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The College Dropout


Kanye West • 2004 • 21 Songs •

The College Dropout is the debut studio album by American hip hop artist Kanye West, released February 10, 2004, by Roc-A-Fella Records. It was recorded over a period of four years, beginning in 1999. Prior to the album's release, West had received praise for his production work for artists such as Jay-Z and Talib Kweli, but faced difficulty being accepted as a rapper in his own right by figures in the music industry. Nonetheless intent on pursuing a solo career, it was several years before West finally received a record deal from Roc-A-Fella Records.

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Stankonia


Outkast • 2000 • 24 Songs

Stankonia is the fourth studio album by American hip hop duo OutKast. It was released on October 31, 2000, by La Face Records. The album was recorded in the duo's recently purchased Atlanta recording facility Stankonia Studios, which allowed for fewer time and recording constraints, and featured production work from Earthtone III (a production team consisting of Outkast and Mr. DJ) and Organized Noise.

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The Marshall Mathers LP


Eminem • 2000 • 19 Songs

The Marshall Mathers LP is the third studio album by American rapper Eminem. It was released on May 23, 2000, by Aftermath Entertainment, Interscope Records, and Eminem's newly founded label, Shady Records in the United States,[1] and on September 11, 2000, by Polydor Records in the United Kingdom.[2] The album was produced mostly by Dr. Dre and Eminem, along with The 45 King, Bass Brothers, and Mel-Man. Released a year after Eminem's breakout album The Slim Shady LP, the record features more introspective lyricism including the rapper's response to his sudden rise to fame and controversy surrounding his lyrics.

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The Black Album


Jay-Z • 2003 • 14 Songs

The Black Album is the eighth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on November 14, 2003, by Roc-A-Fella Records. It was advertised as his final album before retiring, which is also a recurring theme throughout the songs, although Jay-Z resumed his recording career in 2006. For the album, Jay-Z wanted to enlist a different producer for each song, working with Just Blaze, Kanye West, The Neptunes, Timbaland, 9th Wonder and Rick Rubin, among others. When The Black Album was released, it received widespread acclaim from critics. In its first week, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 463,000 copies in the United States. It became Jay Z's top selling record of the 2000s decade, and by July 2013, it had sold 3,516,000 copies in the US. The Black Album was promoted with a retirement tour by Jay Z and three singles that also achieved Billboard chart success, including the top-ten hits "Change Clothes" and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder".

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Get Rich or Die Tryin'


50 Cent • 2003 • 19 Songs

Get Rich or Die Tryin' is the debut studio album by American rapper 50 Cent. It was released on February 6, 2003, by Aftermath Entertainment, under a joint venture with Shady Records, and distributed by Interscope Records. Its initially planned release was pushed seven days ahead due to heavy bootlegging and Internet leakage. The album was produced by Dr. Dre and Eminem, and featured guest appearances from Eminem and G-Unit associates Young Buck, Lloyd Banks, and Tony Yayo.

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Stillmatic


Nas • 2001 • 14 Songs

Stillmatic is the fifth studio album by American rapper Nas, released December 18, 2001 on Columbia Records in the United States. In contrast to his previous work's gangsta rap themes, it contains socially conscious and philosophical themes similar to those of his debut album, Illmatic (1994). Nas' lyrics address topics such as ghetto life, United States domestic and foreign policies, and his feud with rapper Jay-Z. Stillmatic served as a commercial and critical success that helped re-establish Nas' career, following a period of critical disappointment with the release of Nastradamus (1999). It debuted at number 8 on the United States Billboard 200 chart with sales of 342,600, eventually peaking at number 5 and selling over 2,026,000 copies in the United States. Upon its release, Stillmatic received generally positive reviews from most music critics.

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Train of Thought


Reflection Eternal • 2000 • 19 Songs

Train of Thought is the debut album of American hip hop duo Reflection Eternal, released October 17, 2000 on Rawkus Records. Collaborating as a duo, rapper Talib Kweli and DJ and hip hop producer Hi-Tek recorded the album during 1999 to 2000, following their individual musical work that gained notice in New York's underground scene during the late 1990s. Kweli had previously worked with rapper Mos Def as the duo Black Star, and Hi-Tek had served as producer on the duo's debut album. Produced primarily by Hi-Tek, the album is characterized by dynamic, high-tempo tracks and a Soulquarians-type neo soul sound. It showcases Kweli's rapping and features themes of revolutionary mentality, love, the state of hip hop, and modern African-American culture. Upon its release, Train of Thought achieved moderate sales success and received critical acclaim from music critics. Train of Thought is now considered a classic album, and one of Kweli's best works.

