1. Illmatic, Nas
You didn't expect a troll here, did you? Hip-hop’s holy grail, Illmatic, is the perfect mix of beats, rhymes, sequencing, and duration. Nas’ gift hasn’t proved to be his curse, either, as he’s gone on to drop albums that don’t compare to, but branch out from his fertile beginning. Anybody wishing for another Illmatic in 2014 should probably have a Coke and a smile. If this list has taught you anything, it’s that rap’s history is deeper than you might think. We can look behind us to inform our future, but if you want old shit, it’s there.