Def Jam Hip Hop Albums You Should Own

Iconic LP's from the label Russell and Rick built.

The Dirty 30 - As BET.com continues to take a look back at three decades of Def Jam, in honor of the iconic label's 30th anniversary (#DefJam30), nothing seems more important than the music, some of the most impactful tunes of the hip hop generation.To commemorate the occasion, we've compiled this list of rap LPs you should own from the catalogue that Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin built. Where were you when these albums dropped? — Michael Harris (@IceBlueVA)(Photo: Def Jam)

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The Dirty 30 - As BET.com continues to take a look back at three decades of Def Jam, in honor of the iconic label's 30th anniversary (#DefJam30), nothing seems more important than the music, some of the most impactful tunes of the hip hop generation.To commemorate the occasion, we've compiled this list of rap LPs you should own from the catalogue that Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin built. Where were you when these albums dropped? — Michael Harris (@IceBlueVA)(Photo: Def Jam)

LL Cool J – Radio  (November 18, 1985) - Ask Russell Simmons who put him up in that skyscraper. LL Cool J kicked off Def Jam's dominance with his debut album Radio  –– also the label's first full length release –– in 1985. Ladies Love Cool James had boom boxes blaring with future classics like "I Need a Beat," "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells." Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin manned the production boards. (Photo: Def Jam/Columbia)

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LL Cool J – Radio  (November 18, 1985) - Ask Russell Simmons who put him up in that skyscraper. LL Cool J kicked off Def Jam's dominance with his debut album Radio  –– also the label's first full length release –– in 1985. Ladies Love Cool James had boom boxes blaring with future classics like "I Need a Beat," "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells." Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin manned the production boards. (Photo: Def Jam/Columbia)

Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (November 15, 1986) - The Beastie Boys transitioned from being a hardcore punk band in the early '80s to one of the most respected hip hop groups of all time. Their 1986 debut, Licensed to Ill, had both the block and the frat houses rocking respectively with hits like "Brass Monkey," "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," "Paul Revere" and "Fight for Your Right." License To Ill's cross-over success also earned Def Jam it's first platinum plaque in February 1987. (Photo: Def Jam/Columbia)

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Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill (November 15, 1986) - The Beastie Boys transitioned from being a hardcore punk band in the early '80s to one of the most respected hip hop groups of all time. Their 1986 debut, Licensed to Ill, had both the block and the frat houses rocking respectively with hits like "Brass Monkey," "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," "Paul Revere" and "Fight for Your Right." License To Ill's cross-over success also earned Def Jam it's first platinum plaque in February 1987. (Photo: Def Jam/Columbia)

I'm Bad - LL released his classic fourth album Mama Said Knock You Out in 1990, 25 years ago (Aug. 27). The comeback project pulls no punches, featuring plenty of heat aimed at some of his rivals. In honor of this classic release, let's take a look at some of Uncle L's hardest disses over the years. --Michael Harris (@IceBlueVA) (Photo: Def Jam / Columbia / CBS Records)

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LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out  (August 27, 1990) - Arguably one of the top 10 best hip hop albums of all time, LL's fourth release was his career rejuvenator after slipping with his previous release, Walking With a Panther. Reclaiming his throne with the title track, Todd also had the ladies on lock with "Around the Way Girl" and "Jingling Baby" and blew amps and speakers with monstrous hits like "The Boomin' System." With Marley Marl getting wreck on the boards, LL put Def Jam back on top once again.(Photo: Def Jam)

Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (June 28, 1988) - The revolution came blaring through the speakers as Def Jam released P.E.'s sophomore release, It Take a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Switching the game up from partying and having fun, P.E. enlightened the masses and spoke on racism and society's ills with telegraphic rhymes like "Bring the Noise," "Don't Believe the Hype," and "Rebel Without a Pause." Setting standards, this album became the blueprint for all MCs spitting conscious knowledge.  (Photo: Def Jam)

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Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (June 28, 1988) - The revolution came blaring through the speakers as Def Jam released P.E.'s sophomore release, It Take a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Switching the game up from partying and having fun, P.E. enlightened the masses and spoke on racism and society's ills with telegraphic rhymes like "Bring the Noise," "Don't Believe the Hype," and "Rebel Without a Pause." Setting standards, this album became the blueprint for all MCs spitting conscious knowledge.  (Photo: Def Jam)

