C. Vernon Coleman II

10 Dope Rap Acts Who Could Not Top Their Freshman Albums


It’s hard to top a classic album, even if that classic was the artist’s debut. It almost seems like a given that, as time progresses, an artist would get better at their craft and be able to put out better and better material. However, for whatever reason, that is rarely the case.

Even with some of the rap game’s most heralded artists: just ask Nas, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and several other rappers who have yet to surpass the critical acclaim they received on albums they dropped when they were still wet behind the ears in the game. Record sales aside, here are 10 exceptional rap acts who tried and tried, but couldn’t top the magic of their first LPs.

Feel free to tell us who we missed, or how wrong you think we are.




• The Awkward Moments Between Jay-Z And Freeway At The Made In America Press Conference [PHOTOS]

• Waka Flocka Flame Covers 5th Anniversary Issue Of Urban Ink Magazine [PHOTOS]

• Behind The Scenes Of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” Video [PHOTOS]

• 7 Female Rap Beefs (That Didn’t Involve Lil Kim)

• Kanye West & Kim Kardashian Courtside At Lakers vs. Nuggets Game [PHOTOS]

• Lark Voorhies (“Lisa Turtle” From Saved By The Bell) Fell Off [VIDEO/PHOTOS]

• 10 Reasons Why Justin Bieber Has Earned His Hood Pass

• A Bad Azz Timeline: How Lil Boosie Ended Up On Trial For Murder

Photo: Lisa Leone

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Comment Comments: 29 Tags Tags: jay-z, 50 cent, nas, young jeezy, dr. dre, raekwon

More Stories From Hip-Hop Wired

Leave a Comment

  • mfmusic

    Supreme Clientele > Ironman.  Not by much, but by enough that Ghostface shouldn’t be on this list.

    • Ronnie Smmmoke

       I agree…Supreme Clientele topped Ironman and Starks’ll tell you that himself.
      Reasonable Doubt and Cuban Linx I???? Waaaaaay better than their follow-ups although the follow ups were good too.
      I’d put Eric B. and Rakim, Pharoah Monche, Mos Def and EPMD on this list too.

      • Dahead

        idk about Mos. Don’t get me wrong Black on Both Sides, was a heavyweight, but I’d have to give it and The Ecstatic a tie.

      • Ronnie Smmmoke

        Oh make no mistake I take nothing away from Ecstatic but I just think it’s hard to improve on perfection.
        One brotha!

    • Ian

      Completely agree!

  • you lost me on the last two. maybe Puff’s No Way Out should have been added.. or Mase’s Harlem World? But Reasonable Doubt and TM101 comes down solely on opinion. there are arguments for or against them both. cool list tho.

    • Johnnyquestt

       Which Jay-Z album is better than Reasonable Doubt??? Not much of a debate.  And there’s no way that TM102 or 103 can compare to 101… not even close.

      • Ducker.


    • Whojstall11


      • Dahead

        blueprint moves waaaayy more fluidly than Reasonable Doubt. Understand, I’m not discounting RD, its without a doubt a great, but when I listen to the Blueprint, I can’t find a single second that I would change. Whereas, on RD, you could have cut it down a little. Well, I will say, Lyrical Exercise was kinda meh, so yeah maybe RD was better.

  • KennyX93

    Illmatic dropped April 19, 1994. And yes I already knew that. And then second every real hip hop head knows It Was Written was just as good as Illmatic if not better. Only extreme backpackers and people who swear Illmatic is the greatest album known to man can’t get past that. By the way Hip Hop Wired no one respects your site.

    • Jslonaker45

      cosign it was written being better than illmatic. that I am had some joints too. after that, its been hit or miss for nasir. I gotta say supreme clientele was better than ironman too. and that still standing goodie mob album was better too. sue me.

    • Universe5

      It was written…better than Illmatic?…*ed lover face* “Come’on SON!!…”

  • Just Sayin

    You should have put The Game on this list. He will never make an album better than the Documentary. Most of it I agree with. Jay Z is subject to opinion. He has a couple albums some may claim to be great depending on your age and mindset.  

  • Slick

    the black album??

  • Old School Hip Hop Head

    How could you not include Wu Tang, the Pharcyde, and Cypress Hill on this list.

    • Dahead

      Labcabincalifornia>Bizarre Ride II

  • screagle101

    Twista hasn’t come close to topping Adrenaline Rush, the “Illmatic” of chicago

  • Dyoung01

    DMX-Dark and hell is hot…ridiculous!

  • Mlittle2082

    snoops Last Meal was closer to Doggystyle,than any other1,relisten(is dat a word)to it…

  • Mlittle2082

    Dat Jeezy one is kinda hard tho….

  • HH Head

    Nas had a lot classic Bozo! Uh, I hate when newbies write ignorant articles.

    • HH Head


  • Dahead

    Why does no one have the balls to admit, that even though damn near everything he drops is (good), Kanye aint never going back to College Dropout?

    • djay2

      Although the sound did change, you can’t say Kanye doesn’t improve and stretch the boundaries of Hip-Hop with every album. Production and lyrically. Besides Graduation was his best work imo.

  • Maggiewhite934

    ===blackwhiteplanet.c~0~m =====



    • Gregnice2

      Fat Joe been tryin to make another. Jealous. Ones. Envy. for the past twenty years but all he does is make a fool of himself and get ate on his own tracks by feature artist

  • Vagabond Jonzes

    Nas’ Stillmatic > > > Illmatic, Supreme Clientele > > > Ironman, and The Documentary needs to be on this list…