The 25 Best Posthumous Albums of All Time

The fifth anniversary of MJ's death sparks a look back.

Got to Be There - Globally known for being the King of Pop, at the root of Michael Jackson's historic and trailblazing career is his love for Black urban culture (from which hip hop springs forth). And Michael Jackson has been down with hip hop since his years with the Jackson 5, when he began helping to expose aspects of the culture to mainstream audiences in the '70s.In honor of the fifth anniversary of his death, check out Mike's key hip hop moments and how he's repped the streets since day one.   (Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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Born Again - It was five years ago when the King of Pop suffered an untimely death, but it seems like his legacy is stronger than ever with the 2014 release of Xscape, Michael Jackson's second posthumous album. The album, originally recorded in 1991 with L.A. Reid and Babyface during the Dangerous sessions, maintained MJ’s vocals while incorporating modern pop sounds by way of super producers Rodney Jerkins and Timbaland. It received many rave reviews, was compared to the likes of Thriller, and has so far sold 309,000 copies since its May 13 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.In rememberance of MJ's legacy, we take a look at the best posthumous albums of all time. — Intro by Dominique Zonyeé, reporting by Alex Gale(Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Jimi Hendrix, Live at the Fillmore East - Drawing from the same game-changing live performances as the 1970 Band of Gypsies LP, this album, released in 1999, captures Jimi and blues masters Buddy Miles and Billy Cox tearing down the famous San Fran venue with amazing renditions of "Wild Thing," "Power of Soul" and "Machine Gun."  (Photo:  MCA Records)

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Jimi Hendrix, Live at the Fillmore East - Drawing from the same game-changing live performances as the 1970 Band of Gypsies LP, this album, released in 1999, captures Jimi and blues masters Buddy Miles and Billy Cox tearing down the famous San Fran venue with amazing renditions of "Wild Thing," "Power of Soul" and "Machine Gun."  (Photo:  MCA Records)

Otis Redding, The Dock of the Bay - Released a year after the plane crash that took his life, The Dock of the Bay shows Redding's gut-wrenchingly gritty voice, versatility and lost potential ? the unforgettable title track, a creative quantum leap for the icon-to-be, was recorded just days before his death.  (Photo: Atlantic Records)

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Otis Redding, The Dock of the Bay - Released a year after the plane crash that took his life, The Dock of the Bay shows Redding's gut-wrenchingly gritty voice, versatility and lost potential — the unforgettable title track, a creative quantum leap for the icon-to-be, was recorded just days before his death.  (Photo: Atlantic Records)

Selena, Dreaming of You - Dreaming of You is a hard listen at times. Recorded in the months before Selena was gunned down by the president of her fan club at the age of 23, it's a heartbreaking testament to a young talent on the verge of superstardom.  (Photo: EMI)

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Selena, Dreaming of You - Dreaming of You is a hard listen at times. Recorded in the months before Selena was gunned down by the president of her fan club at the age of 23, it's a heartbreaking testament to a young talent on the verge of superstardom.  (Photo: EMI)

Big Pun, Yeeeah Baby - With club classics ("100%") and dart-throwing clinics ("Leatherface"), Pun proves he's one of the most nimble, forceful MCs of all time on his sophomore album, which dropped two months after his fatal heart attack.   (Photo: Terror Squad Entertainment)

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Big Pun, Yeeeah Baby - With club classics ("100%") and dart-throwing clinics ("Leatherface"), Pun proves he's one of the most nimble, forceful MCs of all time on his sophomore album, which dropped two months after his fatal heart attack.   (Photo: Terror Squad Entertainment)

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Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company - This is the last album Ray Charles recorded before his 2004 death, and it's one of his best in decades, with simple retro production and an amazing cast of collaborators (Norah Jones, Elton John, B.B King).   (Photo: Concord Records)

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Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company - This is the last album Ray Charles recorded before his 2004 death, and it's one of his best in decades, with simple retro production and an amazing cast of collaborators (Norah Jones, Elton John, B.B King).   (Photo: Concord Records)

Big L, The Big Picture - Backed by production heavyweights like DJ Premier and Pete Rock, this album, which arrived a year after Big L's 1999 murder, is a fitting exhibition of the punchline mastery and slicing delivery that made him an underground legend.  (Photo:  Rawkus Records)

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Big L, The Big Picture - Backed by production heavyweights like DJ Premier and Pete Rock, this album, which arrived a year after Big L's 1999 murder, is a fitting exhibition of the punchline mastery and slicing delivery that made him an underground legend.  (Photo:  Rawkus Records)

2Pac, Better Dayz - Pac's fifth posthumous release is arguably his best. Mainly comprised of unreleased originals gracefully remixed by Jazze Pha, Nitty and others, the album stands up to the best, most reflective, most charismatic work from his proper albums.  (Photo: Courtesy Death Row Records)

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2Pac, Better Dayz - Pac's fifth posthumous release is arguably his best. Mainly comprised of unreleased originals gracefully remixed by Jazze Pha, Nitty and others, the album stands up to the best, most reflective, most charismatic work from his proper albums. (Photo: Courtesy Death Row Records)

