The 30 Best Underground Hip-Hop Albums

Soul Position – 8 Million Stories

30. Soul Position – 8 Million Stories (2003)

Blueprint’s sharp, personal rhymes married with RJD2’s lush sampled soul was a winning combination when it debuted on the latter’s Deadringer LP (“Final Frontier”) and when it produced the solid Unlimited EP. On 8 Million Stories, however, the duo’s vision coalesced into a sprawling, ecstatic musical statement, expanding on the ideas and sounds of their debut and highlighting each artist at his best: Blueprint weaving clever everyman rhymes and RJD2 focusing his dusty funk formula to make perfect soundscapes for rapping.

  • Lastro

    This is a perfect list. My only qualm would be replace jedi mind tricks with The Pharcyde and you have a flawless list. but honestly you hit the nail perfectly.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/swami-jee-sez ShaunSwami

    wow i’ve honestly never read a list that i agreed with so thoroughly. i also would add the pharcyde, but also j-live–the best part

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  • Juan

    Great post!!! But the song on J-Live’s page on page 5 is the Brother Ali’s song on his page. Good song.

  • Kenny

    Honestly, this list sucks. I’ve heard just about all of these albums. When I think of “best underground” I want Earth’s-inner-core deep, not bottom-of-the-flower-pot deep. The “best underground” albums are so underground that no one has even heard them yet.

  • j

    I don’t know that pharcyde is really that underground?

  • http://darthwookius.tumblr.com/ Badgerboy

    NO MAC MILLER? WAT A J0KE!!!1!!(one)!11!!

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    @Juan – good catch, just fixed.

    This isn’t our real underground list. Our real underground list is simultaneously too cool for any of you to read and so uncool we don’t want anyone to read it. And also none of the albums on it exist.

  • Confusion

    We considered a lot of albums that ended up getting cut only because we didn’t think it really fit with the “underground” label. Pharcyde was one.

  • NoHead

    Too bad, there still a lot of underground classics not making to the list.

  • Joe

    Is there a way to view the whole list on one page?

  • chris

    replace jedi mind tricks with The Pharcyde!!! that is a joke listen to some real music then make some accusations!!!!

  • KG

    One of the better lists I’ve seen…surprised there was no Sin-o-matic or Revolutionary Vol 2, but it happens and impossible to do without leaving something out…good stuff

  • bobb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOjKVhPNCMo … illogic, i bet you’ve never heard of him.

  • Confusion

    @bobb We talked about Illogic. Celestial Clockwork was a great album and almost made the list. Which of the albums on the list did you think it was better than? Because that’s what it came down to.

  • http://complex.com rusty haloe

    I was surprised how many of these classics I already own, and haven’t listened to in awhile, honestly this list could’ve spanned 100 or more and i’d stay intrigued.

  • Malcolm King

    Kembe X’s Self rule should b here, his shit was on Forbes best list check him out

  • j

    Kenny I think if you go too deep you’re at risk of wading through all the crap that some kid has been producing in his bedroom. There is a point where underground just becomes undiscovered and a lot of people that are in that category aren’t worth discovering. I am a fan of this list

  • ababalu

    who ever said mac miller not in here needs to slap themselves

  • BoyDelacroix

    Jedi Mind Tricks definitely needs to be on the list. But the one album I thought for sure would be on the list isn’t… Mr. Lif’s I Phantom. Seriously, how was that missed?

  • houstonz

    I’m kinda surprised there was no mention of Tonedeff’s “Archetype”, any Immortal Technique’s records, C-Rayz Walz “Ravipops”, DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing…”, or Zion I’s “True & Livin”. Even Aesop Rock’s “Labor Days” deserves some love.

    Like, fo reeeeeeeeal?

  • houstonz

    props for CunninLynguists’ “A Piece of Strange” though. That’s a true Hip Hop classic.

  • jack

    its an extremely difficult, if not impossible task to make a best of “underground list” since when its popular, the rapper becomes commercial, so its like an oxymoron to have a best of underground. I can give many examples but look at Nas illmatic, an underground gem and he became commercial and sold his ass out to the max… I would say MF is more commercial than pharcyde…then again this list is missing a lot of good stuff… anyway a FANTASTIC article and there is even a few albums I slept on there…and thats saying a LOT from a hihop junkie like me

  • bLee__dat

    Below The heavens should be #1 IMO!

  • Confusion

    Mr. Lif, Immortal Technique, Tonedeff, Illogic, Living Legends, Murs, Louis Logic, Project Blowed, Aceyalone, Gravediggaz, Quasimoto, Sole, Deep Puddle Dynamics, Dynospectrum, Abstract Rude, Felt were all considered. If this was a 50 list they would have all been on here.

  • Alan_Handsome

    UK underground scene is alive, saying hip hop is dead will only help kill it.

  • youknowmysteez

    Own all those Lps except one. regaurding the comments I don’t see how god loves ugly and blackstar are any less underground than pharcyde.Now if it was dyno or deep puddle or even headshots that would be one thing. Specially when 14 year old girls in high school coped that shit back in the day. I personally wouldn’t have put either on the list of best UG.Although, the are good ablums. I say this list about 20% accurate.

  • youknowmysteez

    @Alan_Handsome got that shit right. UK emcees are killing shit. Love me some Jehst, braintrax, lewis parker, lowkey, loop troop from swiss too name a few.

  • http://website.com Name (required)

    Very nice list.

    I would add the following though:

    Camp Lo- Uptown Saturday Night is an absolute classic. You might know the song Luchini- Is This It, off the album.

    Felt- A Tribute to Lisa Bonet.

  • http://website.com Name (required)

    Edit: Just read Confusions latest comment, so scratch Felt.

    But Camp Lo still deserves its spot on that list. If you haven’t heard it do yourself a huge favor and give it a spin, i promise it is worth your while.

  • dirtybologna

    no eyedea?

  • Alan_Handsome

    Amazing list though, educational.

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  • Confusion

    Camp Lo didn’t feel very underground either, but I agree that’s a great album.

    Eyedea was an amazing rapper but we didn’t feel he had one cohesive project that was better than the others on this list.

  • Luc

    Damn Would have been nice to see some Zion I.

  • Richard

    wheres grouch and eligh Say G&E album or Elighs grey crow album? or really any living legends albums

  • Kimota

    No Organized Konfusion?

  • BIGENYAW

    Well there is too many great artist and albums how could you even come up with 30… RHYMESAYERS all day!

  • CigaretteSam

    A decent list, but lets be honest, some of these albums don’t deserve to be up here. How can you have a list like this and not put the Oliver Hart album on it, and then put something like Edan on there? Madvilliany was good, but not better than Labor Days. I think its hard to define what exactly “underground hip hop” is, but I would have liked to see Food and Liquor on there as well. Just my two cents, good work folks.

  • brandon

    Heavenbound by Scarub not on here is a crime. Maybe MOOD also. And no albums featuring anything from All Natural? lame.

  • Scotty D

    To be honest, this is actually a pretty proper list!! However, Blackalicious should def get recognition for “Nia” instead of “Blazing Arrow”. Other oversights, imo :
    Sage Francis, “Personal Journals”
    Freestyle Fellowship, “Innercity Griots”
    Ultramagnetic MC’s, “Critical Breakdown”
    The Pharcyde, “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde”

    and the most under-rated and slept on underground hip hop album ever…
    Blood of Abraham, “Eyedollartree”

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  • SunnyvaleZ

    Fantastic list… the only thing i would add would bee murs 3:16: the 9th edition

  • Molloy

    Really surprised to not see Sage Francis on this list. “Personal Journals” is a definite classic. “Tobacco Road” by Common Market is another I think deserves a mention.

