Who Has the Best Shot at Making Hip-Hop’s Next Classic LP?

Last week while I was leading the discussions on XXL’s official Twitter (@XXLStaff), there was one very interesting moment when someone asked me which artist I believed would deliver our next hip-hop classic. I responded Kanye, but of course that’s just a (educated?) guess. You can’t really predict a classic. If you want to take it a step further, many albums that I now consider classic, I didn’t actually love on the first listen. When it comes to classic music and timeless albums I think the songs on the CD (or MP3s or cassette or however you listen to music these days) are only one part of it. To me, classics are also defined by the formative experiences that we have while listening to the music.

I remember buying Nas’ Illmatic from Nobody Beats the Wiz in Brooklyn. I got home, ripped off the packaging, threw the CD into the 5-disc changer and was disappointed when I took my first listen. For one, I had heard most of the songs on underground college radio (shout to Stretch and Bobbito). Secondly, I felt the overall vibe of the album was too mellow. Remember, this was back in 1994 and groups like Das Efx were killing it with the multi-syllabic, super fast rhyme styles. But somewhere around the time of Illmatic I discovered weed (just say no kids) and it seemed my whole life mellowed out to the tune of Nas’ debut disc. Over the coming spring weeks, songs like “The World is Yours,” “One Love” and “Memory Lane” became the soundtrack to my teenage life.

I had a similar experience with Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers. Upon first listen, the album came off very abrasive, like a punch in the face. It took a while for me to get used to that. Wu dropped when I was a freshman in high school, so there were a lot of fights back then, trying to fit in. Wu soon became the soundtrack to my youthful aggression. The fact that Jaÿ-Z (notice the old school font) didn’t include “In My Lifetime” or “Can’t Get With That” on Reasonable Doubt was hard for me to face. I loved both of those records and felt Jaÿ was switching his style up to sell records. It took me a few weeks to get over that.

Another classic album in my eyes was Young Jeezy’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101. Shit, I didn’t even give that album a spin until about a month after it dropped. I just didn’t get Jeezy until one day I heard DJ Enuff spin “Talk to Em” on Hot 97. I thought it was so dope that I immediately ran out and bought TM 101. ’Til this day “Talk to Em” remains my favorite Jeezy song.

Nowadays, maybe we’ll never get another hip-hop classic. It seems these days that everyone is too busy being critical, instead of listening, enjoying and living. Or maybe the music really does suck. What do you guys think? Who’s most likely to drop hip-hop’s next classic LP? —Rob Markman

  • http://theshogun.bandcamp.com M.Will the Shogun

    If Wiz does it right, Khalifa might be able to.
    if not Kanye West, with all these featues hes been pulling, im expecting greatness.

    • joe p

      most recent album that will be considered a classic is nas and damien marley

      • dys

        i agree album of the decade

    • OppositionC

      Y would people say lupe,kanye,Big Krit,B.O.B.,and j.cole,but wouldnt at all mention other new rappers out there with tons of talent.
      (KID CUDI)especially if your talking about on tha influence.

  • westcoastaggie

    The word classic is one of the most overused words in Hip-Hop.

    • Slim901

      cosign.

  • M. Baby!

    I thought B.O.B. should’ve been labeled a classic album…but Kanye West & Jeezy’s new album should be one for the ages.

  • http://www.arrogantempire.com Asi Frio

    I think in todays climate…in order to drop a classic you have to connect to real life situations..themed music….like Young Jeezy the Recession x6…something everyone can relate to at the time…The next classic album…i can say would come from an underground artist…too much industry pressure on mainstream artists…I wouldnt be surprised if a Big Krit or possibly Nas x Kanye West album doesnt turn out to be a classic…

    -Frio…..The Arrogant Empire

    • sb

      you are right on both points… krit stories have soul, it’s tangible,you can relate to him on so many levels..When i first heard him i thought tupac before the thug life…Krit is really good i hope he blows

  • Info by John Doe

    KANYE PROLLY WILL U KNOW DATS WHAT HE STRIVE

    FA………………….BUT I CANT EVEN FRONT

    DAT NIGGA BIG K.R.I.T. GOTTA CHANCE IF HE DO

    IT RIGHT FA REAL

    • G*SWIFT

      NIPSEY HUSSLE, BIG K.R.I.T, OR WIZ KHALIFA HAS DA HIGHEST CHANCES OF MAKIN A CLASSIC IN DA 30 OR YOUNGER AGE BRACKET ATLEAST FOR MY GENERATION BCUZ ALOT OF THESE DUDES R WACC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JiggityJonesy

