20 Best Rap Albums to Come Out of Brooklyn Since Ready to Die

Representing BK to the fullest!

20 Best Rap Albums to Come Out of Brooklyn Since Ready To Die - The Notorious B.I.G. may have been rhyming live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, but the whole world felt him. When the Brooklyn-born rapper released his seminal debut, Ready to Die, on September 13, 1994, the impact was felt well beyond the famed New York City borough. Biggie set a high standard for fellow Brooklynite rappers to follow. Since Big?s groundbreaking effort, thousands of albums have been released by Brooklyn rappers, but we?re here to talk about twenty standout projects. Yeah, we know Jay Z?s discography could make up seventy percent of this list, but in a true reflection of the borough?s diversity we?re highlighting the range BK has been offering hip hop for years. Tip of the cap to Jeru the Damaja?s The Sun Rises in the East and Gang Starr?s Hard to Earn, two dope albums that were released in 1994 prior to Rea...

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20 Best Rap Albums to Come Out of Brooklyn Since Ready To Die - The Notorious B.I.G. may have been rhyming live from Bedford-Stuyvesant, but the whole world felt him. When the Brooklyn-born rapper released his seminal debut, Ready to Die, on September 13, 1994, the impact was felt well beyond the famed New York City borough. Biggie set a high standard for fellow Brooklynite rappers to follow. Since Big’s groundbreaking effort, thousands of albums have been released by Brooklyn rappers, but we’re here to talk about twenty standout projects. Yeah, we know Jay Z’s discography could make up seventy percent of this list, but in a true reflection of the borough’s diversity we’re highlighting the range BK has been offering hip hop for years. Tip of the cap to Jeru the Damaja’s The Sun Rises in the East and Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn, two dope albums that were released in 1994 prior to Rea...

Company Flow, Funcrusher Plus - Company Flow kicked the doors open for Rawkus Records in July 1997 and helped bring the underground label to the forefront. The gritty production of the three-man crew consisting of El-P, Big Jus and Mr. Len proved to be just as adapt on the mic as well and stayed on heavy rotation throughout Medina. The critically acclaimed album boasted joints like "8 Steps to Perfection," "Blind," and "The Fire in Which You Burn." If you haven't, take a listen to this classic that kept heads nodding and made the group champions on the underground scene. (Photo: Rawkus Records)

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Company Flow, Funcrusher Plus - Company Flow kicked the doors open for Rawkus Records in July 1997 and helped bring the underground label to the forefront. The gritty production of the three-man crew consisting of El-P, Big Jus and Mr. Len proved to be just as adapt on the mic as well and stayed on heavy rotation throughout Medina. The critically acclaimed album boasted joints like "8 Steps to Perfection," "Blind," and "The Fire in Which You Burn." If you haven't, take a listen to this classic that kept heads nodding and made the group champions on the underground scene. (Photo: Rawkus Records)

El-P, Fantastic Damage - El-P demanded his respect with his solo release Fantastic Damage in 2002. The Brooklyn MC pushed the envelope with his distorted production and lyrical darts like "Deep Space 9mm" and "Delorean" featuring fellow underground emcees Aesop Rock and Ill Bill. The heralded classic also made his indie label Def Jux one of the most respected labels when it came to releasing un-watered down hip hop. (Photo: Definitive Jux Records)

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El-P, Fantastic Damage - El-P demanded his respect with his solo release Fantastic Damage in 2002. The Brooklyn MC pushed the envelope with his distorted production and lyrical darts like "Deep Space 9mm" and "Delorean" featuring fellow underground emcees Aesop Rock and Ill Bill. The heralded classic also made his indie label Def Jux one of the most respected labels when it came to releasing un-watered down hip hop. (Photo: Definitive Jux Records)

dead prez, RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta - dead prez continued their pro-Black charge with their sophomore album, RBG. Revolting against the establishment, they even got their Brooklyn brethren Jay Z to rip a few bars on the pimp the system track "Hell Yeah." Too revolutionary for mainstream radio, stic.man and M-1 shook up the establishment, as the album was so truthful, Sony was scared to release it. The project marked the duos last release on a major label. (Photo: Sony Records)

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dead prez, RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta - dead prez continued their pro-Black charge with their sophomore album, RBG. Revolting against the establishment, they even got their Brooklyn brethren Jay Z to rip a few bars on the pimp the system track "Hell Yeah." Too revolutionary for mainstream radio, stic.man and M-1 shook up the establishment, as the album was so truthful, Sony was scared to release it. The project marked the duos last release on a major label. (Photo: Sony Records)

M.O.P., "Warriorz"