  • SunnyvaleZ

    what do you all think the top 5 cities in the country are for “underground” hip-hop??

  • BrotherAli

    I dont feel its right to have 3 doom albums on a top 30 list….yes he is awesome but leaving out immortal technique, zion-i, and murs 3:16 is a sin.

  • Rich

    Souls 93 to infinty was a major release on Jive. They had commercial backing and a video… solid album but not underground at all. Immortal technique being left off is a sin. He is the true underground.

  • +00+

    making this list is like drawing a hop-scotch board in a mine field. under ground heads/back packers (myself included) are worse than uber-hipster indie kids when it comes having blinders on to anything outside of their personal opinions. having said that, i agree with a vast majority of the list, if not the order. my one addition is a bit hypocritical due to it capitalizing off of the underground’s rising popularity, but Lyricist lounge vol. 1 was a monumental underground release.

  • Sleazus

    I love your list and most of the albums on it, but my sensibility for hip hop and definition of underground seem to differ a little. I may have duplicated some suggestions from other comments because they appear as I thought of them in no particular order.

    Saafir- Boxcar Sessions
    Freestyle Fellowship- Innercity Griots or
    To Whom it May Concern
    Aceyalone A Book of Human Language
    ELUSIVE-Six Degrees of Separation(Living Legends first EP only released on vinyl)
    Log Cabin (3MG and Radioinactive)
    Anticon- Music for the Advancement of Mankind
    Deep Puddle Dynamics
    Sole- Bottle of Humans
    L’roneus- Imaginarium
    The Jugganots- self titled release on Fondle Em
    Organized Konfusion- Stress: The Xtiction Agenda
    Sage Francis-Personal Journals
    Ultramagnetic MC’s- Critical Beatdown
    Radioinactive- Pyramidi
    Qwel and Maker-The Harvest
    Of Mexican Descent- Exitos Y Mas Exitos
    Othello- Elevator Music
    Heiruspecs- Small Steps
    DoomTree- False Hopes
    MOOD-DOOM
    Araknophobix-Phantasmagoria EP
    Tonedeff-Archetype
    Smoke(olddominion)-Bleed
    Sleep(olddominion)-Christopher
    Gift of Gab-Fouth Dimensional Rocketships Going Up
    Homeboy Sandman- The Good Sun
    DoseOne- Hemispheres
    Buck 65- Vertex
    Open Mike Eagle-Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes

    Having Souls of Mischief twice without recognizing Pharcyde
    is a farceI’d never agree with. Jedi Mind Tricks The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological, And Electro-Magnetic Manipulation Of Human Consciousness and Aesoprock Float are each better than either of these artists Sophomore efforts. Eyedea First Born is quite cohesive and def outshines a good portion of your list.

    Funcrusher Plus should be #1 of any best under ground album list.

    These are only my own singular opinions, and are not intended as gospel. Please enjoy any of the albums I’ve listed that you may not have heard.

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  • D

    Great list! I love this era. Now I want to dig up all of these that I haven’t listened to in a while (or at all).

  • Wookie_Mike

    Did I miss something or did Jack the Ripper not make the list?!

  • D

    This list is obviously about a certain era of “underground” rap; some albums people are complaining about, like Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde and especially Critical Beatdown are too early for this particular era. This is what the writer meant by:

    “Seven or eight years ago, if you said you were into underground hip-hop, people knew exactly what you meant.”

    Also, the long list posted just above me reads like someone trying to find 30 albums that others won’t know, and ending up with a list of the 30 Most Middling Underground Hip-Hop Albums.

  • admunstone

    non phixion definately needs to be on this list!

  • http://yours boi

    Dopest album is Lonely City by Specifics. Track “Under the Hood” is too good for words.. i guarantee anyone who listens will like it immensely and put a number of tracks on their ipod.

  • And 1

    The lines are just blurred, what we called underground back then maybe we just call hip-hop now.

    You shoulda had Blu and CL much earlier and you have way too many Def Jux albums.

    They just forced it too hard and tried to make underground and being a backpacker into some gimmicky thing. Underground artists cannot sustain without total honestly and earnest intention.

    But at the same time that era of underground has definitely influenced hip-hop on the whole to this day.

  • Mysterio

    CL is CunninLynguists and if you liked A Piece of Strange then you should also definitely check out Dirty Acres or their new album.

  • Keith Irwin

    All of the albums you list are terrific albums, and I can see why you selected them, but I can’t believe that you would include nothing from Buck 65, The Coup, or any blowdian. Honestly, I would’ve made space by removing 93 Til Infinity and Black Star (as good as those albums are, something which was all over Rap City and Yo! MTV Raps doesn’t really qualify as underground).

    I also disagree with the idea that the underground doesn’t exist any more. It’s not that it’s gone away, it’s that it’s gotten so large that when you say you listen to underground, it’s too big a category for people to know which artists you mean. Me, I listen to Open Mike Eagle, Blu, MegaRan, Milo, Serengeti, Kooley High, Doomtree, El Guante, Mad Rad, Homeboy Sandman, Count Bass D and DJ Pocket, Dillon, Paten Locke, Ceschi, Junk Science, Mac Lethal, MC Paul Barman, D-Sissive, Heidi Baron Stink, Safari Al, PrettyBoy Breeze, Wiki Morales, Greg Enemy, Da Blue Herb, ActiveMember, Aleon Craft, Astronautilus and a whole ton of others (including everyone on your list). If you recognize all of those names, color me impressed. But yeah, we’re at the point now where I can’t just say “I listen to underground” and have you know what artists that means. “Underground” doesn’t just mean people signed to Quannum, Def Jux, Rhymesayers, or Anticon, like it pretty much used to. It hasn’t gone away. It’s gotten bigger. And that makes it harder to have conversations about because people have a harder time keeping up with everything. But that’s not the death of a scene, it’s the birth of a movement.

  • Porsborg

    Should have won..

  • Chris

    well said Keith Irwin

  • Chris

    There are a few albums I would have included, especially since some of these listed are major label releases…
    • Yall So Stupid (classic!)
    • Yaggfu Front
    • Ugly Duckling
    • The Nonce

    Of course there are others, but off the top these should be included in the conversion. But there is a lot of DefJux on this list, lets diversify this list.

  • Mitch

    LOL @ people complaining because there’s “Too Much Def Jux” on the list, let me clarify thigs for those of you who are either confused or werent there: Those Def Jux albums, all 4 listed. were huge albums in the underground. Def Jux was more or less the most influential underground label, complainging about them having the most representation is like reading an 80’s hip hop list and going “Meh, too much Def Jam!!!”

    In other words, GTFOH

    List was pretty good tho, a few I’d have included would have been Non Phixions “The Future Is Now” & Immortal Techniques “Revolutionary Vol. 2″ and I’d have placed “A Piece of Strange” higher, but I cant really find any fault with this list

  • TokedUp

    We’re all entitled to our opinions, here’s mine:
    I would have liked to see Hiero “3rd Eye” a little higher. What about some Twin Perils or Ab Rude? Also there should have been a compilation album or two such as the Urban Renewal Program or Wu Tang meets Indie Culture. Really this “best of the underground” discussion could go on for ever because there are and have been many facits to this subject. The fact that there are good alternatives to radio rap out there is great and it is all easier to find, listen to, and share on the internet. We can all agree on that.