    J COLLEEE

    • turnitup

      co sign

  • ohh boyy!!!

    shit lifes a bitch was a good smoke jont too and the world is yours video was just as visually stimulating as the song itself and the remix was the truth PLEASE BRING BACK THE 90′s!!!!! i dont think classics exist anymore and ahhh yes tm 101 the thing is i was sleeping on jeezy until i heard the whole cd and that jont “trap or die” whoo! i still lissen to it and ive been a jeezy fan errysince 103 is taking too long

  • turnitup

    (on the j cole prediction)

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    What’s good, Rob? I think you answered your own question: We won’t know what’s a classic immediately. We’re going to have to wait so that time will tell and ultimately judge. There are many albums that were originally disappointing (It Was Written, Wu-Tang Forever (although I loved it from day 1)) that have, in hindsight, become classics.

    On the other hand, there are albums that may be popular or given “immediate classic” status, but that don’t hold up over time. When an album drops on Tuesday, you can’t seriously start calling it a classic before the weekend starts. Give it time. Is Recovery a classic? Probably not, but give it time. It’s still #1 on the charts so unbiased objectivity is nearly impossible at this point.

    Furthermore, let’s not forget that classics are subjective. While there are certain that are basically undeniable (Illmatic), there are others that are arguable, if not outright polarizing. Personally, I consider American Gangster a classic, but know many people that disagree. The same is true with Graduation…I think that album is stronger and tighter (editing-wise) than either of Kanye’s first two albums. Yeah, I said it.

    If I’m going to answer the question, I’m going to have to hedge my bets and pick Kanye, Lupe and Eminem.

    I was going to say Skyzoo but, unfortunately, not enough people know him. If an artist makes a classic and no one hears it, is it still a classic?

    • jburg

      GOOD shit. Nigga you need your own blog. No homo just being real. Graduation is a classic, I think 808 was too. I think Recovery will grow to be a classic in alot of people’s eyes. Too much hatred at his sales right now for people to really listen and see that lyrically he was on point with this album. I was listening to American Gangster the other day, the first thought that came to my head was that this was a classic album from Jay-Z that no one will remember or mention. That cd is a great listen. With the current state of hip hop and the “fans” that are currently supporting bullshit Souja Boy may make the next “classic” in the eyes of some of these dummies that can’t tell the difference. From a standpoint of a 80s baby I would agree with you that Kanye, Em, or Lupe could make the next classic. I would say the likes of B.O.B or someone similar but I would put my stock in someone that has already had a classic or something pretty close.

      • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

        Thank you, sir! Appreciate it…

    • oskamadison

      @ Pierzy
      c/s your thoughts on American Gangster. I would evn go so far to say that other than Reasonable Doubt, AG is his best work beginning to end, and that includes The (original) Blueprint and The Black Album. Graduation, as well, is ‘Ye’s tightest joint lyrically. As far as the next classic, it would be nice to see J. Cole do it.

  • W. J. Rice

    the word classic has lost it’s true meaning. Game changers are classics: 36 Chambers, Cuban Linx, Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, Marshall Mathers LP, the Chronic, Doggystyle, the Blueprint, Aquemini, etc.

    There hasn’t been a game changing classic album in at least 5 years if not nearly 10

    Cuban Linx 2, Adv of Bobby Ray, Thug Motivation, all of Kanye’s, the Fix, tha Carter III, etc have been dope albums and you could argue they’re near classics…except I wouldn’t say Bobby Ray and Thug Motivation are not near classics but they’re great albums

  • http://www.thehoodnerd.com thehoodnerd

    The word classic is one of the most overused words in Hip-Hop.

    ============================================

    true. but i’d predict j. cole could possibly produce a classic

  • Donte

    shit imma have to say kanye he 3 for 4…..and im not counting guaduation…drunk and hot girls fuck that shit up but…..its just so many albums that we that we dont credit like camp lo’s first one pete rock and cl smooths first one and it makes me mad but there r some that do just get 2 much credit that r really not good(one album in particular but i wud get bash if i said what its is but ill said this….it was a wutang solo lol) but shit thats y 4 that past 3 months i just been blantly honest been going over a alot of hip-hiop and another other kinds of music to find out whats classic and whats not…….and all thoses cds in that box up there r not classics 3 of those shud be out of there

  • classic

    nas & damian marley – distant relitives.

