Dark Light

If 1990 saw hip hop emerge as a major commercial force with the rise of MC Hammer and Vanilla, the genre was still on shaky ground artistically.

As big as those two artists were, they weren’t considered respected or credible in the hip hop community. That all changed with the release of The Chronic. The solo debut of Dr. Dre on the newly formed Death Row Records, the monumental album singlehandedly shifted hip hop’s epicentre from New York to L.A., and sold 3 million copies in the process. But aside from the commercial success, what Death Row Records brought to Billboard charts and middle America was a street credibility and authentic gangsterisms.

The Chronic would also introduce a tall, skinny Long Beach rapper by the name of Snoop Doggy Dogg to mainstream America. Within a year, he would become the most popular rapper in the world. While all this was happening, the West Coast was in full swing, with Ice Cube dropping his biggest album to date, The Pharcyde and Spice 1 making their debut, and DJ Quik continuing his run.

From Redman’s Whut? Thee Album to Mecca and the Soul Brother and Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 1992.

25. Lord Finesse – Return of the Funky Man

Released: February 11, 1992

Label: Giant/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Singles: “Return of the Funky Man”, “Party Over Here”

Features: Showbiz & A.G., Percee P, Harry-O, Shelrumble

24. Kris Kross – Totally Krossed Out

Released: March 31, 1992

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Singles: “Jump”, “Warm It Up”, “I Missed the Bus”, “It’s a Shame”

Features: N/A

23. Spice 1 – Spice 1

Released: April 14, 1992

Label: Jive

Singles: “In My Neighborhood”, “Welcome to the Ghetto”

Features: MC Ant

22. Common Sense – Can I Borrow a Dollar?

Released: October 6, 1992

Label: Relativity

Singles: “Take It EZ”, “Breaker 1/9”, “Soul by the Pound”

Features: N/A

21. Das EFX – Dead Serious

Released: April 7, 1992

Label: East West

Singles: “They Want EFX”, “Mic Checka”, “Straight Out the Sewer”

Features: N/A

20. Fu-Schnickens – F.U. Don’t Take It Personal

Released: February 25, 1992

Label: Jive

Singles: “Ring the Alarm”, “La Schmoove”, “True Fuschnick”

Features: Phife Dawg, Dres

19. Eric B. & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique

Released: June 23, 1992

Label: MCA

Singles: “What’s on Your Mind”, “Know the Ledge”, “Don’t Sweat the Technique”, “Casualties of War”

Features: N/A

18. Chi-Ali – The Fabulous Chi-Ali

Released: March 24, 1992

Label: Relativity Records

Singles: “Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a #”, “Roadrunner”, “Let the Horns Blow/Funky Lemonade”

Features: Dres, Trugoy the Dove, Fashion & Phife Dawg

17. Grand Puba – Reel to Reel

Released: October 20, 1992

Label: Elektra

Singles: “360° (What Goes Around)”, “Check It Out”, “Ya Know How It Goes”

Features: Mary J. Blige

16. Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life Of…

Released: March 24, 1992

Label: Chrysalis/EMI

Singles: “Tennessee”, “People Everyday”, “Mr. Wendal”

Features: N/A

15. Boogie Down Productions – Sex and Violence

Released: February 25, 1992

Label: Jive

Singles: “13 and Good”, “Duck Down”, “We in There”

Features: Freddie Foxxx, Kid Capri

14. UGK – Too Hard to Swallow

Released: November 10, 1992

Label: Jive

Singles: “Something Good”, “Use Me Up”, “Pocket Full of Stones”

Features: N/A

13. Showbiz & A.G. – Runaway Slave

Released: September 22, 1992

Label: Payday, London

Singles: “Party Groove” / “Soul Clap”, “Fat Pockets”, “Bounce Ta This”

Features: Diamond D, Dres, Big L, DeShawn, Lord Finesse

12. Compton’s Most Wanted – Music to Driveby

Released: September 29, 1992

Label: Orpheus Records, Epic, Sony

Singles: “Hood Took Me Under”, “Def Wish II”

Features: Scarface

11. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Live and Let Die

Released: November 24, 1992

Label: Cold Chillin’ Records

Singles: “Ill Street Blues”, “On The Run”

Features: Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Scarface and Bushwick Bill

10. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head

Released: April 21, 1992

Label: Capitol

Singles: “Pass the Mic”, “So What’cha Want”, “Jimmy James”, “Gratitude”, “Professor Booty”

Features: N/A

9. Gang Starr – Daily Operation

Released: May 5, 1992

Label: Chrysalis

Singles: “Take It Personal”, “Ex Girl to Next Girl”, “2 Deep”

Features: Lil Dap and Jeru the Damaja

8. DJ Quik – Way 2 Fonky

Released: July 20, 1992

Label: Profile

Singles: “Jus Lyke Compton”, “Way 2 Fonky”

Features: Playa Hamm, 2nd II None, AMG, Hi-C & JFN

7. Diamond D – Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop

Released: September 22, 1992

Label: Chemistry, Mercury, PolyGram Records

Singles: “Best-Kept Secret”, “Sally Got a One-Track Mind”, “What U Heard”

Features: Fat Joe, Brand Nubian, The Psychotic Neurotics, Big L, Showbiz

6. EPMD – Business Never Personal

Released: July 28, 1992

Label: Def Jam, Columbia

Singles: “Crossover”, “Head Banger”

Features: K-Solo, Redman, Das EFX

5. The Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

Released: November 24, 1992

Label: Delicious Vinyl, EastWest

Singles: “Ya Mama”, “Passin’ Me By”, “4 Better or 4 Worse”, “Otha Fish”

Features: N/A

4. Ice Cube – The Predator

Released: November 17, 1992

Label: Lench Mob, Priority

Singles: “Wicked”, “It Was a Good Day”, “Check Yo Self”

Features: Don Jagwarr, Lil Russ, Das EFX

3. Redman – Whut? Thee Album

Released: October 9, 1992

Label: Rush, Chaos

Singles: “Blow Your Mind”, “Time 4 Sum Aksion”, “Tonight’s da Night”

Features: DJ Scratch, Erick Sermon & Charlie Marotta

2. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – Mecca and the Soul Brother

Released: June 9, 1992

Label: Elektra

Singles: “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”, “Straighten It Out”, “Lots of Lovin'”

Features: Rap Luva, Heavy D, Rob-O, Grand Puba

1. Dr. Dre – The Chronic

Released: December 15, 1992

Label: Death Row, Interscope

Singles: “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”, “Dre Day”, “Let Me Ride”

Features: Snoop Dogg, RBX, Jewell, Dat Nigga Daz, Warren G, Nate Dogg, The D.O.C., The Lady of Rage, Kurupt, Bushwick Bill

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