10 Great Hip-Hop Albums You’ve Never Heard

Written by J.Monkey. Posted in Lists, Spotlight

Published on May 01, 2009 with 35 Comments

one-nation
Many artists have recorded entire albums filled with quality material for their labels that never actually made it to a store for inexplicable reasons. Here’s hip-hop’s Top 10 victims of Industry Rule #4080.

10. Clipse – Exclusive Audio Footage


Clipse – “Diana Ross”

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Clipse – “Got Caught Dealing”

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The Thornton brothers are almost as renowned for their label woes as for their music. It was a major theme in the highly successful We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series and they addressed it briefly on the critically acclaimed Hell Hath No Fury. Which itself got pushed back so much it hit the point of aggression with Pusha T who vented to Rolling Stone magazine: “I hate Jive. I hate them motherf–kers. With all my heart and all the passion and my soul I hate these b–ches. It’s about the lynching of every staff member up in this motherf–ker.” But their first struggle with industry rule #4080 came even before all that; their debut album Exclusive Audio Footage never got released. It was supposed to drop on the Neptunes’ Star Trak imprint with Arista and featured back to back Chad & Pharrell production from a time when that was still something to get excited about. It’s not the masterpiece with a cinematic feel some fans will have you believe. Their voices were still a lot lighter and higher-pitched and the overall paranoia and dark feel that made Hell Hath No Fury such a great listen wasn’t there yet, but it’s far from a doozy either. Malice and Terror (now b.k.a. Pusha T) already had a knack for confident coke slinging rhymes coupled with sharp lyricism and the Neptunes production alone should’ve ensured a few hits. [Download]

 

9. Resident Alien – It Takes A Nation Of Suckers To Let Us In


Resident Alien – “Ooh the Dew Doo Man”

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Resident Alien – “Shakey Ground”

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Resident Alien was supposed to be the first album on Dew Doo Man Records, Prince Paul’s imprint with Rush Associated Labels. Russell Simmons didn’t get the funky hits he was expecting from the guy behind De La Soul and 3rd Bass beats though. Paul created a full-fledged concept album based on the experiences of immigrants in New York. A 12″ single was released (Mr. Boops/Ooh The Dew Doo Man) and a video was even made, but Lyor Cohen and Russell Simmons weren’t feeling it and pulled the plug on the release. Some of the tracks made it to the Prince Paul compilation album Hip-Hop Gold Dust released by Antidote Records in 2007, which was a small casualty of 4080 itself since Antidote wasn’t allowed to include the Gravediggaz track “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” at the last minute due to label politics.

 

8. 2pac & Boot Camp Clik - One Nation


2-Pac – “Let’s Fight” (Ft. Boot Camp Clik)

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2Pac – “Wherever U R” (Feat. Big Daddy Kane)

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At the height of the so-called east coast/west coast beef, ‘Pac was recording a reconciliation album filled with posse cuts featuring MCs from both coasts. The project was called One Nation, and it featured the Boot Camp Clik on many tracks. Big Daddy Kane, Nice & Smooth and The Outlawz were involved as well. We all know what happened with Tupac Shakur and that seems to be the main reason the album never got properly finished. What’s truly a shame though is how some verses from this project did get released; on the heinous Eminem-produced Loyal to the Game. Given the treatment of posthumous ‘Pac albums, no BDK or Boot Camp verses were to be heard. Instead, they settled for G-Unit, Elton John, and Em himself. [Download One Nation]

 

7. The Last Emperor – The Legend of Bigfoot


The Last Emperor – “The World of Susie Wong”

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Last Emperor – “Secret Wars”

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Last Emperor is that dude who was buzzing with his “Secret Wars” track a few years back, a clever concept where he pitted his favorite MCs against comic book characters, mimicking their flow and voice while he himself took on a role similar role to the Beyonder from the Marvel comic the track was named after. That song was supposed to be on his album The Legend of Bigfoot. Clever rhymes galore on this album from the Lyricist Lounge alumni who got signed to Aftermath, the label were rappers sign to get diverted to limbo. Another song from the album, The World of Suzie Wong is a story about a woman adored by many that doubles as a metaphor for smoking that sticky icky. It may not sound like the most original concept but Last Emp fills it with far too much subtlety and smart lyrics to drift into corny territory: “Sad to say/ that this relationship is over/ ’cause when I found Suzie/ I had to smoke her”. The song also appeared on a Rawkus promo sampler years ago to finally promote the release of the record, this time on Rawkus. Last Emp couldn’t catch a break though as this was only weeks before the collapse of Rawkus in 2001. When they re-emerged through the deal with MCA The Last Emperor had already been dropped from the label.

