Dark Light

With the tragic passing of 2Pac and Biggie the years prior, hip hop was looking for the next rapper to take the crown and run with it.

In 1998, there were a few names in contention – Nas, though he was slipping in the rankings; Jay-Z, who was climbing up the charts rapidly, and an aggressive MC from Yonkers who liked to growl on tracks.

This was also a pivotal year for the South to make their mark on the rap game. While Texas rappers like Geto Boys and UGK had been making noise for years, 1998 saw the rise of New Orlean powerhouses No Limit Records and Cash Money Records.

With multiplatinum drops like Master P’s MP da Last Don, Mystikal’s Ghetto Fabulous and Juvenile’s 400 Degreez, the South was cemented as a region to watch out for in hip hop.

From The LOX’s Money, Power & Respect to Big Pun’s Capital Punishment and DMX’s It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, here are the top 25 hip hop albums of 1998.

25. The LOX – Money, Power & Respect

Released: January 13, 1998

Label: Bad Boy, Arista

Singles: “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa”, “If You Think I’m Jiggy”, “Money, Power & Respect”

Features: DMX, Lil’ Kim, Puff Daddy, Carl Thomas, Kelly Price

24. Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision

Released: March 24, 1998

Label: Hieroglyphics Imperium Recordings

Singles: “The Who”, “The Last One”, “You Never Knew”

Features: N/A

23. Rawkus Records – Lyricist Lounge, Volume One

Released: May 5, 1998

Label: Rawkus

Singles: “Body Rock”, “C.I.A. (Criminals In Action)”

Features: Bahamadia, Black Thought, Common, Company Flow, De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Kool Keith, KRS-One, Mos Def, Natural Elements, O.C., Pharoahe Monch, Punchline, Q-Tip, Rah Digga, Ras Kass, Saul Williams, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Talib Kweli, Tash, The Last Emperor, Thirstin Howl III, Wordsworth and Zack de la Rocha

22. AZ – Pieces of a Man

Released: April 7, 1998

Label: Noo Trybe

Singles: “Hey AZ”, “What’s the Deal”

Features: Nas, Kenny Greene, Half-a-Mil, Nature, Monifah, RZA, Foxy Brown

21. Scarface – My Homies

Released: March 3, 1998

Label: Rap-A-Lot, Virgin

Singles: “Homies & Thuggs”, “Sex Faces”, “Win Lose Or Draw”

Features: 2Pac, Master P, Ice Cube, Devin the Dude, B-Legit, UGK, Too Short, Do or Die and Willie D

20. Public Enemy – He Got Game

Released: April 28, 1998

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “He Got Game”

Features: Masta Killa, KRS-One, Smoothe da Hustler

19. Master P – MP da Last Don

Released: June 2, 1998

Label: No Limit, Priority, EMI

Singles: “Thinkin’ Bout U”, “Hot Boys and Girls”, “Make ‘Em Say Uhh! #2”, “Goodbye to My Homies”, “Thug Girl”

Features: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, E-40, Silkk the Shocker, UGK, Snoop Dogg and Soulja Slim

18. Onyx – Shut ‘Em Down

Released: June 2, 1998

Label: JMJ Records, Def Jam

Singles: “The Worst”, “Shut ‘Em Down”, “React”, “Broke Willies / Ghetto Starz”

Features: X1, DMX, 50 Cent, Still Livin from Gang Green, All City, Mr. Cheeks, Wu-Tang Clan, N.O.R.E., Big Pun

17. Def Squad – El Niño

Released: June 30, 1998

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “Full Cooperation”

Features: Biz Markie, Mally G, Too $hort and the Drama Squad

16. N.O.R.E. – N.O.R.E.

Released: July 7, 1998

Label: Penalty, Tommy Boy

Singles: “N.O.R.E.”, “Banned From T.V.”, “Superthug”

Features: Nature, Cam’ron, Styles P, Jadakiss, Big Pun, Carl Thomas, Maze, Mussolini, Kid Capri, Kool G Rap, Chico DeBarge, Busta Rhymes, Nas

15. Big Pun – Capital Punishment

Released: April 28, 1998

Label: BMG, RCA, Loud, Terror Squad

Singles: “I’m Not a Player”, “Still Not a Player”, “You Came Up”

