There"s a lot to love about Kendrick Lamar"s good kid, m.A.A.d city. For starters, it"s a remarkable rap album in every sense rap can be remarkable in this age. It"s a portrait of the jungle through the eyes of a prey. And despite a Grammy snub, it was well received by fans, critics and peers.
Tupac Shakur was fresh out of jail when he released All Eyez on Me, and you could hear the raw thoughts of a man grappling with his inner conflict. On one hand side was the brazen cuts that showed his tough side; on the other, he was soft as a pillow, immortalizing dead homies on the sentimental "Life Goes On."
DMX"s debut album, It"s Dark and Hell Is Hot, arrived in May 1998 and established him as the hottest thing in rap. At a time when Bad Boy stars like Mase and Diddy ruled radio with a pop-friendly sound, X went the dark route. He barked (literally) his way to the top of the charts, thanks to key singles "Get at Me Dog" and "Ruff Ryder"s Anthem." And "How"s It Goin" Down" with Faith Evans showed this dog wasn"t all bark all the time.
One of rap"s greatest duos, Mobb Deep brought QB dun talk to hip-hop audiences in the 90s. East coast hip-hop was a competitive space in the 90s, and Mobb"s first album, Juvenile Hell, flew under the radar. In 1995, Havoc and Prodigy made huge creative leaps with The Infamous. With Havoc serving up hardbody beats and Prodigy thrilling listeners with cinematic crime rap, The Infamous became one of the most influential gangsta rap albums.
It"s hard for those who weren"t there to understand, but the Geto Boys were rap heroes to every little ghetto boy or girl in the Gulf Coast who dared dream of counting bars at a time when east coast and west coast were vying for rap supremacy. Of course, it"s a great album full of raw tales every hood can relate to, from Houston to Haiti.