The 25 Greatest Rap Albums of 1991

The 25 Greatest Rap Albums of 1991

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The 25 Greatest Rap Albums of 1991 news

Hip-hop was booming in 1991.

Riding the mainstream wave that had begun in the mid-80s with Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys, but not quite at the uber-crossover level it would achieve a few years later; hip-hop acts had risen in notoriety and were among the most significant artists in all of music by the early 1990s. Hit songs by artists like Naughty By Nature were inescapable radio smashes and female rappers like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah had become genre stars as the new decade continued to progress.

With rappers like Ice Cube and Ice T dominating the national conversation, artists of both the gangsta and political variety were enjoying an unprecedented amount of visibility without making very many concessions to the pop world. Artsy hip-hop acts also suddenly became hyper-visible on the strength of high-profile releases from Native Tonguers; and even pop rap matured a bit musically and lyrically as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince bounced back from the novelty misfire of “I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson” to deliver rap music’s most indelible summer anthem.

And three soon-to-be superstars emerged on noteworthy albums in 1991: Nas, 2Pac and Busta Rhymes.

Looking back twenty-five years later, 1991 was undeniably one of the genre’s greatest years. So here’s our take on 25 of the best albums that dropped in what could be 90s hip-hop’s greatest year.

The 25 Greatest Rap Albums of 1991 news
 It may be hard to believe now, but for a very brief moment circa 1998/1999, a lot of R&B fans were debating which was going to be the hot, new girl group heading into Y2K: Destiny’s Child or the New York-based quartet Allure. We all know how that movie ended, but Allure’s early success wasn’t all that different from the Houston-based group that would go on to megastardom. Comprised of four talented singers, Allure had a massive hit with their cover of Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s “All Cried Out,” reimagined as a duet with established R&B stars 112, and they were signed to Mariah Carey’s Crave label. Their debut album made waves and they seemed to be ready for better things that never actually came to fruition. Nonetheless, R&B fans remember that they were one of your favorite groups way back when. And their debut album holds up a lot better than you might think. — Les Warren

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