Top 50 Hip Hop Albums of the 80’s (50 – 25)


Another Hip Hop list similar to the 50 Greatest Hip Hop Groups of all time, this time we are counting down the 50 Greatest Hip Hop albums of the 80s. So these are Hip Hop Albums released from 1980 to 1989.

I had my own list completed to put on the site, but much in the vein of the Groups list, I figured to add more intrigue to the rankings I’d employ a few other opinions, this time there are 4 other panelists:

@RashanJamal – Hip Hop fan and Big Daddy Kane fan
@Digggame – Writer, Blogger, Hip Hop fan
@Wubanger718 – Hip Hop and obviously Wu-Tang Fan
Demarco – Hip Hop fan and emcee

Each of the panelist were given a list of Hip Hop albums which were released in the 80s (About a total of 100) they were to rank their top 50 and send the list back (They were also allowed to add any albums that were not included on the original list)

The lists were compiled and averaged out, meaning the albums got their ranks added together and divided by the number of participants (5)
If an album was ranked by one person but not by another, that album received a 51 for not being ranked and that number went into the average to make things fair:



In this example Steady B’s album was not ranked Persons 2 and 3 (Receiving 51) but since it was ranked so high by Persons 1 and 4 the album gets the highest rank due to the averages
This is was done to make sure things were weighted as fair as this nonscientific poll could possibly be

Anyway let’s get to the list, get ready to leave your comments

50. It Takes Two (1988) – Rob Base and EZ Rock


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 19 (Demarco)

Platinum album off the strength of the title track, which I consider to be one of the greatest Hip Hop songs ever, the album as a whole on the other hand not so much, it had “Joy and Pain” and “Get on the Dance Floor” but this was mainly overlooked
Had it not been for the one #19 ranking it probably wouldn’t have made the list.

49. 2 Hype (1988) – Kid n Play


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank 20 (Diggame)

Produced by Hurby Luv Bug Kid n Play’s debut album had some standouts: Rollin with Kid n Play”, “2 Hype”, “Do this My way” and “Gittin Funky” the videos that went along with them were equally dope for the time and helped spawn the motion picture House Party

48. Eyes on This (1989) – MC Lyte


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 28 (Diggame)

The follow-up to Lyte as a Rock; Eyes on this had in my opinion to be the greatest MC Lyte song ever “Cha Cha Cha” it also included “Stop Look Listen”, as well as “Cappuccino” after that the hits weren’t so great
Audio Two and King of Chill had some pretty good production on this joint though

47. Original Stylin’ (1989) – Three Times Dope


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 15 (Rashan)

Original Stylin from Three Times dope had two GREAT songs “Greatest Man Alive” and “Funky Dividends” both classics in my opinion, the Philly Trio’s debut help usher in the Hilltop Crew movement along with Steady B and later Cool C (Of Course Schooly D is Philly Rap Godfather)
The beats are funky, the rhymes and slang are beyond original, definitely belong on the list.

46. UTFO (1985) – UTFO


My Rank: 22
Highest Rank: 22 (Me)

The debut album from Doctor Ice, The Educated Rapper, Kangol Kid, and Mix Master Ice had a little bit of everything, DJ Turntablism (Leader of the Pack), Love Songs (Fairytale Lover), Battle Rap (Bite It), and of course the Hip Hop classic “Roxanne Roxanne” that song alone and its influence on the genre earns it a spot on the list.

45. The Cactus Album (1989) – 3rd Bass


My Rank: 42
Highest Rank: 33 (Wu)

Three the Hard Way, better known as 3rd Bass dropped and caught the Hip Hop world by surprise, we were only use to The Beastie Boys style of rhyming from Caucasians the sheer lyricism in “Steppin to the AM” was enough for everyone to take notice
Prime Minister Pete Nice, MC Search, and Sam Sever also brought us “The Gas Face” and the Beastie’s diss on “Sons of 3rd Bass” dope album.

44. Fat Boys (1984) – Fat Boys


My Rank: 26
Highest Rank: 26 (Me)

The Fat Boys 1984 debut is a Hip Hop Classic, this was back when an album had less than 10 tracks and the songs featured 3 minute breaks lol (“Jail House Rap” was 8:30!!) with only 7 songs on the release every song is a classic
“Stick Em”, “Can You Feel it”, “Don’t you Dog Me” (From the classic Krush Groove) brought Prince Markie Dee, The Human Beat Box, and Kool Rock Ski to hip hop prominence.