  • Casey

    This slideshow interface is so irksome. And Def Jux isn’t nearly as important as you think it is, Mitch. Pretty much any crew from Solesides/Quannum to Stones Throw wipes the floor with the backpack rappers over at the Jux. Great list of albums here, but that slideshow’s gotta GO!

  • Confusion

    We’re working on the slideshow technology now. Will be improved soon.

  • imhh1

    el-p is great but not the best… so many album are missing here … QWEL AND MAKER THE HARVEST is a f***ing classic masterpiece

  • Blackalicious33

    How can you leave off Jurassic 5? I was expecting that to be #1. That’s the saddest part.

    Otherwise I would have limited to one artist each. No need for 2 Atmosphere albums, just keep godlovesugly. Same with Doom.

    As for other additions, Diverse, Supastition, Akrobatik/Mr. Lif, Time Machine & Zion I.

  • overthehilldude

    I’ve never heard any of this stuff except Doom and Black Star. I love it all. I need the starter pack mix tape.

  • C-Real

    This is a pretty good list, no doubt. I can live with most of the ratings, though I would have also leave off Blackstar as it’s no unterground per se to me. Secondly, I would have set EL-P back in the 20ths places. He has truly some innovations, but I really don’t like how he raps. Same goes for Del imho.

    Another contribution for this list could be Los Nativos EP or Fashawn “Boy meets world”. And of course Jurassic 5!

  • Joe

    Is there a way to see the whole list on one page?

  • zmatt33

    No Eyedea??? ‘E and A Day’ should be on here no doubt. People’s heads were spinning after that one. While I think El-P’s Fan Dam is dope…he doesn’t compare to these other folks lyrically. The instrumentals are killing though. And Company Flow is already on the list. Love CL, Blackstar, Doom and Atmosphere.
    Also, where’s ‘Revolutionary Vol. 1 or 2′ by Immortal Technique?? No ‘Look Ma No Hands’ by Vast Aire??? Where’s J5 at?? No Hiero??? Man…

    This list is great except he left all of these off…

    And yeah what Blackalicious33 said.

  • Nathan Yell

    ummm..Clear Blue Skies ring any bells? Juggaknots were waaay ahead of their time with that flow..and Id throw a bone to my man Yak Ballz for Sciefentology ii album..

  • yourdaddy

    Wtf? No Eyedea and Abilities? This is not a legit list

  • mary rose

    ATMOSPHEREEEEEEE over alllllll

  • yourfriendthepopmaster

    obviously this list is left up to one individuals personal tastes and i agree with much of his choices. however, not including Freestyle Fellowship is a crime and shame here. Fellowship’s technical and stylistic rapping abilities influenced EVERYBODY. i might not be so harsh if you hadn’t included 93 til infinity on this list, because most of your choices are post-2000. but damn….to have 93 til and NOT innercity griots? c’mon dude….half the people on your list give it up to fellowship as one of their primary influences. i could make similar arguments for both organized konfusion and main source not being on here. step it up, man.

  • http://www.pigeonsandplanes.com Jon Tanners

    @yourfriendthepopmaster — stay tuned, Freestyle Fellowship has not been forgotten.

  • Erick

    Keith Irwin knows what’s up. Mega Ran(Random) Open Mike Eagle, Freestyle Fellowship (Or literally ANYONE from Project Blowed), Homeboy Sandman, Wiley, Rhyme Asylum, Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, Dynospectrum, damn the list just goes on!!!

    Listen to Keith, that guy is a true Hip Hop head. Like me. Cheers!

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  • this is the worst

    This is the worst list ever. Lots of these albums are amazing, but the fact that there is no Fellowship or Ab on this list should show everyone reading it that who ever made it spent too much time jerking off to MF Doom and not enough time actually thinking about the albums that changed the underground.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dacrJD_LDnA

  • Mike

    Where’s the E&A?

  • KG

    Having already praised the list earlier in the comments but mentioning i was surprised not to see Revolutionary Vol 2 or Sin-o-matic, i’ll nitpick a bit more since that’s what these lists are all about…

    The Platform > Expansion Team
    DangerDoom & MM Food > Vik Vaughn
    J-Live – The Best Part should have also been on here and pretty high up…its better than All of The Above
    Does Elzhi – The Preface count? Deadringer?
    Celestial Clockwork should’ve been on here too

  • Tim lybarger

    I would have to agree on most of them . I own every one on the list also but come on . There is not one sole bottle of humans or deep puddle dynamics paved the way for a lot of hip hop . Not even one buck 65 !? Top thirty would be hard but there are so many mf doom’s just under different names . I really think this list is lacking so many of the most important albums of the underground hip hop movement . Was this list created in under an hour because it seems that way to me . With so many years and 100 hundreds of albums there are some very surprising chooses on the list and so many legends not known about or forgotten its a shame that people think underground hip hop is dead . Your not searching hard enough or just don’t know all that is out there. Collecting rare and underground music is not a hobbie or scene it’s a life style.

  • GREASY G

    NOBODY BUT YOU thinks that MM Food and Danger Doom are better than Vik Vaughn. Danger Doom isn’t even top 100.

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  • http://www.soundcloud.com/thegimp brandon standal

    eyedea (RIP) & abilities

    grouch & eligh

  • http://www.thenewbeatmaker.com Lee TNBM

    A cool post overall, I like a lot of what’s been posted, however, in the name of debate, I would argue that the following albums should have been featured, instead of some of the albums on the list.

    Pete Rock and CL Smooth: ‘Mecca and the Soul Brother’,
    ‘The Main Ingredient’

    Mr Lif: ‘I, Phantom’

    The Roots: Albums including ‘Illadelph Halflife’ and ‘Things fall Apart’

    Nas:’Illmatic’

    Gza: ‘Liquid Swords’ or a handful of other Wu releases.

    Any of Gangstarr’s finest albums. I thought it was universally agreed that the words ‘underground hip hop’ and ‘Gangstarr’ were synonymous.

    I may be second guessing here, but when I read my list I note that all but ‘I, Phantom’ were released on major labels. Does the major label release automatically stop the albums I mention being ‘underground’, or were the records themselves deemed not as good as the thirty chosen?

    I don’t think ‘underground’ and ‘independent’ should be viewed as always being one and the same. For instance, the late Big L’s debut was released on the same record label as Mariah Carey’s catalogue (Columbia, if I’m not mistaken). Was Big L no longer underground once his debut dropped?

    No shots regardless, and props on the J Live, ‘Black Star’ and El – P picks, amongst others.

    Lee TNBM

  • Dr. Banner

    Nothing from Legendary Music? No Living Legends albums or any of the colabs or solo efforts?

    No Grouch and Eligh? No Zion I and the Grouch? No Murs albums? No 3MG or Mystik Journeymen? What about CMA?

    Damn they my favorites and totally introduced me to the underground scene. Stones Throw and Rhymesayers are my new favorites and I like Gangrene over on Decon.

    That being said all these albums are awesome and its great to see what everyone else likes too. Quit hatin on people for having different opinions!

