This is the first post of something we hope to do more often in the future, looking back at important and influential hip hop album releases of the past. It’s an opportunity to pay homage to the artists and albums of the past that not only influenced our musical tastes but also changed the hip hop scene by inspiring those that would come after. It’s also an opportunity for you guys, the readers, to rediscover hip hop heritage.
February is now almost over but a lot of great albums dropped in February throughout the years, so instead of posting about an album on the actual day it was released, in this post we look at five influential albums from February.
50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (February 6, 2003)
Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ was the debut album of 50 Cent which was produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem. This marked the beginning of 50 Cent's rise to fame. The album introduced at least three songs that became immensely popular in the years to come, “In Da Club”, “21 Questions” , and “P.I.M.P.”. This album was so popular that it sold 8.4 million copies, reaching platinum six times.
dead prez - Let's Get Free (February 8, 2000)
This album was "woke" long before it became a word slung across social media. dead prez didn't invent conscious rap - groups like N.W.A. and Public Enemy were great examples that preceded them, but Let’s Get Free was called “the most politically conscious rap since Public Enemy.” This album's message is as true today as it was in 2000… so much for progress….
Kanye West - The College Dropout (February 10, 2004)
This debut album from Kanye West was the breakthrough 'Ye anticipated to move from producer to solo artist and boy did it fucking work. Had this album not come out, Kanye might not be the character we love or love to hate now. Diverging from the gangsta persona lyrics at the time, Kanye developed his “chipmunk soul” production style with this album. The College Dropout achieved platinum three times and is arguably still his best album to date.
Fugees - The Score (February 13, 1996)
This second and final album of the hip hop trio consisting of Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Pras, featured many tracks that we think back fondly on like “Killing Me Softly” , “Ready or Not’ and “Fu-Gee-La.” Their album hit platinum six times and dropped on the exact same day as…
2Pac - All Eyez On Me (February 13, 1996)
The fourth and last album released before his death, 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me actually reached diamond certification (10 times platinum) by the RIAA 18 years after 2Pac’s death. Several singles, such as “How Do U Want It” and “California Love”, were to come out of this important album from 1996.