13. READY TO DIE (1994)
Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.
Production: Sean “Puffy” Combs, Easy Mo Bee, Bluez Brothers, DJ Premier
Acclaim: Biggie’s maiden LP is the perfect mix of rugged raps and radio royalty grooves with charm, humor, creativity and cold-blooded themes throughout.
Peak moment: Puff futilely talking his protege off the ledge in the album’s outro, an eerie suicide note-in-song that climaxes with a gunshot and 300-plus pounds of Brooklyn’s finest hitting the deck. (“Suicidal Thoughts”)