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Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (November 1, 1988) - The Ruler delivered his first dose of edutainment with this 1988 solo classic. MC Ricky Dee carried the Def Jam flag, and gave definition to storytelling rap, as he had heads dancing and thinking with cuts like "Children's Story," "Teenage Love" and "Hey Young World." Nas and Snoop Dogg, at least, have gone on record stating Slick Rick was their favorite MC growing up and touting the album's impact on them as inspiring them to want to rhyme.(Photo: Def Jam)

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Slick Rick – The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (November 1, 1988) - The Ruler delivered his first dose of edutainment with this 1988 solo classic. MC Ricky Dee carried the Def Jam flag, and gave definition to storytelling rap, as he had heads dancing and thinking with cuts like "Children's Story," "Teenage Love" and "Hey Young World." Nas and Snoop Dogg, at least, have gone on record stating Slick Rick was their favorite MC growing up and touting the album's impact on them as inspiring them to want to rhyme.(Photo: Def Jam)

Warren G, Regulate...G Funk Era - When Warren G released his debut album, Regulate...G Funk Era, on June 7, the West Coast had the rap game sewn up. The lead single, "Regulate," which features a soulful outline of gang life courtesy of Nate Dogg's vocal chops, transcended beyond the borders of Compton, pushing the album to three million copies sold in the U.S.The overall laid back sound coupled with Warren G’s hardcore lyrics was just the right mixture to garner street cred and commercial success. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, selling 176,000 its opening week.(Photo: Def Jam, Violator)

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Warren G – Regulate...G Funk Era  (June 7, 1994) - Def Jam executives Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen have said that Warren G's Regulate...G-Funk Era saved the label when it was on the verge of going bankrupt. Warren led Def Jam's West Coast charge as the triple platinum-selling project banged on all coasts with tracks like "Regulate" featuring Nate Dogg, "This DJ" and "Do You See." Warren pulled double duty here as he came out the shadow of ghost producing for his big brother Dr. Dre and made heads respect his laid back flow and production skills.(Photo: Def Jam)

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 (November 19, 1996) - Fox Boogie helped pave the way for female MCs when she locked down the game with her 1996 Def Jam debut Ill Na Na. Her seductive, street-laced rhymes had fellas and shorties bobbing as she rocked out with hits like "Get Me Home," "I'll Be" and "Foxy's Bells." With production laced from heatmakers like The Trackmasters and Mobb Deep's Havoc and some assists from Jay Z, Ill Na Na proved that Fox could stand tall next to her female counterparts as well as do damage to her male competitors.  (Photo: Def Jam)

It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX - DMX may have gotten hell confused with his Arizona jail cell, but either way we're terrified.(Photo: Courtesy Def Jam Records)

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DMX – It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (May 12, 1998) - Def Jam unleashed the dog in 1998 as DMX was the voice of the streets and New York when he debuted with It's Dark and Hell Is Hot. Going totally opposite of the ballin' and shiny suit trend at the time, X's aggressive bars were executed on tracks like "Get at Me Dog," "Stop Being Greedy" and the thug love gangsta ballad "How's It Goin' Down," and he growled and barked his way to multi-platinum success. (Photo: Def Jam)

DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998) - Mannion got X to stand still for a photo shoot when he shot the pictures for Earl's classic debut, It's Drak and Hell Is Hot. X also barked for the camera when Jonathan pulled out the props for Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, and Grand Champ.(Photo: Def Jam Recordings)

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DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood  (December 22, 1998) - DMX had the streets on fire with his first album and Def Jam knew it when they green-lighted his sophomore release, Flesh Of My Flesh..., to drop less than seven months after and in the same year as his classic debut. Putting more accelerant on the four-alarm blaze, The Dark Man scored his second No. 1 album with hits that included "We Don't Give a F**k" and "Slippin.'"(Photo: Def Jam)

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Jay Z, Bentley Azure Convertible - Leading the rap pack, Jay Z's lady of choice once was the the Bentley Azure Convertible. Many of us dreamed about owning one with butter leather interior - an ode to movies like Belly and Paid in Full.  (Photo: Def Jam)

