Ahead of this year’s Hip Hop Awards, we’re looking back at some of the greatest hip-hop albums ever. The projects that made this list not only scored above the rest earning their respective musicians “Hip Hop Album of the Year,” but also, sonically, stood the test of time. Check them out below.
Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye West’s critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy earned the honors at the 2011 Hip Hop Awards. Amid several public-image scandals, the Chicago-native delivered one of the most influential hip-hop albums, named the best album of 2010 on many publications' year-end lists. It scored the rapper two Grammy Awards.
Kendrick Lamar — DAMN
Kenrick Lamar’s DAMN earned him the bragging rights at the 2017 ceremony. The critically acclaimed fourth studio album from the West Coast emcee became the first non-jazz or classical work to earn a Pulitzer Prize for Music and won Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards and a nomination for Album of the Year at the ceremony.
Kendrick also earned the award in 2013 for good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Lil Wayne — Tha Carter III
Lil Wayne’s sixth studio album Tha Carter III earned him “Album of the Year” at the 2008 Hip Hop Award. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling over 1 million copies in its first week.
J. Cole — 2014 Forest Hills Drive
North Carolina native J. Cole earned the prestigious award with his 2014 and third studio effort, 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The project featured several stand-out tracks, including “No Role Modelz” and “Love Yourz.” It was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards, while the single "Apparently" was nominated for Best Rap Performance.
Drake — Views
In 2016 Canadian-born rapper Drake snatched “Hip Hop Album of the Year” with his fourth studio album, Views which featured a slew of artists, including PartyNextDoor, Dvsn, Wizkid, Future, and many more. It boasted several stand singles, including “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance,” and “Controlla.”