10 Best Old School Rap Albums

Select the 10 best old school rap albums before diving into more modern artists. Finding the best old school rap albums can establish an understanding of the evolving culture behind the scene. Taking rap music at face value with what plays on the radio can greatly distort the true essence this music genre. Rap comprises a wide array of messages that addresses societal issues. Although the majority of the known artists extend from ethnic backgrounds, rap serves as a venue for starving artists of all complexions to exercise their freedom of speech. Not all of the music entails gangster life; in fact, the sole purpose behind the art was to provide an alternative means for the struggling youth to vent their pent-up frustrations without resorting to criminal activity.

  1. Public Enemy – "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" : Public Enemy remains one of the most influential groups in rap history. "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" became certifiably platinum in the year 1989. MC Chuck D never holds back on his political and social challenges.
  2. Eric B and Rakim – "Paid In Full": "Paid In Full" released in 1987 and evolved into the benchmark of the hip-hop's golden age. Rakim will likely never lose his crown as the best MC and battler to ever grace the stage.
  3. Run DMC – "Raising Hell": "Raising Hell" broke loose the commercial marketability of the hip-hop during its golden age. Run DMC has seen the sampling of their songs from modern rap giants of today, such as Jay-Z, and Kanye West.
  4. N.W.A. – "Straight Outta Compton": "Straight Outta Compton" redefined hip-hop by implementing the gangster life into their lyricism. It also sparked the split between the West and East Coast debacle that still influences rappers today. The debut album dropped in 1988, and still stands the test of time.
  5. Boogie Down Productions – "Criminal Minded": Likewise, the East Coast produced a prototype for gangster life with "Criminal Minded." The album featured the legendary KRS-One and DJ Scott La Rock in a very influential album that would echo for decades to come.
  6. De La Soul – "3 Feet High and Rising": De La Soul broke ground with an original album that expounded on the lyricism of its time. In fact, De La Soul took a different approach to the growing sub niche of gangster rap and promoted peace, harmony and love.
  7. Slick Rick – "Great Adventures with Slick Rick": Slick Rick was the king of raps with plot. Slick Rick displayed a lyricism that detailed humor and misogyny, which granted him both fans and critics alike.
  8. LL Cool J – "Radio": LL Cool J resides as one of the hip-hop's greatest during the golden age. LL Cool J limited his lyrics to the teenage promiscuity, inner city culture and braggadocio raps. Radio was released in 1985.
  9. EPMD – "Strictly Business": "Strictly Business" debuted in 1988 around the world with lighthearted criticism. It shares a party rap style that paved the way for many of the pop songs on the radio today.
  10. Beastie Boys – "Paul's Boutique": "Pauls Boutique" was the second album released by the 80s rap group, Beastie Boys. It originally was considered a flop; however, the acclaim grew larger which essentially launched the gold aged hip-hop group.
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