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Jay Z – Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life (September 29, 1998) - Jay Z's third and highest-selling album (5 mill plus) to date cemented his relationship with Def Jam as he finally garnered crossover success, too. ...Hard Knock Life took home Best Rap Album at the 1999 Grammys. Not forsaking his street credibility, however, he made mainstream come to the 'hood as he took the theme song from Annie to create the album's title cut. With a slew of hitmakers behind the boards that included Swizz Beatz, Irv Gotti and Timbaland, Jay had the world finally eating out of his hands with joints like "Money, Cash, H**s," "Can I Get A..." and "N***a What, N***a Who (Originator 99)."(Photo: Def Jam)

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  (September 11, 2001) - Kanye West became a household name in production after bestowing some of his finest beats on the Marcy MC's opus, The Blueprint, and there was no doubt that Jay Z was king after the release. Jay crushed his competition with "Takeover" and "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)." The LP also featured "Renegade," his collaboration with Eminem, as well as soul searching tracks like "Never Change" and "Song Cry," and was even more impactful due to it's release on 9/11, providing New York with musical inspiration after the attacks.(Photo: Def Jam)

Photo By Photo: Courtesy Roc-A-Fella Records

"In Between Us," Scarface feat. Nas - One of Nas's most slept-on verses from one of the most slept-on albums ever, Scarface's near flawless The Fix. Esco got subterranean deep, recalling his first fistfight as a kid and warning listeners, "It's not your enemy who gets you, it's always your own people."(Photo: Courtesy Def Jam Records)

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Scarface – The Fix  (August 6, 2002) - Scarface already established himself as a hip hop legend at Rap-A-Lot records before taking his talents north to Def Jam in 2002. He added more scriptures to the Book of Face with The Fix, but this time had the streets bumping to "My Block" while flexing over production from The Neptunes, Kanye West and Nashiem Myrick. MCs like Nas, Jay Z and Beanie Sigel rode shotgun. (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 (November 14, 2003) - This was supposed to be Jigga's swan song as every track featured him going in on every verse as if it was his last. With a gang of A-list producers, including Just Blaze, Kanye West, The Neptunes and Timbaland supplying the fire, Jay fed the streets once again with his vivid street tales like "Allure" and "Threat" while rocking the clubs and making mainstream crossover to him once again with the platinum-selling singles "Change Clothes," "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" and "99 Problems."(Photo: Def Jam)

Kanye West, The College Dropout - Kanye West has played an integral part in creating and popularizing an array of styles and images. Among those is the College Dropout bear, a mascot suit that Yeezy wore on his debut album cover. In different forms, a bear would later appear on the covers of his next two albums, Late Registration and Graduation. (Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records, Def Jam)

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Kanye West – The College Dropout  (February 10, 2004) - Mr. West showed the world his lyrical prowess was just as good as his production skills when he dropped this 2004 debut masterpiece. Staying clear of Roc-A-Fella's street braggadocio winning formula, Ye kicked personal, conscious rhymes dealing with family, religion and the struggles most people deal with in everyday life. The plan proved successful as he even beat out his boss Jay Z for Best Rap Album that year at the Grammys. Cuts like "All Falls Down," "Spaceship" and "Jesus Walks" cemented the Chicago MC as having one of the best debuts ever. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Beanie Sigel – The B. Coming (March 29, 2005) - The Broad Street Bully delivered a lyrical masterpiece in the midst of a Roc-A-Fella civil war and Jay Z calling it quits, all while gearing up for a prison bid. Baring his soul with The B. Coming, Beans's heart bled through his pen as he delivered hustler withdrawal rhymes like "Feel It in the Air" and "I Can't Go on This Way." The onslaught continued with the lean-inspired "Purple Rain" and the redemption track "Lord for Mercy." Beans spit so hard that his name would continue to ring in the streets while he went away on his forced vacation. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Beanie Sigel – The B. Coming (March 29, 2005) - The Broad Street Bully delivered a lyrical masterpiece in the midst of a Roc-A-Fella civil war and Jay Z calling it quits, all while gearing up for a prison bid. Baring his soul with The B. Coming, Beans's heart bled through his pen as he delivered hustler withdrawal rhymes like "Feel It in the Air" and "I Can't Go on This Way." The onslaught continued with the lean-inspired "Purple Rain" and the redemption track "Lord for Mercy." Beans spit so hard that his name would continue to ring in the streets while he went away on his forced vacation. (Photo: Def Jam)