    • PeRs_1

      Feel ya on that one! That shit was nice…

  • Anonymous

    idk the recession when i think about it mightve been a classic production plus subject of matter plus ppl sleep on jeezys rhymes if it aint outkast yall just think its southern mumbo jumbo please dont 4get scarface “the diary” please dont 4get ugk “ridin dirty” and im still tryna figure out how was “it was written” soo bad it wasnt illmatic but a good ass cd tho and need i say it “creepin on ah come up” yeah i know it was alot of bone haters back in the day but i hear teenagers till this day lissening to that cd but ppl have their own criteria of what is classic but you got the ones thats without question like the chronic ,36 chambers’ illmatic,

  • jbfam

    tm 101 was real big down south it made alot noise so i would consider that a classic in the past five years probably that been the last

  • deezy

    Sir Luscious Left Foot
    nuff said

  • og bobby j

    YAOWA………….

  • sean

    I think j coles maybe the one get that classic
    Just by the fact he is not going in the path of what everyone else is doing with 10 features and all the hot producer but
    he going back to the days of just few producer and maybe one of 2 feat on the album, that with his lyrical dept could lead on that path

  • Kingroy

    Ain’t gone lie, J.Cole is on my radar for classic droppin’

  • mac

    yea sir lucious was sick. next up classic i wouldn’t be suprised by kanye, but ima go out and say t.i. could do it too. and if we dont get one in thext five years maybe it will be detox

  • mr. rager FTW

    Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon: The End of Day=modern day classic…not one ‘bad’ song, a few features but not too many that took away from him, and completely relatable

  • No Name

    J. Cole is definitely up there.

  • KS

    J. Cole definitely has the potential to make a classic album. His lyrical content is personal, timeless, and relatable

  • gaddic

    Cole World should be dope as hell
    Classic? i doubt it but the kid is dope

  • ATI

    B.o.B.’s album a classic? lmfao.

    • yoprince

      c/s

  • Flipped

    Au contraire nigga, I am here cause I earned the shit
    By ridin out, when niggaz had learner’s permit
    We bring the knives out, or we let them burners spit
    I bring them pies out if niggaz wanna burn the strip
    Bring your rides out, bring your buggy eyes out, turn your 6
    I laid back in the Maebach
    Nigga this the payback, I know you bitch niggaz from way back
    Niggaz wanna clown but the pound- don’t play dat
    Get yourself found, drowned, where the lake at
    Run up on ‘em +Notoriously+, “Take that!” (take that)
    And then we comin where your wake at
    Eight maniac cats strapped with gats, you can hate that
    Face facts, fake rap cats
    can’t take back what I took back to the Brook’, look

  • Flipped

    Au contraire nigga, I am here cause I earned the shit
    By ridin out, when niggaz had learner’s permit
    We bring the knives out, or we let them burners spit
    I bring them pies out if niggaz wanna burn the strip
    Bring your rides out, bring your buggy eyes out, turn your 6
    I laid back in the Maebach
    Nigga this the payback, I know you bitch niggaz from way back
    Niggaz wanna clown but the pound- don’t play dat
    Get yourself found, drowned, where the lake at
    Run up on ‘em +Notoriously+, “Take that!” (take that)
    And then we comin where your wake at
    Eight maniac cats strapped with gats, you can hate that
    Face facts, fake rap cats
    can’t take back what I took back to the Brook’, look…

  • Flipped

    Yeah, I get it down – anxiously the public can’t wait
    Niggaz had to have it way before it’s release date
    Jigga get irate, press get it fucked up
    Took me one point eight but I had to get it straight
    Get the CD, twelve inch vinyl, get the tape
    Jigga give out food for thought dog, get a plate
    I get it down, get it krunk when I get in the state of mind
    that what’s mine is mine, nobody get to take
    I don’t bend, break, fold, scratch, go down
    My mental rolodex see these words? I just don’t know
    I know stress, drama, niggaz upsettin my mama
    Arrested, put in the lineup, tryin to put dents in my armor
    But I’m a survivor, plus I’m liver than most
    Out on bail, fifty thou’, still ridin with toast
    I ain’t tryin to collide with folk,
    but I don’t want folk takin Jigga for joke
    I guess you niggaz just woke – good morning!

