I thought Electric Circus did some interesting stuff musically but it was lyrically weak for Com. And I'm a lyrics guy. Com got back to real writing with Be and Kanye made some beautiful music for him.
Ragnar: Two more I forgot...Dr. Octagon and the great, classic Wolf In Sheep's Clothing. Man, I played the hell out of that tape. (Yeah, I said it...tape.) To this day, if I'm in a hip hop club and they play The Choice Is Yours, the dance floor combusts. Same with the DOC. That accident was a damn shame. I wonder sometimes where his rhyming career would be had he not gotten into that wreck.
Great additions, Dvontu. I stopped listening to commercial radio a few years ago so I often don't know what's getting spin these days. But once in awhile I'll turn on the local hip hop station and get blasted by something terrible. KDAY (the classic AM hip hopstation from the 80s) came back in FM last year playing all old school hip hop and, man! That was good. I haven't listened in awhile (I just get so sick of commercials...) but I hope it's doing okay. Anyway...I think hip hop's doing fine. Mainstream hip hop kinda blows right now, but on the whole there are still a gazillion talented cats out there making great music (whether mainstream or underground). With a little searching, the gems surface.
T-bone: I feel that out of some of the artists you listed, their first albums were far superior. For example:
X to the Z's first is still his best with amazing and underrated beats by the great Sir Jinx
(part of the Ice Cube threesome CIA and producer on his Death Certificate).
What is it about being morbidly fat and being an incredible mc?
Sonically, this is Busta's best. The beats were bizarre and cool and his rhyming was
still sort of LONS style turned up to 11. I wore this cd out.
But you're dead-on about Mobb Deep. Mostly because of how good Shook Ones Pt. II is. Eminem's first two major label albums are definitely his best. Out and out classics.
Some more from me, also listing my Wu favorites:
I bet NOBODY here heard this album. It's so good, it must be mentioned. I'm into concept
albums and this one takes Masta Ace on a journey to a hip hop trade school. Guest
stars MC Paul Barman as his dorm roommate. His newer underground
stuff is nothing like Sittin' On Chrome (itself a bit of a classic) but it's still worth a listen.
And while we're at it...
A bit of what we see in his new stuff comes up on this cruise night classic. There's a
running thread with Ace showing around his west coast cousin around his hood.
I haven't heard their older records yet but I bet they're just as good. This has instant
classic written all over it. "Produced by Lois and Carmen Denominator."