From Illmatic to Madvillainy, To Pimp a Butterfly to Aquemini, Tha Carter II to De La Soul Is Dead, we look at the best hip hop albums of all time, year by year.

The last year of the decade was also one where the legends came out to play. With Jay-Z leading the pack with his third album post-retirement comeback, we also had artists like Raekwon, DJ Quik, Method Man & Redman, KRS-One and Eminem drop some of their best work to date.

With Eminem, 50 Cent and Jay-Z leading the Billboard charts, it felt like the early 2000s all over again. Meanwhile, Kid Cudi came with his game-changing debut Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Gucci Mane enter the major label game with The State vs. Radric Davis, the first posthumous Pimp C album with UGK 4 Life and Lil Wayne leading his Young Money crew with We Are Young Money.

From Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 to MF DOOM’s Born Like This and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, here are the top 25 best hip hop albums of 2009.

25. Fabolous – Loso’s Way

Released: July 28, 2009

Label: Desert Storm, Street Family, Def Jam

Singles: “Throw It in the Bag”, “My Time”, “Everything, Everyday, Everywhere”, “Money Goes, Honey Stay (When the Money Goes Remix)”

Features: Paul Cain, Red Cafe, Freck Billionaire, Keri Hilson, The-Dream, Jay-Z, Ryan Leslie, Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Ne-Yo

24. Method Man & Redman – Blackout! 2

Released: May 19, 2009

Label: Def Jam

Singles: “A-Yo”, “City Lights”, “Mrs. International”

Features: Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Saukrates, Keith Murray, Bun B, Erick Sermon, Ready Roc, Streetlife, Poo Bear, Rutherford

23. Tech N9ne – Sickology 101

Released: April 28, 2009

Label: Strange Music

Singles: “Red Nose”, “Sickology 101”, “Nothin'”

Features: Krayzie Bone, Crooked I, Chino XL, Messy Marv, Ron Ron, Potluck, Cash Image, D-Locc Da Chop, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun and Big Scoob

22. Del the Funky Homosapien – Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)

Released: April 7, 2009

Label: N/A

Singles: N/A

Features: N/A

21. Q-Tip – Kamaal the Abstract

Released: September 15, 2009

Label: Battery

Singles: N/A

Features: Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Thomas, Kenny Garrett a.k.a. Truth

20. Jadakiss – The Last Kiss

Released: April 7, 2009

Label: D-Block, Ruff Ryders, Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Singles: “By My Side”, “Can’t Stop Me”, “Death Wish”, “Who’s Real”

Features: Faith Evans, Swizz Beatz, Bobby V, Pharrell Williams, OJ da Juiceman, Sheek Louch, Mary J. Blige, Styles P, Ghostface Killah, Ne-Yo, Raekwon, Young Jeezy, D-Block, U.S.D.A., Lil Wayne, & Avery Storm

19. U-God – Dopium

Released: June 23, 2009

Label: Babygrande, Frank Radio, E1

Singles: N/A

Features: Method Man, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Killah Priest, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Jim Jones, Large Professor, Slaine and Sheek Louch

18. Clipse – Til the Casket Drops

Released: December 8, 2009

Label: Re-Up, Star Trak, Columbia

Singles: “Kinda Like a Big Deal”, “I’m Good”, “Popular Demand (Popeyes)”

Features: Cam’ron, Pharrell, Kanye West, Yo Gotti, Ab-Liva, Keri Hilson

17. J Dilla – Jay Stay Paid

Released: June 2, 2009

Label: Nature Sounds

Singles: “Reality Check”

Features: Pete Rock, Blu, Lil’ Fame, Phat Kat, Danny Brown, Constantine, Black Thought, MF DOOM, Havoc, Raekwon, Frank Nitty, Illa J, Bun B, Termanology

16. Skyzoo – The Salvation

Released: September 29, 2009

Label: Jamla, Duck Down

Singles: “The Beautiful Decay”, “Popularity”, “Easy To Fly”, “My Interpretation”

Features: Carlitta Durand

15. Gucci Mane – The State vs. Radric Davis

Released: December 8, 2009

Label: 1017 Brick Squad, Asylum, Warner Bros.