  • ff1one@yahoo.co

    j. cole or ye

  • jusadream

    sean price
    mic tyson will be a classic album
    boot camp is the last real hip hop label!
    young jeezy is the worst,whoever put that nigga name and the word classic together is a fucking idiot..the man is not rapper ,
    or a mc,….his a drug dealer with a deal.
    u nigga know nothing about hip-hop…

    Sean Price is top 5

  • El Tico Loco

    I think some people here are picking or predicting best sellers as opposed to classics. J Cole and Wiz will drop classics IF they play their cards right.

  • will

    every album kanye does is a classic and expect nothing less but that aside Curren$y or Wiz or Big Krit in that order

  • will

    Curren$y, Wiz or Big Krit

  • nunya

    Without a doubt it’s gonna be New Mexico artist R.D. PEOPLES (google it)…He already has a project that out that is ridiculous, and his following is enormous, and he does it at home on a laptop in a spare closet.

    Crazy, this fool is blowing up without any kind of finance or co-sign…and from a market pretty much non-existent.

    He’s like a Eminem, Immortal Technique, Outkast, Jay-Z melting pot.

    Wiz won’t make a classic album. A classic song maybe. Kid Cudi could do it too. Kanye’s next album might be classic.

    • Triple T Virus

      You may be right, I don’t know of anyone at the level he is with the following he has. I don’t dig him that much…but he’s got some crazy vocabulary.

      I think Kanye’s next album will be pretty epic. Or Nicki Minaj.

  • zayzkidd

    In my opinion, the next classic is gon come from some cats that we never heard of because obviously, these cats like Kanye have been in the game for a nice minute and if they didn’t drop a classic yet, it’s just not in em to do it.

    Albums I consider classics: The Diary, Doggystyle (Snoop), Chronic (Dre), Blueprint (Jay Z), Resurrection (Ghettoboys), On Top of The World (Eightball and MJG), It Was Written (Nas), Eternal 1999 (Bone), and probably a few that I forgot.

  • Thompson

    J. Cole

    Who da fuck is R.D. Peoples?

    • LordStuff

      @ Thompson
      Albuquerque MC. He is pretty dope. He has like 5 projects out, according to Facebook Fan Page. I heard him, but I didn’t know how big he was until just now looking at his Myspace. He’s on Coast2Coast mixtapes, too. He don’t even have an official album out, but props for his grind. That shit is pretty wild, doesn’t even have an unemployment check.

      Anyway, J. Cole I think will drop the ball on some concepts and punchlines. I too think Kanye’s next shit will be dope…and if Eminem does another album it will be remarkable.

      I definitely agree about Kid Cudi’s potential. We will see, he could end up sounding the exact same as the last though.

      @Virus, you say Nicki Minaj…don’t think so. I think what you mean is she will sell a lot of records, she def won’t have a classic album.

      I think Carter IV will be something pretty ill….

      I agree with some, it will be someone not big yet…man, listening to these jams on his profile; rd’s gonna make an impact if he don’t let up.

      • Thompson

        Yeah I looked up youtube anything with his name has thousands of views, and not just on his channel and not just in the U.S. This some crazy shit…idk how I never heard this nigga. Is he black or mexican?

        Fuck you all J. COLE ALL THE WAY!!!! Shiz, the warm-up was a classic.

  • Teddy

    stop it. J. Cole hands down

  • Anonymous

    @ Triple T Virus

    Nicki Minaj ? Classic ??

    NEVER !
    She Cant Drop A Classic, She’s Too Mainstream

    Oh Yea And Drake’s Album Wasnt A Classic Nor Was Carter III

    • http://windowshop78.blogspot.com Ninjagaiden78

      Not for nothing, but I cannot see Nicki Minaj dropping a classic disc. I don’t think she is bad, but I don’t see that happening. As far as anyone else, the way the game is that corporations have their hands in too many artists business. They have to get that “single” to launch the album and too many times that “single” is gar-bage.” I never thought that Kanye was that great of an MC, but he is ambitious. CD was a classic off of impact, not because it is a great album. If I could pick an MC right now who had the potential, it would prob be Nas, no one else, sorry.

  • Trizzle

    I was with you until you said Jeezy’s Thug Motivation 101 was a classic. WTF. That just put a damper on the whole blog. Whatever you’re smoking, puff puff pass it along.

  • og bobby j

    the j cole dick is getting sucked super hard around here…

    • yoprince

      c/s

      he nice enough, but no personality. i listen to his tracks one time and then i have no reason to listen again.

      sometimes he provides good background music thru the Airtunes player (yea, my crib is equipped) when i’m cooking or something, and i got the itunes on shuffle. but that’s about it.

