tang…

  • Nasir Isaac

    Without further “ado”, not “adieu”. Eggcorn!!!

  • Tony G.

    Im gonna up RichFromBX..u cant find 50 albums in 3012/12/14 to touch this group of albums

  • Global_Mission

    Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg should be first hands down! #Classic

    • BlaqCeeza

      I agree 100% 36 Chambers is dope, but it’s not flawless! Doggystyle, on the other hand, is a perfect album through and through!!

  • Conroy Christian Jointer

    Well… you forgot Southernplayalisticaddillacmuzic. Which makes the whole list void and obsolete. Redo!

    • Da Ledgendary

      Southernplayalisticaddillacmuzic was released in 1994. This article is showcasing albums from 1993 only. Or else you would have seen illmatic on there.

  • Dead wrong

    This was both nostalgic and depressing at the same d*mn time. I forgot that there were such a variety of styles and subject matter back then. I turned on the radio by accident the other day and besides being shocked that auto-tuner had been exhumed (D@mn Future???!!), I felt like an old man. I wanted to yell: “Turn that buullsh*t down! Back in my day we had real music!” … but every generation says that. My father claimed that the only real music involved live instrumentation and harmony, and maybe the current generation will be reminiscing about the good old days of Future, Chief Keef and autotuner one day… *shrug*

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  • wizefire

    Doggystyle should be first

    • him

      Hell yeah, son! They will try to tell you about hanging chads here …

  • johnblacksad

    I kno that’s right… #WU!

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  • Speedy

    Once Upon A Time In America _ Smooth Da Hustler

    • illness

      that was from 1995. once again this is about 1993 albums

  • Cadda

    Anyone saying Doggystyle is better than 36 Chambers has some issues…

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  • TimeWillTellu1

    Hiero I know

  • Malik

    Here Come the Lords by Lords of the Underground
    Reachin’ [A New Refutation of Time & Space] by Digable Planets

    These two should be in there somewhere since you’ve got that Cypress Hill LP up there!!!

    ’93 was a sick hip-hop year for me men…I read this piece and I had a thought to dig into my CDs crate cuz I knew for sure ’93 had a few more bangers to offer.

    So, in no particular order, I give you some honourable mentions from ’93…

    Ice Cube – Lethal Injection
    Spice 1 – 187 He Wrote
    King T – Tha Triflin’ Album
    Illegal – The Untold Truth
    The Conscious Daughters – Ear to the Street
    Fat Joe – Represent
    Masta Ace Incorporated – SlaughtaHouse
    Das EFX – Straight Up Sewaside
    Above the Law – Black Mafia Life
    Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq Diesel
    Yo-Yo – You Better Ask Somebody
    Ultramagnetic MC’s – The Four Horsemen
    Domino – Domino [a personal favourite cuz of the heavy G-Funk influence]
    Akinyele – Vagina Diner
    Geto Boys – Till Death Do Us Part

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  • illness

    I would have had digable planets first joint and geto boys til death do us part up there

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