The Evolution of Kanye West - Kanye went big on his sophomore album, the 2005 classic Late Registration. Working with acclaimed pop-rock producer Jon Brion, Kanye expanded past his chipmunk soul signature sound with lusher live instrumentation and epic bridges, crescendos and breakdowns. Behind hits like "Gold Digger" and "Touch the Sky," the album was Kanye's first to hit No. 1.     (Photo: Courtesy Def Jam Records)

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Kanye West – Late Registration (August 30, 2005) - Kanye West continued to uphold Def Jam as a label powerhouse with his sophomore release, but this time he staked his claim as being one of the best hip hop artists of all time with he took home several Grammys with the album. Staying grounded with the culture, he still manged to elevate with "Touch The Sky" and "Gold Digger" and spit some consciousness in between his shine on "Diamonds From Sierra Leonne," which took home Best Rap Song.(Photo: Def Jam)

Jay Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne - Though it would be correct to say that none of Kanye West’s subsequent albums may exist were it not for The College Dropout, Watch the Throne falls into a particular class. As a collaborative effort with Jay Z, it created a historic moment in hip hop, one made possible by Kanye earning the respect of his "big brother" with TCD.(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records, Def Jam)

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Jay Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne  (August 8, 2011) - Kanye and Jay Z joined forces like Batman and Superman in 2011 for their collaborative project. Bringing a conscious side out of Jigga with songs like "Murder to Excellence," Watch the Throne permeated speakers and left a mass of carnage with hits like "Otis" and "N****s in Paris" while "Made in America" and "Why I Love You" showed how great Kanye really was with turning beats and lyrics into a marriage. No one could stop Def Jam's titans except themselves; Watch the Throne won a few Grammys but lost Rap Album of the Year to another West opus, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.(Photo: Def Jam)

Method Man,Tical - Wu-Tang Clan was already established as an iconic movement in the rap game, but when Method Man dropped Tical, the first Wu solo release, he proved that the Clan had individual star power. An obvious production from RZA's dark murky chambers, the album peaked at No.1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and featured RZA, GZA and other major guests. On the lead single, "Bring the Pain," Meth stood on his own with his lyrical rawness, and it peaked at No. 1 on the dance charts.But even more memorable than Meth's first single is the Diddy-remixed version of "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By," featuring Mary J. Blige. With the accompanying music video, the track catapulted to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.(Photo: Def Jam)

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Method Man – Tical  (November 15, 1994) - Wu-Tang was on fire and Method Man led the solo charge with Tical. Capturing a moment in time, Meth brought the pain over The RZA's production as he crafted out gems like "Meth vs. Chef" with Raekwon and "P.L.O. Style." The album also spawned the remix and classic hip hop love ballad, "I'll Be There for You (You're All I Need to Get By)" featuring The Queen Of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige.(Photo: Def Jam)

