Top 10 1998 Hip Hop Albums

Some notable hip hop albums released in 1998 include:

1: OutKast’s “Aquemini”

OutKast’s “Aquemini” is the third studio album by the American hip hop duo OutKast. It was released on September 29, 1998, through LaFace Records. The album’s title is a portmanteau of the zodiac signs of the two members, Aquarius (AndrĂ© 3000) and Gemini (Big Boi). The album features production from Organized Noize, who had previously worked with OutKast on their first two albums, as well as from members of OutKast themselves.

Aquemini features a mix of different styles, including southern soul and funk, as well as more experimental sounds and introspective lyrics. It received universal acclaim from music critics, and praised for its artistic growth and maturity. The album was certified platinum in the United States, and it’s considered as one of the most important works of southern hip-hop. Some of the most popular songs from the album include “Rosa Parks,” “Skew It on the Bar-B,” and “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1).”

2: Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”

Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is the debut solo album by American singer and rapper Lauryn Hill. It was released on August 25, 1998, through Ruffhouse Records and Columbia Records. The album is a mix of various musical genres, including R&B, hip hop, neo soul, and reggae. It features Hill singing and rapping, and she also wrote and produced much of the album herself.

The album was a commercial and critical success. It spent four consecutive weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, and has since been certified eight times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album has also won five Grammy Awards, including the award for Album of the Year, making Hill the first woman to win the award as a solo artist.

The album was heavily praised for its themes of self-discovery and empowerment, and Hill’s unique blend of various musical styles. The album features hit singles such as “Doo Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor” and “Everything Is Everything”. Hill’s vocal and lyrical prowess, as well as its thematic depth and honest self-reflection, are the standout features of the album. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is considered as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time.

3: Jay-Z’s “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life”

Jay-Z’s “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life” is the third studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on September 29, 1998, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. The album features production from Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, The 45 King, and DJ Premier, among others. The album features a more mainstream and commercial sound, compared to Jay-Z’s previous efforts, and it features more guests, including Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, and Scarface.

The album was a commercial success and was certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 420,000 copies in its first week.

The album’s most successful single, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” uses a sample from the song “It’s the Hard Knock Life” from the musical Annie. It was a top-20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and it won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The album also features other notable hit singles like “Money, Cash, Hoes” and “Can I Get A…”

The album continues Jay-Z’s trend of referencing to American culture, including the films and the pop culture, and it also addresses themes such as his rough upbringing in Brooklyn, his rise to fame, and his thoughts on race and crime. The album is considered as one of Jay-Z’s most iconic and also one of the greatest of the 90’s hip-hop era.

4: DMX’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot”

DMX’s “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” is the debut studio album by American rapper DMX. It was released on May 12, 1998, through Ruff Ryders and Def Jam Recordings. The album features production from Swizz Beatz, Dame Grease, and P.K., among others. It also features guest appearances from The L.O.X., Sheek Louch, Jadakiss, and Drag-On.

The album was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, and was certified 4x Platinum by the RIAA.

The album features DMX’s distinctive rough, aggressive, and raw lyrical delivery, which helped establish him as one of the most unique and powerful voices in hip-hop at the time. The album deals with themes of inner-city violence, drug use, and street life, which were a common in the 90s hip-hop. It also showcases DMX’s skill as a storyteller and his ability to create vivid and intense imagery through his lyrics.

The album features hit singles such as “Get at Me Dog”, “Stop Being Greedy” and “Ruff Ryders Anthem” which helped establish him as a major player in the hip-hop scene and helped to propel him to stardom. It’s Dark and Hell is Hot is considered as DMX’s best work and his signature album, solidifying his place as one of the most successful and influential artists of the late 90s and early 2000s.

5: The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Born Again”

“Born Again” is the second posthumous studio album by American rapper The Notorious B.I.G., released on December 7, 1999, by Bad Boy Records. The album was released eight months after his death, and features appearances from several notable hip-hop artists of the time, including Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, and Nas, among others. It features production from Puff Daddy, The Alchemist, DJ Premier, and others.
The album was generally well-received by critics, but it was not as commercially successful as Biggie’s previous albums. It reached number one on the US Billboard 200, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The album features songs that sample classic songs from the 70s and 80s. such as “Rap Phenomenon” which samples “Funky Drummer” by James Brown and “B.I.G.” which samples “A Dream” by DeBarge. The album also features songs in which Biggie’s verses from previous songs and verses from other artists were paired together posthumously, like “Dead Wrong” featuring Eminem and “Notorious B.I.G.” featuring Puff Daddy and Lil’ Kim
The album also features a number of songs in which Biggie reflects on his own legacy and on the state of the hip-hop scene following his death, like the title track “Born Again” and “Hope You Niggas Sleep”.
Although “Born Again” is not considered among Biggie’s best works, it still features some solid performances and remains an important chapter in the career of one of the most iconic and influential rapper in the history of hip-hop.

6: Nas’ “I Am…”

Nas’ “I Am…” is the third studio album by American rapper Nas, released on April 6, 1999, by Columbia Records. The album features production from Nas himself, as well as from several high-profile hip-hop producers such as Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, and Dr. Dre.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling over 316,000 copies in its first week. It was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and is considered as one of Nas’ most successful albums commercially.

