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 News Archive: Eric B. & Rakim

 10. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

 9. Tupac Shakur (As Makaveli) - The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

 8. Ice Cube - Death Certificate

 7. N.W.A - N---az4Life

 6. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt

 5.Run-DMC - Raising Hell

 4. Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die

 3. Dr. Dre - The Chronic

 2. Nas - Illmatic

 1. Eric B & Rakim - Paid in Full

  The MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust

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  Hip-Hop's Greatest LPs Debated

The fact that you voted Paid in Full by Eric B. & Rakim #1 solidifies my belief that you guys are truly experts. (see "The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time"). I challenge anyone to listen to that album and say that the lyrics alone aren't ages ahead of 85 percent of the field today. I must admit that you guys had me a little nervous until I saw that #1 pick.

Butta, you need prayer, kid. "Why is Run-DMC on the list?" What kind of question is that? You are having this argument because of them. You have a job because of them. It's not like you are a producer or talent director on "The Inferno." Do your job's family tree and see who's your granddaddy. Here's a hint: It's not Plug One or Two.

Greg, 22
Harlingen, TX

Illmatic wasn't even Nas' best work. That was It Was Written. I was happy to see Pac make the list, but #9? And his best work was without a doubt Me Against the World. And I love Run-DMC and Public Enemy, but greatest albums of all time? I think there could be an argument made for Snoop's Doggystyle and Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life. That album had six hot singles, two of which changed hip-hop again. How can you leave those out?

Cortney, 25
Peoria, IL

This list was a great idea. It really caught up with me emotionally. I began getting mad at myself for albums I had the audacity to put either before or after others. All in all, this argument (which is what this is) could be made for all listed, but there are a few jewels that should have at least been topics of discussion, including DJ Quik's Quik Is the Name, UGK's Ridin' Dirty, Brand Nubian's All for One, Outkast's Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and the Roots' Do You Want More?!!!?!

Cory, 28
San Diego, CA

To not have Southernplayalistic in the top 10 is to spit on our Southern culture. Outkast put all of the East and West Coast onto the South, and then you all discovered our secrets. Outkast made you research the likes to the Geto Boys, made you realize who Bun B and Pimp C were. And don't make me bring up Eightball & MJG's Comin' Out Hard. Maybe I need to do a top 10 with a Southern twist for you all to realize how one-sided this is. Did nothing from the South generate growth in hip-hop?

Robert, 26
Destin, FL

It's one of the hardest things to cut down all the classics to 10 albums. Your list is pretty good, but mine looks a bit different:
  1. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
  2. Nas - Illmatic
  3. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
  4. Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
  5. Mobb Deep - The Infamous
  6. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  7. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
  8. Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
  9. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
  10. Big L - Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous
Carl, 18
Heidelberg, Germany

This list is all just opinion, but it was good that you included the commentary behind the scenes so that everyone was hipped to why certain things are there. As an older hip-hop head, I would agree with It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back as Public Enemy's apex. That whole LP created a movement with its passion and anger — and let's not forget the Bomb Squad's unmerciful production.

And please tell me that A Tribe Called Quest, Fugees, Boogie Down Productions, Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast and Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth were at least considered for inclusion. I know it's an unenviable task to cut this down to 10, but those artists did more than create classic LPs; they also created movements (social or musical). That should be one of the key criteria for inclusion.

Matt, 30
Baltimore, MD

I thought your list of the 10 greatest rap albums was pretty much on key, but I was mad that Tupac only made the #9 slot. Biggie was great and all, but Pac's incredible lyrics defined him, and the things that he talks about are part of what make him the best. Pac's songs were very poetic, and had a lot more meaning than any other artist's ever did. Killuminati or All Eyez on Me deserved a high spot on the list.

Erin, 18
Tallahassee, FL

When I first looked at this list with Public Enemy at the bottom, I thought, "Oh no, more idiocy." But you guys put together a pretty impressive list — with a few exceptions. Reasonable Doubt? N.W.A were influential, but not top-10 material. And as a Tupac fan, even I can admit that the man never made a complete LP.

James, 32
Philadelphia, PA

I don't understand why everyone had to argue about whether to include a Tupac album. Yes, Biggie is the better lyricist, but the songs Pac came out with were emotional and hit you on a much deeper level than Biggie could. Me Against the World should be on there — and a lot higher than #9.

Piankhi, 18
Richton Park, IL

This list and the "Brain Trust" lost its integrity by including a Tupac album even though none of his albums made the group's cut. He was a mediocre rapper — so be it. How can readers take this list seriously?

Bryan, 31
Winsted, MN

How can you say that Tupac made corny records before getting with Death Row? You've never heard Me Against the World, I'm guessing. Or how about the track "Dear Momma," or "Brenda's Got a Baby" — you say those are "corny" songs? Those are some of the most down-to-earth songs ever written. This is ridiculous.

