(Image taken from: hiphopmedley.blogspot.com)
12. Canibus-Rip the Jacker
Released in 2003
Label: Mic Club, Babygrande
Before Rip the Jacker, Canibus was always the rapper that we felt bad for. And we hated ourselves for feeling bad for him, because in truth, he was always an amazing lyricist, but his production. God, his production was terrible before this album. True, the album preceding this one, Mic Club: The Curriculum, was a step in the right direction for Can-I-Bus, but his first three albums, two of which were genuine commercial attempts, were excellent lyrically, but abysmal production-wise. Rip the Jacker fixes all that. Songs like “Showtime at the Gallow” and “Cemantics” are just as good lyrically as ever, and even the beats are amazing. If only this was his first album, we might not be talking about him in this underground article. Tis a shame, but it’s the truth. This should have been his first release.
Best track:Rip the Jacker
(Image taken from: hiphopups.com)
11. Esoteric-Saving Seamus Ryan
Released in: 2009
Label: Fly Casual
What can we say? We love rap concept albums. And while Esoteric is probably more known for being with his DJ, 7L, we think Saving Seamus Ryan is his best, and most ambitious work to date. Starting off saying goodbye to his dog because it’s past its prime, the album goes all over the place, with his character getting shot, losing a wedding ring, and even selling old Spiderman comic books. Thematically, it’s not as tidy as it could have been, but neither was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and who complains about that? This is Es’ best work ever.
Best track: I Rap Too Much
(Image taken from: s517.photobucket.com)
10. The Coup-Steal This Album
Released in 2008
Label: Dogday Records
Before System of a Down stole the title, this Oakland based duo released this classic album. Like their two earlier releases, Steal This Album features the funny, acerbic, political lyrics and funky fresh beats that the group had become known for at this point. But everything just seems to work on this release. There isn’t a moment that lets up, and even the seven minute long, “Me and Jesus The Pimp in a ’79 Granada Last Night,” doesn’t slow things down. Steal this Album, and all of The Coup’s releases, are a prime example of why the underground has always been a necessity in hip-hop. The Coup’s music would never be heard if this wasn’t a market, and that would be a shame.
Best track: Piss on Your Grave