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Late Registration


Kanye West • 2005 • 21 Songs

Late Registration is the second studio album by American hip hop producer and rapper Kanye West, released on August 30, 2005, by Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings. It was recorded over the course of a year in sessions held across studios in New York City and Hollywood, with West collaborating with American record producer and composer Jon Brion. The album features guest contributions from Adam Levine, Lupe Fiasco, Jamie Foxx, Common, Jay-Z, Brandy, and Nas, among others. Its production was notably more lush and elaborate than West's 2004 debut album The College Dropout, as he utilized intricate sampling methods and string orchestration with Brion. West's lyrics explore both personal and political themes, including poverty, drug trafficking, racism, healthcare, and the blood diamond trade.

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The Blueprint


Jay-Z • 2001 • 13 Songs

The Blueprint is the sixth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z, released on September 11, 2001, on Roc-A-Fella Records in the United States. Its release was set a week earlier than initially planned in order to combat bootlegging. Contrasting the radio-friendly sound of Jay-Z's previous work, The Blueprint features soul-based sampling and production handled primarily by Kanye West, Just Blaze and Bink, as well as Timbaland, Trackmasters and Eminem, who also contributes the album's sole guest verse. The album is also famous for both its producers Kanye West and Just Blaze's breakouts as major producers. Kanye West produced 5 of the 13 tracks on the album, including the song "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and the controversial track which included diss lyrics aimed at rappers Nas and Prodigy, "Takeover" while Just Blaze produced 3 tracks including "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Song Cry", and "U Don't Know", in addition produced the hidden bonus track "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)". Upon its release, The Blueprint received universal acclaim, with critics praising Jay-Z's lyricism and the production. It is considered one of Jay-Z's best albums and has also been labeled as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

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Be


Common • 2005 • 11 Songs

Be is the sixth studio album by American rapper Common, released May 24, 2005 on GOOD Music and Geffen Records. Primarily produced by hip hop artist Kanye West, the album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart with 185,000 copies sold in its first week. It is Common's second album to sell over 500,000 copies (over 800,000 copies sold) and was certified gold by the RIAA. Be was also a critical success, receiving acclaim and accolades from several critics and music publications. The album received a perfect "XXL" rating from hip hop publication XXL.

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Graduation


Kanye West • 2007 • 13 Songs

Graduation is the third studio album by American hip hop recording artist and record producer Kanye West. It was released on September 11, 2007, by Roc-A-Fella Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2005 to 2007 at Chung King Studios and Sony Music Studios in New York City and at Chalice Studios and The Record Plant in Los Angeles. It was primarily produced by West himself, with significant contributions from DJ Toomp, as well as Mike Dean, Nottz, Brian "All Day" Miller, Eric Hudson, Warryn Campbell, Gee Roberson, Plain Pat and Jon Brion. It features guest contributions from artists, including Mos Def, Dwele, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, DJ Premier and Chris Martin of Coldplay. The album's cover artwork was designed by Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami.

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The Eminem Show


Eminem • 2002 • 20 Songs

The Eminem Show is the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 21, 2002 by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. The Eminem Show includes the commercially successful singles "Without Me", "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Superman", and "Sing for the Moment". At the 2003 Grammy Awards it was nominated for Album of the Year and became Eminem's third record in four years to win the award for Best Rap Album. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified ten-times-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, making it Eminem's second album to receive a Diamond certification in the United States.

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Tha Carter III


Lil Wayne • 2008 • 16 Songs

Tha Carter III is the sixth studio album by American rapper Lil Wayne, released on June 10, 2008, by Cash Money and Universal Motown. It follows a long string of mixtape releases and guest appearances on other hip hop and R&B artists records, helping to increase his exposure in the mainstream. The album's cover art features a baby picture of Wayne and is similar to covers of hip hop albums such as Nas's Illmatic (1994) and Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die (1994). Amid release delays and leaks, Tha Carter III became one of the most anticipated releases of 2008.

