10 Best Hip-Hop Albums 2006

01
of 10

#10. AZ - The Format (Quiet Money)

#10. AZ - The Format © Quiet Money.

Nothing on The Format betrays the fact that Anthony "AZ" Cruz has been around long enough to be considered a graybeard rapper; his hunger is maiden. AZ, the other senior citizen of rap from BK, showcases a multi-faceted approach to wordsmithing throughout The Format.

02
of 10

#9. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon (Epitaph)

#9. The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon © Epitaph.

We're reminded of The Coup's staunch refusal to settle for the status quo throughout Pick a Bigger Weapon. Bigger Weapon is loaded with enough politically-fused cannonballs to inject an eargasm in even the harshest Coup critic.

03
of 10

#8. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam)

#8. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come © Roc-a-Fella.

Just when you thought there was nothing left for him to prove, the self-proclaimed God MC came calling with his 11th studio album. 680,000 people responded the first week. Mixed entirely by Dr. Dre, Kingdom Come finds Hov musing over money, maturation, and MySpace.

04
of 10

#7. Rhymefest - Blue Collar (J )

#7. Rhymefest - Blue Collar © J.

Perhaps Rhymefest's biggest challenge in 2006 was being recognized for anything other than "the guy who co-wrote and won a Grammy for "Jesus Walks" with Kanye West." Eschewing thug fantasy and opting for a killer combination of wit and grit, 'Fest eventually stepped out of Ye's shadow and proved himself as one of the midwest's future greats with Blue Collar.

05
of 10

#6. T.I. - King (Atlantic)

#6. T.I. - King © Atlantic.

If you have the audacity to name your album KING, then you better drag along some balls to back up your claim. Thankfully, T.I. delivers the goods, giving each track a regal touch and handing us two of the year's best tracks: the Neptunes-blessed "Good Life" and the DJ Toomp-laced "What You Know."

06
of 10

#5. The Game - Doctor's Advocate (Geffen)

#5. The Game - Doctor's Advocate © Geffen.

Left to work on his second album without any help from erstwhile mentors Dr. Dre and 50 Cent (with Dre taking his cash cow's side in the beef), The Game invokes the biggest production that money can buy. Doctor's Advocate depicts Game as a rising star who's caught between opposing cannons and an inflated sense of loyalty.

07
of 10

#4. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury (ZLG)

#4. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury © ZLG.

Pusha T, Malice and honorary Clipse member Pharrell serve up a percolating, lilting plate of fantasy, brutal reality, and remorse. Hell Hath No Fury is brisk but bold and affords little margin for error with 12 songs that document the Clipse being remorseful, wistful, and "trill."

08
of 10

#3. Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor (Atlantic)

#3. Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor © Atlantic.

Whether he's spitting over a rock-influenced sonic or dishing social insight on a soul palette, MC Kool Nerd always has his Steve Urkel-esque eyeglasses tightly-fixated on the big picture. Meet Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor, the year's best debut by one of rap's future greats.

Individual Lists:

Ketchums (Speech Is My Hammer)

  1. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
  2. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  3. Snoop Dogg - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment
  4. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  5. The Roots - Game Theory
  6. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
  7. Busta Rhymes - The Big Bang
  8. Ludacris - Release Therapy
  9. Obie Trice - Release Therapy
  10. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come

Rodney Dugue (Fly, Black Scholar)

  1. Ghostface - Fishscale
  2. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor
  3. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  4. T.I. - KING
  5. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
  6. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
  7. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter II
  8. The Roots - Game Theory
  9. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
  10. Hi-Tek - Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip

Eskay (Nahright.com)

  1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  2. Lupe Fiasco - Food And Liquor
  3. Boot Camp - The Last Stand
  4. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
  5. AZ - The Format
  6. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  7. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter II
  8. Ghostface Killah & Trife da God - Put It on the Line
  9. Young Dro - Best Thang Smokin'
  10. Obie Trice - Second Round's on Me

Renato Pagnani: (Until The Train Stops)

  1. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  2. Sway - This Is My Demo
  3. Ghostface - Fishscale
  4. Louis Logic & J.J. Brown - Misery Loves Comedy
  5. T.I. - King
  6. The Roots - Game Theory
  7. Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo
  8. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor
  9. Subtle - For Hero: For Fool
  10. J Dilla - Donuts
09
of 10

#2. The Roots - Game Theory (Def Jam)

The Roots © Def Jam
#2. The Roots - Game Theory © Def Jam.

