Top 10 Rap Albums For People Who Don't Know Shit About Hip-Hop

You know, the "Hey Ya" guys
You know, the "Hey Ya" guys

See also: Top Ten Jazz Albums for People Who Don't Know Shit About Jazz

Hip-hop is nearly 40, but many still find this slightly-disorienting world of beats, rhymes and oversize personalities a bit daunting.

So consider this our hip-hop Cliff's notes; here are the albums you should know about if you don't want to look silly at cocktail parties. We're not saying these are necessarily the best rap albums of all time, but rather the most accessible. They're also great for dipping your toes into what has become, perhaps, the most influential genre of pop music of our time.

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10) Scarface

The Fix (2002)

Houston rapper Scarface is one of the genre's most important figures, and with The Fix — his big budget Def Jam debut — he delivered an absolute classic. Along with his incredible storytelling and lyricism, he had the ear to select beats from The Neptunes and a young Kanye West as they were gaining momentum.

See also: Scarface Is Out Of Jail, Performs At Key Club Tomorrow: Excerpts From His Last Interview

9) De La Soul

Buhloone Mindstate (1993)

While their debut invented the hip-hop skit and their follow-up was one of the most successful reinventions in music history, De La Soul's third album Buhloone Mindstate is what cemented their legend. The first visage of a group aging gracefully, it introduced the subtle nuances of adulthood without falling into bitter heavy-handedness.

8) Jay-Z

The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)

The album falling between Jay-Z's greatest album-length performance (Volume 3...The Life and Times of S. Carter) and his most critically acclaimed work (The Blueprint), The Dynasty: Roc La Familia is the first time where street Jay and songwriter critic darling Jay intersected, making for a great introductory outing.

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