20. Immortal Technique-Revolutionary Vol. 2
Released in 2003
Label: Viper Records
Revolutionary rapper, Immortal Technique, came out firing with his first album, Revolutionary Vol. 1, and Vol. 2 just improves upon it with even more too-controversial-for-the-radio rap than ever before. Songs like “The 4th Branch” and “Industrial Revolution” are what the underground is all about—solid lyrics that don’t give a flying fuck if it’s catchy or if it’s going to sell a million downloads on iTunes. It’s part of the reason why Immortal Technique is so popular in the first place. He means what he says and says what he means. And Revolutionary Vol. 2 is the perfect pulpit for his political prowess. Throw up a fist and listen to this.
Best track: The Message and the Money
(Image taken from: kevinnottingham.com)
19. Little Brother-The Minstrel Show
Released in 2005
Label: Atlantic/ABB Records
“Performing in black face tonight…” is just one of the many controversial lines you’ll hear off of Little Brother’s sophomore album, The Minstrel Show. Like Immortal Technique, Little Brother also make albums where the message (and the music!) is much more important than the money. At times hilarious (Some of these skits, like “Diary of a Mad Black Daddy” are some of the funniest we’ve ever heard), and at other times thoughtful, The Minstrel Show never lets up. It’s immensely entertaining and the beats are bananas. We love it.
Best track: Lovin’ It
(Image taken from: santafemusicsociety.wordpress.com)
18. Hieroglyphics-Third Eye Vision
Released in: 1998
Label: Hieroglyphics Imperium
Think of the Hieroglyphics (Hie-ro, y’all!) as a less serious, West Coast version of the Wu-tang Clan. Actually, strike all that, the Hieroglyphics crew are so much more than that and Third Eye Vision proves it. Led by its two most famous members, Del the Funky Homosapien and Casual, this album spotlights all the members at some point, both lyrically and through production, as multiple members get behind the mixing boards. It’s a playful album that only gets better with multiple listens, and songs like, “You Never Knew,” (Which had a pretty nifty video that received some pretty good airplay when it first came out), never get old, no matter how many years this goes back.
Best track: All Things
(Image taken from: bboy-alpha.blogspot.com)
17. Jedi Mind Tricks-Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell
Released in 2006
Vinnie Paz and Jus Allah just got everything right with their fifth album, Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell (How dope of a title is that, by the way)? The rhymes are abrasive and sharp as ever, the few guests (underground favorites, Ill Bill and R.A. The Rugged Man, are on board, along with others) are amazing, and the beats are the best yet. There’s really nothing to say about this album besides that it’s dope and heavily, heavily underground. We can’t see “Gutta Music” being played in any radio rotation, other than college radio. God bless, college radio.
Best track: Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story