 

6. Crustified Dibbs (RA The Rugged Man) – Night of the Bloody Apes

RA The Rugged Man – “Cunt Renaissance” (Feat. Biggie)

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RA The Rugged Man – “Every Record Label Sucks”

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RA The Rugged Man has made a name with outlandish lyrics and statements that would make Slim Shady blush. You’d almost forget that he’s a talented MC as well, maybe because there are barely any labels left willing to publish his music. Not that RA cares, he makes more as an independent anyway and in his opinion “Every Record Label Sucks Dick” according to the song with that title on his unreleased debut album. “Night of the Bloody Apes” was named after a Mexican Lucha Libre/Horror movie from 1968 and sounds pretty much like you would expect from a rap record with such a title. Only better. RA’s off-the-rails humor and technically impressive mic skills are a large enough attraction on their own but top that off with a legendary outrageous Biggie feature (“Cunt Renaissance”) and you have some early 90’s hip-hop gold in your hands. It’s a shame it never had a proper release because the sound quality of the bootlegs floating around is always horrible.

CONTINUE FOR 5 – 1

TRU

J.Monkey

1982 was when Jaap van der Doelen aka J.Monkey shot his way out his mom dukes. A mere two years later he was already battling Big Brother and The Illuminati. Whenever he has time to spare from those efforts he writes (about music, mostly), hosts a radio show and designs graphics for a living. He lives in The Netherlands where he continues to be winning.

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35 Comments

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  1. I was just bumping that RA The Rugged Man album the other day, and I agree, the bootleg sound is pretty shoddy.

  2. I was just bumping that RA The Rugged Man album the other day, and I agree, the bootleg sound is pretty shoddy.

  3. I was just bumping that RA The Rugged Man album the other day, and I agree, the bootleg sound is pretty shoddy.

  4. How the hell did we forget Elzhi’s solo album?

  5. How the hell did we forget Elzhi’s solo album?

  6. How the hell did we forget Elzhi’s solo album?

  7. i’d personally put that Clipse album in the “unreleased for a reason” category. i’m a big Neptunes fan but save “Got Your Money” and “I Just Wanna Love U” i can’t really co-sign their pre-2002 work, and that album sounds like all their other beats from that era. their drum programming was on some Timbaland4cheap shit and the synths they used were real thin and rinky-dink sounding. they’ve improved and diversified their style massively since ’02, even taking into account some of their wack work in the last couple years.

    i think they even admitted in one interview that up ’til ’02 they were using a pretty cut-and-dried formula to make a name for themselves, and then they decided to switch it up once they were established

  8. i’d personally put that Clipse album in the “unreleased for a reason” category. i’m a big Neptunes fan but save “Got Your Money” and “I Just Wanna Love U” i can’t really co-sign their pre-2002 work, and that album sounds like all their other beats from that era. their drum programming was on some Timbaland4cheap shit and the synths they used were real thin and rinky-dink sounding. they’ve improved and diversified their style massively since ’02, even taking into account some of their wack work in the last couple years.

    i think they even admitted in one interview that up ’til ’02 they were using a pretty cut-and-dried formula to make a name for themselves, and then they decided to switch it up once they were established

  9. i’d personally put that Clipse album in the “unreleased for a reason” category. i’m a big Neptunes fan but save “Got Your Money” and “I Just Wanna Love U” i can’t really co-sign their pre-2002 work, and that album sounds like all their other beats from that era. their drum programming was on some Timbaland4cheap shit and the synths they used were real thin and rinky-dink sounding. they’ve improved and diversified their style massively since ’02, even taking into account some of their wack work in the last couple years.

