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10 Hip-Hop Albums To Own On Vinyl

There's something about listening to music on vinyl that any other format can't replicate. If you're a fan of hip-hop, then you should own the following 10 albums on vinyl.

From classics like Nas’ Illmatic to more recent releases like Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, these hip-hop albums are essential for any vinyl lover’s collection.

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)

Paul’s Boutique (1989)

Paul’s Boutique is the second studio album by the American hip-hop group Beastie Boys. It was released on July 25, 1989. Although Paul’s Boutique did not sell as well as the group’s debut album Licensed to Ill (1986), it was more critically successful and has since been regarded as one of the greatest and most influential hip-hop albums ever.

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The album is constructed from over 200 samples, often layered several times over the course of a single song. Its production, mixing techniques, and use of sampling helped set a new standard in hip-hop music production.

Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)

The Chronic (1992)

Dr. Dre’s album The Chronic helped to popularise the G-funk subgenre and cement Dre’s reputation as a top producer. The album features some of rap’s most iconic tracks, including “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” and “Let Me Ride.” The Chronic has been praised for its innovative production and catchy hooks, and it is considered one of the most important albums in hip-hop history.

Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988)

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988)

Released on June 28, 1988, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back is the second studio album by Public Enemy. The album helped to define and popularise the hip-hop subgenre known as politically-charged rap.

The album features samples from various political speeches and TV shows, including those by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Ronald Reagan, as well as popular films such as The Terminator.

Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut studio album. Recording sessions took place from 1992 to 1993 at Firehouse Studio in New York City, and the album was produced by the group’s leader, RZA. The album’s title originates from the martial arts film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978).

The Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album loosely adopted the story of the Shaolin Monks and their quest for revenge. The album’s success surprised music executives, who had not heard anything from the Staten Island group since their demo tape in 1992. It has now sold over two million copies in the United States.

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Nas – Illmatic (1994)

Illmatic (1994)

Nas’s album Illmatic is considered one of the best rap albums ever. The album was released in 1994 and features some of Nas’s most iconic tracks, including “N.Y. State of Mind” and “The World Is Yours.” Illmatic helped to define the sound of East Coast hip hop, and its influence can still be felt today. If you’re a fan of hip-hop or just good music in general, you need to check out Illmatic.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of Kanye West’s best pieces. The iconic red album was completed over approximately 18 months and features many tracks with artists such as Pusha T, JAY-Z, Cyhi the Prynce, Swizz Beatz, and RZA. The album was produced mainly by West and various high-profile producers such as Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker, and Anthony Kilhoffer.

Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle (1993)

Doggystyle (1993)

Doggystyle was Snoop Doggy Dogg’s debut studio album, released by Death Row Records. Doggystyle’s style is based on The Chronic, based on the Funkadelic albums of the 1970s.

Snoop uses his distinctive drawl and rhyme patterns throughout the album. His sound was declared “a g-funk classic” by Rolling Stone, while The New York Times named it “one of the most distinctive rap albums of the 1990s”.

Ice Cube – Death Certificate (1991)

Death Certificate (1991)

Ice Cube’s Death Certificate was his second studio album, released by Priority Records on October 29, 1991. Many consider this album a turning point in his career, as he moved away from the comical gangsta persona he displayed on his debut album and delved into more serious and controversial subject matters. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA on December 18, 1991.

The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die (1994)

Ready To Die (1994)

Ready to Die features production from Easy Mo Bee, Lord Finesse, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and Chucky Thompson. It includes the singles “Big Poppa,” “Juicy,” and “One More Chance.” The partly autobiographical album tells the story of B.I.G. ‘s life on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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Jay-Z – The Blueprint (2001)

The Blueprint (2001)

Many consider Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint one of his best works. Released in 2001, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Critics highly acclaimed it, which earned Jay-Z several Grammy nominations, including Best Rap Album.

The Blueprint features some of Jay-Z’s popular songs, including “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Renegade”. The album is widely considered to be a classic of the hip-hop genre.

Dust off your record player!

With ten awesome hip-hop albums in your stride, it’s time to dust off your record player and listen to them on vinyl. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Kelvin, our design whiz and audio tech aficionado, pens articles on audio, home technology, and hip-hop for Upbeat Geek. With a keen eye on the latest from soundbars to earbuds, Kelvin decodes the tech world for our readers. His love for travel, concerts, and a music-driven creative career underscores his expertise. Kelvin’s writing not only covers the intricacies of audio and home technology but also dives into the vibrant world of hip-hop.

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