I think we’ve all been there. You get turned on to a song, either by a friend or by the radio. Has a killer beat…lyrics are off the chain. You then decide that you NEED that album. Nowadays, its much easier to just go download that song but back in my day (good grief I sound old when I say that), you either had to try and find the single or go get the whole album. Most of the time, when you grabbed the album, you could find a couple more songs that you liked, but that was about it. My expansion of music came almost exclusively from copping the album so I’m a big fan of that. By getting just the song you like, you’re missing out on some other great joints that you wouldn’t have necessarily been exposed to. Every once and a while, you would come across a rare gem. An entire album that you could just press play and let it ride. Song after song is a banger. Those are the holy grail of albums and do not come along often but when they do, you cherish them. I’m going to name just a few as there are definitely more, but these would be my all time favorites.
You can’t mention holy grail’s without mentioning Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. His debut album with Death Row Records after his move away from N.W.A. and Ruthless Records. This album is FILLED with hits, both commercially and not. Not only do you get more of Dre from his N.W.A. days but the list of featured artists that can all hang on their own, is long. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, RBX, Dat Nigga Daz (Daz Dillinger), Jewell and The Lady of Rage. Bangin! With the exception of a few skits (not a big skit fan), this is definitely one to ride to!
As we were introduced to Snoop Dogg in Dre’s debut album, we then got his release of Doggystyle in 1993. With Snoop being produced by Dr. Dre, you see some familiar faces on this album. Dr. Dre (of course), Daz Dillinger, Sam Sneed, Tha Dogg Pound, Warren G, The D.O.C., The Lady of Rage, RBX, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, The Dramatics and Nanci Fletcher. A distinct West Coast sound for sure. How many hits on that album? Let me count the ways….
Now let’s bring it over to the Midwest. If you love twistin’, then you either have this album or need to go get it. 1995 is the year. E. 1999 Eternal is the album. The second album release from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony comes out and its fire. Between the unique delivery of a combination of quick tongue twisting lyrics and borderline harmonious singing and the unique beats created by D.J. U-Neek, who produced the entire album, every song seemed to relate to the next while still keeping it interesting. I spent many a night playing this album while trying to figure out the lyrics.
Let’s round this list off with a southern group out of the ATL. OutKast. While they have put out any number of hit records, my personal favorite is ATLiens. There aren’t many albums that have remixes of songs that are already on the album where BOTH of them are hot but they’ve got it. Both versions of Elevators are on point. I couldn’t even tell you my favorite song on this album. There are too many. As part of Organized Noise, they’ve got features on several songs from Goodie Mob which just adds to the dynamics of their sound.
This is, in no way, a complete list of albums to ride to. Just a short list of my personal favorites. If you don’t know about all of these albums above, then you probably need to make sure you haven’t just woken up from a coma and go out now, run…don’t walk, and get pick these up. You will not be disappointed.