Dark Light

By 1999, the divide between so-called “commercial” rap and “underground” hip hop was drastically widening.

With Puffy’s Bad Boy crew taking over the Billboard charts and Southern rap acts from No Limit and Cash Money dominating the radio waves, hip hop a commercial force was being recognised and often exploited by the music industry.

While 1999 saw huge releases from rap superstars like Dr. Dre and Eminem, DMX and Jay-Z, it was also a pivotal year for the alternative hip hop movement. We had legendary releases from The Roots, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip with his solo debut album, Prince, Blackalicious and plenty more.

From Snoop Dogg’s No Limit Top Dogg to Mobb Deep’s Murda Muzik and MF DOOM’s Operation: Doomsday, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 1999.

25. Silkk the Shocker – Made Man

Released: January 19, 1999

Label: Priority, No Limit

Singles: “Somebody Like Me”, “It Ain’t My Fault Pt. 2”

Features: Snoop Dogg, Mýa, Jay-Z, Master P, Mystikal, O’Dell, Mia x, Fiend, Sons of Funk, C-Murder, Ghetto Commission

24. Snoop Dogg – No Limit Top Dogg

Released: May 11, 1999

Label: No Limit, Priority

Singles: “G Bedtime Stories”, “Bitch Please”, “Down for My N’s”

Features: Mia X, Fiend, C-Murder, Silkk the Shocker, Mystikal, Goldie Loc, Sticky Fingaz, Suga Free, Magic, Raphael Saadiq, Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Dr. Dre, Jewell, Warren G

23. Ja Rule – Venni Vetti Vecci

Released: June 1, 1999

Label: Def Jam, Murder Inc.

Singles: “Holla Holla”

Features: Jay-Z, DMX, Case, Memphis Bleek, Black Child, Ronald Isley and Erick Sermon

22. MC Eiht – Section 8

Released: June 8, 1999

Label: Hoo-Bangin’, Priority

Singles: “Automatic”, “Thicker than Water”

Features: Ice Cube, High “T”, Mack 10, Soultre, Techniec, Val Young and CMW

21. Inspectah Deck – Uncontrolled Substance

Released: October 5, 1999

Label: Loud, Relativity

Singles: “REC Room”, “Forget Me Not”, “Word on the Street”, “Show N Prove (Power of God)”, “Movas & Shakers”

Features: U-God, Masta Killa, Street Life, Killa Sin, LA the Darkman, Vinia Mojica

20. Nas – I Am…

Released: April 6, 1999

Label: Columbia

Singles: “Nas Is Like”, “Hate Me Now”

Features: Puff Daddy, Scarface, Aaliyah, DMX

19. Rakim – The Master

Released: November 30, 1999

Label: Universal

Singles: “When I B On Tha Mic”

Features: Connie McKendrick, Clark Kent, Nneka Morton, Rahzel

18. Public Enemy – There’s a Poison Goin’ On

Released: July 20, 1999

Label: Play It Again Sam, Atomic Pop

Singles: “Do You Wanna Go Our Way???”

Features: N/A

17. EPMD – Out of Business

Released: July 20, 1999

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “Symphony 2000”

Features: Method Man & Redman, Lady Luck, M.O.P., Busta Rhymes, Agallah, 215

16. Dr. Dooom – First Come, First Served

Released: May 4, 1999

Label: Funky Ass Records

Singles: N/A

Features: Jacky Jasper and Motion Man

15. DMX – … And Then There Was X

Released: December 21, 1999

Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam

Singles: “What’s My Name”, “Party Up (Up in Here)”, “What These Bitches Want”

Features: The LOX, Drag-On, Sisqo, Regina Belle, Dyme

14. Jay-Z – Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter

Released: December 28, 1999

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Singles: “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)”, “Anything”, “Big Pimpin'”

Features: Amil, Beanie Sigel, Mariah Carey, Juvenile, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Dr. Dre, UGK

13. Kurupt – Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha

Released: November 16, 1999

Label: Antra, Artemis

Singles: “Girls All Pause”, “Who Ride Wit Us”, “Welcome Home”

Features: Butch Cassidy, Daz Dillinger, Jayo Felony, Soopafly, Snoop Dogg, Big Tray Deee, Roscoe, Xzibit, 213, Latoya Williams, T-Moe, Dr. Dre, Hittman, Baby S, Crooked I, Soopafly, KRS-One

12. Method Man & Redman – Blackout!

Released: September 28, 1999

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “Tear It Off”, “Da Rockwilder”, “Y.O.U.”