Jimi Hendrix, First Rays of the Rising Sun - Posthumous reconstructions of an artist's unfinished works are normally dicey affairs, but this 1997 Jimi Hendrix album is an exciting look at a genius' creative process, with some of his prettiest psychedelica and his first recorded forays into funk and R&B.  (Photo: MCA Records)

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Jimi Hendrix, First Rays of the Rising Sun - Posthumous reconstructions of an artist's unfinished works are normally dicey affairs, but this 1997 Jimi Hendrix album is an exciting look at a genius' creative process, with some of his prettiest psychedelica and his first recorded forays into funk and R&B.  (Photo: MCA Records)

2Pac, R U Still Down? - This 1997 double album, comprised of unreleased material recorded between 1992 and 1994, bridges the gap in Pac's artistic evolution from Digital Underground sideman to gangsta-rap tour de force.  (Photo:  Jive Records)

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2Pac, R U Still Down? - This 1997 double album, comprised of unreleased material recorded between 1992 and 1994, bridges the gap in Pac's artistic evolution from Digital Underground sideman to gangsta-rap tour de force.  (Photo:  Jive Records)

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Marvin Gaye, Vulnerable - A collection of classic pop and jazz standards that Marvin Gaye recorded and obsessed over for years, Vulnerable was finally released in 1997. With lush arrangements and his voice as gorgeous as ever, it's well worth the wait.   (Photo: Motown Records)

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Marvin Gaye, Vulnerable - A collection of classic pop and jazz standards that Marvin Gaye recorded and obsessed over for years, Vulnerable was finally released in 1997. With lush arrangements and his voice as gorgeous as ever, it's well worth the wait.   (Photo: Motown Records)

John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, Cosmic Music

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John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane, Cosmic Music - Recorded in 1966 and released in 1968, a year after his death, this album features the master saxophonist reaching for the outer limits alongside his wife and greats like Pharoahe Sanders and Jimmy Harrison. (Photo: Impulse! Records)

J. Dilla, The Shining - Dilla created the bulk of this album, but it was completed and polished up by his friend Karriem Riggs, another soulful Detroit producer, after his death. Though it's hard to say what exactly the album would've sounded like if Dilla had seen it through, there's no doubt that sublime standouts like "Won't Do" and "E=MC2" are among his most innovative and hard-hitting.   (Photo:  BBE Records)

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J. Dilla, The Shining - Dilla created the bulk of this album, but it was completed and polished up by his friend Karriem Riggs, another soulful Detroit producer, after his death. Though it's hard to say what exactly the album would've sounded like if Dilla had seen it through, there's no doubt that sublime standouts like "Won't Do" and "E=MC2" are among his most innovative and hard-hitting.   (Photo:  BBE Records)

Bob Marley and the Wailers, Confrontation - Compiled by his wife, Rita, from unfinished works and released two years after his death, Confrontation contains "Buffalo Soldier" and "Chant Down Babylon" ? undoubtedly two of Bob's best ? as well as lesser known gems like "Jump Nyahbinghi."  (Photo: Island Records)

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Bob Marley and the Wailers, Confrontation - Compiled by his wife, Rita, from unfinished works and released two years after his death, Confrontation contains "Buffalo Soldier" and "Chant Down Babylon" — undoubtedly two of Bob's best — as well as lesser known gems like "Jump Nyahbinghi."  (Photo: Island Records)

Eazy-E, Str8 Off tha Streets of Muthaph--kin' Compton

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Eazy-E, Str8 Off tha Streets of Muthaph--kin' Compton - After years of clowning at the hands of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Death Row, Eazy was looking to make a comeback with this sophomore album. He died from AIDS-related complications in 1995 before he could finish it, but the LP, released later that year, showed E linking up with former N.W.A mates Ren and Yella, revitalized and defiantly ignorant as ever on "My Baby'z Mama" and other standouts. (Photo:  Ruthless Records)

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Otis Redding and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival

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Otis Redding and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival - Released three years after Redding's death in 1967, this album captured the soulful singer's brief but impactful performance at Monterey, which helped him break through to mainstream audiences for the first time. It also contains Hendrix's first major show stateside, though he was still alive at its release.  (Photo:  Reprise Records)

Otis Redding, The Immortal Otis Redding - Pulled from a three-week span of recording work just days before his 1967, this 1968 release contains Redding classics like "Hard to Handle" and "I've Got Dreams to Remember," which featured his voice at its aching but agile best.   (Photo: Atco Records)

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Otis Redding, The Immortal Otis Redding - Pulled from a three-week span of recording work just days before his 1967, this 1968 release contains Redding classics like "Hard to Handle" and "I've Got Dreams to Remember," which featured his voice at its aching but agile best.   (Photo: Atco Records)

The Notorious B.I.G., Born Again - Released in 1999, this album, which features unreleased Big verses paired with updated production and guest verses, isn't as cobbled together as it seems. "Dead Wrong," in particular, matches up with the very best of Biggie's near flawless catalog.  (Photo: Bad Boy Records)