Onyx – Bacdaf**up (March 30, 1993) - Run-DMC may not have been signed to Def Jam but that doesn't mean they didn't leave their recorded prints on the iconic label. In 1993, Jam Master Jay unleashed the Queens gat busters Onyx through his label deal with Def Jam and they had the hood slam dancing and wilding out in clubs with their rambunctious debut. Tracks like "Slam," "Shiftee" and "Throw Ya Gunz" were just a few of the hits that showed how the East got crunk. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Onyx – Bacdaf**up (March 30, 1993) - Run-DMC may not have been signed to Def Jam but that doesn't mean they didn't leave their recorded prints on the iconic label. In 1993, Jam Master Jay unleashed the Queens gat busters Onyx through his label deal with Def Jam and they had the hood slam dancing and wilding out in clubs with their rambunctious debut. Tracks like "Slam," "Shiftee" and "Throw Ya Gunz" were just a few of the hits that showed how the East got crunk. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Redman – Whut? Thee Album  (September 22, 1992) - It was "Time 4 Sum Aksion" in September 1992 when Funk Doctor Spock emerged from the Hit Squad camp and released his blunted out debut, Whut? Thee Album. Handling production duties as well alongside his mentor, EPMD's Erick Sermon, Redman created a doobie blueprint with "How to Roll a Blunt" while smoothing it out with tracks like "Tonight's Da Night" as he helped push Dirty Jerz to the top of the hip hop map. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Redman – Whut? Thee Album  (September 22, 1992) - It was "Time 4 Sum Aksion" in September 1992 when Funk Doctor Spock emerged from the Hit Squad camp and released his blunted out debut, Whut? Thee Album. Handling production duties as well alongside his mentor, EPMD's Erick Sermon, Redman created a doobie blueprint with "How to Roll a Blunt" while smoothing it out with tracks like "Tonight's Da Night" as he helped push Dirty Jerz to the top of the hip hop map. (Photo: Def Jam)

The Evolution of Ja Rule - Ja took his career to the stratosphere by refashioning himself as a sing-songy ladies' man on his 2000 sophomore release, Rule 3:36, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard and went triple-platinum with romantic coed collabos such as "Between Me and You" with Christina Milian and "Put It on Me" with Lil Mo and Vita. (photo: Murder inc./Def Jam)

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Ja Rule – Rule 3:36  (October 10, 2000) - Ja Rule found his stride with his sophomore release, Rule 3:36. His gruffled voice mixed nicely with his sing-song choruses and the album satisfied the streets –– he even had a few thugs from around his Queens way studying his style as he kicked off his platinum run with "Between Me and You," "Put It on me" and "I Cry."(Photo: Def Jam)

Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet  (March 20, 1990) - P.E. ruled the rap world in 1990 as they went platinum within a week of the release of their third soundtrack to the revolution. Chuck D continued his lyrical and inspirational dominance over stellar production from The Bomb Squad on tracks like "Welcome to the Terrordome" and "Brothers Gonna Work It Out." "Burn Hollywood Burn" was another among the premiere album cuts while Flavor Flav helped take Public Enemy to new heights with his catchy but truthful "911 Is a Joke."(Photo: Def Jam)

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Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet  (March 20, 1990) - P.E. ruled the rap world in 1990 as they went platinum within a week of the release of their third soundtrack to the revolution. Chuck D continued his lyrical and inspirational dominance over stellar production from The Bomb Squad on tracks like "Welcome to the Terrordome" and "Brothers Gonna Work It Out." "Burn Hollywood Burn" was another among the premiere album cuts while Flavor Flav helped take Public Enemy to new heights with his catchy but truthful "911 Is a Joke."(Photo: Def Jam)

Young Jeezy – Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101- (July 26, 2005) - Jeezy was already running the streets and the charts when he banged out his third consecutive heater, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101. There was no cooling The Snowman off as Def Jam won over the southern blocks with Jeezy making the dope boys "Go Crazy" with these autobiographical street scriptures. "Soul Survivor" and "My Hood" are among more of this LP's standouts.(Photo: Def Jam)

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Young Jeezy – Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101- (July 26, 2005) - Jeezy was already running the streets and the charts when he banged out his third consecutive heater, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101. There was no cooling The Snowman off as Def Jam won over the southern blocks with Jeezy making the dope boys "Go Crazy" with these autobiographical street scriptures. "Soul Survivor" and "My Hood" are among more of this LP's standouts.(Photo: Def Jam)

Teflon Don July 20, 2010  - Ross drops his fourth album Teflon Don on Warner Brothers/MMG. With a star-studded list of guest appearances from the likes of Drake, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Styles P and Cee-Lo, Ross delivers his best album to date.

