25. License to Ill, Beastie Boys (1986)
The Paul’s Boutique follow-up might be the Beastie Boys’ best overall record. Yet, it all began with this smash debut. Certified diamond, the album was really unlike anything heard of at the time. Plenty of sampling, under the surprisingly strong rhymes of three talented white guys who could rap with the best of the them, while also displaying a hard rock presence. Q magazine called License to Ill the “world’s only punk rock rap album.” No surprise since producer Rick Rubin’s Def Jam label also featured thrash metal kings Slayer.
Image Source: /Getty Images
24. The Chronic, Dr. Dre (1992)
We’ll talk about Dre’s previous life as a rap pioneer later on this list. However, from a production standpoint, he set the bar extremely high with his solo hip hop masterpiece. This record, which essentially launched Snoop Dogg’s solo career, took gangsta rap – and West Coast rap — to more mainstream heights thanks to MTV favorite “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang.” It’s also responsible for drawing attention to what’s considered the “G-funk” subgenre of the movement. The record was also a major influence on the likes of rappers Warren G (Dre’s step-brother) and Nate Dogg.
Image Source: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images