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Goodie Mob’s debut album might be the best debut in southern rap history and it represents that period in Atlanta’s history just before the cultural and aesthetic shift that defined the city after the 1996 Olympics. If OutKast were your cool cousins you’d hung out with in high school, Goodie Mob was like college “super seniors,” passing blunts while dropping knowledge in university housing.

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It’s been one year since the Queen of R&B secretly debuted her self-titled visual album fully loaded with 14 new tracks and 17 music videos igniting fans all over the world. The visual album marked the release of the creative genius’s 5th album and featured collaborations with some of the industry’s premium hit maker’s including…

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Thirty years ago Prince released what has arguably become his quintessential LP, the immaculate soundtrack album, Purple Rain. Dropped in the summer of 1984, The Purple One’s sixth album was the blockbuster that catapulted him to the forefront of pop music and culture. Purple Rain isn’t his boldest classic album (Dirty Mind), nor is his…

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It was 20 years ago today that Nas released his seminal debut album, Illlmatic. It wasn’t the huge crossover hit that, say, The Chronic or Doggystyle had been in the previous years. And it didn’t quite re-ignite the East Coast’s hardcore aesthetic, either; acts like Redman, Onyx, Das EFX, Black Moon had started doing that as early as 1992. But what Illmatic did was introduce the world to a thoughtful and gifted rhyme-writer from the Queensbridge Projects, and in doing so, it returned the traditional New York City emcee to hip-hop prominence.

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One of the most original and innovative debut albums in hip-hop history, the masterpiece from the Long Island, NY-based trio of De La Soul was a world-changing album that offered proof that hip-hop was not just machismo and aggression. At a time when hip-hop’s more “gangsta” and “political” strains were at the height of visibility, these three oddballs from the suburbs fired a shot for hip-hop nerds everywhere.

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2014 marks the 25th anniversary of De La Soul’s classic debut album 3 Feet High and Rising. In celebration of their two-and-a-half decades of groundbreaking, innovative hip-hop, the trio of Posdnous, Maseo and Dave are releasing their entire catalog for free download today (February 14th.) The downloads will be available on De La Soul’s official website.

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Kanye West’s critically-acclaimed debut album The College Dropout turned ten years old this week, and numerous media and entertainment outlets looked back on the rapper’s first project with fond memories. As for West himself, he tweeted extensively about what his first album means to him and shared his perspective on the last decade of his career.

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