  • http://www.eatyobeats.com Malfius

    Great post. However, Keith and Lee TNBM make some strong points too, in my opinion.

  • grouch

    i thought the list was good, but maybe putting all of the Mf doom albums on one slide, or any artist that has multiple albums on this list put them all together so you can add more artists. i am also wondering why the grouch doesnt have a spot on here.

  • HDO

    Nice list, but the rules of the internet force me to question it: no Dead Prez?

  • Meh

    Agreed with so many of these posts…

    I would’ve liked to have not known some of the albums on the list, and with grievances in check, looked up those unknown albums and been like, “Wow, ok. This actually DOES deserve to be on this list.” Because underground DOES still exist and to me, that is what it’s like when you talk to serious underground hip hop fans. But instead, uh….

    Just a bit frustrating to see a few artists doubled and so many over-looked (not to discredit those artists, though). Perhaps, should there be another list, the parameters should be stated and/or a list of honourable mentions so the final list seems fully-realised. Or make a timeframe? I personally want to know how Innercity Griots didn’t make one of those 30 spots (confused about it being said on the first screen that underground hip hop was an important scene and then missing this). And again, no Living Legends, J5? And Pharcyde…?
    But who knows, definitely a tough job to narrow ‘er down to thirty!

  • Mars-Hi

    Not a bad list, but not love to E&A (Eyedea & Abilities)?

  • http://4hoopsheads.com Andrew

    I say theres too much atmosphere on the list. Def Jux for instance actually had a diverse set of rappers on their label I understand why they have multiple albums on the list. I think some of Murs’ shit with them could have been on the list also. Aceyalone would have been cool on the list too. Also, do Xzibits first two albums count as underground?

  • osearth

    Governor Bolts – A Crooked Mile

  • Gern Blanston

    No Dead Prez? Wow.

  • Confusion

    There are a lot of on-the-fence acts. We didn’t really consider Dead Prez underground. That could definitely be argued.

  • Fausta

    Access Immortal – Birth of a Dream
    Co$$ – Revelations
    Grand Puba – Reel to Reel

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/pia.popilin Pia Popilin

    Word on “But that’s not the death of a scene, it’s the birth of a movement”

  • myjah

    Happy to see Typical Cats and Binary Star on the list, they don’t get enough attention.

    I personally think Lucy Ford is atmosphere’s best, and far better than God Loves Ugly. God Loves Ugly is probably my least favorite atmosphere album, so obviously I don’t think it should be on the list…

    Would have liked to see The Micranots “Obelisk Movements”, Eyedea and Abilities, and Organized Konfusion…

  • Hurricane Ken

    I myself would have included some Alchemist releases, and off the top of my head Dialated Peoples 20/20, or Evidence “Weatherman”.

  • BlankShire

    these albums are all amazing… but no shadowrunners click? or Himself the majestic? maybe it’s a so cal thing.

  • SavIIem

    good list but not that broad. There’s many missing albums and many artists have multiple entries which some don’t deserve to be. Immortal Tech is not on the list too. Extended Famm deserves a spot, the timing their album came out and the style was important.

  • Nathan Yell

    When I think back to growing up as a teen hip-hopper/punk rocker, “underground” during the 90’s/early 2000’s was more of how we experienced the music. It was more of a special group of music lovers that had to physically travel to the mixtape spots, small venues and record release events with word of mouth rather than lonesome websites (no computers, shit no cellphones even) that made the underground scene. Looking back on being one of the first kids in school to cop DJ Doo Wop’s Live 95 tape, discovering Company Flow through an DJ Evil-Dee performance and getting a dubbed copy of The Juggaknots “Clear Blue Skies” in the mail via NYC fam was truly underground in that tangible, D.I.Y. punk rock sense. Lines and scene genre(fication) were not in this pretentious predicament as they now are, with the net, the gazillion rappers that came with it and the new generations that have no concept of “getting out there”. When the 22 year old kid I’m giving a lift to asks what’s playing on my stereo, I am awe struck..”You’ve never heard of a tribe called quest?” He replies no, but all I listen to is rap. *sigh* “De la Soul”? No, but I like this old shit, he says. I push eject and hand him the cd.
    The glory days are gone…

  • Clyde

    You don’t have any Natural Elements on here (THAT’S A FATAL FLAW), EL-P is over-represented, there is too much sh*t from ’97-’05 and not enough from ’88-’96, no one but Americans, and no instrumental albums are included. Not enough love for NYC underground in the ninties. Other than those issues, it’s a good list.

  • http://twitter.com/Gene_us @Gene_us

    Haha! Yet anoter list that, though excellently compiled, proves one will NEVER satisfy everyone. What we as the readers need to realise is (to some extent) that lists are OPINION pieces. Our opinions generally vary especially the more obscure the topic at hand, that being underground hip hop so we were all bound to be conflicted by the choices they posted. I can’t be mad at his/their choices though.

    Definitely was expecting to see J5, Immortal Technique & Aesop Rock up there & as great as Atmosphere is/are, having 2 of their projects up there is surprising when there’s only 30 spots to be filled. All in all, great job guys. I dig it.

  • http://twitter.com/Gene_us @Gene_us

    My bad. Meant to say Dead Prez, NOT Aesop as he made the list. :)

  • CowardlyMe

    Where the fuck is Death Grips – The Money Store ? oO

  • Confusion

    Not sure I’d call Death Grips underground. They came up under a different set of circumstances, got signed to a major not long after they started really buzzing.”Underground” is a hard thing to define.

  • Dylan

    If you think underground hip hop doesn’t exist any more
    then you don’t know much about hip hop.

  • Bakk

    Souls Of Mischief underground?

    Yeahhh…Not many people of the hip-hop heads and the people that were bumping it at that time know it…But I still wouldn’t call it underground.

    After all, they were on Jive at the time…can you be on a Major and be underground? Can you be on MTV and radion and be underground? Even if there was only one song that was popular, I’m not sure you can call it underground.

  • youknowmySteez

    Great list but why are all the albums bar Blu & Exile around 10 years old, missing Diamond District maybe???

  • https://twitter.com/mattgotjokes illexpreshun

    Juggaknots – Clear Blue Skies Re:Release

    Benefit – B.E.N.E.F.I.T

    The Last Emperor – Legend of Bigfoot

    Masta Killa – No Said Date

    Diggin’ in the Crates – D.I.T.C

  • JustSwell

    no Sage Francis – Personal Journals??

  • http://thatfix.com frizurd

    mf doom
    fuck yes

  • tris76

    Latyrx, O.D.-Beneath The Surface, Aceyalone-All Balls Don’t Bounce/Book of Human Language, DJ Shadow-Endtroducing, Lyricist Lounge vol.1., Saafir-Boxcar Sessions, Freestyle Fellowship-Innercity Griots, Abstract Tribe Unique-Mood Pieces, Project Blowed Compilation, The Grouch-Success Is Destiny, Slum Village-Fantastic vol.1, S.A. Smash-Smashy Trashy, J-Zone-A Job Ain’t Nuttin But Work, Yaggfu Front-Action Packed Adventure, Mr.NoNo-Trigonometry, Rumpltilskinz-What Is A Rumpltilskin?, The Coup-Steal This Album.

    just to name a few;)

  • tris76

    oh yeah, and…..Siah and Yeshua Da Poed-The Visualz Anthology, Boogiemonsters-Riders Of The Storm, Rawkus Soundbombing vol.1&2, Saukrates-The Underground Tapes, Jay Dee-Ruff Draft.