Features: LL Cool J, Ja Rule, Blue Raspberry, Ghostface Killah, Streetlife, Mally G, Young Zee

11. Q-Tip – Amplified

Released: November 30, 1999

Label: Arista

Singles: “Vivrant Thing”, “Breathe and Stop”, “Let’s Ride”

Features: Busta Rhymes, Korn

10. Prince Paul – A Prince Among Thieves

Released: February 23, 1999

Label: Tommy Boy, Warner Bros.

Singles: N/A

Features: Sha, Breeze, Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Newkirk, Sweet Dee, Everlast, Sadat X, Xzibit, Kid Creole

9. Missy Elliott – Da Real World

Released: June 22, 1999

Label: The Goldmind, Elektra

Singles: “She’s a Bitch”, “All n My Grill”, “Hot Boyz (Remix)”

Features: B.G., Juvenile, Lil’ Mo, Nicole, Beyoncé, Eve, Eminem, Lady Saw, Da Brat, Aaliyah, Big Boi of Outkast, Lil’ Kim, MC Solaar, and Redman

8. Blackalicious – Nia

Released: August 30, 1999

Label: Mo’ Wax, Quannum Projects

Singles: “Deception”, “If I May”, “Reanimation”

Features: Nikki Giovanni, Erinn Anova, Erinn Anova, Lateef, Lyrics Born

7. Pharoahe Monch – Internal Affairs 

Released: October 19, 1999

Label: Rawkus, Priority

Singles: “Simon Says”, “Right Here (Remix)”

Features: Lady Luck, Method Man & Redman, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Busta Rhymes, Canibus, M.O.P., Apani B. Fly, Organized Confusion, Common, Talib Kweli

6. Mobb Deep – Murda Muzik

Released: August 17, 1999

Label: Loud, Columbia

Singles: “Quiet Storm”, “It’s Mine”, “U.S.A. (Aiight Then)”

Features: Big Noyd, Chinky, Cormega, Lil’ Cease, 8Ball, Raekwon, Infamous Mobb, Kool G Rap, Nas, Lil’ Kim

5. MF DOOM – Operation: Doomsday

Released: 19 October 1999

Label: Fondle ‘Em

Singles: “Dead Bent” / “Gas Drawls” / “Hey!”, “Greenbacks” / “Go with the Flow”, “The M.I.C.” / “Red & Gold”, “I Hear Voices Pt. 1”

Features: Cucumber Slice, Tommy Gunn, MF Grimm, King Ghidra, X-Ray, Rodan, Megalon, K.D., Kong, Megalon, Kurious, E.Mason

4. The Roots – Things Fall Apart

Released: February 23, 1999

Label: MCA

Singles: “You Got Me”, “The Next Movement”

Features: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jazzyfatnastees, Rehani Sayeed, Lady B, Dice Raw, Mos Def, Common, Beanie Sigel, Erykah Badu, Eve, Ursula Rucker

3. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP

Released: February 23, 1999

Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Singles: “My Name Is”, “Role Model”, “Guilty Conscience”

Features: Dr. Dre, Royce da 5’9″

2. Dr. Dre – 2001

Released: November 16, 1999

Label: Aftermath, Interscope

Singles: “Still D.R.E.”, “Forgot About Dre”, “The Next Episode”, “The Watcher”

Features: Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Eminem, Nate Dogg, Devin the Dude, Six-Two, Ms. Roq, Defari, Knoc-turn’al, Time Bomb, King T, MC Ren, Kokane, Mary J. Blige, Rell

1. Mos Def – Black on Both Sides

Released: October 12, 1999

Label: Rawkus, Priority

Singles: “Ms. Fat Booty” / “Mathematics”, “Umi Says”

Features: Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Vinia Mojica, Q-Tip

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