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The Barbershop: 2 Years of GREATNESS

It is 2011 and HIP HOP is still a global entity. You have rap groups and artists in every country that speak every language. That being said the quality of the material has deteriorated steadily. Much of what is released today that sells is a hybrid Rap/R&B that it is sometimes hard to distinguish if it is a Rap song or R&B song. The other issue that resonated is the term “classic” Most of the albums that come out now if 5-6 of the songs on album are good the album is considered very good. But the question I raise is what is the last album that came out was universally recognized as a “classic”?

There were 2 years in Hip Hop that it seemed that every album released was great and also were considered “classic”. The 2 years I speak about were 1988 and 1989. There was a diversity in Hip Hop that is lacking in today’s music. Much of what is heard (radio) and scene (video channels) is the same thing. There is a guy with a 100 tattoos (mostly on his face) using ‘auto-tune singing his own hook. The females are almost non existent in today’s Hip Hop. In the 2 years I speak of there has never been a more diverse spectrum of music all released in the same period that was so different and yet satisfied so many. Hip Hop did have other years that were very good in terms of material that was released during the same year. In 1994 Nas instant classic “Illmatic” was released.

In the 2 years that I used I may have not gotten everybody that dropped albums but the ones that I have put in the list are ALL CLASSICS and back then were INSTANT CLASSICS. We do get that every now and then but our standards are so low that if we buy an album and it has at least 6 songs on there that are good (not very good .just good) we call it a classic. For all the old-heads out there who go back that far please reminisce and enjoy. For all of those who were too young to remember how powerful these albums were please FIND THEM and listen to HIP HOP when it was diverse, fun and you could tell the difference between Rap and R&B…………..ONE  


  • Critical Beatdown-Ultramagnetic M.Cs
  • He’s the DJ. I’m the Rapper –Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
  • Long Live the Kane-Big Daddy Kane
  • Going Off-Biz Markie
  • Greatest Entertainer-Doug E Fresh
  • Power-Ice TFollow the Leader-Eric B and Rakim
  • We want Eazy-Eazy E
  • Strictly Business-EPMD
  • It takes a nation of millions…. -Public Enemy
  • Straight out the Jungle-Jungle Brothers
  • Danger Zone-Tuff Crew  


  • 3 feet high and rising –De La Soul
  • Paul’s Boutique-Beastie Boys
  • Nasty as they want to be-2 Live Crew
  • The Cactus Album-3rd Bass
  • No One can do it better-DOC
  • Straight outta Compton-NWA
  • Road to the Riches-Kool G Rap
  • Fear of a Black Planet-Public Enemy
  • 3xdope-Original Styling
  • All Hail the Queen-Queen Latifah
  • Eyes on this –M.C Lyte
  • The Ruler is Back-Slick Rick 

Honorable Mention ( A year before and a year after) 


  • Criminal Minded-Boogie Down Productions
  • Paid in Full-Eric B and Rakim
  • Rhyme  Pays-Ice T 


  • Amerikkka’s Most wanted-Ice Cube
  • Peoples Instinctive Travels..-Tribe called Quest
  • Blacks Magic-Salt and Pepa
  • Sex Packets-Digital Underground


  • vennel