Themes about confusion, loss (spawned by Katrina and Jay Dee's demise), corporate woes, double standards and war are recurrent on Game Theory. It's their best longplayer since Things Fall Apart.

 

Individual Lists:

Big R (Sumish.com):

 

  1. The Roots -Game Theory
  2. Ghostface - Fishscale
  3. Kenn Starr - Starr Status
  4. Trek Life - Price I've Paid
  5. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
  6. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor
  7. Cunninlynguists - A Piece of Strange
  8. J Dilla - Donuts
  9. Panacea - Ink is My Drink
  10. Aloe Blacc - Shine Through

Rafi Kam (OhWord.com)

  1. The Roots - Game Theory
  2. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  3. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  4. K-Def - Willie Boo Boo: The Fool
  5. AZ - The Format
  6. E-40 - My Ghetto Report Card
  7. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
  8. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come
  9. Dilla - Donuts
  10. Juggaknots - Use Your Confusion

Rizoh (The Rap Up)

  1. The Roots - Game Theory
  2. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  3. Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
  4. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon
  5. K-Os - Atlantis: Hymns for Disco
  6. Cunnynlinguists - A Piece of Strange
  7. Sway - This Is My Demo
  8. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
  9. Louis Logic & JJ Brown - Misery Loves Comedy
  10. The Game - Doctor's Advocate

Ian (Notes from a Different Kitchen)

  1. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
  2. Tha Dogg Pound - Cali Iz Active
  3. Ghostface & Mick Boogie - The Broiled Salmon
  4. DJ Green Lantern - Alive on Arrival
  5. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
  6. Birdman & Lil Wayne - Like Father, Like Son
  7. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  8. T.I. - King
  9. Matthew Africa & DJ Eleven - Dirty Raps: The Best of Too $hort
  10. Jibbs - Jibbs featuring Jibbs
10
of 10

#1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale (Def Jam)

#1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale © Def Jam.

Ghostface Killah, the only rapper that can turn swine references into a hood anthem, puts the Wu on his back and returns hip-hop to its essence with Fishscale. And you wonder why everyone loves Tony Starks?

 

Individual Lists:

Joey ( Straight Bangin')

 

 

 

 

  1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  2. The Roots - Game Theory
  3. Murs & 9th Wonder - Murray's Revenge
  4. Bronze Nazareth - The Great Migration
  5. Little Brother - Separate But Equal
  6. De La Soul - Impossible Mission
  7. Dudley Perkins - Expressions (2012 A.U.)
  8. Jay Dee - Donuts
  9. AZ - The Format
  10. Rhymefest - Blue Collar

Byron Crawford ( ByronCrawford.com)

  1. Jedi Mind Tricks - Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell
  2. Diddy - Press Play
  3. 7L & Esoteric - A New Dope
  4. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
  5. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  6. Mr. Lif - Mo' Mega
  7. Juggaknots - Use Your Confusion
  8. Louis Logic & JJ Brown - Misery Loves Comedy
  9. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
  10. J Dilla - Donuts

Del F. Cowie ( Vibes and Stuff)

  1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
  2. The Roots - Game Theory
  3. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
  4. J Dilla - Donuts/The Shining
  5. Cadence Weapon - Breaking Kayfabe
  6. K-OS - Atlantis: Hymns For Disco
  7. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon
  8. More Or Les - The Truth About Rap
  9. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
  10. Murs & 9th Wonder - Murray's Revenge

Noz ( Cocaine, Blunts & Tapes)

  1. Trae - Restless
  2. TI - King
  3. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
  4. Lil Wayne & DJ Drama - Dedication 2
  5. Dogg Pound - Cali Iz Active
  6. Ghostface - Fishscale
  7. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon
  8. Project Pat - Crook By The Book
  9. Mitchy Slick - Urban Survival Syndrome