12 Best Hip-Hop And R&B Multi-Disc Albums
Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
After speculation from several corners of the Internet thanks to a series of cryptic billboards, Drake announced that his fifth-studio album Scorpion would be a double-disc album. In total, there will be 25 songs; one album will have R&B tracks, while the other will feature ditties with a hip-hop flair.
The “I’m Upset” rapper is hardly the first musician to release a handful of songs for one complete album. In fact, the hip-hop and R&B realms have seen a plethora of critically and commercially-acclaimed multi-disc albums. Not only has the music featured on these LPs stolen the hearts of millions, these albums also placed a stamp on the cultural conversation in regard to music videos, awards show moments and more.
Will Scorpion add Drake to the list? Only time will tell. For now and in no particular order, take a trip down memory lane for some of VIBE’s best multi-disc albums throughout the years.
Tupac’s 'All Eyez On Me' (1996)
With production by Daz Dillinger, Dr. Dre, Johnny “J” and more, it’s no wonder why the LP is helmed as required listening in the hip-hop world. In 2014, the album was certified Diamond, 18 years after Shakur’s untimely death.
Essential Tracks: “California Love” “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” “How Do You Want It” “All Eyez On Me”
The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Life After Death’ (1997)
Biggie’s second and final album was released just a few weeks after his untimely death. Not only did it spawn a string of hits, three Grammy nominations, and a Diamond RIAA certification after its release, it also signaled a shift in how gangsta rap is consumed by mainstream audiences.
Essential Tracks: “What’s Beef?” “Mo Money, Mo Problems” “Hypnotize” “Ten Crack Commandments” “Sky’s The Limit” “Going Back To Cali”
Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ (1997)
Although there was limited radio airplay for the NYC group’s second studio-album, it debuted at number one with over 600,000 units sold in its first week. The Wu-Tang Clan earned the Grammy Award for “Best Rap Album” at the 1998 Grammys.
Essential Tracks: “Triumph” “Deadly Medley”
JAY-Z’s ‘The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse’ (2002)
The Jigga Man’s seventh album debuted at number one in 2002 with half-a-million albums sold in the first week. Just Blaze and frenemy Kanye West handled much of the production, and Timbaland had a hand in tracks like “What They Gonna Do” and “2 Many H**s.” The Neptunes’ influence is also sprinkled sporadically through the LP.
Essential Tracks: “03’ Bonnie & Clyde” “Excuse Me Miss”
Outkast’s ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’ (2003)
Much like Tupac’s All Eyez On Me and Biggie’s Life After Death, Outkast’s commercially and critically-successful double-disc LP was certified Diamond by the RIAA. It also broke ground as the first hip-hop album by male artists to win Album Of The Year at the Grammy Awards.
Essential Tracks: “Roses” “Flip Flop Rock” “A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre”
Nelly’s ‘Sweat/Suit’ (2004)
Sweat was intended to be the more energetic and vibrant of the two albums, while Nelly wanted Suit to be the more “grown-up and sexy.” It appears that Sweat was the more popular of the two; it was certified platinum while Suit is certified gold.
Essential Tracks: “My Place” “Grillz” “Nasty Girl”
Beyoncé’s ‘I Am...Sasha Fierce’ (2008)
In order to hone in on her softer side while also giving her magnetic stage personality “Sasha” some shine, Beyoncé released her radio-friendly third album. I Am...Sasha Fierce’s music videos made statements on their own, and the music keeps us coming back even ten years later.
Essential Tracks: “Halo” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” “Sweet Dreams” “If I Were A Boy”
Vince Staples’ ‘Summertime ‘06’ (2015)
The Long Beach MC’s debut album was acclaimed by critics both for its music and smart double-disc packaging. Features on the album include Jhene Aiko, Snoh Alegra and Kilo Kish, and a heavy amount of tracks were produced by No I.D.
Essential Tracks: “Señorita” “Norf Norf”
Big K.R.I.T’s ‘4eva Is a Mighty Long Time’ (2017)
The Mississippi native gives props to his city on his first album since his departure from Def Jam. At 20 tracks, it's clear that K.R.I.T. had something to say, and people took notice.
Essential Tracks: “Confetti” "1999" "Aux Cord"
Chris Brown’s ‘Heartbreak On A Full Moon’ (2017)
Chris Brown made fans cringe when he first announced that he was releasing a 45-track album, but after listening to the new project, seemed to change their tune. Brown’s 2017 album is chock-full of club bangers, sexy ballads, and anthems.
Essential Tracks: “Tempo” “To My Bed” “So Far Away In My Mind” “Privacy”
Migos’ Culture II (2018)
While Culture II is still resonating with fans, a string of popular hits proves that the Atlanta trio and their legacy in the new wave of hip-hop will be here for years to come. Currently, the album sits at number 24 on the Billboard 200 Albums List in its 21st week on the chart.
Essential Tracks: “Narcos” “Walk It Talk It” “Motorsport” “Stir Fry”
Rae Sremmurd’s ‘SR3MM’ (2018)
SR3MM is compiled of the debut albums of The Brothers Sremmurd. Swaecation is by Swae Lee and Jxmtro is the LP by Slim Jxmmi; both showcase the talents of the siblings. SR3MM has been out for nearly two months, and debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
Essential Tracks: “Guatemala” “Powerglide”