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The Minstrel Show


Little Brother • 2005 • 17 Songs

The Minstrel Show is the second studio album by hip hop trio Little Brother. It followed the critical success of their 2003 debut, The Listening. The album was highly anticipated and touted as a probable breakthrough for the group, even before its release. The title is a reference to the minstrel shows that were popular in the United States during the 19th century. The album has a running concept based on a fictional television network called "UBN" (U Black Niggas Network), which is a satire of stereotypical programs and advertisements for African Americans. For example, on "Cheatin", Phonte (performing under his alter-ego "Percy Miracles"), spoofs the over-dramatic R&B sagas performed by singers such as R. Kelly and Ronald Isley. Many of the skits contain tongue-in-cheek references to black pop-culture in the United States.

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Man on the Moon: The End of Day


Kid Cudi • 2009 • 15 Songs

Man on the Moon: The End of Day is the debut studio album by American hip hop recording artist Kid Cudi, released on September 15, 2009, by Dream On, GOOD Music and Universal Motown. A concept album, narrated by fellow American rapper Common, it follows the release of his first mixtape A Kid Named Cudi (2008). Production for the album took place during 2007 to 2009 and was handled by several record producers, including Cudi, Kanye West, Emile Haynie, Plain Pat, No I.D., Dot da Genius and Jeff Bhasker, among others.

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Speakerboxxx/The Love Below


Outkast • 2003 • 40 Songs

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the fifth studio album by American hip hop duo OutKast. It was released on September 23, 2003, by LaFace Records. Issued as a double album, its playtime of more than two hours is distributed over solo albums from each of the group's members. Big Boi's Speakerboxxx is a Southern hip hop album with a P-Funk influence, while André 3000's The Love Below features psychedelic, pop, funk, electro, and jazz styles. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below received widespread acclaim from music critics, who praised the consistency of Big Boi's Speakerboxxx and the eclectic musical style of André 3000's The Love Below. The album was supported with the hit singles "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move", which both reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and the top five hit "Roses". Speakerboxxx/The Love Below has been certified diamond and 11 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping more than 11 million units.

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Kanye West is a rapper from Chicago


Kanye Omari West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 8, 1977. He left college to pursue a musical career, producing tracks for Jay-Z while polishing his demo. He released The College Dropout in 2004. It sold 2.6 million copies and won Best Rap Album. His follow-up releases have been equally successful and West has become a celebrity famous for his outrageous and entertaining statements.

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Eminem is a rapper from Detroit


Born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri, rap musician Eminem had a turbulent childhood. He released The Slim Shady LP in early 1999, and the album went multi-platinum, garnering Eminem two Grammy Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards. In 2000, the rapper released The Marshall Mathers LP, which was noted as the fastest-selling album in rap history. More recently, in 2010, Eminem released the Grammy-winning album Recovery, a highly autobiographical attempt to come to terms with his struggles with addiction and experience with rehabilitation. Eminem plans to release his eighth album, MMLP2, in 2013.

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Jay-Z is a rapper from Brooklyn


Born Shawn Corey Carter in New York City on December 4, 1969, Jay Z grew up in Brooklyn's drug-infested Marcy Projects. He used rap as an escape, appearing for the first time on Yo! MTV Raps in 1989. After selling millions of records with his Roc-a-Fella label, Jay Z created his own clothing line and founded an entertainment company. He wed popular singer and actress Beyoncé in 2008.

Albums

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Outkast is a duo from Atlanta


OutKast's blend of gritty Southern soul, fluid raps, and the low-slung funk of their Organized Noize production crew epitomized the Atlanta wing of hip-hop's rising force, the Dirty South, during the mid to late '90s. Along with Goodie Mob, OutKast took Southern hip-hop in bold and innovative directions: less reliance on aggression, more positivity and melody, thicker arrangements, and intricate lyrics. After Dré and Big Boi hit number one on the rap charts with their first single, "Player's Ball," the duo embarked on a run of platinum albums spiked with several hit singles, enjoying numerous critical accolades in addition to their commercial success.

