Across my Facebook timeline came a post from BoombapNation asking folks to chime in on as many banging HipHop debut’s as they can think of. First impressions are everything and few have greater impact than a hip-hop debut album. It’s our first opportunity as fans to judge an artist’s singular body of work. As an artist myself, (founder of Arrested Development) I know there’s an unspoken pressure here. Historically, so many rap debuts are so good that anyone looking to make their career within the hip hop genre has a lot to live up to.
Whether it’s Dr. Dre changing the sound of hip-hop production with The Chronic or Public Enemy ushering in a new era of urgent lyricism on Bum Rush The Show, time has shown that many do, in fact, live up to these pressures. A rapper’s initial offering can often have a massive influence on subsequent releases, and culture in general. Sometimes that first album is the most significant of an artist’s career, that was my case with our 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the life of… which won us 2 Grammy‘s, 2 MTV awards, among many other props!
If it seems like the scales of appreciation are tipped in favor of debuts, it’s because they are. There’s a reason why Jay-Z calls Reasonable Doubt his “baby.” There’s a reason why Raekwon still can’t escape the shadow of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Rappers essentially have their entire lives to make their first album, and it shows—in some releases more than others. Some people say, Fetty Wap‘s self-entitled debut is it, with many radio perennials while never overstaying its welcome, or Kid Cudi‘s undramatically somber “Man on the Moon”. We shout out everyone who’s put their dog in the race, regardless of how they stacked up. But now we ask you, what’s some of your favorite debut albums from hip-hop artists?