  • Chris S

    Kanye will make at least one more classic in his lifetime. that’s almost a guarentee.

    odds are Atmosphere and Lupe Fiasco will have another classic under their belt as well

  • Motor wit d@ Cam

    I gotta agree I love real life music & to me the next classic album will come from Jeezy… I mean cause comin from the back ground I came from trappin and sellin drugs and the language & codes we had to use while doin so & then to hear a REAL dude get on entire album & spit d@ fye like d@ man…. I been a Jeezy fan since he was Lil J back in dem “Come Shop Wit Me” days… I aint braggin bout my past but we use to get’em in a get’em out & jus to hear it bein tol is crazy… & like I said b4 in a past comment Jeezy is the ONLY c@ I’ve seen in the hood in a LAMBO doe’s up posted up chillin wit us… So Jizzle gets my vote all day..

  • Exhibit c

    Yall mus be stupid how da fuck can u forget Jay Electronica Abracadbra is gonna be a classic no doubt

    • Vee

      OMG I was waiting for somebody anybody to introduce this man, geesh

  • Stylistic

    JOELL ORTIZ has the best shot at making the next Hip Hop classic. He’s hands down the best lyricist in Hip Hop and the best emcee since Biggie to come out of NY! Drake got NOTHING on Joell Ortiz!

  • Stylistic

    JOELL ORTIZ…..Nuff said! Best lyricist out right now!!!!!

  • Hussle’s Way

    I’d put THE HOUSE on J.Cole. I GUARANTEE its gonna be a classic. Just watch…

  • Mikey

    How bout the Roots

    How I Got Over

  • datboyfrank305

    Ludacris- Theater Of The Mind! Luda’s verse killed jay & nas’ on “I Do It For Hip Hop” Enough Said!!

    • yoprince

      kill yourself

  • NiggaDick

    Dr. Dre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If anyone can its him and you guys fucking know it

  • Q461

    j.cole
    kanye
    drake
    lupe
    joell ortiz
    jay electronica
    wiz

    all these niggaz got potential to make a classic. It’s rare that an artist has more than one in his catalog. Them there are some cats like luda and busta who been around forever and put out countless dope albums and records, but no classic. Kinda like winning the mvp, scoring title, all star team, olympic team and never winning the nba title. All in all, I think one of these newer artists have the best chance at dropping a classic opus.

  • Justin

    To Sum It All Up, When You Hear That VOICE Speak Out Of A Million Rappers In A Mosh Pit, Get The Right Producer, “BAM” Then You Got A Classic Hip-Hop Album, Again. If A Newcomer Study How The Greats Did It That Came Before Him, They Would Know That He Had That VOICE That Spoke Through You.

  • Dub

    Starting to hate the term classic when its used in reference to hiphop, but I’ll bite… IMO, College Dropout, Blueprint, Get Rich or Die Tryin, Documentary, Marshall Mathers LP, TM101, Trap Muzik, Aquemini, and Back for the First Time are all classics that came out in the last decade. To me, all these albums were not only full of bangers, but brought a shift to the game and revolutionized how we look at the music

  • KillaManilla

    Man, Big Boi’s new album is deffinitley classic. That shit’s so underrated. Cudi’s debut was pretty dope too. I’m still jammin to those albums. People that be saying Thank Me Later is classic, I jst wanna slap em in the face.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    j. cole is obviously buildin a fan base. i agree, wiz ain’t ready yet. j. cole been getting ready. jay electronica has the potential but he just don’t have the passion.

  • Einztine

    The next to most likely drop a classic is either J. Cole (the Warm Up was the shit), Kanye (every album he has put out is a classic and he will continue to do so) and Eminem (I consider SSLP, MMLP and Recovery to be classics and he is still getting better with time).

  • Big PUsh

    Tech N9ne K.O.D.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com 615banga

    All $tar aka Starlito

    Wiz Khalifa
    and prolly J. Cole.