Features: Black Thought, Joe, Miss Jones, Wyclef Jean, Terror Squad, Funkmaster Flex, Fat Joe, dead prez, Noreaga, Prodigy, Inspectah Deck, Busta Rhymes

14. Xzibit – 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz

Released: August 25, 1998

Label: Loud, RCA

Singles: “What U See Is What U Get”, “Los Angeles Times”, “3 Card Molly”

Features: Ras Kass, Saafir, Defari, Montageone, Method Man, Jayo Felony, King Tee, Tha Alkaholiks

13. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front

Released: December 15, 1998

Label: Flipmode, Elektra

Singles: “Tear da Roof Off”, “Gimme Some More”, “What’s It Gonna Be?!”, “Party Is Goin’ On Over Here”

Features: The Flipmode Squad, Mystikal, Janet Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne

12. DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

Released: December 22, 1998

Label: Def Jam, Ruff Ryders

Singles: “Slippin'”, “No Love 4 Me”

Features: The LOX, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Marilyn Manson, Drag-On, Swizz Beatz

11. Pete Rock – Soul Survivor

Released: November 10, 1998

Label: Loud/RCA/BMG Records

Singles: “Tru Master”, “Take Your Time”

Features: Kurupt, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Cappadonna; O.C., Black Thought, Rob-O, Prodigy, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz, Large Professor, Kool G Rap, MC Eiht, Jane Eugene & Loose Ends, Vinia Mojica, Miss Jones, Heavy D, Beenie Man, Sticky Fingaz, Common, Big Punisher, Noreaga, and C.L. Smooth

10. Juvenile – 400 Degreez

Released: November 3, 1998

Label: Universal, Cash Money

Singles: “Follow Me Now”, “Ha”, “Back That Thang Up”

Features: Mannie Fresh, Big Tymers, B.G., Lil Wayne, Turk, Hot Boys, Baby, Papa Rue, Jay-Z

9. Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty

Released: July 14, 1998

Label: Capitol

Singles: “Intergalactic”, “Body Movin'”, “The Negotiation Limerick File”, “Remote Control / Three MC’s and One DJ”

Features: Brooke Williams, Biz Markie, Jill Cunniff, Miho Hatori, Lee “Scratch” Perry

8. Redman – Doc’s da Name 2000

Released: December 8, 1998

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “I’ll Bee Dat!”, “Da Goodness”, “Let Da Monkey Out”

Features: Diezzel Don, Double-O, Gov Mattic, Roz, Young Zee, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Dave Hollister

7. A Tribe Called Quest – The Love Movement

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: Jive

Singles: “Find a Way”, “Like It Like That”

Features: Punchline, Jane Doe, Wordsworth, Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, REdman, Noreaga, D-Life, Spanky

6. Jay-Z – Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Singles: “Can I Get A…”, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”, “Money, Cash, Hoes”, “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99)”

Features: The LOX, Beanie Sigel, Sauce Money, Memphis Bleek, Jaz-O, DMX, Too $hort, Ja Rule, Amil, Foxy Brown, Kid Capri, Jermaine Dupri

5. Gang Starr – Moment of Truth

Released: March 31, 1998

Label: Noo Trybe, Virgin

Singles: “You Know My Steez”, “The Militia”

Features: K-Ci & JoJo, Inspectah Deck, Hannibal Stax, M.O.P., Big Shug, Freddie Foxxx, Krumb Snatcha, G-Dep, Shiggy Sha, Scarface

4. DMX – It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot

Released: May 12, 1998

Label: Def Jam, Ruff Ryders

Singles: “Get at Me Dog”, “Stop Being Greedy”, “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”, “How’s It Goin’ Down”

Features:

3. Mos Def & Talib Kweli – Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: Rawkus, Priority, EMI, MCA, Universal

Singles: “Definition”, “Respiration”

Features: Weldon Irvine, Vinia Mojica, Common, Jane Doe, Wordsworth, and Punchline

2. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Released: August 25, 1998

Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia

Singles: “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, “Ex-Factor”, “Everything Is Everything”

Features: Carlos Santana, Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo

1. OutKast – Aquemini

Released: September 29, 1998

Label: LaFace, Arista

Singles: “Skew It on the Bar-B”, “Rosa Parks”, “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)”

Features: Raekwon, George Clinton, T-Mo, Big Gipp, Khujo, Cee-Lo, and Erykah Badu

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