1996 was a monumental year for hip-hop. The genre's crossover momentum had been building for a decade and in 1996, it hit an undeniable peak. Rappers had slowly and steadily become less wary embracing R&B and by 1996, the resistance that many rappers had shown towards R&B sounds in the early 90s had given way to unapologetic fusions the two genres from high-prile artists like the Notorious B.I.G. and LL Cool J. And in 96, there was no resistance to hip-hop stars incorporating R&B hooks into their music to rise to the top the pop charts.
But 1996 wasn't only a significant year in hip-hop because rap singles were all over pop radio; nor is the drama the East Coast/West Coast feud the only noteworthy aspect the year. 1996 saw a steady stream classic albums from some the genre's most significant artists. 2Pac became a full-blown superstar--and the genre's most tragic figure--in 1996; his status as both a hip-hop folk hero and as a confrontational rebel came to a head when he joined Death Row at the end 1995, and he capitalized on it by dropping All Eyez On Me, his most high-prile album. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, a pair female emcees that had emerged in 1995, dropped Hard Core and Ill Na Na--two highly successful albums in 96; and OutKast showed that they were one the most visionary acts in the game with their forward-pushing sophomore album, ATLiens.
But before we get ahead ourselves, go ahead and check out our list the 25 greatest albums 1996. This is a chance to celebrate all those albums and more.
Check out the 1996 albums gallery above--and if you want to revisit 1991, the classic rap albums turning 25 this year are below.