30 Rap Albums That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Jay-Z perfoming in concert on the Magna Carter Tour held at he Ziggo Dome Amsterdam 10/29/2013 © WENN

Rap is one of the newer genres of music, compared to the majority of popular music. Often associated with rebelliousness – violence, drugs, money, sex and the streets – rap has garnered its fair share of controversy throughout its relatively short history. Despite the controversies and criticisms associated with the style, there have been plenty of triumphs – important songs and albums – that have built an illustrious history.

This list examines some of the most important albums in rap’s history – what an arduous task to say the least! Even with fewer years under its belt, there have been numerous artists that have pioneered rap and made rap the presence that it is within the music industry today, meaning there are countless numbers of albums vital to rap. Here are 30 that have stood the test of time. By no means definitive, this list provides a snapshot into the rap music movement; a movement firmly entrenched in our culture. 

1) Run-DMC, Raising Hell (1986)

© Arista

One of the pioneering rap collectives, it’s debatable which album is most crucial to cementing Run-DMC’s legacy. For this list, Raising Hell was the album selected that has best stood the test of time. Raising Hell exemplifies the mid-80s hip-hop sound (particularly the East Coast) with its boxy drum programming, turntablist working overtime, and gimmicky, yet assertively sharp rhymes.  

The album is probably best known for covering “Walk This Way,” where the Run-DMC spits pure fire on the Aerosmith gem, with help from none other than Aerosmith. If “Walk This Way” wasn’t enough to solidify the album’s status, “It’s Tricky” and “My Adidas” put the ‘cherry on top.’ Raising Hell was a top 10 album that was eventually certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA). 

Key Songs: “It’s Tricky,” “My Adidas” & “Walk This Way” ft. Aerosmith

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