Dark Light

After a huge year for hip hop in 1990, which saw the rise of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, as well as the genre as a major commercial force, 1991 was all about doubling down for the culture.

Younger rap acts like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Gang Starr continued to refine their sound and put out more great music, while OGs like Geto Boys and Ice-T dropped some of their best work to date. Meanwhile, a young rapper by the name of 2Pac made his debut with an incredibly raw but promising album. Then we had Ice Cube, one of the best 90s rappers ever, who dropped another classic two years in a row.

From Geto Boys’ We Can’t Be Stopped to De La Soul Is Dead and The Low End Theory, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 1991.

25. Stetsasonic – Blood, Sweat & No Tears

Released: February 5, 1991

Label: Tommy Boy, Warner Bros.

Singles: “Speaking of a Girl Named Suzy”, “No B.S. Allowed”, “So Let the Fun Begin”

Features: N/A

24. Craig G – Now, That’s More Like It

Released: March 19, 1991

Label: Atlantic

Singles: “U-R Not The 1”

Features: Masta Ace, The Flex

23. Queen Latifah – Nature of a Sista’

Released: September 3, 1991

Label: Tommy Boy

Singles: “Fly Girl”, “Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here”, “How Do I Love Thee”

Features: Safari Sister Swatch

22. KMD – Mr. Hood

Released: May 14, 1991

Label: Elektra Records

Singles: “Peachfuzz”, “Who Me?”, “Nitty Gritty”

Features: Brand Nubian

21. 2Pac – 2Pacalypse Now

Released: November 12, 1991

Label: Interscope, Jive

Singles: “Trapped”, “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, “If My Homie Calls”

Features: Stretch, Poppi

20. Slick Rick – The Ruler’s Back

Released: July 2, 1991

Label: Def Jam, Columbia

Singles: “I Shouldn’t Have Done It”, “Mistakes of a Woman in Love with Other Men”, “It’s a Boy”

Features: N/A

19. Heavy D & the Boyz – Peaceful Journey

Released: July 2, 1991

Label: Uptown Records

Singles: “Is It Good to You”, “Now That We Found Love”, “Don’t Curse”, “The Lover’s Got What U Need”

Features: Aaron Hall, Big Daddy Kane, Grand Puba, Kool G. Rap, Q-Tip, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Daddy Freddy

18. Leaders of the New School – A Future Without a Past…

Released: July 2, 1991

Label: Elektra

Singles: “Case of the P.T.A.”, “Sobb Story”, “The International Zone Coaster”

Features: Cracker Jacks, Kollie Weed, Rumpletilskinz

17. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – All Souled Out

Released: June 25, 1991

Label: Elektra

Singles: N/A

Features: N/A

16. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Homebase

Released: July 23, 1991

Label: Jive, RCA

Singles: “Summertime”, “Ring My Bell”, “The Things That U Do”, “You Saw My Blinker”

Features: N/A

15. Kool Moe Dee – Funke, Funke Wisdom

Released: June 11, 1991

Label: Jive, RCA

Singles: “How Kool Can One Black Man Be”, “Death Blow”, “Rise ‘N’ Shine”

Features: KRS-One, Chuck D

14. Organized Konfusion – Organized Konfusion

Released: October 29, 1991

Label: Hollywood BASIC, Elektra Records

Singles: “Walk Into the Sun”

Features: O.C.

13. Scarface – Mr. Scarface Is Back

Released: October 8, 1991

Label: Rap-A-Lot, Priority, EMI

Singles: “Mr. Scarface”, “A Minute to Pray and a Second to Die”

Features: N/A

12. N.W.A. – Niggaz4Life

Released: May 28, 1991

Label: Ruthless, Priority

Singles: “Alwayz into Somethin'”, “Appetite for Destruction”, “The Dayz of Wayback”

Features: N/A

11. Freestyle Fellowship – To Whom It May Concern…

Released: October 5, 1991

Label: Sun Music

Singles: N/A

Features: N/A

10. Ice-T – O.G. Original Gangster

Released: May 14, 1991

Label: Sire

Singles: “O.G. Original Gangster”, “New Jack Hustler (Nino’s Theme)”

Features: Body Count, Prince Whipper Whip, Donald D, Evil E, Randy Mac

9. Gang Starr – Step in the Arena

Released: January 15, 1991

Label: Chrysalis, EMI Records

Singles: “Just to Get a Rep”, “Take a Rest”, “Lovesick”, “Step in the Arena”, “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”

Features: N/A

8. Main Source – Breaking Atoms

Released: July 23, 1991

Label: Wild Pitch, EMI

Singles: “Looking at the Front Door”, “Watch Roger Do His Thing”, “Just Hangin’ Out”, “Peace Is Not the Word to Play”

Features: Nas, Joe Fatal and Akinyele

7. Naughty by Nature – Naughty by Nature

Released: September 3, 1991

Label: Tommy Boy

Singles: “O.P.P.”, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, “Uptown Anthem”

Features: Lakim Shabazz, Apache, Queen Latifah, Aphrodity

6. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill

Released: August 13, 1991

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Singles: “The Phuncky Feel One / How I Could Just Kill a Man”, “Hand on the Pump / Real Estate”, “Pigs”, “Latin Lingo”

Features: N/A

5. DJ Quik – Quik Is the Name

Released: January 15, 1991

Label: Profile

Singles: “Born and Raised in Compton”, “Tonite”, “Quik Is The Name”

Features:

4. Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped

Released: July 9, 1991

Label: Rap-A-Lot Records

Singles: “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”

Features: N/A

3. De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead

Released: May 14, 1991

Label: Tommy Boy, Warner Bros.

Singles: “A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays””, “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”, “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa”/”Keepin’ the Faith”

Features: Dres

2. Ice Cube – Death Certificate

Released: October 29, 1991

Label: Lench Mob, Priority

Singles: “Steady Mobbin'”, “True to the Game”

Features: Khalid Abdul Muhammad, Deadly Threat, Kam, the Maad Circle, King Tee and J-Dee

1. A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

Released: September 24, 1991

Label: Jive

Singles: “Check the Rhime”, “Jazz (We’ve Got)”, “Scenario”

Features: Vinia Mojica, Ron Carter, Diamond D, Lord Jamar, Sadat X, Busta Rhymes, Charlie Brown, Dinco D

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