10 Classic Hip-Hop Albums That Turn 10 In 2023

J. Cole, Mac Miller & Drake

Photo: Getty Images

One decade ago, A$AP Rocky felt relieved after he released his debut album Long.Live.A$AP following a series of delays.

At the time, the fact that Rocky had finally dropped an album was a huge deal to fans everywhere. The project contains some of his most successful commercial tracks like "F**kin Problems" featuring Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar plus "Wild For The Night" featuring Skrillex. His long-awaited project, which arrived following the success of his breakthrough mixtape Live. Love A$AP, was one of the first classic albums to make an impact in 2013.

Fast-forward a couple of months to the summer. J. Cole had just announced his beloved 'Dollar & A Dream' tour ahead of the arrival of his Born Sinner album. As he traveled the country to perform for a dollar, Cole was also preparing for an epic clash between Kanye West, and a newer act to the scene at the time, Mac Miller. Cole's LP was set to drop on June 18, 2013, which was the same day West's Yeezus and Miller's Watching Movies With The Sound Off albums were hitting stores and digital retailers. After all three albums dropped, Yeezus debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart followed by Born Sinner at No. 2 and WMWTS at No. 3.

They weren't the only artists to drop on that either. Statik Selektah and Daz Dillinger also dropped their albums on the same day. In addition to those projects, rap fans also received new albums from Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Snoop Lion aka Snoop Dogg, and plenty more. Check out 10 classic rap albums that arrived a decade ago.

Tyler, the Creator - Wolf


Photo: Odd Future

Release Date: April 2, 2013

Wolf is the second studio LP by Tyler, the Creator. The concept album, which arrived after his previous projects Bastard (2009) and Goblin (2011), contains its lead single "Domo23" and 17 other tracks. It was the second solo project that Tyler wrote and produced himself. Wolf was a shift from Tyler's previous work because it emphasized his growth as a producer and songwriter. It also features contributions from Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, Casey Veggies, Domo Genesis and more.

Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap

Acid Rap

Photo: Chance The Rapper

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Acid Rap is technically considered a mixtape. Yet, given the amount of star power and favorable reception it received, it may as well be one of the greatest albums in Chance The Rapper's catalog. Chance's second mixtape was released for free in an effort to stay independent and make money strictly off live performances and merch. This move allowed Chance the freedom to work with whatever artist he wanted to without the constraints of a record label. Acid Rap features contributions from Kanye West, BJ The Chicago Kid, Vic Mensa, Saba, Ludwig Gorranson, Childish Gambino, Noname, Ab-Soul, Action Bronson and more.

J. Cole - Born Sinner

Born Sinner

Photo: Interscope Records

Release Date: June 18, 2013

J. Cole had spent the first half of 2013 promoting his second studio album Born Sinner. It began with the release of "Power Trip" featuring Miguel in February of that year followed by the TLC-assisted "Crooked Smile." The album dropped in the middle of his 'Dollar & A Dream' tour, which gave fans the opportunity to see him perform for only one dollar. The 16-track album includes its first two singles plus other bangers like "She Knows," "Forbidden Fruit" featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Chaining Day" and "Let Nas Down." The deluxe version contains collaborations with 50 Cent, Bas, Jhene Aiko, James Fauntleroy and more.

Mac Miller - Watching Movies With The Sound Off

Watching Movies With The Sound Off

Photo: Rostrum Records

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Mac Miller was on a journey to switch up his sound while he was making Watching Movies With The Sound Off. The result was his first deeply personal body of work, and at least 400 other songs that ended up in his vault. WMWTS holds fan favorites like "S.D.S.", "Watching Movies," and "Goosebumpz" with 19 songs (including bonus tracks) in total. The album features collaborations with Tyler, the Creator, ScHoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt and more. While he handled some of the production under his alias Larry Fisherman, Miller also recruited talented beatmakers like The Alchemist, Flying Lotus, Clams Casino, Diplo and others to contribute.

Kanye West - Yeezus


Photo: Def Jam Records

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Yeezus stands as one of Kanye West's most experimental projects to date. Executively produced by Rick Rubin, the 10-track LP features unique tracks like "Blood On The Leaves," "Black Skinhead," "Guilt Trip" and "Bound 2." West recruited an all-star lineup for his sixth studio album like Kid Cudi, Chief Keef, Charlie Wilson, Frank Ocean and others with production from Travis Scott, Mike Dean, Daft Punk and Hudson Mohawke. Yeezus has gone double-platinum since its release, and its considered one of the best albums of 2013.