    i think they even admitted in one interview that up ’til ’02 they were using a pretty cut-and-dried formula to make a name for themselves, and then they decided to switch it up once they were established

  10. I’m a big R.A. fan, but that Crustified Dibbs is just pure wackness…

  11. I’m a big R.A. fan, but that Crustified Dibbs is just pure wackness…

  12. I’m a big R.A. fan, but that Crustified Dibbs is just pure wackness…

  13. @Rizoh: Damn, that was definitley listworthy. Ah well. We’ll just say that since you’ve posted that one on TRU back in the day it’s not an album TRUbians have never heard!

  14. @Rizoh: Damn, that was definitley listworthy. Ah well. We’ll just say that since you’ve posted that one on TRU back in the day it’s not an album TRUbians have never heard!

  15. @Rizoh: Damn, that was definitley listworthy. Ah well. We’ll just say that since you’ve posted that one on TRU back in the day it’s not an album TRUbians have never heard!

  16. ^^You’re right. That’s why I went ahead and left it out.

    Btw, you really nailed this post. One of the best lists I’ve seen in a while. Looking forward to your next one.

  17. ^^You’re right. That’s why I went ahead and left it out.

    Btw, you really nailed this post. One of the best lists I’ve seen in a while. Looking forward to your next one.

  18. ^^You’re right. That’s why I went ahead and left it out.

    Btw, you really nailed this post. One of the best lists I’ve seen in a while. Looking forward to your next one.

  19. This is a great post and a great list but I have to say one thing . . . Crustified Dibbs “Night of the Bloody Apes” IS NOT a good album. I’m a huge Rugged Man fan and for too long I was anticipating hearing this “lost” album”. Once I finally did, I knew why it was lost. The production is pretty uniformly awful and while you his technical mic skills are present, there’s no of the swagger and form of his later work. Cunt Renaissance is probably the most listenable song on the album.

    And why mention the Rakim/Dre album when ain’t no one heard that shit? except for that After U Die track

  20. This is a great post and a great list but I have to say one thing . . . Crustified Dibbs “Night of the Bloody Apes” IS NOT a good album. I’m a huge Rugged Man fan and for too long I was anticipating hearing this “lost” album”. Once I finally did, I knew why it was lost. The production is pretty uniformly awful and while you his technical mic skills are present, there’s no of the swagger and form of his later work. Cunt Renaissance is probably the most listenable song on the album.

    And why mention the Rakim/Dre album when ain’t no one heard that shit? except for that After U Die track

  21. This is a great post and a great list but I have to say one thing . . . Crustified Dibbs “Night of the Bloody Apes” IS NOT a good album. I’m a huge Rugged Man fan and for too long I was anticipating hearing this “lost” album”. Once I finally did, I knew why it was lost. The production is pretty uniformly awful and while you his technical mic skills are present, there’s no of the swagger and form of his later work. Cunt Renaissance is probably the most listenable song on the album.

    And why mention the Rakim/Dre album when ain’t no one heard that shit? except for that After U Die track

  22. @kazeiro This is kind of wild but your blog (that post specifically) is where I first downloaded the full album. I had Cunt Renaissance but that was it.

    Nice full circle effect of thing

  23. @kazeiro This is kind of wild but your blog (that post specifically) is where I first downloaded the full album. I had Cunt Renaissance but that was it.

    Nice full circle effect of thing

  24. @kazeiro This is kind of wild but your blog (that post specifically) is where I first downloaded the full album. I had Cunt Renaissance but that was it.

    Nice full circle effect of thing

  25. ahaha the internet is a small place

  26. ahaha the internet is a small place

  27. ahaha the internet is a small place

  28. Wack list.

  29. Wack list.

  30. Wack list.

  31. wack list

  32. wack list

  33. wack list

  34. if were talking albums never heard before, try Five Deez – Koolmotor and NoCanDo – Walk The Void

  35. crustified dibbs is the best shit on here.the sound quality is fucked up so what .this is a classic that never saw the light.how old were you in 94? this is a party record ans thats what i was doing freestyles , rowdy posse .i want it on vinyl

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