Even though hip hop music went ballistic on the mainstream music scene in the 2000s, it is not a false statement to say that the seeds of this success were sown in the 1980s. Some of the best hip hop tunes came out in the 80s and many of these are still revised by other artists to this date. What we tried to do is find out those ten songs that really got it going on for hip hop back then. Here is the finalized list:

10. Run-D.M.C. (1984) – Run-D.M.C.

Without a doubt, this is the album that really gave Run-D.M.C. the international acclaim they have to date. This first class hip hop LP album gave birth to hardcore hip hop music. Being the first rap artists to have MTV air their video sure is a big achievement. With this album, they opened doors for many other similar acts and so this album stays a top choice for those who want inspiration. With tracks such as “Rock Box”, “Jam Master Jay”, “Sucker MCs” and “It’s Like That”, 1984’s Run-D.M.C. is a classic.

9. 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) – De La Soul

If you are looking for one of the most influential hip hop albums of the 80s then “3 Feet High and Rising” is the one to give a listen. This album’s production was quite advanced for the years in which it was released. Plug 1,2 & 3 did very well to the lyrics department and Prince Paul’s musical finesses is truly reflected in this production. What this album actually did was it placed itself in the ranks of the most essential hip hop collections.

8. Critical Beatdown (1988) – Ultramagnetic MC’s

One of the main reasons why the late 80s were so special was that Ultramagnetic MC’s came up with “Critical Beatdown”. This album was stuffed with massive hits. Kool Keithcame up with some of the sharpest rhymes and this was equally complimented by Ced Gee in productions. Showing the balls to be disrespectful to Rakim was something Keith actually did quite flawlessly. It turned out to be a truly innovative album that was a complete package.

7. By All Means Necessary (1988) – Boogie Down Productions

And it was not only the Ultramagnetic MC’s that created waves of awesome hip hop music in 1988. Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary This album and It Takes a Nation combined to gave birth to political rap music on the mainstream. We see how KRS managed to keep his fresh along with adding loads of rhymes. Over 2 decades down the lane and we all still believe this is one of his best works. And to add to that,he actually pulled off 2 award winning records in a row – and that, is an achievement!

6. Paul’s Boutique (1989) – Beastie Boys

Talking about the 80’s hip hop scene and forgetting the Beastie Boys? That can’t happen! With Paul’s Boutique, the boys blew everyone’s mind – for all the right reasons! With tons of collages of sample music in this album, the record did very well and truly define experimental hip hop music at its very best.


5. The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) – Slick Rick

Slick Rick is perhaps the greatest storyteller in hip hop music and this album shows you why! Coming up with his debut solo album, Slick brought a fresh new wave of telling stories as if they actually happened. It is no wonder the album was titled “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick”. Songs like “Indian Girl” and “Children’s Story” became the hip hop staples while tracks like “Treat Her Like a Prostitute” had quite some heavy thought provoking words. Also, let’s not forget the awesomely unique English accent!

4. Straight Outta Compton (1988) – N.W.A.

Like the album features these verses: “You are about to witness the strength of Street Knowledge”; this album by N.W.A. sealed them in the history of great hip hop music. Not only did this massive album came out in 1988 – the most happening year for hip hop music in the 80s; it also managed to be one of the best. With big figures such as Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, the combo of N.W.A. was designed to impress – and it did deliver. To this date, “Straight Outta Compton” is recognized as the best hip hop song the West Coast came up with in the 80s.

3. Criminal Minded (1987) – Boogie Down Productions

When you see two albums by the same group in a count down, you know they have been doing something awesome! With “Criminal Minded”, BDP ended the era of Beastie Boys, Fat Boys and Run-D.M.C. KRS-One and Ced Gee really brought something fresh and there was also a feel of violence to it. The album did not have mere songs – it had anthems. And these anthems are still much loved universally by fans of hip hop.

2. Paid In Full (1987) – Eric B. & Rakim

Rakim is undoubtedly the godfather of MCs. With “Paid In Full”, Rakim actually showed the world how MC’ing is supposed to be done. He really differentiated the boys from men. How can anyone forget numbers like “Eric B. Is President” and “My Melody” – these two songs really got it going on! Much thanks to this album, the rappers and hip hop artists really tried to notch up their game in 1988. We bet that even if Rakim looks back at this album, he might wonder if something as huge as this can ever be repeated.

1. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988) – Public Enemy

There is only one winner – there is only one album that can be regarded THE rap compilation of the 80s. From the first minute of the first track to the last second of the last number, this album is flawless. Chuck D bombarded the album with heavy lyrics and Flavor Flav’s hyper comical style did deliver. And to top it all, the scratch sections of Terminator X finished off all the remaining contenders. You need to listen to “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” to understand what immaculate hip hop sounds like.

So there you have it folks. We are sure many of these albums have been in your favorite list for quite some time. Do let us know what you think of these artists and how 80s hip hop music has been the basis to our modern mainstream hip hop acts.