nas illmatic

Hip-Hop has a handful of certified classics, from Nas' Illmatic to Dr. Dre's The Chronic, and it's the aim of every rapper to have one project that can hang amongst the undisputed best of all time. But with hip-hop existing in such a competitive arena, much of the conversation about the genre's classics come from rappers and producers bigging up their own projects and putting them alongside the heavyweights of rap music, or flat-out declaring their projects as classics before they even came out. It's become such a common line at this point that it's almost a running joke; which rapper is calling their album a classic now? As 2014 trudges through the dog days of summer and with big-name albums on the horizon, XXL pulled together 26 instances of rappers referring to their albums, or albums that they've worked on, as classics of the genre. Check 'em out and let us know how you felt about each project.

paul wall

Paul Wall

Project: Get Money, Stay True (Chopped And Screwed)
Quote: “This is another classic remix Texas album,” Paul Wall said. “Michael Watts did his thing on this album with incredible blends, cuts and scratches. Fans should look out for some surprises on the album as well.”

b.g.

B.G.

Project: Too Hood To Be Hollywood
Quote: “I was real open-minded when I made this record," B.G. told Billboard in 2007. "I’ve got one of the best A&R [reps] in the business, Jean Nelson, and we’ve come up with a vision to make a classic album that’s going to go down in the hall of fame.”

saigon

Saigon

Project: The Greatest Story Never Told
Quote: "I will say that there's not been an album in the past 20 years that is going to better than mine,” Saigon said in 2007. “My shit is better than Illmatic.”

jr writer

JR Writer

Project: Politics And Bullshit
Quote: “I got a lot to say and I stay making records,” JR said in a statement about the album. “As long as there’s an outlet and my fans keep demanding it, I’ma stay putting out classics. This is just the beginning.”

dj khaled

DJ Khaled

Project: Deeper Than Rap
Quote: "Shout out to my Def Jam team, I co-executive [produced] Deeper Than Rap [and] A&Red Deeper Than Rap,” Khaled told XXL. "Ross is one of my favorite artists as well as my friend, and that’s a classic. Rick Ross is one of the biggest rappers in the game, hands down."

Vado

Vado

Project: Collaborative album with Cam'ron
Quote: “It’s our first album and I promise it’s so much of a classic,” Vado said of the 16-track LP. “It’s like all the Boss Of All Bosses tapes put together. We hit y’all from all angles—we hit y’all from the streets, for the ladies, for the club.”

donnis

Donnis

Project: Debut Album
Quote: "[I’m] cooking up, been in the studio for the past 72 hours," Donnis told XXL in 2010. "Getting it right, you know what I mean? The big homie Needlz, Yonny, Boi-1da... We workin’. Trying to make sure people get a classic album."

Wale

Wale

Project: Ambition
Quote: “I’m just trying to make a classic album, something that you can put up there with Reasonable Doubt and all the stuff that’s blasphemous to compare your work to now,” Wale told XXL in August 2011. “Why can’t I say my album is just as good as Reasonable Doubt or I’m trying to beat Reasonable Doubt? That shit is blasphemous to say.”

gucci mane

Gucci Mane

Project: Baytl
Quote: “We got production from Zaytoven,” Gucci told XXL. “People can expect some real good music. I think people are going to be surprised. Baytl by Gucci Mane and V-Nasty album is definitely a classic album.”

Tyga

Tyga

Project: Careless World: Rise Of The Last King
Quote: “Ready for y’all to hear The album now if could its so much bullshii involved with samples and other shi,” Tyga wrote on Twitter in 2011. “I promise this album will be classic.this is my life!!! Ur gonna luv it (sic).”

big sean

Big Sean

Project: Watch The Throne
Quote: “I was in the studio with [Kanye] and Jay about four or five days ago,” Sean told XXL in February 2011. "It’s gonna be classic. I don’t think people should get thrown off by ‘H.A.M.’ No offense. I don’t know if people like it or don’t like it or whatever. A lot of people like it and a lot of people have been hating. But Jay Z and Kanye, they’re Jay Z and Kanye, so obviously they’re gonna come out with some classic shit."

50 cent

50 Cent

Project: Street King Immortal
Quote: “STREET KING IMMORTAL is going to be a classic,” ’Fif tweeted in July 2012.

t.i.

T.I.

Project: Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head
Quote: Trouble Man is coming on December 18th,” T.I. told 106 & Park. “We’ve actually set a date. I’m proud of all the material that’s on there. I think I’m gearing up to present a classic album to these people, because that’s the material they deserve, so that’s what we’re working on, classic.”

french montana

French Montana

Project: Excuse My French
Quote: "I feel like it's gonna be a classic," he told Rap-Up. "I feel like it's gonna be the best album to come out in a decade."

yo gotti

Yo Gotti

Project: I Am
Quote: "The album already crazy so far," Gotti said. "I think it’s gonna be a classic, definitely one of my best albums yet."

Big Sean

Big Sean

Project: Collaboration with Eminem
Quote: “Big Sean and Eminem, it has to be a Detroit classic," Sean told MTV. "People can expect a Detroit classic.”

Casey Veggies

Casey Veggies

Project: Debut Album
Quote: “I’m working real hard on it,” he said. “It’s going to come out the top of next year. I don’t have a title yet, but it’s going to be a classic. It’s going to be a great album.”

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

Project: E.L.E. 2
Quote: "I just think that all of the necessary ingredients that were needed to make this album classic are coming to the table, which is gonna bring a whole other dynamic, a whole other feeling," Busta told XXL. "A whole other milestone contribution to what is needed in music right now."

t.i.

T.I.

Project: Upcoming 9th LP
Quote: “All I’ma say is, it’s gonna be a motion picture, it’s gonna be a theatrical-worthy title," Tip told MTV. "Something that will definitely seem instant classic. I’m thinking something like Trap Champion, Paperwork, but whatever it is the subtitle will be The Motion Picture.”

Mike Will made it

Trinidad James

Trinidad Jame$

Project: Debut Album
Quote: “'All Gold Everything' is a place in time. It’s a classic forever, five years, 20 years, 100 years from now,” Trinidad Jame$ told Creative Loafing about his single. On his album he stated, “When you hear the album, even if it sold one copy, or five copies, and you got one of those copies, you would know this is a classic, straight up and down.”

DJ Mustard

DJ Mustard

Project: My Krazy Life
Quote: "I feel like we came together with a classic album," Mustard said about YG's My Krazy Life. "Like The Chronic, really. For sure. It’s like our generation of The Chronic, you know what I’m saying? This is Snoop and Dre all over again."

freddie gibbs

Freddie Gibbs

Project: Piñata
Quote: "I think it is a classic," Gibbs told the Village Voice. "That's the feeling I was going for when I was making it—I wasn't bothered by what everybody else was doing. Each project for me is a different time capsule of my life."

future

Future

Project: Honest
Quote: “I knew I could make hit records, but I wanted to make sure I had a complete album,” he told Metro. “And sequencing the album was a really big part of that. Honest is a timeless album. People are going to look back like, ‘Man, he had so many classics on there.”

nicki minaj

Nicki Minaj

Project: The Pink Print
Quote: "Whats next? It's just a classic album, that's all I can think about right now," Nicki said on Shade 45.

timbaland

Timbaland

Project: Opera Noir
Quote: “It's Timbaland's Chronic,” Timbaland told Revolt in May. “Dre had his Chronic. I finally made my Chronic.

Previously: 6 Classic Rap Albums With Sequels That Happened Years Later
Questlove to Teach College Course on Classic Albums at NYU
XXL Lists The Best Hip-Hop Songs And Albums Of The Last 40 Years – XXL Issue 152