43. Life Is… Too Short (1988) – Too Short


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 29 (Demarco)

The Follow-Up to Born to mack featured a little less of the Pimp and Mack but is Too $hort’s bestselling album he’s released (and most people’s favorite) it featured the title track and the classic “Cusswords”, my personal favorite “I Aint Trippin” still gets regular play to this day
“Oakland, California Home of the Rock”

42. The Boy Genius (1989) – Kwame


My Rank: 32
Highest Rank: 29 (Rashan)

The Man we all know and love, dropped The Boy Genius when he was 16 years old, Kwame was unique in a ton of ways, the rhyme style, the use of a live band (A New Beginning), and of course the Polka-dots
Great songs were on the album: “U Gotz 2 Get Down”, “The Man we all know and love”, “Sweet Thing” and of course the ill “The Rhythm” … only 8 songs on the joint but dope

41. The World’s Greatest Entertainer (1988) – Doug E Fresh


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 23 (Diggame)

A Very underrated album, the second release from Doug E Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew has Doug going completely solo and he did shine with “Guess Who?” , “D.E.F = Doug E Fresh”, The Go-Go themed “I’m Getting ready” … The Levert sample in “Cut that Zero” and of course the Hip Hop Classic ” Keep Rising to the Top”
Chill Will, Barry B, and Doug came hard in 88

40. Lyte as a Rock (1988) – MC Lyte


My Rank: 36
Highest Rank: 35 (Demarco)

Lyte as a Rock was MC Lyte’s debut album; it featured story rhymes, battle rhymes, shoutouts to Brooklyn and Woman empowerment … some of everything
The Title Track, “I cram to Understand you” (Which is #50 on our Top Hip Hop Story rhymes), the Antoinette Dis “10% Diss” and of course “Paper Thin” made this a must have album in the Golden age of Hip Hop

39. Chubb Rock (1986) – Chubb Rock


My Rank: 25
Highest Rank: 18 (Diggame)

Chubb Rock with The Hitman Howie Tee is one of the more slept on albums of the 80’s. In my opinion this is Chubb Rock’s finest work … his rhymes were fresh and new, the subject matter (while a little raunchy was ill) he never rhymed the same after it
Classics like “Daddy’s Home” “Feel Good” and the best “DJ Innovator” still rocks weekly in my vehicle.

38. Oh My God! (1986) – Doug E Fresh and the GFC

Doug E Fresh And The Get Fresh Crew - Oh, My God

My Rank: 39
Highest Rank: 11 (Rashan)

Oh My God! was the debut album of Doug E Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew, coming off of the greatest 12″ single in Hip Hop History point blank period, everyone couldn’t wait for this to drop
It featured “Nuthin”, “Lovin Ev’ry minute of it” a remix of the Hip Hop classic “The Show” and “All the Way to Heaven”

37. All Hail the Queen (1989) – Queen Latifah


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 16 (Diggame)

All Hail the Queen dropped in 1989 with 15 full tracks and introduced Queen Latifah to the world songs such as “Wrath of my madness”, “Princess of the Posse” and “Latifah’s Law” showed the lyrical ability of Lah, the album also gave us collaborations with De La Soul. Daddy-O, KRS-One, and the Hip Hop Classic “Ladies First” with Monie Love

36. Youngest in Charge (1989) – Special Ed


My Rank: 44
Highest Rank: 27 (Diggame)

Brooklyn’s own Special Ed dropped Youngest in Charge at age 16 and made the entire hood bump “I got it Made” the entire year of 1989
“I’m the Magnificent” and “Think about it” made Ed and Ak-shun love locks for this list.

35. Nice & Smooth (1989) – Nice and Smooth


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 24 (Rashan)

Debut album from the Hip Hop Duo Nice and Smooth, the styles were so different but went together so well, definitely lived up to their name, they rhymed and harmonized on songs such as “Funky for you” and “Perfect Harmony” … definitely explicit lyrics but the humor and the skill almost made you not notice.

34. King of Rock (1985) – Run DMC


My Rank: 34
Highest Rank: 18 (Wu)

The Second album from the Greatest Hip Hop Group of all time, took the beats from the street and added some Rock to it, there is not one weak track of the 9 that are on this album
“Rock the House”, “Can you Rock it like this”, “You Talk too much” to the title track and “You’re Blind” it’s a 100% complete album.