    Possibly T.I.’s and Jeezy new albums too

  • Anonymous

    geeze, what a horrible post to start, but people have to realize…

    j. cole- not enough commercial value to make a “classic” album

    wiz- not enough of a story teller to write a classic album

    curren$y- never will get the respect he deserves

    Kanye has already released classics and in time everyone will realize

    Eminem- First 2 albums were classics…he also changed the freestyle game and earned respect for white rappers

    Drake- Can do it…if he can find somewhere the ability to make another So Far Gone and doesnt get ruined by Weezy

    Ultimately…Kanye….the answer is Kanye

  • Eddie

    BIG PUNS Capital Punishment or NAS’ Illmatic are great examples of classics from a new artist. I’d hate to say but we will probabaly never have a clear cut unanimous or arguably classic again. Too much commercial pressure is on these artist now a days. So you cant fault the artists sometimes because to get the best push marketing it takes a major and nobody’s gonna take a risk and put thaere career on the line for a artist capable of greatness from the jump these days. Good case look at SAIGON!!! want the next classic…. THE GREATEST STORY NEVER TOLD!!!! only thing that is gonna keep that from the acclaim that Illmatic got is that it wont be released on a major if at all. Plus alot of rapers talk about how artists are messing the creative and mystique of the game up but they never name names because you know they gonna have a joint with that person to keep themselves in the light. Fans hurt hip hop because we wont support the diamonds in the rough VS. the co sign. As people we dont want to find what were interested in we want people to tell us hence the name commercial “commercialized rap”……

  • N3l

    There no such thing as a classic album in Hip-Hop no more!!!!

  • Max

    Yo, Big Boi already made the next classic. Best of the year. Done.

  • D.B.

    only classics in my opinion last ten yrs. the blueprint-jayz, tm 101-jeezy, late registration-kanye, thats it!!! its been some great ones though..speaker box/love below, summer wit miami, slaughterhouse, american gangster, young dro’s album, carter 2&3, get rich die trying, theres others but u get it!!! next to drop a classic? kanye,jeezy,dre,… new artist BIG MOOK!!! $G!!!! ABQ ARTIST FRESH OUT THE FEDS!!! NEVER EVEN HEARD OF r.d. peoples??? and i’m out here!! STOP LYING U NEED MORE PEOPLE!!!

  • moneychamp

    Shame on everyone forgetting Ready to die!! Listen to that again if it’s not in your top three all time.

    For real sir luscious left foot is the best album of the year. Why haven’t people got on this yet.
    What makes a classic is when you can play it five, ten or more years later and still love it. Illmatic, Cronic, Doggystyle, 36 chambers, Cuban links, Blueprint, Aquemini, Ready to die and Late registration there’s no question about.

    For me Infamous, Uptown Saturday night, Capital punishment and enta da stage deserve more respect.

  • adsasddassaddsadsdsadsds

    Only Jay Electronica could do it.

  • Black Benji

    Interesting thread, this is just my personal take on things, sadly having to leave out a lot of new and old rappers that could do it as well.

    1 – Obviously a brand new artist/group stands the best chance of redefining the game, with no expectations or preconceived notions on what to expect, a new artist/group has a significant advantage over experienced vets. If you find this answer cheap, just put Nas here instead.

    2 – Pharoahe Monch – Allmusic says he has, “a reputation as one of underground hip-hop’s pre-eminent lyricists, crafting intricate and intelligent raps. Kool Moe Dee ranks him at 26 in his best MCs of all time list, from his book, There’s a God on the Mic, “Pharoahe Monch is like an eloquent linguistics professor moonlighting as a rhyme serial killer terrorist, challenging the listeners’ I.Q. while daring him or her to keep up.” I think with some more commercial beats and heavy production talent behind him, he could get on the radar of chart fans while still keeping with the underground collective creating a classic album, with his narrative skills it would be a classic relevant fifty years later, making it a real classic.

    3 – Hieroglyphics – The Wu Tang Clan of the West Coast that never got its recognition, while be it a different style of lyricism they hold up quite well with the Wu in rhyme skills, with virtually no lackey or lose end to the group. While Del the Funkee Homosapien has enjoyed indie success with Gorillaz and solo work, the rest of the group and groups within have never smashed the charts with any sing song joints, Souls of Mischief only having some underground success with 93 Till Infinity. While I think their distinct formula of hip hop will never out sell other classics, their next effort would not surprise me as being a classic all around with being in the lower tier of sales as far as classics are concerned.

    4 – Common – Finally experiencing commercial success, adding acting to his résumé can only help exposure. I Used to Love H.E.R was a classic single in its own right, and since he’s developed the art of being more universal while still not making forgettable candy coated hits, “Testify” did very well on the charts and yet didn’t have the formula of the bubblegum hits surrounding it by other hip hop artists making it. I think Common can bring out an album with a multitude of memorable tracks if he put the effort and make it more appealing to a wider audience now that he has one waiting.

