What’s Your Definition of a Classic Hip-Hop Record?


This is the first of many discussions we’ll be having here at nappyafro on topical issues in the world of Hip-Hop.

We’re trying out a new service called Branch that allows us to have exclusive discussions among the staff members. Let us know what you think and participate in the discussion in the comments section. We may invite you to the next one.

What exactly is a classic Hip-Hop album? Everyone likes to label their favorite artists’ records as classics but shouldn’t we have some sort of consensus?

The rap game is going through a bit of a transition phase right now, as all media is. It’s a change instigated by the Internet. The reason I bring this up is because such a major change in the approach to production is bound the change the quality of the product. New age rappers work with a wider range of producers but not as closely as their predecessors did. Whether this affects the quality of Hip-Hop in the long term remains to be seen.

It has become more difficult to really define a classic record since the new generation of rappers don’t sound the same as the older guys. Lines are blurring between albums and mixtapes. Record sales aren’t as important as they once were as YouTube views and Sound Cloud downloads become more relevant metrics.

Lets talk about how these changes have affected the game and the quality of our music.

  • Vic “Smoke” Damone

    I don’t get into details. For me it’s simple

    1) An album that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before.
    2) It ages SLOW. 5-10 years it still sounds good (Nothing stays fresh).
    3) It’s top to bottom entertaining.

    • Mr. Jones

      This is about it for me.

  • a classic album is an album that still sounds fresh or at least holds up over the years. for example college dropout and get rich or die trying. both came out in my early teens. now in my mid 20’s I still blast these occasionally

  • P-Body

    Well Dr. Dre didn’t produced Doggystyle by himself, we all know Daz help contribute the production… That’s why I say albums like Makaveli is classic because even though it was released in 96′, that shit still sound ill. It’s better than most people albums right now even as far as production and the way Pac delivered his lyrics. Nobody wasn’t rapping like Pac then. You can throw him on a new beat and he sound like he still alive, not even outdated. You can put in albums such as Life After Death, Hard Knock Life Vol 2, Chopper City, Comin Out Hard, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot and so forth in rotation and I bet them joints will have you bobbing your head.

    • Yeah my bad, I should have mentioned Daz being involved in the production of The Chronic.

  • saulewright

    This needs more hits