33. How Ya Like Me Now (1987) – Kool Moe Dee


My Rank: (Not Ranked)
Highest Rank: 10 (Diggame)

After going solo from The Treacherous Three, Kool Moe Dee released this, his second album “How ya Like me now” the title track was a diss to rival LL Cool J and even featured LL’s trademark kangol under his jeep on the cover
songs such as “50 Ways”, “No Respect”, “Rock You” and the Hip Hop classic “Wild Wild West” had Diggame rank this in his personal top 10 Hip Hop albums of the 80s

32. Road to the Riches (1989) – Kool G Rap and Polo


My Rank: 47
Highest Rank: 21 (wu)

Debut album from Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, this was Mafioso rhyme before Nas and Raekwon touched a mic, the lyricism on this release is crazy “It’s a Demo”, “Men at Work” and “Poison” (Which was used as a sample in the BBD song) makes this 11 track album incredible
and don’t forget the female diss track “Truly Yours”

31. In Control Volume 1 (1988) – Marley Marl


My Rank: 28
Highest Rank: 22 (Rashan)

Super Producer Marley Marl formally introduced us to the Juice Crew on “In Control Vol 1” it was one of the first Hip Hop compilation/posse/crew albums not only did it feature the Juice Crew it also had special guest Heavy D
The standout of the entire album is what is considered as the greatest Hip Hop posse cut of all time: Craig G, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane’s “The Symphony”

30. Back in Black (1986) – Whodini


My Rank: 29
Highest Rank: 17 (Diggame)

Back in Black was the third album produced by Whodini (By 1986 they had THREE ALBUMS) it featured classics such as “The Good Part”, “I’m a Ho” and “One Love” … not to mention “Funky Beat” which featured Grand Master Dee rhyming for the first time

29. Escape (1984) – Whodini

whodini escape

My Rank: 17
Highest Rank: 15 (Demarco)

Escape was the second release from Whodini (They are going back to back on the list) this album had 8 tracks but half of them (4) were Hip Hop classics:
“Five Minutes of Funk”, “Big Mouth”, “Freaks come out at night”, and the incredible “Friends”

28. Paul’s Boutique (1989) – Beastie Boys


My Rank: 38
Highest Rank: 11 (Wu)

The Dust Brothers produced the second album by the Beasties taking over from Rick Rubin … this is after The Beastie Boys left Def Jam for Capitol and for the most part people hated this album
but in time most Hip Hop fans embraced it, it as a departure from the debut but songs such as “Shake your rump”, “Hey Ladies”, ” and the 12 minute “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” were definitely ill

27. Hot, Cool, Vicious (1986) – Salt N Pepa


My Rank: 14
Highest Rank: 11 (Demarco)

The debut album from Salt n Pepa and in my opinion the greatest Hip Hop album by any female emcees, the original version did not have “Push It” and featured the original versions of “Tramp” and a couple others (If you have the original you’re gold)
It featured the afore-mentioned “Tramp” “I’ll take your man”, “I Desire”, and “My Mic sounds nice” Hurby produced a Hip Hop, Go-Go, street opus … and don’t forget the return record to Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick’s The Show “The Show Stoppa (Is stupid Fresh)”

26. Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop (1989) – BDP


My Rank: 33
Highest Rank: 20 (Rashan & Wu)

BDP’s third album … the original Blueprint completely produced by KRS-One, it featured “Jack of Spades” (From I’m gonna git you sucka) “Why is that”, “You Must Learn”, “Jah Rulez” and “Breath Control” (Featuring D-Nice on the Beatbox)

25. Dana Dane with Fame (1987) – Dana Dane


My Rank: 24
Highest Rank: 24 (Me)

Dana Dane the premiere storyteller in Hip Hop released his debut “Dana Dane With fame” which included Hurby on Production and DJ Clark Kent on the turntables, the album featured “Delancey Street” the Early classic “Nightmares”, “This be the Def Beat” and the outstanding “Cinderfealla Dana Dane”
Only coming in at under 38 minutes this is a rare gem of an album, you almost can’t find it anymore.

That’s the first half of the list, the top 25 coming soon …

leave your comments below

… and on Twitter @TweetRhymesLife

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    What up! many cannot remember that jam that came out on or about 1986-87. It was a “oscar mayer theme” with what sounds like: my first name is C H I L L, my second name is M A S I N or something to that effect.
    If you can refresh those good ol memories we would greatly appreciate it, thanks!