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M.O.P., Warriorz - M.O.P. showed you just how real Brooklyn could get as the Brownsville natives kicked their rough, rugged and raw rhymes on anthems like "Ante Up" and "Cold as Ice." With DJ Premier playing a major hand in keeping their sound straight gutter, Warriorz earned the Mash Out Posse a gold plaque and the New York staple was a soundtrack to the borough's ever-present "get it anyway you can" mentality.   (Photo: Epic Records)

"Moment of Truth" - The musical and emotional center of gravity to the duo's 1998 album of the same name, this stirring, orchestral track proved that Gang Starr's music could be introspective, inspiring and even downright beautiful. (Photo: Courtesy Virgin Records)

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Gang Starr, Moment of Truth - Although Guru was from Boston and DJ Premier was from Texas, you'd never know it because once they connected in Brooklyn in the late '80s, they rode for the borough ever since. They continued their dominance with their fifth album Moment of Truth which topped Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop charts and scored Gang Starr another gold plaque. Respect in hip hop may be hard to earn but they made it seem easy throughout their career.(Photo: Virgin Records)

Dah Shinin', Smif-n-Wessun - All rap and no play makes some scary-a** dudes from Boot Camp.(Photo: Courtesy Wreck Records)

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Smiff-n-Wessun, Dah Shinin' - Tek and Steele had herbs tucking in their chains when the duo dropped their debut Dah Shinin' . The album captured the essence of the BK streets in the '90s with the shoot 'em up anthem "Bucktown," which also paid homage to their borough, as Smiff-n-Wessun made heads "Wrekonize" their prowess on the mic. Their gritty lyrics over the dark production of Da Beatminerz was heralded because they remained true to their roots during a time when New York hip hop was starting to become commercialized and flashy. (Photo: Wreck Records)

Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star - Mos and Talib stomped on the scene in 1998 making a strong statement that hip hop could still enlighten and uplift the Black community. Taking pages from the book of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, the Brooklyn duo flexed over production from the likes of Hi-Tek, Da Beatminerz and 88-Keys. The formidable duo represented their borough with standouts from the LP like "Definition" and "Children's Story" and praised the Black queens with "Brown Skin Lady."(Photo: Rawkus Records)

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Black Star, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star - Mos and Talib stomped on the scene in 1998 making a strong statement that hip hop could still enlighten and uplift the Black community. Taking pages from the book of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, the Brooklyn duo flexed over production from the likes of Hi-Tek, Da Beatminerz and 88-Keys. The formidable duo represented their borough with standouts from the LP like "Definition" and "Children's Story" and praised the Black queens with "Brown Skin Lady."(Photo: Rawkus Records)

Fabolous, Ghetto Fabolous - You gotta give Fabolous his props for being the most consistent Brooklyn rapper outside of Jay Z. Fab also shares the ominous honor with Jay of releasing an album on September 11, 2001. The Bed-Stuy native dropped his debut effort on 9/11 after making his mark in the mixtape circuit as DJ Clue's prot?g?. It didn't take long for the wordsmith to become a viable commercial success, the LP went platinum and Fab had a stronghold on radio via hits "Young'n" and the Nate Dogg-assisted "Can't Deny It."(Photo: Desert Storm, Elektra Records)

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Fabolous, Ghetto Fabolous - You gotta give Fabolous his props for being the most consistent Brooklyn rapper outside of Jay Z. Fab also shares the ominous honor with Jay of releasing an album on September 11, 2001. The Bed-Stuy native dropped his debut effort on 9/11 after making his mark in the mixtape circuit as DJ Clue's protégé. It didn't take long for the wordsmith to become a viable commercial success, the LP went platinum and Fab had a stronghold on radio via hits "Young'n" and the Nate Dogg-assisted "Can't Deny It."(Photo: Desert Storm, Elektra Records)

'Brooklyn' by Yasiin Bey - Before Jay said the town went hard, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) repped the hardest.   (Photo: Rawkus Records)

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Mos Def, Black on Both Sides - Mos Def continued to represent his Brooklyn flare with his 1999 solo debut, Black on Both Sides. The artist now known as Yasiin Bey dropped gems like "Mathematics" with DJ Premier. He even bigged up his home turf with the patriotic "Brooklyn" and had couples doing their two-step to the Ayatollah produced "Ms. Fat Booty."(Photo: Rawkus Records) 

AZ, Doe or Die - One of the most slept on lyricists ever, Brownsville's AZ set off Nas's Illmatic and had the streets on lock when he dropped his debut Doe or Die on October 10, 1995. AZ delivered a blueprint for wanna be hustlers to follow as he highlighted the next level of successes after making it from the block and still warned of the game's pitfalls and dead ends. The Visualiza is without question one of Brooklyn's finest MCs and Doe or Die is one of mafioso rap's pinnacles.(Photo: EMI Records)

