Best Hip-Hop Debut Albums

Best Hip-Hop Debut Albums by DJ WorksHard / Back In The Day Buffet

We asked you what the Best Hip-Hop Debut Albums were before 2000 (are there any that really matter after that?).  You voted.  We responded.  In typical NCAA Bracket fashion we’ve narrowed the list down to 64.  This week we will be posting Head-to-Head debut albums on our facebook page.  It’s up to you to respond and comment with the albums you believe should make it to the next round.  We will be posting everyday until we’ve made it to the Final Four.

When you consider the litany of classic Hip-Hop debut albums that have dropped in the last 30 years, it’s difficult to list your top 5 or even top 10 without leaving a few out.  We had to give honorable mention to a few albums as well.  You can find those listed at the bottom of this page.

Back In The Day Buffet - Best Hip-Hop Debut Albums Bracket Challenge
Back In The Day Buffet – Best Hip-Hop Debut Albums Bracket Challenge



There were many factors involved when making such a list.  An EP isn’t considered a full album, so we omitted any from the challenge.  Pete Rock & CL Smooth released “All Souled Out” in ’91 ahead of their full length debut “Mecca And The Soul Brother” in ’92.  Any album that was released under a different name could’ve made the list, however, none were voted in.  Gza released his first album as “The Genius” and Naughty By Nature released their debut album under “The New Style.”  The same goes for Geto Boys, who released their debut album “Making Trouble” as the Ghetto Boys.  Even though the group changed and released “Grip It! On That Other Level” and would be considered the debut for Scarface and Willie D, technically it’s not the first album.  N.W.A released “N.W.A. and the Posse” as a compilation album that featured artists that weren’t in the group.  N.W.A’s debut album is “Straight Outta Compton.”

The hardest part was narrowing down the last 5-10 albums to make the cut.  There are so many solid debuts it almost didn’t seem fair.  But hey, life isn’t fair.  And how much will this impact say Warren G’s life because his debut didn’t make the list.  Probably not one bit.

The Top 10 were difficult as well, but if you are a true hip-hop head then you have an idea of what the dopest of the dopest are.  Dr. Dre “The Chronic, Eric B & Rakim “Paid In Full,” Nas “Illmatic,” and Beastie Boys “Licensed To Ill” were all voted as the Top Debut Albums.

Honorable mentions go out to Poor Righteous Teachers with “Holy Intellect,” MC Shan’s “Down By Law.” McGruff for his debut “Destined To Be.”  50 Cent’s “Power of the Dollar” never saw the light of day and is a favorite of mine.  Surprisingly, West Coast legends Alkaholiks didn’t make the top 64 (you voted) and X-Clan barely missed making the bracket challenge.

Print out a bracket and play along.  Do you think you can pick the perfect bracket??

Email us at with your picks.



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