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Rick Ross – Teflon Don (July 20, 2010) - Rick Ross is another Def Jam elite, like Kanye West and Jay Z, who has a string of near flawless albums under his belt. His fourth, Teflon Don, ranks among the label's finest. Rolling hard over production from the likes of Lex Luger and The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Rozay ruled the charts and the streets with anthems like "B.M.F." and "MC Hammer." TD also saw Jigga and The Boss flex their "Free Mason" status while he and Drake rode clean to that "Aston Martin Music."(Photo: Def Jam)his fourth release Teflon Don

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10. Rick Ross feat. T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, "Maybach Music 2" - "Maybach Music 2" shows the birth of a Bawse. A mission statement of sorts, the song lays out Rozay's sky-high aspirations with an all-star cast and an impossibly opulent, cinematic beat, the real debut of MMG's trademark lush sound.   (Photo: Courtesy of Maybach Music Group)

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Rick Ross – Deeper Than Rap (April 21, 2009) - Rick Ross proved he could weather a storm after he bounced back from the corrections officer controversy with Deeper Than Rap. At the end of the day, it's about the music, and he kept that coming with D-Boy rhymes reaching higher heights with cuts like "Rich Off Cocaine" and "Maybach Music 2." Nas even came through and wrecked shop on "Usual Suspects," helping solidify Ross's status. (Photo: Def Jam)

Kanye Meets Murakami - Yeezy tapped Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami to design the surreal, anime-inspired cover for his 2007 album Graduation.  (Photo: Def Jam)

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Kanye West – Graduation  (September 11, 2007) - Ye's third album continued to uphold Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam's dominance as the Chicago MC had clearly stepped from the shadows of his mentor, Jay Z. Although Kanye paid homage with the track "Big Brother," he had elevated to stadium status with power plays like "Good Life" with T-Pain, "Champion" and "Stronger." Can't tell him nothing.(Photo: Def Jam)

Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak (November 24, 2008) - With 808s & Heartbreak, Kanye showed the world that he was an artist and to never put him in a box. Switching up his sound totally, Ye flexed his vocal skills with the help of Auto-Tune and delivered a hypnotic album fused with electro-pop, taking listeners on his emotional roller coaster of love and losses. When it came to taking a musical risk, he succeeded again with envelope pushers like "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown." Amazing.(Photo: Def Jam)

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Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak (November 24, 2008) - With 808s & Heartbreak, Kanye showed the world that he was an artist and to never put him in a box. Switching up his sound totally, Ye flexed his vocal skills with the help of Auto-Tune and delivered a hypnotic album fused with electro-pop, taking listeners on his emotional roller coaster of love and losses. When it came to taking a musical risk, he succeeded again with envelope pushers like "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown." Amazing.(Photo: Def Jam)

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  (November 22, 2010) - Kanye continued to push the creative envelope with his fifth album, which was strung together like a soulful opera. A compilation of sorts because of the numerous guest features and producers, Yeezy took home another Grammy for Best Rap Album with this eclectic gumbo. He also took the time to address his haters with "Power" while unleashing the "Monster" cut featuring Jay Z, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj. Kanye achieved Quincy Jones super-producer status with this one. (Photo: Def Jam)

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Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  (November 22, 2010) - Kanye continued to push the creative envelope with his fifth album, which was strung together like a soulful opera. A compilation of sorts because of the numerous guest features and producers, Yeezy took home another Grammy for Best Rap Album with this eclectic gumbo. He also took the time to address his haters with "Power" while unleashing the "Monster" cut featuring Jay Z, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj. Kanye achieved Quincy Jones super-producer status with this one. (Photo: Def Jam)

Ludacris – Word Of Mouf  (November 27, 2001) - Ludacris is hands down one of the best lyricists ever in hip hop and he showed out again with his third release, Word of Mouf. Sitting at the top of Def Jam South's food chain in 2001, Chris had the country "Rollinout" to his "Area Codes." One of the kings of wordplay, Luda further cemented his legacy with dance floor staples like "Saturday (Ooooh! Ooooh!)" and pushed the competition out of his way with "Move B***h."(Photo: Island Def Jam)

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Ludacris – Word Of Mouf  (November 27, 2001) - Ludacris is hands down one of the best lyricists ever in hip hop and he showed out again with his third release, Word of Mouf. Sitting at the top of Def Jam South's food chain in 2001, Chris had the country "Rollinout" to his "Area Codes." One of the kings of wordplay, Luda further cemented his legacy with dance floor staples like "Saturday (Ooooh! Ooooh!)" and pushed the competition out of his way with "Move B***h."(Photo: Island Def Jam)

