Dark Light

By the start of 2007, it was clear that the rap superstars from the beginning of the decade – Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Nelly, Ja Rule, etc. – were moving out of the way for the new crop of young talent, especially those from the South.

Whether it was Lil Wayne tearing up the mixtape circuit with unbelievable punchlines and witty metaphors or T.I. continuing his King of the South run, or Kanye dropping the biggest rap album of the year, the new wave of rappers were making their mark on the industry.

We also had the release of the underground classic Below the Heavens, the last UGK album with Pimp C still alive, Lupe Fiasco’s sophomore album, and the sales battle between 50 and Kanye which signalled the turning point for gangsta rap and its steady decline over the next few years.

From Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool to Kanye West’s Graduation and Jay-Z’s American Gangster, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 2007.

25. 50 Cent – Curtis

Released: September 11, 2007

Label: Shady, Aftermath, Interscope, Universal

Singles: “Amusement Park”, “Straight To The Bank”, “I Get Money”, “Ayo Technology”, “I’ll Still Kill”

Features: Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Akon, Dr. Dre, Robin Thicke, Eminem, Young Buck, Mary J. Blige, Tony Yayo

24. T.I. – T.I. vs. T.I.P.

Released: July 3, 2007

Label: Grand Hustle, Asylum, Atlantic

Singles: “Big Things Poppin’ (Do It)”, “You Know What It Is”, “Hurt”

Features: Alfa Mega, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Wyclef Jean, Nelly, Eminem

23. Fabolous – From Nothin’ to Somethin’

Released: June 12, 2007

Label: Desert Storm, Street Family, Def Jam

Singles: “Diamonds”, “Return of the Hustle”, “Make Me Better”, “Baby Don’t Go”

Features: Ransom, Freck Billionaire, Red Cafe, Joe Budden, Paul Cain, T-Pain, Jermaine Dupri, Akon, Ne-Yo, Junior Reid, Lloyd, Rihanna, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, Uncle Murda, Red Cafe, Pusha T, Lil’ Mo

22. Sage Francis – Human the Death Dance

Released: May 8, 2007

Label: Epitaph Records

Singles: N/A

Features: N/A

21. Redman – Red Gone Wild: Thee Album

Released: March 27, 2007

Label: Gilla House Records, Def Jam Recordings

Singles: “Put It Down”

Features: Blam, Runt Dawg, Ready Roc, Icadon, Saukrates, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Biz Markie, Ready Roc, Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Hurricane G

20. J Dilla – Ruff Draft

Released: March 20, 2007

Label: Mummy Records, Stones Throw Records

Singles: N/A

Features: Guilty Simpson

19. Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English

Released: June 4, 2007

Label: XL, Matador, Definitive Jux

Singles: “Sirens”, “Pussyole”, “Flex”

Features: UGK, Alex Turner, Lily Allen

18. Young Buck – Buck the World

Released: March 27, 2007

Label: Ca$hville, G-Unit, Interscope

Singles: “I Know You Want Me”, “Get Buck”, “U Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”

Features: 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Chester Bennington, Young Jeezy, Bun B, T.I., Trick Daddy and Lyfe Jennings

17. Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams

Released: December 11, 2007

Label: SRC, Universal Motown

Singles: “The Heart Gently Weeps”, “Take It Back”

Features: Erykah Badu, Dhani Harrison, John Frusciante, Dexter Wiggle, Sunny Valentine, George Clinton, Gerald Alston

16. Chamillionaire – Ultimate Victory

Released: September 14, 2007

Label: Chamillitary, Universal Motown

Singles: “Hip Hop Police”, “The Bill Collecta”, “Industry Groupie”

Features: Slick Rick, Kevin Cossom, Bun B, Lil Wayne, Krayzie Bone, Pimp C, Lil Ken, Tony Henry, Devin the Dude

15. Common – Finding Forever

Released: July 31, 2007

Label: GOOD, Geffen

Singles: “The Game”, “The People”, “Drivin’ Me Wild”, “I Want You”

Features: Lily Allen, Kanye West, will.i.am, Bilal, J Dilla, D’Angelo

Released: March 13, 2007

Label: Fat Beats

Singles: “Sound the Alarm”, “Shut It Down”

Features: Slum Village, Guilty Simpson, Phat Kat, Que D, and One Be Lo

13. Prodigy & The Alchemist – Return of the Mac

Released: March 27, 2007

Label: Koch

Singles: “Mac 10 Handle”, “Return of the Mac”, “Stuck on You”

Features: Majesty, Un Pacino, Havoc, Kokane

12. Sean Price – Jesus Price Supastar

Released: January 30, 2007

Label: Duck Down

Singles: “P-Body”

Features: Rock, Buckshot, Block McCloud, Chaundon, Flood, Phonte, Ruste Juxx, Sadat X, Skyzoo, Steele and the Loudmouf Choir

11. Little Brother – Getback

Released: October 23, 2007

Label: ABB Records, E1 Entertainment Distribution

Singles: “Good Clothes”, “That Ain’t Love”

Features: Carlitta Durand, Lil Wayne, Dion, Jozeemo, S. Graham

10. Scarface – Made

Released: December 4, 2007

Label: Rap-A-Lot, Asylum, Atlantic

Singles: “Girl You Know”

Features: Trey Songz, Wacko, J. Prince, Z-Ro, Nina, Tanya Herron

9. Devin the Dude – Waitin’ to Inhale

Released: March 20, 2007

Label: Rap-A-Lot Records, Asylum Records, Atlantic Records

Singles: “What a Job”

Features: André 3000, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, and Bun B

8. Ghostface Killah – The Big Doe Rehab

Released: December 4, 2007

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “We Celebrate”

Features: Raekwon, Method Man, U-God, Masta Killa, Kid Capri, Cappadonna, Theodore Unit

7. El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead

Released: March 20, 2007

Label: Definitive Jux

Singles: “Everything Must Go”, “Flyentology”

Features: Omar Rodríguez-López, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Aesop Rock, Cage

6. Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass

Released: August 28, 2007

Label: Definitive Jux

Singles: “None Shall Pass”, “Coffee”

Features: DJ Big Wiz, Cage, Breeze Brewin, El-P, Rob Sonic, and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats

5. Jay-Z – American Gangster

Released: November 6, 2007

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Singles: “Blue Magic”, “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)…”, “I Know”

Features: Lil Wayne, Beanie Sigel, Nas

4. UGK – Underground Kingz

Released: August 7, 2007

Label: Jive

Singles: “The Game Belongs to Me”, “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)”

Features: Z-RO, T.I., Talib Kweli, Rick Ross, Jazze Pha, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Slim Thug, Dizzee Rascal, Too Short, Charlie Wilson, Middle Fingaz, OutKast, Three 6 Mafia

3. Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool

Released: December 18, 2007

Label: 1st & 15th, Atlantic

Singles: “Superstar”, “Hip Hop Saved My Life”, “Paris, Tokyo”, “Dumb It Down”

Features: Gemini, Snoop Dogg, Matthew Santos, Poo Bear, Nikki Jean, Sarah Green, Gemstones, Unkle

2. Blu & Exile – Below the Heavens

Released: July 17, 2007

Label: Exile

Singles: N/A

Features: Aloe Blacc, Joseph, Miguel

1. Kanye West – Graduation

Released: September 11, 2007

Label: Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella

Singles: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, “Stronger”, “Good Life”, “Flashing Lights”, “Homecoming”

Features: T-Pain, Lil Wayne, Mos Def, Dwele, Chris Martin

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