Hip hop is a genre that has been around for decades, but there’s something special about the “golden age” of the 1990s. It was a time when artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Notorious B.I.G. dominated the charts, and their influence is still felt today. However, there were also many underrated albums released during this time that didn’t get the attention they deserved. In this article, we’re going to shine a light on 5 hip hop albums that are hidden gems from the golden age of hip hop.
1. Group Home – Livin’ Proof (1995)
Group Home is a duo consisting of rappers Lil Dap and Melachi the Nutcracker, both of whom were affiliated with Gang Starr. Despite being produced by DJ Premier, Livin’ Proof didn’t receive the recognition it deserved upon release. The album is full of gritty East Coast boom bap beats and lyrics about street life in Brooklyn. While the album may not have had any commercial hits, tracks like “Supa Star” and “Suspended in Time” are still considered underground classics.
2. Gravediggaz – 6 Feet Deep (1994)
Gravediggaz was a supergroup consisting of rappers RZA, Prince Paul, Frukwan, and Too Poetic (who passed away shortly after the album’s release). The group’s horror-core style and dark beats made them stand out from other hip hop acts at the time. 6 Feet Deep, their debut album, features collaborations with Wu-Tang Clan members and goes hard from start to finish. The album was ahead of its time and influenced many rappers who came after Gravediggaz.
3. Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997)
Company Flow was a group made up of rappers El-P and Bigg Jus and DJ Mr. Len. Their debut album, Funcrusher Plus, was released on independent label Rawkus Records and became a cult classic. The album’s unconventional production and abstract lyrics were a departure from the mainstream sound of the time. Tracks like “8 Steps to Perfection” and “Blind” showcased the group’s unique style, which continues to inspire underground hip hop artists to this day.
4. The Nonce – World Ultimate (1995)
The Nonce was a duo consisting of rappers Yusef Afloat and Nouka Basetype. They were part of the Project Blowed collective in Los Angeles, which was known for its experimental hip hop scene. World Ultimate is the group’s only album, but it’s a masterpiece. The album features jazz-influenced beats and conscious rhymes that address social issues. The Nonce’s laid-back flow and storytelling ability make them stand out from other West Coast rappers of the time.
5. Pete Rock – Soul Survivor (1998)
Pete Rock is a legendary producer known for his work with CL Smooth and Nas. Soul Survivor is Pete Rock’s first solo album, and it’s an underrated gem. The album features collaborations with rappers like Big Pun, Kool G Rap, and Black Thought. Pete Rock’s signature soulful production is on full display here, and the album is a must-listen for any hip hop fan.
These 5 albums may not have received the recognition they deserved upon release, but they are all classics in their own right. If you’re a fan of 90s hip hop or just looking for something new to listen to, give these albums a chance. They represent a time when hip hop was at its most creative and groundbreaking. So put on your headphones, turn up the volume, and enjoy these underrated gems from the golden age of hip hop.
And with that in mind, don’t forget to let us know your favorite underrated hip hop albums from the golden era in the comments below!