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Method Man and Redman – Blackout!  (September 28, 1999) - The Blunt Brothers lit up Def Jam once again as a collaborative unit, this time when Redman and Method Man reconnected in 1999 for a full album. The duo spazzed over heat from producers like Erick Sermon, Rockwilder and Red himself on tracks like "Y.O.U." and "Tear It Off." Taking their chronic-laced rhymes out with Jay Z and DMX on The Hard Knock Life Tour as well, Reggie and Tical had everyone saying, "Dat's Dat S**t."(Photo: Def Jam)

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Method Man and Redman – Blackout!  (September 28, 1999) - The Blunt Brothers lit up Def Jam once again as a collaborative unit, this time when Redman and Method Man reconnected in 1999 for a full album. The duo spazzed over heat from producers like Erick Sermon, Rockwilder and Red himself on tracks like "Y.O.U." and "Tear It Off." Taking their chronic-laced rhymes out with Jay Z and DMX on The Hard Knock Life Tour as well, Reggie and Tical had everyone saying, "Dat's Dat S**t."(Photo: Def Jam)

YG, My Krazy Life - After setting off his music career with hits like 2009's "Toot It and Boot It" and 2013's "My N***a," Compton-born rhymer YG finally made his Def Jam debut with this LP. (Photo: Def Jam Recordings)

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YG – My Krazy Life  (March 18, 2014) - YG is leading Def Jam's charge to keep the legacy going another 30 years as he unveiled the street certified My Krazy Life in March. With Jeezy serving as executive producer and DJ Mustard handling the bulk of the production, YG delivered a pictorial of the life of a kid growing up on the Westside streets in the new millennium. YG also made the mainstream crossover to him with certified hits like "My N***a" and "Who Do You Love?" (Photo: Def Jam Recordings)

(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records)

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Jay Z – American Gangster (November 6, 2007) - Jay Z took his spot back with American Gangster when he dusted the dirt off his shoulder after his comeback warm-up Kingdom Come. The concept album, inspired by the Denzel Washington-starring film of the same name centered around New York gangster Frank Lucas, opened Jigga up to the young'ns with tracks like "American Dreamin'" and "Roc Boys."(Photo: Def Jam) 

Photo By Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records

Kanye West, Yeezus - Kanye West has been throwing a very public tantrum all year, and it's the best thing that's happened for his career. He's no longer hiding behind his master ability to create timeless hip hop tracks, instead, he went against all traditional corporate processes with Yeezus — no cover art, radio singles or polite interviews with the media — and exposed that this "frustration" is something only the brave can understand ... and he did it with only 10 tracks.(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records, GOOD Music, Def Jam, Roc Nation)

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Kanye West – Yeezus (June 18, 2013) - Kanye pushed his creative boundaries to the extreme with his sixth release, his most experimental album to date and Def Jam's most politically-inspired album since the days of Public Enemy. Ye dropped numerous gems and awareness messages with tracks like "Blood on the Leaves" and  "I Am a God" and evoked power to the people and wouldn't let America forget its racist past and present with enlighteners like "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead."(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records, GOOD Music, Def Jam, Roc Nation)

(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records)

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Cam'ron – Come Home With Me (May 14, 2002) - Cam'ron took over Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam in 2002 with Come Home With Me. The Harlem music under boss had the world doing his two-step to the swagged out cuts like "Oh Boy" and "Hey Ma" as Juelz Santana and The Diplomats rode shotgun.(Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records, Def Jam)

Photo By Photo: Roc-a-Fella Records

15. The Diplomats, Diplomatic Immunity - Cam'ron formally introduced his crew on this brash 2003 album filled with Dirty South-meets-Harlem bangers like "Dipset Anthem" and "I Really Mean It."  (Photo: Def Jam Records)

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The Diplomats – Diplomatic Immunity (March 25, 2003) - Cam'ron, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana waved that Dipset flag high and proud with their lyrical slaughter Diplomatic Immunity. The Harlem Boys united the whole Byrd Gang as they set it off with joints like "Dipset Anthem" and "I Really Mean It" over production from Just Blaze and The Heatmakerz.(Photo: Def Jam)