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AZ, Doe or Die - One of the most slept on lyricists ever, Brownsville's AZ set off Nas's Illmatic and had the streets on lock when he dropped his debut Doe or Die on October 10, 1995. AZ delivered a blueprint for wanna be hustlers to follow as he highlighted the next level of successes after making it from the block and still warned of the game's pitfalls and dead ends. The Visualiza is without question one of Brooklyn's finest MCs and Doe or Die is one of mafioso rap's pinnacles.(Photo: EMI Records)

Busta Rhymes, The Coming - Brooklyn-born star Busta Rhymes represented Long Island strong with Leaders of The New School in the early '90s, but later proved he was Brooklyn's own on his solo debut, The Coming. The rambunctious effort met BK's lyrical standards, while featuring a diverse sonic arrangement that spawned hits like "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check" and "It's a Party."  (Photo: Flipmode Entertainment)

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Busta Rhymes, The Coming - Brooklyn-born star Busta Rhymes represented Long Island strong with Leaders of The New School in the early '90s, but later proved he was Brooklyn's own on his solo debut, The Coming. The rambunctious effort met BK's lyrical standards, while featuring a diverse sonic arrangement that spawned hits like "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check" and "It's a Party." (Photo: Flipmode Entertainment)

Ill Na Na - Artist: Foxy Brown Year: 1996The Firm’s mafioso missus had already been cosigned by rap legends in the making like Nas, Jay Z and LL Cool J on LL's “I Shot Ya (Remix)." Fox Boogie lived up to the hype with a chic, sexy, street-smart debut. Her rhymes ooze with charisma and confidence, and Trackmasters’ glitzy bounce keep heads bobbing, especially on hit singles “Get Me Home” with Blackstreet and the Hov-assisted “I’ll Be.” Simply put, Ill Na Na is ill.(Photo: Def Jam Records)

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Foxy Brown, Ill Na Na - Following a high stakes bidding war for her talents Foxy Brown signed with Def Jam Records to release her seductive yet street debut in November 1996. Fox Boogie's stylish brand of mafiaoso raps earned her respect from the fellas as she stood her own alongside the project's big name featured guests like Jay Z and Method Man. The platinum-selling LP put Foxy along side Lil Kim on the foreground of hip hop as the two most provocative heroines. (Photo: Def Jam Records)

Ka, Grief Pedigree - This Brownsville old head created the most slept-on rap album of the year, fueled by a raspy wisdom that recalls Nas, gloomy production that favors vintage Havoc, and above all, a singular vision of the grimy, forgotten side of Brooklyn where Girls episodes don't dare tread.(Photo: Iron Works Records)

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Ka, Grief Pedigree - Ka first emerged on the scene in 1993 as part of the hip hop crew Natural Elements. On his 2012 solo venture, the highly overlooked gem-filled Grief Pedigree, the Brownsville native  takes you on a cold journey of violent, poverty-stricken hardship through picturesque rhymes. With vivid storytelling on tracks like "Cold Facts," "Collage," and "No Downtime," Ka proved that great hip hop still exists but you got to go out search for it.  (Photo: Iron Works Records)

  - Hip Hop has always been unapologetic about it's affinity for line-crossing when it comes to artistic creativity. One of the genre's most mercurial figures, Wu-Tang Clan's ODB, has pulled antics that have warranted him his own page in the history books, beginning with his debut album, 1995's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, on the cover of which his face appears on a food stamp card. ODB wasn't alone. Other rappers have released albums just as jaw-dropping. In light of the re-release of ODB's debut album here's a round-up of other equally outlandish covers that might need a re-release as well. (Photo: Elektra Records)

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Ol' Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version - Wu-Tang represented Staten Island as a collective but Ol' Dirty never let you forget that Brooklyn is the borough that he repped with his solo debut. Dirt Dog set off his solo release paying homage to his grimmy stomping grounds with "Brooklyn Zoo" and had heads wilding out to tracks like "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as he proved that BK won't nuthin ta f-- wit either. Dirt received a Grammy nod for his 1996 release as well as a gold plaque.(Photo: Elektra/WMG Records)

Genius/GZA, Liquid Swords - After destroying mics with his Wu-Tang brothers, GZA regrouped for his second solo album, Liquid Swords, and proved why Brooklyn lyricism stands second to none. His musical chessboard-featured production from RZA and scored "the head" of the Wu-Tang a gold plaque with his Five-Percent message woven in between his street poetry. (Photo: Geffen/MCA Records)