  • mw

    I would agree with about 5-10 of those albums. but the order is wrong. seems like a random trolling exercise than a list people should use for any reason.

  • Confusion

    Nah, we love these albums. Not trolling. What would you pick for the top 5?

  • tris76

    The hard part of making a list like this is also recognizing that the entire culture of hip hop could have been considered “underground” from 1988-1994. It was around this time where rap songs (excluding M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice) were starting to chart (on radio and videos), and the whole sub culture of “backpacker” hip hop began from 95-2000. Which in turn phrased the whole “underground” label of certain rap songs. Technically Nas-iLLmatic could be considered that greatest “underground” album…

  • Greg

    Great selection Champion Sound is the S.H.I.T.

    Also like

    P.O.S
    El-p – I’ll sleep when your dead

  • http://realt.no martin balm

    wow, thats a BIG underground….

  • E.J.

    I agree with what you said about the Black Star members. They did both sound their freshest back then. Kweli can still bring that heat but Mos (or Yasiin Bey now) seems to have lost his way. But that Black Star album was hot.

  • Nathan Yell

    Yoo..No one has given Mr. Crustified Dibbs
    b.k.a. RA the Rugged Man..He’s paid his dues, been repin the under for yeeears and in my humble, is in the “Top 5 Dead or Alive” illest emcee list (c/o J 2-the-muah..haha). The man slays on everything, including tracks with Bigge, Mobb Deep and Akinyele..Respect Due!
    Also, I agree with aforementioned statements of this list’s lack of globalism (strictly US). England is popping with sick DIY, independent labels and emcees (No..Im not gonna big up JJ fucking Doom..pfffha). London Posse been flipping their british/jamaican (patua?) rhyme flow since the late 80s, long before..umm i dunno Mad Lion..hahaha…The beats that been coming out the UK are very reminiscent of the NY 90s BackPack sampling and drum techniques. Check out Leaf Dog of The 4 Owls…his production plus unique and heavily accented flow are 2nd to None on album “From a Scarecrows Perspective”. Also Jam Baxter and UK vet Jehst bring that unsaturated, intelligence without that rushed*spaceman random word rhyme bullshit (El-P..dot digital, criminal syllable imperical..) that US rappers love to kick..
    To the Originator of this post: Seeing such intense, passionate opinions makes me feel like this could become something more than a list with list’s responses…Hmmmm??

  • http://www.facebook.com/andres.ramirez.900388 Dre Day

    No Eligh & The Grouch (part of Living Legends who also got no mention), Murs (also part of Living Legends), Immortal Technique, Mr. Lif, Zion I?! Obviously some good choices and I understand we all have different tastes… but No Immortal Technique?!

  • Kent C. Aka Burnout

    I love these artists but for trolling purposes, Im going in like im constantly on leave…

    What the F!? No MF’n….Qn5!!! F!!!!!!!!!

    I mean…you guys didn’t even mention technically who is more now… Jin the MC… I didn’t see Vinnie Paz mentioned by HIMSELF!!!!!!!!!

    YOU ALL SHOULD DIE!!! No Apathy either?? Dude, you didn’t mention Illmaculate?! I didn’t see Demigodz mentioned..
    Dude I didn’t even see Peanut Butter Wolf mentioned!!!!

    You f’n sleep!! get you a cot… He’s the genius behind the first ever metal mixtape on 06/06/06!

    I mean… I am really in disgust here… how NOBODY MENTIONED SADAT X or Brand Nubian at least!?

    Nah…f u….I hope you all rot…

  • Kent C. Aka Burnout

    Jadakiss. Top 5 Dead or Alive. Don’t debate me. He is underground as it gets and deserved his own even though Vinnie Paz is the hardest white rapper alive!

  • Leyendaz

    No Living Legends… :-/ Good list. But #Fail for not having one of their albums. They are FUCKING LEGENDS.

  • Wade

    I have several of these albums. I think this writer loves his MF Doom though. But yea I agree this should have included something from Living Legends (or specifically Murs Grouch or Eligh), early Swollen Members, CYNE (evolution fight), The Pharcyde. But as I mentioned I do have several of these albums and its hard to really nit pick.

  • Salvadorian

    uhhh helloo… ALL NATURAL – SECOND NATURE

  • syabnga

    The roots illadelph halflife

  • trugod

    This is a bullshit list written obviously by someone (I’m guessing a white guy)who is a hipster or has a preference for “intelligent” hip hop. Obvious signs are putting Aesop Rock at #3. Any list of this sort that doesn’t have Sean Price anywhere in it is bullshit. Albums I would like to replace some spots with are: Polyrhythm Addicts “Break Glass,” Jean Grae “Jeanius,” Quasimoto “The Unseen” to name a few.

  • yessir

    Wiki / Ratking 1993 . it’ll be rereleased . check that kid out. Wiki Seaks , pretty picture

  • EyeH8Nuns

    This is laughable, but I guess that does keep the hipsters away from the underground for now. Still,I really dont see how Swollen Members “Balance” did not make this list.

  • David Celaya

    Check out underground rap artist David Celaya out of L.A. here is the music: https://soundcloud.com/david-celaya

  • oldhead

    Interesting list. Rap is so vast and tastes are so varied that I was left wondering who it was that compiled this list. Underground really is a relative term because in the 90’s you could have been signed to a major and still make an underground record. I could tell that the the person who put this list together was white and probably not from the New York. With that being said I can’t fault a person for liking what moves them and there can never be a universally accepted list because we all have different tastes. The school I’m coming from would have had..organized konfusion, black moon, smiff & wessun, masta ace (disposable arts), sean price, rass kass, etc.

  • J Garcia

    My attempt at a Spotify playlist for this list .

    http://open.spotify.com/user/joao88/playlist/3oiRWNRhUeXE4bRRWOysgD

  • paulina

    no eyedea and abilities?

  • paulina

    the pharcyde?living legends?murs?grouch and eligh?mos def?

  • Alex

    Clearly he has a thing for white lyricists.

  • Working Class

    Come on? No Big L?

  • horst

    can anybody reup typical cats – typical cats to download for free?

  • burgoo

    i agree with oldhead,my undergroud is Showbiz & A.G,Wu-Tang,All D.I.T.C.,all Boot Camp Clik,Ras Kass,GZA,Pharcyd,Krs-One,Cella Dwellas,New York 90’s Boom Bap is where its at,Qwel & Maker,but most of my list are signed,and never went commerical,not aboud being signed,its a way of life,sticking to the elements of hip hop,and being original

  • edyfire

    Mountain Brothers – Self Vol. 1… Babbletron – Mechanical Royalty…. Illogic – Unforseen Shadows….. Nine – Cloud Nine

  • ehow

    No Watch The Duck??

    These guys are definitely top 5 material..

    “Reactivated” – http://bit.ly/VHZiXc

  • ROC

    3 albums for DOOM long live the supervillian

  • http://muxpharrel@hotmail.com Mucuna

    one of the best GZA BENEATH THE SURFACE

  • Jared

    I think this guy has shit taste in rap music. He must be white. White people are stupid and they just don’t get rap culture.

