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While 1995 was an incredible year for hip hop, and one all-round, it was arguably the pinnacle of East Coast boom-bap music.

With rap acts like Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Smif-N-Wessun AZ and Big L all dropping their magnum opuses this year, it’s hard to top 1995 for that gritty New York hip hop. On the West Coast, Death Row were still going strong with Tha Dogg Pound dropping their debut, 2Pac releasing his best album to date, and The Pharcyde making a splash with Labcabincalifornia, which featured production work from an unknown Detroit producer by the name of J Dilla. 1995 also saw the rise of important rap groups like The Roots, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia.

From GZA’s Liquid Swords to Soul Food and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 1995.

25. Various Artists – Friday (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Released: April 11, 1995

Label: Priority

Singles: “Keep Their Heads Ringin'”

Features: N/A

24. Smif-N-Wessun – Dah Shinin’

Released: January 10, 1995

Label: Wreck, Nervous

Singles: “Bucktown”, “Wontime”/”Stand Strong”, “Wrekonize”/”Sound Bwoy Bureill”

Features: Rockness Monsta, Top Dog, Starang Wonda, Buckshot, Heltah Skeltah, and O.G.C.

23. The Roots – Do You Want More?!!!??!

Released: January 17, 1995

Label: DGC, Geffen

Singles: “Distortion to Static”, “Proceed”, “Silent Treatment”

Features: ELO The Cosmic Eye, Cassandra Wilson, Dice Raw, Ursula Rucker

22. Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food

Released: October 31, 1995

Label: Death Row, Interscope, Priority

Singles: “New York, New York”, “Let’s Play House”

Features: Snoop Doggy Dogg, Michelle, Nate Dogg, The Lady of Rage, Big Tray Deee

21. Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom

Released: October 31, 1995

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Singles: “Throw Your Set in the Air”, “Illusions”, “Boom Biddy Bye Bye”

Features: RZA and U-God

20. 8Ball & MJG – On Top of the World

Released: November 1, 1995

Label: Suave House, Relativity

Singles: “Players Night Out”, “Break’em Off”, “Space Age Pimpin'”

Features: E-40, Mac Mall, Big Mike, Rodney Ellis, Nuckle Heads, South Circle, Nina Creque

19. Naughty by Nature – Poverty’s Paradise

Released: May 30, 1995

Label: Tommy Boy, Warner Bros.

Singles: “Clap Yo Hands”, “Craziest”, “Feel Me Flow”

Features: G-Luv, I Face Finsta, Rottin Razkals, Chris Webber, Cruddy Click, Gordon Chambers

18. LL Cool J – Mr. Smith

Released: November 21, 1995

Label: Def Jam, PolyGram

Singles: “Hey Lover”, “Doin’ It”, “Loungin”

Features: The Emotions, Terri & Monica, Boyz II Men, Fat Joe, Keith Murray, Prodigy and Foxy Brown

17. Kool G Rap – 4,5,6

Released: September 26, 1995

Label: Cold Chillin’, Epic Street

Singles: “It’s a Shame”, “Fast Life”

Features: B1, MF Grimm, and Nas

16. KRS-One – KRS-One

Released: October 10, 1995

Label: Jive

Singles: “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”, “Rappaz R. N. Dainja”

Features: Busta Rhymes, Channel Live, Das EFX, Dexter Thibou, Fat Joe and Mad Lion.

15. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – E. 1999 Eternal

Released: July 25, 1995

Label: Ruthless, Relativity

Singles: “1st of tha Month”, “East 1999”, “Tha Crossroads”

Features: Poetic Hustla’z, Graveyard Shift

14. E-40 – In a Major Way

Released: March 14, 1995

Label: Jive Records, Sick Wid It

Singles: “1-Luv”, “Sprinkle Me”

Features: B-Legit, Suga-T, 2Pac, Mac Shawn, Spice 1, Celly Cel, Mac Mall, Lil E

13. Three 6 Mafia – Mystic Stylez

Released: May 30, 1995

Label: Prophet

Singles: N/A

Features: Kingpin Skinny Pimp, Playa Fly, La Chat & M.C. Mack

12. The Alkaholiks – Coast II Coast

Released: February 28, 199

Label: Loud/RCA Records

Singles: “DAAAM!”, “The Next Level”

Features: Xzibit, Diamond D, King Tee, Lootpack, Q-Tip, Declaime, and The Baby Bubbas

11. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

Released: March 28, 1995

Label: Elektra, WMG

Singles: “Brooklyn Zoo”, “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”

Features: GZA, RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Buddha Monk, Prodigal Sunn, Zu Keeper, Murdoc, Killah Priest, 12 O’Clock, Shorty Shit Stain and 60 Second Assassin

10. Masta Ace – Sittin’ on Chrome

Released: May 2, 1995

Label: Delicious Vinyl

Singles: “Born to Roll”, “The I.N.C. Ride”, “Sittin’ on Chrome”, “Turn It Up”

Features: Cella Dwellas

9. DJ Quik – Safe + Sound

Released: February 21, 1995

Label: Profile

Singles: “Safe + Sound”, “Summer Breeze”

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

8. Big L – Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous

Released: March 28, 1995

Label: Columbia

Singles: “Put It On”, “M.V.P.”, “No Endz, No Skinz”

Features: Terra, Herb McGruff, Buddah Bless, Big Twan, Killa Cam, Trooper J., Mike Boogie, Kid Capri, Lord Finesse, Microphone Nut, Jay-Z, Party Arty & Grand Daddy I.U.

7. AZ – Doe or Die

Released: October 10, 1995

Label: EMI

Singles: “Sugar Hill”

Features: Nas, Erica Scott, Miss Jones

6. The Pharcyde – Labcabincalifornia

Released: November 14, 1995

Label: Delicious Vinyl

Singles: “Drop”, “Runnin'”, “She Said”

Features: Ian Kamau, Big Boy, Schmooche Cat and Randy Mack

5. GZA – Liquid Swords

Released: November 7, 1995

Label: Geffen

Singles: “I Gotcha Back”, “Liquid Swords”, “Cold World”, “Shadowboxin'”

Features: Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Masta Killa, Inspectah Deck, Life, Ghostface Killah, Killah Priest, RZA, Method Man, U-God, Raekwon

4. Goodie Mob – Soul Food

Released: November 7, 1995

Label: LaFace

Singles: “Cell Therapy”

Features: Andre 3000, Big Boi, Cool Breeze, Joi, Sleep Brown, Witchdoctor, Roni

3. 2Pac – Me Against the World

Released: March 14, 1995

Label: Interscope, Jive

Singles: “Dear Mama”, “So Many Tears”, “Temptations”

Features: Dramacydal, Richie Rich

2. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…

Released: August 1, 1995

Label: Loud, RCA

Singles: “Heaven & Hell”, “Criminology”, “Ice Cream”, “Rainy Dayz”

Features: Ghostface Killah, U-God, Blue Raspberry, Inspectah Deck, GZA, Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Nas, Method Man, RZA

1. Mobb Deep – The Infamous

Released: April 25, 1995

Label: Loud, RCA

Singles: “Shook Ones (Part II)”, “Survival of the Fittest”, “Temperature’s Rising”, “Give Up the Goods (Just Step)”

Features: Nas, Raekwon, Big Noyd, Crystal Johnson, Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip

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