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Genius/GZA, Liquid Swords - After destroying mics with his Wu-Tang brothers, GZA regrouped for his second solo album, Liquid Swords, and proved why Brooklyn lyricism stands second to none. His musical chessboard-featured production from RZA and scored "the head" of the Wu-Tang a gold plaque with his Five-Percent message woven in between his street poetry. (Photo: Geffen/MCA Records)

Lil Kim, Hardcore - When she dropped her debut album, Hardcore, in 1996, Lil Kim shook things up. She was a strong female rapper with equal parts sexuality and lyricism, and surely capable of making a hit. Kim hasn't dropped an album in almost 10 years, though, and what she has put out often suggests her skills have diminished over time. Trying to peg a sequel onto this celebrated debut wouldn't help anyone. (Photo: Courtesy of Big Beat Records)

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Lil Kim, Hard Core - Lil Kim set it off for Brooklyn in November 1996 with her double platinum selling debut Hard Core. Kim was a pioneer for a raunchy revolution of female MCs who turned the tables on the fellas by proving they could be just as rough, rugged and raw through salaciously explicit lyrics. Though critics deemed the material porno rap, Hard Core proved to be a genre shifting LP that turned Kim into a superstar and opened a new lane for today’s top female rappers (Nicki Minaj, Iggy Azalea) to follow suit.(Photo: Undeas, Big Beat Records)

The Evolution of Kanye West - Kanye became one of the most sought-after producers after he crafted several standouts on Jay-Z's 2001 classic The Blueprint. His use of sped-up soul samples turned hip hop production on its ear.(Photo: Courtesy Roc-A-Fella Records)

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Jay Z, The Blueprint - With B.I.G.'s untimely death in 1997, Hov put Brooklyn on his back and took claim to the throne. He dropped arguably his best album on the same day our nation suffered its greatest tragedy, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Undaunted by the infamous events the album became Jay's fourth No. 1 release and marked a seminal shift for hip hop in the new millennium. Jay enlisted the genius of an upstart producer named Kanye West to help steward the album's soulful sound through standout songs like "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)," "Takeover" and "Neva Change." The classic effort proved that Jay was not only "runnin' this rap s--t," but neither "bootleggers, bombers, Bin laden" could stop his reign. (Photo: Def Jam)

Jay-Z - “Interlude / December 4th,” The Black Album (2003) - “I learned that all things must come to an end...” says the voice on the first track of Jay-Z’s then farewell album before blasting into “December 4th.” The track includes spoken word interludes from HOV’s mother over a “That’s How Long” by The Chi-Lites sample. It’s a heartfelt account of HOV’s early life immersed in triumph.(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records)

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Jay Z, The Black Album - Jay Z's recording catalog is nearly flawless and his eighth release, The Black Album, is a testament to that. This was supposed to be the Brooklyn veteran's swan song, his final album in a storied career. Obviously, this proved to be far from his last effort, but if it was, what a way to go out. Hov topped Billboard's Top 200 once again and moved over three million copies. Filled with notable bangers "99 Problems," "What More Can I Say," "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "Encore" The Black Album cemented Hov as a rap god. (Photo: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam)

Jay Z – Reasonable Doubt (1996) - We all know that Reasonable Doubt was the debut album of Jigga but it's also the first album cover Mannion shot, too. Taking an initial gamble with each other, the photographic memories continued with In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, Vol. 3... Life and Times of Shawn Carter, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, The Blueprint and The Black Album.(Photo: Roc A Fella Records)

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Jay Z, Reasonable Doubt - One half of Brooklyn's Finest dropped his classic debut on June 25, 1996. Representing BK to the fullest, Jay took the lore of the hustler's lifestyle to new heights with hits like "D'evils," "Feelin' It" and Can't Knock The Hustle" with Mary J. Blige. He also introduced the world to fellow Brooklynite Foxy Brown with their breakout single, "Ain't No N---a. " (Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records)

The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death - Endlessly quoted, interpolated and sampled by rappers to this day, this chart-topping 1997 double album, issued days after Biggie's murder, cemented him as arguably the greatest of all time.  (Photo: Courtesy Bad Boy Records)

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The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death - The Notorious B.I.G. "Hypnotized" fans with his sophomore release as he kept Brooklyn at the top of the hip hop throne and repped Bed-Stuy with all his heart. Released a little over two weeks after his death on March 25, 1997, the double album featured Biggie riding out and flipping his style with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony on "Notorious Thugs" while tantalizing the ladies with R. Kelly on "F-- You Tonight." One of the best hip hop albums ever released, period, Big left us with this certified-diamond masterpiece as part of his magnificent legacy.(Photo: Bad Boy Records)