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Lil Wayne is a rapper from New Orleans


Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American hip hop recording artist from New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1991, at the age of nine, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo The B.G.'z, alongside fellow New Orleans-based rapper Lil' Doogie. In 1996, Lil Wayne formed the southern hip hop group Hot Boys, with his Cash Money label-mates Juvenile, Young Turk and Lil' Doogie (who now goes by B.G.). Hot Boys debuted with Get It How U Live!, that same year. Most of the group's success came with their platinum-selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the 1999 single "Bling Bling". Along with being the flagship artist of Cash Money Records, Lil Wayne is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Young Money Entertainment, which he founded in 2005.

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Nas is a rapper from Brooklyn


Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (/nɑːˈsɪər/; born September 14, 1973), better known by his stage name Nas, is an American hip hop recording artist, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and sold over 25 million records worldwide since 1994. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Mass Appeal Records.

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Madvillainy


Madvillain • 2004 • 22 Songs

Madvillainy is the debut album by American hip hop duo Madvillain, a group consisting of MF DOOM (MC) and Madlib (producer). It was released on March 23, 2004 on Stones Throw Records. The album was recorded between 2002 and 2004 and was produced entirely by Madlib, with the exception of "The Illest Villains" which was produced by both Madlib and DOOM. Madlib created most of the album's instrumentals while he was in Brazil, in his hotel room, using minimal amounts of equipment. 14 months before the album was officially released, an unfinished demo of the album was stolen and leaked onto the internet. Frustrated over the leak, the duo stopped working on the album and returned to it only after they released other solo projects.

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Donuts


J Dilla • 2006 • 31 Songs

Donuts is the second and final studio album by the American hip hop producer J Dilla, released on February 7, 2006 by Stones Throw Records. It was released on the day of his 32nd birthday and three days before his death. The album itself is an instrumental hip hop album. On Metacritic, Donuts has received "universal acclaim" from critics, based on an aggregate score of 84/100 from 15 reviews. Pitchfork placed the album at number 38 on their list of the top 50 albums of 2006 and at number 66 on their list of the top 200 albums of the 2000s.

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Like Water for Chocolate


Common • 2000 • 16 Songs

Like Water for Chocolate is the fourth studio album by American hip hop rapper Common, released March 28, 2000 on MCA Records. It was a considerable critical and commercial breakthrough for Common, receiving universal acclaim from major magazine publications and selling 70,000 copies in its first week. The album was certified Gold on August 11, 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album has sold 748,000 copies by March 2005. The video for "The Light" was frequently shown on MTV, adding to Common's exposure. The album also formally marked the formation of the Soulquarians, a collective composed of ?uestlove (of The Roots), Jay Dee (formerly of Slum Village), keyboardist James Poyser, soul artist D'Angelo and bassist Pino Palladino, among numerous other collaborators. This group of musicians would also be featured on Common's next album, Electric Circus.

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The Documentary


The Game • 2005 • 18 Songs

The Documentary is the debut studio album by American rapper The Game. It was released on January 18, 2005, by Aftermath Entertainment, G-Unit Records and Interscope Records. It serves as his major-label debut, preceded by the release of his independently-released debut, Untold Story (2004). In 2001, after The Game recovered from a shooting, he began to embark his rap career. He was then discovered by Dr. Dre (who signed him to his Aftermath Entertainment label). The album includes the production from high-profile producers such as Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Scott Storch and Timbaland, among others. The album features guest appearances from 50 Cent, Eminem, Nate Dogg and Faith Evans, among others. This would be The Game's only album on Aftermath and G-Unit Records, as he left the label after a feud began to occurred between him and fellow G-Unit label-mate 50 Cent.

The College Dropout
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Stankonia
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The Marshall Mathers LP
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The Black Album
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Get Rich or Die Trying
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Stillmatic
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Train of Thought
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Late Registration
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The Blueprint 3
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Be
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Graduation
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Marshall Mathers LP
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The Carter III
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The Minstrel Show
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Man on The Moon
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Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
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Kanye West
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Eminem
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Jay-Z
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Outkast
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Lil Wanye
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Nas
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“The second verse is for my dogs working 9 to 5
That still hustle 'cause a nigga can't shine off $6.55"
-Kanye West (“We Don't Care" 2004)
Madvillany
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Donuts
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Like Water For Chocolate
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Documentary
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HUSTLER

Noun

Someone out to make money and succeed. A hustler is not lazy he's consistently out earning money. He gets the money by using his smarts and working harder than everyone out there.