I Am… features Nas exploring a range of themes and styles, including introspection, social commentary, and storytelling. It features a more mature and introspective Nas, as he addresses the struggles of inner-city life, fatherhood, and his own personal growth and development. He also addresses the criticisms of him and some of his peers in the industry on tracks like “Small World” and “Some of Us Have Angels”.

The album features hit singles like “Nas Is Like”, “Hate Me Now” featuring Puff Daddy and “Nastradamus” which helped to cement Nas’ status as one of the most successful and respected rappers of his generation.

Overall, “I Am…” is widely considered as one of Nas’ best works and a classic hip-hop album. It showcases Nas’ growth and maturity as an artist and solidifies his place as one of the most important and influential figures in hip-hop.

7: The Wu-Tang Clan’s “Wu-Tang Forever”

The Wu-Tang Clan’s “Wu-Tang Forever” is the second studio album by the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, released on June 3, 1997, by Loud Records. The album features all nine Wu-Tang members and boasts a star-studded guest list including Redman, Snoop Dogg, and Erykah Badu. The album was produced by Wu-Tang Clan members RZA, 4th Disciple and True Master, as well as external producers like DJ Premier and the Trackmasters.

“Wu-Tang Forever” was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and selling over 8.3 million copies worldwide. The album was well-received by critics and is considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

The album is a double album, with 36 tracks. It features a mix of solo tracks, group tracks, and skits, with each member having their own unique style and flow. The album features Wu-Tang’s signature blend of kung-fu references, gritty street-level storytelling, and hard-hitting beats.

The album features the hit single “Triumph” which features verses from all 9 Wu-Tang members, it’s considered one of the best Wu-Tang songs ever recorded and a classic of the Wu-Tang canon. Other notable songs from the album are “Reunited”, “It’s Yourz” and “A Better Tomorrow”.

“Wu-Tang Forever” is considered as Wu-Tang’s magnum opus, not just because of the high quality of its songs, but also because it marks the peak of the group’s creative and commercial powers. It’s considered a essential album for any hip-hop fan and a cornerstone of the genre’s history.

8: Ice Cube’s “War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)”

Ice Cube’s “War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)” is the fourth studio album by American rapper Ice Cube, released on November 17, 1998, by Priority Records. The album features production from Ice Cube himself, as well as from several high-profile hip-hop producers such as Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupri, and DJ Pooh. The album is the first part of a two-album project, with the second album, “Peace,” planned to be released later, but it ended up being cancelled.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The album features Ice Cube’s usual brand of hard-hitting, socially conscious and politically charged lyrics, with songs that address issues such as racial injustice, police brutality, and the state of the hip-hop industry. It also features some songs in which Ice Cube returns to the gangsta rap and street-oriented topics, which helped to establish him as a prominent figure in the genre.

The album features the hit single “Pushin’ Weight” and “War & Peace” which helped the album to be successful both commercially and critically. “War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc)” is considered one of Ice Cube’s strongest albums and one of the best of his solo career.

9: Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star’s self-titled album

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star is the self-titled debut album by the American hip hop duo Black Star, consisting of rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli. It was released on August 26, 1998, by Rawkus Records. The album features production from 88-Keys, Hi-Tek, and Da Beatminerz, among others. It also features guest appearances from Common, Vinia Mojica, and Chicago singer-songwriter Pharoahe Monch among others.

The album was a critical success and is considered a classic of underground hip-hop. It is known for its socially conscious and politically charged lyrics, which deal with themes such as racial injustice, police brutality, and the state of the hip-hop industry. The duo’s politically conscious and socially-aware lyrics were well-received by the critics and helped to establish them as prominent figures in the underground hip-hop scene.

The album features the hit single “Definition” and other notable songs like “Brown Skin Lady,” “Thieves in the Night,” “Respiration,” and “Twice Inna Lifetime.”

The album is often considered as one of the best and most important works in underground hip-hop. It helped to establish Mos Def and Talib Kweli as two of the most respected and influential MCs in the game, and the album is widely acknowledged as one of the most important works of hip hop from the late 1990s.

10: The Roots’ “Things Fall Apart”

The Roots’ “Things Fall Apart” is the fourth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released on February 23, 1999, by DGC Records and MCA Records. The album features production from band members Questlove, Black Thought, and Kamal Gray, as well as from several high-profile hip-hop producers such as Scott Storch, Jay Dee, and James Poyser. The album features guest appearances from artists like Erykah Badu, Common, and Mos Def.

The album was a commercial and critical success. It reached number four on the US Billboard 200 chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It received widespread critical acclaim and is considered one of the best and most important hip-hop albums of the 1990s.
The album features a mix of different styles, including neo soul, jazz, and spoken word, as well as more traditional hip-hop sounds. The band’s experimentation with different genres helped to set them apart from other hip-hop acts at the time, and the album is known for its live instrumentation, which was rare in contemporary hip-hop.

The album features the hit single “You Got Me” featuring Erykah Badu and “Break You Off” featuring Musiq Soulchild. The album also features songs that deal with issues such as race, political corruption and the state of hip hop, as well as reflections on personal struggles, like “Double Trouble” and “The Next Movement”.

“Things Fall Apart” is considered as one of the most important and best album of the band’s career and one of the most important hip-hop albums of all time. The Roots’ experimentation with different musical styles and live instrumentation, as well as their politically conscious and socially aware lyrics helped to set them apart from other hip-hop acts of the time and established them as one of the most important and innovative groups in the genre.

These are just some examples of the albums released in that year and not a comprehensive list.

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