    5 – El-P – While Asher Roth was being shoved down everyones throat as the next great white hype, El-P was still producing and rapping as a virtual unknown. While this is the biggest darkhorse on the list, I opted not to go with him in tenth as I feel out of the list he warrants the most respect of making a classic. With production and lyrics a decade ahead of the game he’s fallen on deaf ears, even being relevant since Company Flow days. Tireless work ethic of preparing five hours before shows, running a record label to help artists grow, he’s seen all aspects of hip hop and has never gotten the love he deserves. From every album with Bigg Jus and Mr. Len, to every solo album since he’s brought fire, I have very high hopes for his next full production album.

    6 – Cam’Ron – Reforming Dipset might have been a mistake all together, Killa Cam was always the reason they existed. I like to refer Cam’Ron as having Sandbag Swag, since back in the day it seems he hasn’t taken himself or the game seriously, and thus has had fans turn their backs on him as being almost comical as Gucci Mane. He still is able to bring forth club and radio hits while staying very street, he had better lyrics coming in and then took a nap, but from the mixtapes with Vado he’s been really stepping up his pen game back to what it should and could be. At the height of making a classic he caught the short end of the stick against Jay Z and since has never had the money or power to really push a great album, instead he focused on building an underground empire that would later stab him in the back. I think Jay Z’s time is up and has never had the lyrical skills as Cam but is regarded by a lot of hip hop fans as the greatest in the game, I would think Cam’ron would find this insulting and work on a classic and stop beefing with everyone for any reason (although his “diss wars” do tend to be the most entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way.) I think he can work on the chart and street level and bring forth a classic, not this year or next though, especially if focusing on a Dipset reunion.

    7 – Kanye West – Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year’s #1 “Hottest MC in the Game.” Being a fan of the underdog I don’t want to be bias and overlook the obvious choice. Even with ridiculous stunts being pulled, people still gather to him as a person and artist. He has a great talent for knowing what will be appealing to his fans while still being innovative. With a belief so strong in his own self its very possible for him to focus all his time on creating a perfect storm for a hip hop classic which would be definitely on the upper tier of sales for classic albums, if your thing is “top sales equals top rating” then put him first on my list because he stands the best chance of making a classic on those terms.

    8 – Wu Tang Clan – Can they repeat their debut, odds are no, but odds are this supergroup has one of the best chances out of artists around of collectively creating a masterpiece before they all retire. There are some inside feuds and beefs that need to be worked out, mainly concerning Rza, but if you look at severely underrated artists like Masta Killa and maybe the most underrated Inspectah Deck, to beasts in the game like Raekwon and Ghost, to the lyrics of Gza and marketability of Meth the pieces are right there, every time they drop an album it should be a classic and it just hasn’t happened since. They need to find that spark and drive minus ODB because there is no reason they shouldn’t create a classic before they go.

    9 – Scarface – Scarface, besides being in the legendary group Geto Boys, has also been the coordinator and president of Def Jam South since 2000, where he has fostered the career of popular rapper Ludacris, whom he originally signed to the label. Despite limited commercial appeal, he remains uniquely popular amongst those in the industry, and has been described as “your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper.” He never had hyper lyricism, but he always managed to paint pictures and bring forth memorable songs. Comedian Chris Rock praised Scarface as one of the best three rappers of all time. With acclaimed success of his last mixtape turned album, I think he is bringing forth the best material he has in ages. I would love to see an old timer drop a classic out of nowhere like Krs-One or Big Daddy Kane but I don’t see it in their future, Scarface still has it and with the right producer and collaborations with talented up comers and maybe some older legends I could see him dropping a masterpiece out of the blue.

    10 – Mysonne – With a Tupac realness and appeal to him, he was set to blow and then was convicted on two counts of armed robbery and handed a seven-to-14-year sentence. Still young enough in the game coming out of prison he has already started making a name for himself again to the new school of rap fans. With proper backing he could drop really hot albums in the future, with potential of making a classic and becoming a classic himself. He has the “it” factor with lyrics and looks. If he stays unsigned and making mixtapes and low budget youtube-videos he will probably end up washed up in a few years, could go either way which is a shame.

  • barry de vries

    KMD for sure!