  • Jared

    That said, I would’ve expected to see Danny Brown, Jak Progresso, and Das Racist on that list.

  • lindatripp

    “White people are stupid and they just don’t get rap culture”, and then “I would’ve expected to see Das Racist”. Jared, very funny, you have a great sense of humour.
    El-P’s the best, even if he’s stupid and just don’t get rap culture.

  • http://twitter.com/vallyshy White Kanye

    Danny Brown?? He just came out and he can’t even be classified as underground hip hop… gtfo lol

  • http://twitter.com/vallyshy White Kanye

    I would’ve liked to see Zion I’s Mind Over Matter but there are so many good “underground” albums to choose from; don’t bitch if your favorite MC didn’t make the list

  • Menosmal

    Great list overall and the comments justified each album well. Crazy how I have most of these albums. I am surprised by the lack of Project Blowed affliated albums and dearth of LA underground albums. No Freestyle Fellowship? No Living Legends? I’m keeping this list though.

  • Danny C

    No Chino XL??

  • http://www.facebook.com/GodlessGOD Bod GodlessGod

    Dope list. I would threw a Shawn Lov album in there though. http://shawnlov.bandcamp.com/

  • http://twitter.com/dankohu Dan K.

    Thank you! :)

  • Gavin

    As a white person, I agree.

  • penis

    How is movies for the blind hit and miss? One of the best albums of all time.

  • Colin McAuliffe

    One album from 2007 and nothing after? Shame current music hasn’t been producing worthwhile underground albums.

  • nam3

    not really underground i would say

  • Wax_Lyrical

    In my humble opinion I don’t think Madvillainy was as important an album as Funcrasher Plus, The Listening, Inner City Griots for example, these albums were not only good but were apexes and culture defining of the type of hiphop that would follow, they respectively brought something new and unheard of. Having said that I have listened to a good 80% of the stuff on the list and if it was up to me really I don’t think I would’ve added them, but then it’s my own bias :) I won’t really say your list is bad, cause our tastes are different and I respect that, however if I were to interject I would definitely put Company Flow’s album as 1 and go as far as to say One Man Army’s/One Belo – SONOGRAM was better than Binary Star’s – Waterworld, not that it was a bad album . I’d also include albums such as : ATU – Mood Pieces, FFS – Inner City Griots, RR – Architechnology, Thaione Davis – Situation Renaissance, Daedelus & Radioincative & Busdriver – The Weather; Haiku D’Etat; Omid – Beneath The Surface….just to scratch the surface.

  • AJ

    Where robust and prolyphics stick figures

  • dickosfortuna

    Was about to bemoan the lack of Cann Ox, until it was there at number 2. Well played. Should maybe be number one though!

  • kitelife

    how is big l underground?

  • Underground Head

    Sorry horrible list…most of the albums arent even the artists best albums. J-Live’s best album is by far “The Best Part”. Blackalicious’ “Nia” is a staple in west coast underground hip-hop. Cage’s “Hell’s Winter” by far his best effort. No Illogic, Aesop Rock, FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP (Inner City Griots), Aceyalone (All Balls Dont Bounce/ Book of Human Language), Organized Konfusion is completely unacceptable

  • jmelvin

    this list is great

  • alex

    not really sure how not one Murs album is on here.

  • mack

    He clearly never heard Visions of Ghandi album from Jedi Mind Tricks…there’s a couple instances here where he got the artist right, but not the seminal album.

  • Mr Marvellous

    Wtf no Cam’ron ???

  • Rickson

    This list Proves what a weak genre underground hip hop is …. Not one of these albums would make a top 30 hip hop records of all time …

  • FAB12

    Wheres Quas? Murs? Zion I? A lot more i dont see present…

  • rd

    #1 and #2 should’ve been co flo and can ox as far as breakthru classic and street credit. was next to impossible to find co flo on cassette too let alone vinyl. doom should’ve fell #3.

  • Jonathan Charles Gee

    Walk Through Walls (qwazaar) and Under The Ground/Buried Alive(The Molemen) should have been on this list. Props to Wesley Willis!

  • bboy

    more that shouldve been considered:

    Defari – Focused Daily
    Jeru- Wrath of the Math and the sun rises in the east
    Afu Ra- Body of the Life Force
    Necro – I need Drugs
    Cali Agents – How the West was One
    KRS One – (self titled)
    Dilated Peoples- The Platform
    Big L – Lifestylez…
    Group Home- livin proof
    Mos Def – Black on Both Sides
    Swollen Members – Balance
    Quasimoto- The Unseen
    Murs -3:16 The 9th Edition
    Mars Ill- Pro Pain
    K Otix – Universal
    Cru -The Dirty 30
    Del the funky- both sides of the brain
    Jurassic 5- j5

    black moon, etc

    I want to say Yak Ballz but his classics are albumless and he has some on “the Missing Cassettes”

  • DC

    Big L (esp. “Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous) is definitely underground.

  • DC

    MF Doom’s “Mm..Food” absolutely belongs on this list.

  • Fern

    What about Illmatic by Nas wtf?

  • alexi zeren

    eyedea and abilities?
    are u serious 2 slug albums and no eyedea?!

  • alexi zeren

    also GANGSTARR.

  • Chrystal

    Not really a whole lot of “underground” artists or albums on this list. Interesting.

  • JG

    Underground?

  • Bryan

    Kinda surprised Lil Dicky didn’t show up on here…

  • Zoomilk

    Slum Village “Fantastic Vol. 2″ is not of this list!?!? Ya’ll fucked up. SMMFH!

  • SLK

    Some good albums but #1- Eyedea & Abilties- First Born

  • erd

    why won’t the audio work for me? gerrhhhhh

  • William Morris

    Clearly this list is just one person’s opinion! This list in many people’s eyes, can be expanded tenfold! Since newer albums like Blu & Exile were added, what about THE LEFT – “GAS MASK”?!?!?!

  • realwrap

    CMon no Tech N9ne? (All 6’s and 7’s , K.O.D) ?

    CES CRU (Constant Energy Struggles)

  • Daniel Lyons

    I am really surprised Jurassic and KRS ONE not in this list!

  • TheRealTC

    This is a decent list. It’s hard to say the 30 BEST albums, since 1) There are so many underground albums, SO MANY, there will always be people mad that so and so got left out, plus it depends on what you call “underground” 2) What is better is simply opinion, underground hip hop isn’t just one thing and different releases had big impacts in different spots in the country.

  • Confusion

    Good points

  • Kevin

    Wow.
    So according to this list underground means any hip hop that was released between the late 90s and 2007(which the rare exception of “93 ‘Til Infinity”,ofcourse).
    Um.Ok.

  • Trizzy Tre Beats

    ill shoot you 3 free beats right now! all you gotta do is get one that you like off of this site! http://www.trizzytrebeats.webs.com

  • FrankenGRiME

    This is my list…. my opinion….ASIDE from the generally known great albums…this would be the unknowns or gems in between [such as; at the half point value of said generally accepted list of greats] enjoy.