Gomez, 22
Phoenix, AZ

That's not a bad list, but here's a better one:
  1. Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
  2. Nas - Illmatic
  3. Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
  4. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  5. Outkast - Aquemini
  6. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
  7. The Roots - Do You Want More?!!!?!
  8. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
  9. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
  10. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
Jared, 22
Albuquerque, NM

No Doggystyle? Pac at the bottom of the list? And where are The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, The Score or any Outkast discs? For the record, hip-hop isn't wine — it doesn't necessarily get better with age. I dare you to claim that you can bump The Chronic harder, longer and louder than 2001.

Ibok, 21
Oklahoma City, OK

Nas' Illmatic is the best album out there. It was all him, it was lyrically amazing and every song played off of the previous one perfectly. It was a journey and a story. Not many people were doing that. And why is everyone hating on Pac? I would rather have All Eyez on Me than two Biggie LPs. Typical New York picks.

Usman, 22
Portland, OR

Best rap albums of all time? I agree with the #1 choice, but you left out three important LPs: Mos Def's Black on Both Sides Slick Rick's The Great Adventures of Slick Rick and the Fugees' The Score.

L.D., 38
Kings Mountain, NC

  1. 2Pac - Me Against the World
  2. Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Links
  3. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
  4. Little Brother - The Listening
  5. Outkast - ATLiens
  6. Outkast - Aquemini
  7. Big L - Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous
  8. GZA - Liquid Swords
  9. Goodie Mob - Soul Food
  10. Chamillionaire/ Paul Wall - Get Ya Mind Correct
Mykel, 20
Lithonia, GA

The list is about 85 percent correct. You forgot Enter the Wu-Tang — that's a classic. Also Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Snoop's Doggystyle. I'm happy to see my boy Nas' first album, 2pac's last official album and Public Enemy represented as well.

Terrance, 20
Los Angeles, CA

I feel like this list only represents the tough side of hip-hop, the side that is always misjudged for misleading our youth. What about The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest? In the grand scheme of things, that is their best album, not Midnight Marauders. The same goes for Common's Resurrection, partly because of "I Used to Love H.E.R." And what about Wu-Tang? All in all, this list has too many big hits and not enough musical risks.

Brad, 18
Lawrence, NJ

Segregating the so-called "backpack" rappers is absurd. The Low End Theory beats anything Tupac put out, alive or posthumously. Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek's Train of Thought kills any Biggie LP, and Jay-Z can't hold a candle lyrically to Mos Def's Black on Both Sides. You got Illmatic right and Public Enemy is on point, but overall the selections are suspect. No Beasties at all? Paul's Boutique is likely one of the best albums ever, not even limited to hip-hop.

MC Spookytooth, 33
Hot Springs, AR

You can't even forget to add License to Ill or The Low End Theory. Cuts from those albums get the party jumping. Every time I play "Paul Revere" or "Brass Monkey," the crowd just goes bananas. And "Scenario" is the real jump-off point, especially Busta Rhymes' part. Don't get me started about 3 Feet High and Rising.

DJ Quest, 28
Whittier, CA

  1. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
  2. Scarface - The Fix
  3. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  4. Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
  5. Tupac Shakur (as Makaveli) - The Don Killuminai Theory
  6. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  7. Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
  8. Outkast - Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik
  9. LL Cool J - Bad
  10. Big Daddy Kane - Long Live the Kane
Big Rob, 31
Atlanta, GA

Get Rich Or Die Tryin' by 50 Cent is the greatest album of all time simply for the reason that it has the most outstanding collection of sounds on one CD. All the songs on that album could have been #1 hits.

Peter, 15
Melbourne, Australia

All of the artists on the list are remarkable, but I was disappointed to see that <>I>The Marshall Mathers LP wasn't on the list. It was the most controversial album ever, the beginning of what we now love about Eminem. It was a personal story that has affected anyone. And the boy makes words rhyme that shouldn't rhyme.

Samantha, 17
Acworth, GA

I know it might be early, but Kanye West's The College Dropout should be getting some love too.

Scott, 28
Wadsworth, OH

This list is great. It's nice to hear from people who know real rap. I get tired of the poppy picks, people playing favorites with Eminem and 50 Cent. They didn't make this list because they simply don't have the talent.

Brian, 21
Waldorf, MD

Though I thought more would have put The Chronic in their personal top 10, I am truly astounded that only one member of the MTV Brain Trust had the "Above the Rim" soundtrack listed. In addition to being the greatest soundtrack to a hoops movie, bar none, it was the only LP that included one of Tupac Shakur's rarest, deepest and most moving songs, "Pain." I'm disappointed, but no one's perfect.

Bill, 29
Fremont, CA

  1. Dr. Dre - 2001
  2. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  3. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle
  4. 2Pac - All Eyez on Me
  5. Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
  6. Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever
  7. N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton
  8. 2Pac - Me Against the World
  9. Kanye West - The College Dropout
  10. Eminem - The Marshal Mathers LP
Marvin, 25
Austin, TX

I'm sorry, but you all slipped up something serious on this one. Where is Aquemini on this list? And stop hating on Biggie for having two of the greatest hip-hop albums period. If they both deserve to be included, put both on there. Did I mention Aquemini?

