5 Best Rap Albums Of 2008
Two double oh eight was a great year for hip-hop, and the 5 best rap albums of 2008 are two stone cold classics, one of the most hardcore records since Dre and Cube blew up the West Coast, and two hella deep intellectual forays from a pair of the game’s best lyricists.
- Nas – “Untitled” Nas’ “Untitled” wasn’t exactly dead on arrival, but the mainstream media gave the record lukewarm to straight up savage reviews. Well, their loss. The album is Nas’ exploration of what it means to be black in America, and tells tales of racism, anger, confusion, clarity, poverty and riches. “Untitled” is one of the most lyrically coherent and complex records in the history of hip-hop, and furthers Nas’ 00’s renaissance with rich themes, atmospheric beats and lyrical content that sits on a higher plane than its peers. “Untitled” is the best rap album of 2008.
- T.I. – “Paper Trail” Tip’s magnum opus is the southern version of Jay-Z’s “Black Album,” the ultimate hip-hop crossover album. With its infectious choruses, sky-scrapping production and chorus/verse/chorus song structures, “Paper Trail” is a blatantly commercial record. Yet with T.I.’s disgusting flow, lyrical acumen and thuggish drawl, “Paper Trail” is also a genuine and successful hip-hop record. The album sold countless copies, but its quality was never in doubt. Hell, you know a guy’s at the top of a game when it kills a track that features Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z. Straight up one of the five best rap albums of 2008.
- Lil Wayne – “Tha Carter III” At its best, “Tha Carter III” has quality to rival the best hip-hop records of all time. Unfortunately, Weezy's drug-induced insanity and endlessly wandering mind veers a bit too far on a few too many tracks for the album to be as good as “Paper Trail.” Still, at it’s best, on tracks like “A Milli,” “Dr. Carter” and “Let the Beat Build,” Weezy’s sprawling beast is a fascinating and game-changing record with more ideas than most rappers cram into a career. “Tha Carter III” is one of the five best rap albums of 2008.
- Game – “LAX” Game don’t play. Since leaving 50 Cent and his G-Unit cohorts behind, he’s abandoned pop music, shunned silly choruses and created some of the hardest records of the decade. “LAX” has stellar production from front to back and a number of great guest verses from the likes of Nas, Luda, Common, and Raekwon. Gangsta tracks like “Money,” “California Sunshine” and “Dope Boys” stand alongside more contemplative numbers like “House of Pain” and “Letter to the King.” Game’s third record is one of the best of 2008. “LAX” is loaded with trunk shaking beats and quotable lyrics.
- Elzhi – “The Preface” Elzhi presents something of a conundrum. He’s one of the best lyricists in hip-hop as of 2010, but his verses are so quick and complex it can be hard to understand everything he’s saying. Such is the case with his 2008 record, “The Preface.” Elzhi addresses a number of unusual topics, and rethinks the way rap can be made. In one song, he leaves out the last line of a verse and asks listeners to guess what it was. Thus the story finished with no conclusion and open-ended a promise to be more than your average record. “The Preface” is certainly that, and one of the five best rap albums of 2010.