Drew’s Review: Top 10 debut hip-hop albums

Drew Hagge, Music Columnist

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  1. “Ready to Die,” The Notorious B.I.G.
  2. “Illmatic,” Nas
  3. “The Chronic,” Dr. Dre
  4. “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” OutKast
  5. “College Dropout,” Kanye West
  6. “Doggystyle,” Snoop Dogg
  7. “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” 50 Cent
  8. “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers),” Wu-Tang Clan
  9. “Reasonable Doubt,” Jay Z
  10. “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” Kendrick Lamar

It’s no surprise that many of these albums remain the best work that their respect artists have ever produced. Many artists have said that their first album is actually a culmination of their life up until the album’s release.

Jay Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” is an obvious example of why debut albums in hip-hop tend to be better than debut albums in other genres. “Reasonable Doubt” portrays Jay Z as a mafia-esque, drug-dealing kingpin, while presenting the pitfalls that are inherent to that lifestyle. Most importantly, “Reasonable Doubt” shows the tangible effects America’s War on Drugs had on poor, inner-city kids who wanted access to all the material things they witnessed through pop culture.

While “Reasonable Doubt” remains Jay Z’s best work, if he were to release an album with the same content in 2016, then he’d get laughed off the hip-hop scene. He’s no longer that drug-dealing inner city kid. So much of Jay Z’s success, and the success of the genre as a whole, is directly tied to credibility.

For evidence, look no further than the hit Rick Ross took when 50 Cent revealed that the Miami rapper had worked as a correctional officer. This happened as Rick Ross was enjoying his height as Miami’s biggest drug dealer, both literally and figuratively.