One Man’s Opinion: The Greatest Hip Hop Albums and Singles of All Time

A couple of months ago a friend of mine dropped this list of Hip Hop's greatest albums and singles on me.  It was comprised by one of his friends, B. Holcomb.  I e-mailed B. Holcomb a couple of times to give him my opinions, but overall… this is a pretty tight list. 

As for me, I'm a Biggie fan, so Ready to Die would move up a few spot on my list and One More Chance (my favorite all-time single), would move up to 3 or 4.  But all and all, solid work by B. Holcolb

I'd be interested in hearing what others think.


The 20 greatest of Hip Hop according to B. Holcomb


l hill.jpg20. The Misseducation of Lauryn Hill (Jaw dropping greatness)

20a (G, if you don’t let me count Lauryn Hill as Hip Hop, then my entry at #20 will be Only Built for Cuban Linx-Raekwon (THE STANDOUT ALBUM OF 1995…the 2nd greatest year of Rap Music (1987 being #1)

19. The Blueprint-Jay-Z

18. Efil4zaggin-NWA (Dr. Dre’s coming out party)

17. Criminal Minded-BDP (A must own for every household in America

16. Doggystyle-Snoop Doggy Dogg

mm.jpg15. Midnight Marauders-ATCQ (Phife Dawg’s coming out party.   BTW, am I the only person who believe the random female voice heard thru the entire album represents the beats telling a story (i.e. you know that figure w/ the squiggly lines on most of ATCQ’s covers???…4give me I digress)

14. Ressurection-Common Sense (Probably the greatest Sophomore album to ever drop; and The 3rd best album to drop in the year 1994 behind Southerplay….and Illmatic)

13. Liquid Swords– Gza (Perhaps the greatest solo effort from the greatest group in hip hop historyI mean even the track listing didn’t sync up with how the album played out man!)

12. Paid in Full-Eric B. & Rakim (Why don’t these boys just reunite for one last tour?)

(The next 11 albums (IMO) redefined hip hop relevant to its time period and require no further explanation from me)

11. Southernplayalisticcadilakmuzik– Outkast

10. Enter the Wu Tang: (36 Chambers)

  biggie.jpg9. Ready to Die-Notorious B.I.G.

  8. The Low End Theory-ATCQ

   7. Amerikkka’s Most Wanted-Ice Cube

   6. Licensed to Ill-Beastie Boys

   5. Illmatic-Nas

   4. The Chronic-Dr. Dre

   3. Straight Outta Compton-NWA

   2. It takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back-P.E.

   1. Raising Hell– Run DMC

Honorable Mentions: (in no particular order)

 The Diary-Scarface

Fear of a Black Planet-P.E.

Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z-2Pac

Ridin’ Dirty-Underground Kingz (The True Lords of the Underground, no disrespect to Doitall, Mr. Funkee or Lord Jazz)

3 Ft High & Rising-De La Soul

Lifestyles Ov Da Poor and Dangerous-Big L

Only Built for Cuban Lynx-Raekwon

Ironman-Ghostface Killah

Wu Tang Forever-Wu Tang Clan (Hip Hop’s only complete double album)

Death Certificate-Ice Cube


20. Can’t Truss It/Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos-Public Enemy (These are homer picks….these are my all time fav Public Enemy tracks)

19. Git Up, Git Out-Outkast f/ Cee-Lo Green & Big Gipp (7 minutes of raw chitlin’ flow from that dirty dirty.  Provides great view points of why our youth continue to be unmotiviated due to the hand dealt to them in the game of life…thank you Outkast (& Goodie MoB) for reminding us of how a hip hop 4 man relay race should be run!

18. Until The End of Time-2Pac (I realize I stand alone in this statement.  But this is Pac’s greatest song…another homer pick, as I’m certain  people will believe there are better Pac songs…but this one IMO is his most powerful)

lyte.jpg17. Paper Thin-MC Lyte (had to show love to the female emcees…even though I finally bought my first class ticket on the Jean Grae bandwagon (sorry Rage, but you just haven’t done anything since 97 save for the movie Next Friday…I digress.) but Lyte used to (and still does as displayed in the 06 hip hop honors holds it down)

16. Buddy-De La Soul f/ The soon to be Native Tongues Crew (My favorite possee record of all time)

15. Criminal Minded-Boogie Down Productions (Hey man, they took the wackest songs…and make them better)

14. I’m Bad-LL Cool J (This song revolutionized style, flow, fashion and battle records)

13. I Used To Love H.E.R.-Common Sense (There are people to this day who still believe my guy Lonnie Lynn is speaking about a woman who broke his heart in his song)

12. My Mind’s Playin’ Tricks On Me-Gheto Boyz (undeniable classic)

11. Ain’t Nuthin’ But a G Thang-Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg (The birth of the G-funk era)

rundmc.jpg10. Here We Go-Run DMC (This was another homer call, I’ll admit…this is my all time fav Run DMC song)

9. C.R.E.A.M.-Wu Tang Clan f/ Lex “Louis Rich” Diamonds & Rollie Fingers (When we first heard this song we had to know who these cats were immediately)

8. The World Is Yours-Nas (Are you serious???  I’m out for Presidents to represent me!)

7. One More Chance (remix)-B.I.G. (…there I is!  major pain (Payne) like Damon Wayans, low down dirty even…like his brother…Keenan) 

6. Paul Revere-Beastie Boys (If you don’t get an instant flashback to where you were when you first heard this song after you hear Adrock say “NOOOOOOOOW” you’re pretty wack)

5. I ain’t No Joke-Eric B. & Rakim (One of the many songs to sample “Funky Drummer” by James Brown…on top of R’s flow…this is an undeniable  dance cut)

4. T.R.O.Y.-Pete Rock & CL Smooth (Perhaps the only song people don’t mind the ten second intro, followed by the mezmorizing Tenor Sax complimented by the hard bass thumsp & Pete Rock’s ad libs in the background then suddenly…I REMINISCE FOR A SPELL…)

3. Scenario (remix)ATCQ f/ LONS & uh….HOOD! (you’re hooked within 3 seconds!)

2. Rapper’s Delight-The Sugar Hill Gang (The first big crossover hit for rap music..and it still rocks a party in 2007!)

GMF.jpg1. The Message-Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five (This song helped to coin the phrase “Rap is CNN of the ghetto”)





Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)


Fight The Power-P.E.

The Symphony-Marly Marl

In The Club-50 Cent

How High?-Reggie Noble & Clifford Smith

Can’t Knock The Hustle-Jay-Z

All I Need-Jay-Z (My fav Jay-Z song)

My Philosophy -BDP

Boyz N The Hood-Eazy E

Shook Ones Part II-Mobb Deep (Halfway crooks really don’t exist)

A Minute to Pray and a Second to Die-Scarface

Raw-Big Daddy Kane

You’re A Customer-EPMD



Headbanger: EPMD

I really tried to get at least one of the EPMD joints in my top 20, but they never fit!

Back Dat Azz Up-Juvenile

Niggaz Bleed-The Notorious B.I.G.

Triumph- Wu Tang Clan

Broken Language-Smooth Da Hustler f/ Trigger da Gambler

Peter Piper-Run DMC

Hip Hop-Dead Prez

The Way I Am-Eminem

Ain’t No Fun if the Homiez Can’t Have None-Snoop f/ Kurput & Warren G

Parental Discretion iz Advised-NWA (This is actually #21 on my list…I absolutely love everything about this song.  This was the first song I heard by NWA that demonstrated pure flow from everyone (even Dr. Dre).  Instead of cursin’ just b/c they had to)

Boomin’ System-LL Cool J

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