Wale - The Gifted

The Gifted

Photo: Maybach Music Group/Atlantic Records

Release Date: June 25, 2013

Wale had become a household name in Hip-Hop by the time his third studio album arrived. The Gifted contains some of Wale's biggest hits like "Bad" and its accompanying remix featuring Rihanna. In addition to other singles like "LoveHate Thing" and "Clappers" featuring Nicki Minaj and Juicy J, Wale also teamed up with Meek Mill, CeeLo Green, Yo Gotti, Lyfe Jennings, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, French Montana and more. The follow-up to Ambition debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, which became Wale's second top 10 album.

JAY-Z - Magna Carta... Holy Grail

Magna Carta... Holy Grail

Photo: Roc Nation

Release Date: July 4, 2013

At a time when streaming music via phones was becoming more popular, JAY-Z took an opportunity to innovate the way artists delivered music to their fans. After revealing the title of his 12th studio album in a Samsung commercial during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Hov announced that Magna Carta... Holy Grail would drop exclusively on an app on Samsung phones. The 16-track album was led by "Holy Grail" featuring Justin Timberlake and "Tom Ford." Other popular tracks like "F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" featuring Rick Ross and "Picasso Baby" also made an impact from the clubs to the culture overall. Despite its cell-phone exclusive release, Magna Carta... Holy Grail debuted at No. 1, was nominated for six Grammys and took home the trophy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Holy Grail."

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

Nothing Was The Same

Photo: Young Money/Cash Money Records

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Nothing Was The Same signified a true shift in Drake's career. Although he had already ascended to rap royalty, NWTS allowed Drake to flex his heighten celebrity status and shed any ounce of modesty left his being. His third studio album contains multiple hits like "Tuscan Leather," "Started From The Bottom," "Wu-Tang Forever," "Hold On We're Going Home" and "The Language." It also holds his revered collaborations with JAY-Z on "Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2" and "All Me" featuring 2 Chainz and Big Sean plus others with Jhene Aiko, Sampha and Majid Jordan. It was the 7th best-selling album of 2013, and was also nominated for Best Rap Album at the 56th Grammys.

Pusha T - My Name Is My Name

My Name Is My Name

Photo: G.O.O.D. Music

Release Date: October 4, 2013

Pusha T had a banner year in 2013. Following the release of his successful mixtape Wrath of Caine, King Push came through with his debut album My Name Is My Name. The album served as his major label debut via Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music imprint via Def Jam Records. While West and other seasoned producers held it down behind the boards, the LP boasts collaborations with Rick Ross, Jeezy, Future, Big Sean, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell and several more. Among the 12 tracks on the album, "Numbers on the Board" and "Nosetalgia" will always be the most memorable records.

Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP 2

The Marshall Mathers LP 2

Photo: Aftermath Records

Release Date: November 5, 2013

After going through his recovery stage, Eminem began to make music that sounded similar to his past recordings. Thus, the concept for The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was born. Slim Shady teamed up with Rick Rubin to cook up songs like the album's lead single "Bezerk" and "Love Game" featuring Kendrick Lamar. The first sequel album Em ever released also had some of his biggest hits like "The Monster" featuring Rihanna and "Rap God." It become his most critically-acclaimed albums since The Eminem Show and won the Grammy for Best Rap Album at the 57th Grammys.

Honorable Mentions:

Kid Cudi - Indicud

Ghostface Killah - Twleve Reasons To Die

N.O.R.E. - Student of the Game

LL Cool J - Authentic

Talib Kweli - Prisoners of Conscious

French Montana - Excuse My French

Prodigy & The Alchemist - Albert Einstein

Havoc - 13

Styles P - Float

Ace Hood - Trials and Tribulations

Action Bronson - Saab Stories

Statik Selektah - Extended Play

Freddie Gibbs - ESGN

Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels

Wrekonize - The War Within

!MAYDAY! - Believers

Kurupt - Kurupt Confidential

Kevin Gates - Stranger Than Fiction

Rich Gang - Rich Gang

No Malice - Hear Ye Him

A$AP Ferg - Trap Lord

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

Big Sean - Hall of Fame

Juicy J - Stay Trippy

2 Chainz - B.O.A.T.S II: Me Time

Danny Brown - Old

DJ Khaled - Suffering From Success

Bun B - Trill OG: The Epilogue

Yo Gotti - I am...

Jim Jones - We Own The Night

Gucci Mane - Trap House III + The State vs. Radric Davis II: The Caged Bird Sings

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content