    30. Glue – Second’s Away

    29. Greyskul – Deadlivers

    28. Reef The Lost Cauze – Feast Or Famine

    27. Sapient – Dry Puddles

    26. Copywrite – The High Exhaulted

    25. Society Of Invisibles – Society Of Invisibles

    24. Rhyme Asylum – Solitary Confinement

    23. Typical Cats – Typical Cats

    22. Soul Position – 8 Million Stories

    21. Hieroglyphics – Third Eye Vision

    20. Jeru The Damaja – Sun Rises In The Yeast [haha]

    19. Eyedea & Abilities – First Born

    18. Flatlinerz – Under Satan’s Authority (USA)

    17. Masta Ace- Disposable Arts

    16. Juggaknots – Clear Blue Skies

    15. Mos Def – Black On Both Sides

    14.. Sole – Bottle Of Humans

    13. Tha Alkaholiks – Coast 2 Coast

    12. Tame One – When Rappers Attack

    11. Non Phixion – The Future is Now

    10. Artifacts – Between A Rock And A Hard Place

    9. Heltah Skeltah – Nocturnal

    8. Arsonists – As the World Burns

    7. Brothaz Bent – Up From The Desert

    6. Lewis Parker – Masquerades & Silhouettes

    5. Kool G Rap – 4,5,6

    4. Masta Ace Inc. – Slaughtahouse

    3. Big L – Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous

    2. Souls Of Mischief – 93 Til Infinity

    1. Deepspace 5 – The Night We Called It A Day

  • Manuel Levario

    personally, i don’t think Madvillainy should be that high, and considering some aspects of rapping such as “Flow”, Labor Days sits way outside the top 10, sorry Aesop Fans, he’s aesthetically unpleasant… and that’s the point right? good music.

    1. Black Star··
    2. Funcrusher Plus··
    3. Operation Doomsday··
    4. The Cold Vein··
    5. A Prince Among Thieves··
    6. Fantastic Damage··
    7. Dr. Octagonocologyst··
    8. Soundbombing 2 (does this count?)··
    9. God Loves Ugly··
    10. Eyedollartree··

  • kkeorkunian

    #1 sign a white person wrote this list: overuse of the word “soulful.” That’s basically the only essence-of-black-culture adjective white people know.

  • wgnr

    where the fuck is quasimoto? seriously.

  • Ghouse

    Babbletron

  • Revolution Z

    @justswell uhh… non-prophets IS Sage Francis and Joe Beats lol..

  • jomomaboi

    Da BEAR [ I DO IT ]
    30k singles sold indi itunes and he from OKLAHOMA CITY THE COUNTRY FOREAL lol.

  • TruthSerum

    It was released by a major label called Columbia, the same year they were putting out Mariah Carey albums. It had a video on BET. I love the album, but its not underground, just a major label release that didnt sell well.

  • http://www.mrsonord.wordpress.com/ Forsure Yunome

    Huge ups on society of invisibles masta ace brothaz bent and deepspace

  • http://www.mrsonord.wordpress.com/ Forsure Yunome

    Huge second that view of buck 65 being an omission.

  • Arthur Ryan Johnson

    Non prophets! Hello?

  • Schmatz

    Labor days was unreal

  • Jeremy Biggs

    I like to see jmt at 11 . Box cutta pazzy !!

  • Jeremy Biggs

    It gets shaky at the top ! My top 10
    1. Sean price kimbo price
    2. Ra die rugged man “and the new joint”
    3. Ill bill hour of reprisal
    4. Canibus mic club “all of bis albums”
    5. C-rayz walz black everything
    6. Diabolic liar and thief
    7. Vinnie Paz season of the assassin
    8. Louis logic sin-a-matic
    9. Kool Keith dr doom
    10. Necro die !!

  • No Pages on the Interwebs

    Can’t I just see this list in list form?

  • jimmybarlow

    the unseen and mm… food are the only blatant omissions to me. good list

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  • Tyson

    No Zion I – True & Living?

    Blasphemy!

  • Anon

    Glad to see Ali in the list, but one of his full-lengths should have made it. Super glad to see God Loves Ugly at #10, even though You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having was ten times better. Super glad to see Aesop at #3, although I liked None Shall Pass more, and Skelethon even more so, than Labor Days. Eyedea and Abilities should have made the list with By The Throat. Other than that, glad to see a list that isn’t Hopsin, Tyler, and a bunch of other cats with labels.

  • vaughn

    OK, just hear me out, or at least the album… BUT, tyler’s BASTARD album should make a list if it wasnt fixed just on old “real” hip hop… seriously.. listen to it if you haven’t and take note to what he did for a 3 piece album ensemble. It is a classic ( or will be). That album has more lines that you need to go back again and again to make sure you heard right than most albums i can think of. AND please don’t say Im some hipster dick rider cause I threw out Odd Future. BASTARD is a classic example of good rap music. PERIOD!
    check out that album if you’re 30 years old and making all sorts of assumptions without listening.
    AND yes! madvillian has been my anthem for the past year!!! glad to see it at number 1. cause it is

  • C-dark13

    The fact there aren’t at least three CunninLynguists albums on here disgusts me

  • Ikut

    Exactly, the criteria or lack of; for this list makes it all a bit silly. 93 til infinity is still in my top 5 but so is 36 chambers. Jive records/loud records, video play, promo budgets. Are/were these underground? Was the mentality underground, definitely! Maybe the list should have focused on indy releases from 97-05 or something. Was never able to get with a lot of what was often referred to as emo rap then or the metaphysical/dungeons and dragons stuff that became imo the blueprint for a lot of the new UK mcs around the millennium. Lots of dope singles but v few lps. Personally I got really bored of it v quickly.

  • Sebastian Duncan

    I thought I was a HH head. Haven’t heard of most of these albums. Knocking each one out. Blackalicious and J-Live joints are SUPERB. Thanks for providing listening list for next few weeks PP.

  • Ishmael

    I don’t know why you guys are sleeping on MF Grimm so much, but in the best interest of everyone you should really stop.

    For those who are curious, The Downfall of Ibliys: a ghetto opera is a good place to start. For MF DOOM fans, you owe it to yourselves. Grimm really helped DOOM come up, exec produced Operation, and did a couple collab projects with him. Downfall is at least 50% produced by DOOM.

    I’m not unhappy about any of the albums on here, but it would have been nice to see the Monsta Island Czars album up here, a really important piece of very underground hip hop.

  • Ishmael

    Monsta Island Czars and MF Grimm! You should have those up on your little list there too :)

  • Shoaib Aziz

    No CAGE – Movies For The Blind,

  • Shobee

    No Exile or Power Rule or De La Soul Hugh….

  • blessing jere

    I expected to seen “The Unseen” def a pretty good album madlib put together

  • ezzy

    WHAT THE **** YOU FORGOT TO GIVE US LINKS TO DOWNLOAD THE EPs!!

  • fallingidols

    all balls dont bounce. CLASSIC ALBUM

  • TBNH1980

    I enjoyed this list. Several of these are personal favorites. My only concern is that Cool Calm Pete’s “Lost” was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND ON THIS LIST!!! WHAT THE FLYING FUCK!?!?! I respected you for a hot second “Confusion” , but now.a just want to kick you in the nuts…

  • andrew harrison

    re: Aesop – Isn’t that what the underground is for – things that are meaningful but the mainstream can’t handle because the content or style is “unpleasant”?

  • andrew harrison

    They were truly underground in spirit, but they had a gold album on a major label so they probably belong on a different list.

  • andrew harrison

    Aesop is on the list.