  • sel prete

    great list benji I especially like your mysonne pick that was intriguing, i could see that happening, have you seen his hiphopunlocked interviews? the man speaks volumes of realness

  • Glen T.

    all jokes aside I cold def. see cam’ron putting together an epic album

  • LouderThanABomb91

    There hasn’t been a 5 star classic hip hop album since Scarface – The Fix

  • Mirce de Moz

    connected by foreign exchange (nicolay and phonte) is a classic album to me. People are sleeping on these guys…

  • BeerGangsta

    XXL don’t know shit about Classic music. Bun B CD was a Classic. Eight Ball,MJG CD was a Classic. XXL are dum and stupid. Let’s here ya’ll make a CD. SO I can give that wack shit M LOL. Nas will have the next Classic CD!!

  • Anonymous

    THE NEXT HIP HOP CLASSIC WILL COME FROM DETROIT!

  • CLASSIC SOUNDS

    DETROIT GOT IT! ELZHI, DANNY BROWN, NICK SPEED, EMINEM, BLACK MILK, ROYCE 5’9, MAGESTIK LEGEND AND BIG SEAN!

  • J B

    Motown, The Sound Of Young America!

  • kenny

    SOUTHERNPLAYERLISTICADILLAC MUSIK , THE B.COMING , THE DOCUMENTARY , FOOD AND LIQUOR, RHYTYMALISM, BLACK ROSES ,STREET HOP , DOGG FOOD. BLACK ALBUM YOU NEED TO DO ANOTHER RETROSPECTIVE XXL LIST .

  • TT Trudel

    oddly enough i think killa cam isnt that far off of a pick

  • http://coco197ormazd@m.facebook.com Myddle

    My top 3 are:

    J. Cole

    Kanye West

    Killer Mike

  • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

    I ain’t seen one person mention Roc Marciano, ya’ll buggin. Honestly IMO, he already dropped a classic album with ‘Rocberg’ but he still got some in him to put out another banger.

    And if you don’t know who I’m talking about, google him!

    I have to go with J.Cole for classic album status as well as Lupe.

  • flavorblade@gmail.com

    First I look for classic singles. The last classic single was fairly recent – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind.” Drake’s first single with Trey Songz “Successful” maybe a classic. Everything else he’s made is like a lessor version of that.

  • Lurigancho

    i dont want to start a wave of hate replies but listening to all of j coles stuff hes trying a unique sound and all but his lyrics are actually very simplistic and his delivery isnt even that great i cant imagine him ever making even a decent album sorry

  • Anonymous

    i agree CAM’RON (KILLA) probably could pullit off!

  • Massy 8ball

    i think killa cam is a slick pick wouldnt have thought of him right away but he def could do it

  • JustKenny

    Royce Da 5’9″
    Joell Ortiz
    J. Cole

    • Kenny Russell

      Killer Mike

  • smizz

    Joe Budden?

  • kedordu

    crime pays the whole set up to the album reelase was a classic . unfortunately thealbum was mixtape material . if he promoted it as such it woulda been a classic newyork mixtape .i dnno how can say he has the best shot when hes beenmoving away from the classic potential since S.D.E . he does have many classic moments and if u are doing GOAT based on influence i think hes top 6 from the 90s era (tupac , jayz ,nas, mase, camron,kurupt snoop was too unique to be copied..just like biggie)

  • frize-o

    i agree but if you read he said not in the next two years, i think cam’ron definitely has the experience, swagger/appeal, lyrics, and ear for sound to create a classic somewhere down the road, i also like the mysonne pick i dont know how he hasnt gotten a deal yet, its like he said even in ny they play south tracks nobody wants to give a ny rapper a chance anymore its terrible

  • Mark

    ILLUS is the man right now. All these other cats are just clones and watered down copies. ILLUS is coming original and fresh and writes incredible hard hitting dope ass original songs that are timeless. If you haven’t checked that Feel Good Music album yet you are missing out.

  • ryzin starr

    cam definitely

  • Kendry

    Its funny everyone now switched to Cam’Ron but you know what, let the veteran do it, I think its in him.

  • satin sheet spyz

    Killa Cam is going to make a classic, if you read xxl blogs Cam, make it happen.

  • Enthusie Ish

    Jeru the Damaja and Premier will reunite to create a masterpiece

  • JawnDeere

    wtf is up with J-Cole drops, his shit is far from banging, ortiz is a nice pick so is mysonne but j-cole is like drake dropping a classic aint happening fred the godson has tighter lines, i fucks with killa i could see that

  • WEEBIE

    HIRE BETTER WRITERS

  • kedordu

    AND THE NEXT CLASSIC WILL COME FROM DETROIT OR CHICAGO . LUPE OR ELZHI