Singles: “Wasted”, “Spotlight”, “Lemonade”, “Bingo”

Features: Usher, Plies, Lil Wayne, Cam’ron, Soulja Boy, Rick Ross, Bun B, OJ da Juiceman, Wooh da Kid, Waka Flocka Flame, and Nicki Minaj

14. Royce da 5’9″ – Street Hop

Released: October 20, 2009

Label: M.I.C. Records, One Records, EMI

Singles: “Shake This”, “Part of Me”, “New Money”

Features: Slaughterhouse, Melanie Rutherford, Crooked I, Phonte, Busta Rhymes, Trick-Trick, Mr. Porter, K-Young, Bun B, Joell Ortiz

13. Tech N9ne – K.O.D.

Released: October 26, 2009

Label: Strange Music

Singles: “Leave Me Alone”, “Show Me a God”, “Strange Music Box”, “Low”

Features: Three 6 Mafia, Brotha Lynch Hung, King Gordy, Kutt Calhoun, Krizz Kaliko and Big Scoob

12. KRS-One & Buckshot – Survival Skills

Released: September 15, 2009

Label: Duck Down

Singles: “Robot”, “Survival Skills”

Features: Bounty Killer, Heltah Skeltah, Immortal Technique, K’naan, Mary J. Blige, Melanie Fiona, Naledge, Pharoahe Monch, Slug, Smif-N-Wessun, Talib Kweli, the Loudmouf Choir and DJ Revolution

11. UGK – UGK 4 Life

Released: March 31, 2009

Label: Jive

Singles: “Da Game Been Good to Me”

Features: Killa Kyleon, Slim Thug, Raheem DeVaughn, Ron Isley, Sleepy Born, Big Gipp, Lil’ Bosse, Webbie, 8Ball & MJG, B-Legit, E-40, Too Short, Snoop Dogg, Akon

10. Eminem – Relapse

Released: May 15, 2009

Label: Aftermath, Shady, Interscope

Singles: “Crack a Bottle”, “We Made You”, “3 a.m.”, “Old Time’s Sake (Promotional Single)”, “Beautiful”

Features: Dr. Dre, 50 Cent

9. Rick Ross – Deeper Than Rap

Released: April 21, 2009

Label: MMG, Slip-n-Slide, Def Jam

Singles: “Mafia Music”, “Magnificent”, “All I Really Want”, “Maybach Music 2”

Features: Nas, Avery Storm, Foxy Brown, Ne-Yo, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, John Legend, The-Dream, Robin Thicke, Gunplay, Trina

8. Ghostfaace Killah – Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City

Released: September 29, 2009

Label: Def Jam

Singles: N/A

Features: Vaughn Anthony, Estelle, Shareefa, Raheem DeVaughn, Jack Knight, Fabolous, John Legend, Lloyd, Kanye West, Ne-Yo

7. Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3

Released: September 8, 2009

Label: Roc Nation, Asylum, Atlantic, Def Jam

Singles: “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”, “Run This Town”, “Empire State of Mind”, “On to the Next One”, “Young Forever”, “A Star Is Born”

Features: Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake, Kid Cudi, Young Jeezy, J. Cole and Alicia Keys

6. Brother Ali – Us

Released: September 22, 2009

Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment

Singles: N/A

Features: Chuck D, Stokley Williams, Freeway, Joell Ortiz

5. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon: The End of Day

Released: September 15, 2009

Label: Dream On, GOOD, Universal Motown

Singles: “Day ‘n’ Nite”, “Make Her Say”, “Pursuit of Happiness”

Features: Billy Cravens, Kanye West, Common, MGMT, Ratatat, Chip tha Ripper, Wale

4. MF DOOM – Born Like This

Released: March 24, 2009

Label: Lex

Singles: Gazzillion Ear”

Features: J Dilla, Raekwon, Madlib, Ghostface Killah, Charles Bukowski, Empress Stahhr tha Femcee, Kurious, Mobonix, Posdnous, Prince Paul, Slug, Bumpy Knuckles

3. DJ Quik & Kurupt – Blaqkout

Released: June 9, 2009

Label: Mad Science, Pentagon, Fontana Distribution

Singles: “Hey Playa (Moroccan Blues)”, “Whatcha Wan Do”

Features: Problem, Yo-Yo, Puff Johnson, Tre Mak

2. Mos Def – The Ecstatic

Released: June 9, 2009

Label: Downtown

Singles: “Life in Marvelous Times”, “Quiet Dog Bite Hard”, “Casa Bey”

Features: Slick Rick, Talib Kweli, Georgia Anne Muldrow

1. Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II

Released: September 8, 2009

Label: Ice H2O, EMI

Singles: “New Wu”, “House of Flying Daggers”, “Walk Wit Me”, “Have Mercy”, “Catalina”

Features: Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, Beanie Sigel, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, RZA, Popa Wu, Blue Raspberry, Cappadonna, GZA, Masta Killa, Slick Rick

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