1993 was a big year for Hip-Hop albums. Memorable releases and achievements include, but aren’t limited to, Snoop’s Doggystyle being the first debut album to ever enter the charts at number one, the Wu-Tang Clan teaching everyone the meaning of “C.R.E.A.M.” via Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and A Tribe Called Quest dropping another classic with Midnight Marauders.
Those monumental albums have earned their places in the collections of most Hip-Hop fans (and rightfully so), but, for as big as ’93 was, there was also a downside to it. There was so much great material released in those 365 days that some incredible music has unfairly faded away over time.
So, to make sure that they receive the acknowledgement they deserve, AllHipHop.com made a list of the 10 rap albums from 20 years ago that people may have forgotten, but need to remember.
’93 Hip-Hop proves that there really can be too much of a good thing.
10). Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space) by Digable Planets: Considering that the group probably still receives sync licensing checks from the use of “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” the song is still well-known. However, the album that the record is featured on should be remembered too. The jazz influence that was making its way into Hip-Hop in the early 90s is not only prominent on this LP, it is incorporated well. And as far as lyrics, “Nickel Bags” compares music to drugs and “La Femme Fetal” discusses abortion. The album is good; it doesn’t rely just on its hit single.
9). The Four Horsemen by Ultramagnetic MC’s: After Funk Your Head Up flopped, the group needed to regroup and they did just that with their third album. Enlisting the help of Godfather Don, innovative production again made this album standout like their landmark debut. This album also contains one of the group’s best songs ever, “Saga of Dandy, the Devil & Day.” It’s a record about Negro league baseball and some of the most memorable players to emerge from it.
8). 187 He Wrote by Spice 1: The cover of this album pretty much says it all. And while his content is still somewhat limited to gangsta themes, the production is a little more varied than his debut. The album doesn’t really bring anything new to Hip-Hop, but it does what it does really well. In other words, one of the reasons gangsta rap is as powerful as it (for better or for worse) is because of this album. Two decades later, “Trigga Gots No Heart” still sends chills.
7). 21 & Over by Tha Alkaholiks: The only reason that this album runs the risk of being forgotten by the masses is that none of the singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100. However, that doesn’t diminish the quality of 21 & Over at all. It’s a great party soundtrack that has no filler. Props to King Tee for putting these guys on. With the exception of their “Best U Can” single from 2001, J-Ro, Tash, and E-Swift have yet to sound this good again.
6). SlaughtaHouse by Masta Ace Incorporated: With a newly formed crew assembled, Masta Ace returned to the scene after a three year break and expressed his distaste for gangsta rap. He instead opted for more social commentary. “Jeep Ass Niguh,” one of the album’s highlights, has proven to be timeless with the similarities between that song and the recent tragic fatal shooting of Jordan Davis. (He was an unarmed 17-year-old African-American male that was shot over loud music in November 2012.)
5). Till Death Do Us Part by Geto Boys: While Willie D left the group to pursue a solo career, the Geto Boys soldiered on with this album. Big Mike served as a respectable replacement, but Willie D’s absence was still felt. However, the 15-track set still delivered. “6 Feet Deep” is a powerful record which is only enhanced by the Commodores and Marvin Gaye samples. Then “Bring It On,” in addition to being a great posse cut, is also notable for the introduction of Devin the Dude.
4). Home Invasion by Ice-T: After the whole “Cop Killer” fiasco, Ice-T could’ve stopped cold (no pun intended). Fortunately, he didn’t though. With this release, his “kiss my ass” attitude is as apparent as ever. Not only does Ice call out Charlton Heston (“It’s On”), he also makes a great song about the gang truce (“Gotta Lotta Love”), gets real political (“Message to the Soldier”), and collaborates with Brother Marquis on a record that Jay Z would borrow elements from a decade later to create one of his biggest hits (“99 Problems”).
3). Illegal Business? by Mac Mall: Even at 74-minutes in running time, this album does not feel too long. Produced entirely by Khayree, Mac Mall’s first album is Bay Area Hip-Hop at its finest. He is a detailed lyricist whose rhymes fit exceptionally well atop Khayree’s synth sounds. Wether insightfully discussing crime on “Young N Da Game” or simply talking about drinking on “Crack da 40,” Mac Mall’s skills remain intact and so his versatility is also on full display. Plus, “Pimp S**t” features Mac Dre and the video for “Ghetto Theme” is directed by 2Pac.
2). Here Come the Lords by Lords of the Underground: This is a stellar debut album from a Hip-Hop trio based in New Jersey. The production from Marley Marl and K-Def certainly doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, seeing Doitall in a diaper and Mr. Funke sporting a huge afro in the “Funky Child” video makes the group even that much more memorable. And while that video was entertaining, the group still lived up to its name with hard drums, booming basslines, and solid rap flows.
1). Looks Like a Job For… by Big Daddy Kane: It’s fair to say that Kane’s appearance in Playgirl and Madonna’s sex book weren’t the best look for him as a Brooklyn emcee. Therefore, by 1993, he really needed to get back to the raw rhyming that made him a star in the 80s. He did that and then some with this album. Combine his impeccable flow with then-current production and the result is this outstanding (yet underrated) LP. In a 1997 book, Chuck D even listed this as one of his “Favorite All-Time Rap Albums.” After one listen, it’s clear to hear why.
What do you think of these selections? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!