Hip Hop & Rap recommendations for Taters

There is a rather heated thread that is fairly universally bashing rap & hip hop here in the music section of the Audiogon forums.  This is a thread to search for the best that the genre has.  Please recommend artists, albums, and songs that you feel are the best that hip hop & rap have to offer.  What tracks would you recommend to someone who enjoys music, but is quite far outside of the usual listening audience for hip hop and rap?

Here is the thread that inspired this post:

So, to start it off, I'll offer up a few of my favorites.  I'll surely come up with a few more, but for now, this is where I would start.  I hope you enjoy this challenge!

- Mark


A Tribe Called Quest
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Bonita Applebum

Mos Def
Black On Both Sides
Hip Hop

Mos Def
Black On Both Sides
Ms. Fat Booty

Us 3
Hand On The Torch
It's Like That

Like Water For Chocolate
The Light

Kanye West
The College Drop Out
All Falls Down

Digable Planets
Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
Where I'm From

2 Pac
All Eyez On Me
Only God Can Judge Me


This is exactly what I was hoping for, to find people who may not find the genre in their play lists, but will have an open mind, and a bit of curiosity.  I agree, a lot of the lyrics in the genre are pretty base and vulgar, but not all.  Mos Def has a style that is fairly intense (and may not be for hip hop beginners), but his lyrics are not about gangsters and prostitutes at all.  His album "Black On Both Sides" is one of my all time favorites, and I recently bough the LP so I could play it on my higher quality analog front end over the digital.  Another group would be Digable Planets.  They focus on society at large, shy away from intense vulgarity, and use a lot of jazz and soul in their hip hop.
77jovian, I have been using YouTube to sift thru the many new releases. For instance, Rick Ross has a very nice song called "Sorry". So what I will do is pull up the full album and listen thru and see if I want to buy that album. Same with Kanye West. He has some great music which you can hear on YouTube. His "Late Registration" album is very cool. Listen thru it and see what grabs you. "Touch the sky" and "Heard em say" are on this record.
Not a perfect place to put stuff about streaming services, but Tidal is a great way to find new music, with no need to buy anything!  I just subscribed to Tidal & Roon.  All I can say is wow.  Great stuff!
Mark glad to hear you like Tidal I am a big fan myself a great place to find music, new and old. And thanks for keeping the tone and tenor of this thread upbeat and positive and about music!
"Kanye, Rick Ross, Justin Bieber, Alabama Shakes, Nicki Minaj and so many many more are making great music and yes Taters it happens to sound great on a hi-fi system"

If this is what you call great music more power to you!