  • massappeal

    Dope list. wish Louis Logic’s sin-a-matic and Killer Mike’s RAP Music made it, but you cant always get what you want…

  • Jeffrey Yau

    Love the Blu & Exile shoutout for sure.

  • jew

    By far the worst laughable list ive ever seen Non Phixion omitted lmao, you guys are the biggest faggot haters, no Cage?

  • salest

    It’s ok because madlib made it.

  • Matt

    Nujabes.

  • idontekno

    I agree, for a while I didn’t wan’t to concede it was better than A Book Of Human Language ….I love em both I love the artistic theme of Book Of Human Language but I think All Balls Don’t Bounce was definitely the better :)

  • idontekno

    My taste in hip hop sways more toward the west coast, however Funcrasher Plus will always be an undisputed number one for me.

  • idontekno

    hehehehe

  • Stephan

    EYEDEA?

  • Monks Fan
  • CingarMtyu

    blessings to everyone

  • CingarMtyu

    where is the old school hhp? , I’m nt complaining but the nw kids in the block, Ah , thy DOPE bra#

  • CingarMtyu

    Good KId MA ad city(Kendrick L)
    Hall of Fame(Big Sean)
    Stay Trippy(Juicy j)
    these are my top three as far as hhp is concerned>…#

  • Maxxstatik

    Black star ain’t underground. U ain’t got common market on this list or blue scholars or black milk or elzhi…half of Detroit should be on this list. Listing someone twice shows a lack of knowledge

  • EAX-Pro

    Hello.

    Can someone help me find a song ? The Album has a Pyramid as a cover ( image ). It’s Underground Hip Hop. That’s all I can remember :(

    It’s been months that Im looking over the internet And haven’t found anything :(

    Thank you

  • amnsia

    This is a great list and brought back so many memories. The best part about it is the discussion it provokes which only helps to extend this list. It would have been nice to see more compilation albums on the list though. *throws on OC & Buckwild – Burn Me Slow*

  • Kevin

    Very disappointed with no Eyedea & Abilities album. Their First Born is a certified underground classic..

  • Mugen

    Substantial – To This Union A Sun Was Born should be here

  • Lucifer

    Nice.

  • Lucifer

    Tech N9ne Absolute Power.

  • henry

    Kush strains and pills for sale. Few pints of lean left. 502-208-9539
    OR email: amfromca@gmail*com

  • Rich Spoiled ISB Kid

    One Be Lo – SONOGRAM

  • dylan

    where the fuck is cormega

  • $$$$$$

    ‘Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell’ is so much better than ‘Violent By Design’… Best sound, best lyrics… Stoupe is a beast in the beats and Vinnie Paz is a raw lyricist… JMT is a dope group

  • augustunt

    nice list, of course we can’t all agree but it’s fair enough

  • guest guest

    E&A and De La, but otherwise super super solid

  • Matt Cashdollar

    I agree. I was just checking this list to see where Freestyle Fellowship and Organized Konfusion were placed. I was shocked to see they weren’t even mentioned.

  • John Cecala

    Pete rock any
    9th wonder,little brother
    HOV
    first born

  • CJ

    I would highly disagree

  • Jd

    Non phixion the green cd vinnie paz season of the assassin afu ra body of the life force abstract rude paint la coka nostra a brand u can trust

  • 2FacedLove

    Listen To 2FacedLove

    http://www.lastresortstudios.com/Songs

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    The Voice For Traumatic Victims.

    Download & Share His Songs.

  • Black Bullet Ultra

    Earth People, I was born on Jupiter. Earth People, New York and California!

  • Tim

    nice list, these are all straight classics. I remember bumpin typical cats while ridin the train through chi city…it just don’t get much better. That non-prophets joint was hot as hell too

  • Meyer Lansky

    was that “THEM” ?

  • Meyer Lansky

    this dude seems like a newski. No pass but he’s gotta be like 24 or sumn

  • Dick Scaducci

    Hell yeah , i agree 100% witcha tris76

  • Dick Scaducci

    This might of been your list of top 30 underground if you were livin on the east coast and thats cool , but this list shockingly overlooks / underates the volume of straight heat that was coming from out WEST.
    I’m mean really tho, No FREESTYLE FELLOWSHIP for fucksake ?!

  • Bob jsus
  • PRES10

    I think P&P should take some of these comments into consideration and redue the list. Heavily East Coast influenced….I mean no Living Legends? Thats just crazy.

  • Kbwalsh

    This list is missing so many obvious choices, the fact mf doom is on here three times only furthers the fact that he’s so overrated. Same goes for del.

  • PRES10

    this it? 3rd eye vision by heiroglyphics?

  • illynois95

    i’m really surprised lootpack and e&a didn’t make the list.

  • OP

    Da Grassroots – Passage Through Time

    Juggaknots – Re: Release (Clear blue skies)

    Both need to be on this list.

  • jonjay

    Favorite underground hiphop albums (In no particular order)
    1. Rashad & Confidence – The element of surprise
    2. Brother Ali – Rites of passage
    3. Joey Badass – 1999
    4. Blue & Exile – Below the heavens
    5. Marco Polo – Port Authority

  • Nicholas Adams

    You turned it into the proper TOP 50!! Which is what it needs to be to include all the greatest underground albums. I was so proud as I read his list and yours, to see that I had every single album. Mars Ill – Pro Pain is one of my all time favorites. Manchild has such a unique voice. There is an artist on here I dont see. Surprised no one mentioned Bliss N Eso. They are a trio from Australia, an American, an Aussie, and an Arab DJ. Their album Flying Colours belongs on this list. Nowadays, in Australia, they are well known. But not in the states.

  • Nicholas Adams

    DJ Shadow is phenomenal

  • Edward Mobley

    Brother Ali “shadows on the sun” and Babbletron “mechanical royalty”

  • Chris Burgoon

    Your idea of underground is wrong,Wu is the godfather’s of Underground,just cause they have deals don’t make them commercial,underground is a lifestyle, the elements of hip hop,raw lyrics that the artists wanna say,not the record company, the artists you named were underground, but to say Mos Def & S.O.M aren’t because they had videos is dumb.They brought more to the genre then Serengeti and Megaran.Your idea of underground is dead wrong my man

  • Chris Burgoon

    I agree with some of your list,but Black Moon Enta Dah Stage,Jeru The Jamaja,Big L,Mos Def Both Sides they are albums that belong on best hip hop albums of all time.Group Home would suck without DJ Premier, Universal is a hot album,My list would be different too,He has the wrong J-Live album,The Best Part is his best in most people’s eyes.He has some good albums but most these comments are Aesop Rock,Sage Francis and them Hipster Turtleneck sweater wearing alternative hip hop,my idea of underground is Wu,Black Moon.
    Its the elements they bring to the table, no an artist trying to be signed

  • Chris Burgoon

    Nice personal list but its solely an opinion people,D.I.T.C and Duck Down records,Krs-One spell underground. Underground isn’t about not having videos,and being on the radio its a way of life for Wu-Tang who did shit their way and started a movement. People saying that if an artist is signed,they aren’t underground,lol,keep thinking that way if you want.Most of the 2000’s underground artists got their influence from the artists I named.Reks should be on the list.A Tribe Called Quest,Gang Starr,the forefathers of underground

  • Curtis

    No Babbletron – Mechanical Royalty? Cool Calm Pete – Lost?
    Living Legends, INI – Center of Attention,