Raw, 24
Atlanta, GA

No disrespect to B.I.G., but he was in the game for only a short while and put out two good albums. Who knows if he would've fell off on his next one? I think Redman should be in the top 10. He's been putting it down for more than ten years, and his lyrics have gotten better with every album.

Bryant, 24
Perth Amboy, NJ

The list is cool, but I would have removed Jay-Z and replaced him with Big Pun. Big Pun made history by being the first solo Latin rapper to go platinum but he often gets forgotten by you guys. Big Pun had incredible lyrical talent, a great vocabulary and he incorporated words not often heard in hip hop at the time.

Wilton, 19
Bronx, NY

I am amazed that no one listed Scarface's The Diary (although some did list The Fix. This is especially scary when considering that someone actually put a Do or Die album on their list. I guess they were also seriously considering MC Brains and Candyman.

Riddler, 28
Columbus, OH

The best album ever made is DMX's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. Every song on the album is a different story. It has the most creative tracks and I'm surprised it didn't make the top 10.

Mat, 20
Tempe, AZ

Where are the ladies? Queen Latifah's All Hail the Queen is a classic album.

Trista, 20
Stone Mountain, GA

  1. Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
  2. Lil' Kim - Hard Core
  3. 2Pac- All Eyez on Me
  4. Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
  5. Ja Rule - Rule 3:36
  6. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle
  7. DMX - It's Dark and Hell Is Hot
  8. Memphis Bleek - The Understanding
  9. Da Brat - Funkdafied
  10. MC Lyte - Ain't No Other
Big Will, 21
Norfolk, VA

The top 10 list was solid and the explanations were cool, but I didn't understand the Tupac and Jay-Z albums being on that list. Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded should have been in the top 10, and what about Only Built 4 Cuban Linx from Raekwon? And as far as The Chronic, the impact was great, but honestly there were songs that were wack. Impact means a lot, but song quality means just as much.

Jamal, 30
New York, NY

I love Paid in Full, but #1 of all time? It always felt more like a collection of singles than a cohesive album. From that era, It Takes a Nation of Millions ... is head and shoulders above Paid in Full. And point blank, Tupac did not have a top-10 album, period. If you're going to disregard the votes to place an album on the list, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Boogie Down Productions' Criminal Minded and The Low End Theory are far more deserving.

Jeff, 26
Washington, DC

N---az4life better than Straight Outta Compton? Listen to them both again and see which really gave you a hard punch to the face. Run-DMC's Raising Hell was a good LP, but it ranks at 11 or 12. De La Soul set the tone with sampling and A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory was the finest hour of incorporating jazz into hip-hop. And when you speak on the art form, make sure you know what's up. Anyone who wasn't listening to these albums on vinyl or cassette should not be counted on this list.

Cap Cee, 28
Emmaus, PA

A great album should be played from start to finish. Can you play Reasonable Doubt without forwarding to another song? Even though I agree it's Jay-Z's best one, it doesn't belong on this list. You were right on target with Dre, B.I.G. and Pac, though. Those are three oldies that will be played over and over.

Big Dog, 43
Springfield, MA

I have major beef with this list. How can you leave off Doggystyle? That album started off a string of classics released between 1993 and 1998. Also missing are Method Man's Tical, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ghostface's Iron Man. Should I continue?

Derek, 26
Baltimore, MD

  1. Jay-Z - The Black Album
  2. 2Pac - Me Against the World
  3. Common - Resurrection
  4. Nas - Illmatic
  5. Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
  6. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
  7. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
  8. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter
  9. Jay-Z - The Blueprint
  10. Juvenile - 400 Degreez
Justin, 16
New Orleans, LA

I can see most of the list, but A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders has to be the greatest album of all time. There was simply too much on it to not even crack the top 10. I love Run-DMC as much as anyone, but I would take Raising Hell off, put Tribe at #1 and bump everything else back.

JJ, 19
Reston, VA

You all are sleeping on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. I love Jay-Z, and Reasonable Doubt is a definite as well, but to call it the "hustlers' guide" is to completely overlook Raekwon's street opus, which was released a year earlier. This was a pioneering album, a banger from start to finish.

Vince, 26
Alexandria, VA

Very nice list. For once, Nas is put on top for changing history since Rakim. There will be many other good albums in hip-hop, but Illmatic will forever be remembered as a work of art.

Sadiq, 21
Detroit, MI

  1. Nas - It Was Written
  2. KRS-One - By Any Means Necessary
  3. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
  4. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
  5. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
  6. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
  7. Eric B. & Rakim - Paid in Full
  8. Nas - Stillmatic
  9. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
  10. KRS-One - Criminal Minded
Dirk, 19
Huntington, WV

I agree with a lot of these picks, but to not have one LL Cool J album is ridiculous, as is leaving off the Beastie Boys' License to Ill. And how about The Marshall Mathers LP or 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'? I am up for the old school, but there is nothing even close to modern on your list.

Shawn, 27
Los Angeles, CA

No Slick Rick? No Gang Starr? Y'all cats ever heard Wu-Tang Forever?

Jeff, 20
San Marcos, TX

If there is an album better than The Chronic, God must have kept it for Himself.

Sly, 34
Columbia, SC

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