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The Notorious B.I.G., Born Again - Released in 1999, this album, which features unreleased Big verses paired with updated production and guest verses, isn't as cobbled together as it seems. "Dead Wrong," in particular, matches up with the very best of Biggie's near flawless catalog.  (Photo: Bad Boy Records)

Pimp C, The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones - Started by Pimp himself but finished by his wife and Rap-A-Lot don J. Prince three years after his 2007 death, this album is a mixture of classic UGK, with sleek soul samples over laid back 808-laden percussion, and bombastic guest appearances from the likes of Drake, Rick Ross and other Pimp acolytes.  (Photo:  Rap-a-Lot Records)

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Pimp C, The Naked Soul of Sweet Jones - Started by Pimp himself but finished by his wife and Rap-A-Lot don J. Prince three years after his 2007 death, this album is a mixture of classic UGK, with sleek soul samples over laid back 808-laden percussion, and bombastic guest appearances from the likes of Drake, Rick Ross and other Pimp acolytes.  (Photo:  Rap-a-Lot Records)

Otis Redding, Love Man - Though not quite up to par with his other excellent posthumous, late '60s sets, this 1969 LP, culled from unreleased material Redding recorded in the months before his death two years prior, is still hard to deny, with Redding once again giving his all on standouts like "Direct Me" and the title track.  (Photo:  Atco Records)

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Otis Redding, Love Man - Though not quite up to par with his other excellent posthumous, late '60s sets, this 1969 LP, culled from unreleased material Redding recorded in the months before his death two years prior, is still hard to deny, with Redding once again giving his all on standouts like "Direct Me" and the title track.  (Photo:  Atco Records)

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J. Dilla, Jay Stay Paid - This 2009 album teams 30 unreleased instrumentals from the late, great beat maker with impressive guest spots from Bun B, Black Thought and others, but it never sounds patchwork or exploitative. Skillfully arranged by Pete Rock, one of his biggest influences, the album is actually one of the best released under Dilla's name, lovingly showcasing his diverse sound spectrum, from grimy sample chops to ethereal, neo-soul excursions.  (Photo: Courtesy Natural Sounds Records)

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J. Dilla, Jay Stay Paid - This 2009 album teams 30 unreleased instrumentals from the late, great beat maker with impressive guest spots from Bun B, Black Thought and others, but it never sounds patchwork or exploitative. Skillfully arranged by Pete Rock, one of his biggest influences, the album is actually one of the best released under Dilla's name, lovingly showcasing his diverse sound spectrum, from grimy sample chops to ethereal, neo-soul excursions. (Photo: Courtesy Natural Sounds Records)

Amy Winehouse, Lioness: Hidden Treasures - With long-time collaborators Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi behind the boards on this collection of cleaned-up, unreleased recordings, this album lacks the forced, unnatural feel of many other posthumous projects, and Winehouse's voice is beautifully fragile as always.  (Photo: Island Records)

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Amy Winehouse, Lioness: Hidden Treasures - With long-time collaborators Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi behind the boards on this collection of cleaned-up, unreleased recordings, this album lacks the forced, unnatural feel of many other posthumous projects, and Winehouse's voice is beautifully fragile as always. (Photo: Island Records)

Sam Cooke, Shake - Led by the hit title track and a collection of B-sides and singles without a proper album home, Shake, released a year after he was shot by his manager in 1964, doesn't match to his earlier proper albums, but it still proves his King of Soul nickname was more than well deserved.  (Photo: RCA Records)

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Sam Cooke, Shake - Led by the hit title track and a collection of B-sides and singles without a proper album home, Shake, released a year after he was shot by his manager in 1964, doesn't match to his earlier proper albums, but it still proves his King of Soul nickname was more than well deserved.  (Photo: RCA Records)

2Pac, Until the End of Time - Though the production and guest appearances are at times overdone on Pac's aptly titled Until the End of Time, he remains as poignant and hard-hitting as ever. Released five years after his death, the album was hip hop's best selling of 2001 ? yet another sign of his lasting impact and legacy.  (Photo:  Death Row Records)

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2Pac, Until the End of Time - Though the production and guest appearances are at times overdone on Pac's aptly titled Until the End of Time, he remains as poignant and hard-hitting as ever. Released five years after his death, the album was hip hop's best selling of 2001 — yet another sign of his lasting impact and legacy.  (Photo:  Death Row Records)

Tupac - Tupac's The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory had the rapper on a cross conveying his persecution by the media and the drawing was meant to draw light to his artistic resurrection. The cover was painted by Death Row artist Ronald "Riskie" Brent. Showing no malice, a warning was also placed underneath the artwork. "In no way is this portrait an expression of disrespect for Jesus Christ. – Makaveli"(Photo: Death Row Records)

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Makaveli (aka 2Pac), The Don Killuminati: The 7-Day Theory - Point blank, this is the realest s--t he ever wrote. Recorded and mixed in just a week, a month before Pac's 1996 murder — and in many ways eerily forecasting it — Killuminati is Shakur at his paranoid and passionate peak, filled with haunting classics like "Hail Mary." (Photo: Courtesy Death Row 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 - 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)