For decades East Coast rappers have made major contributions in Hip Hop. From living legends like Jay Z and Nas to classic groups like A Tribe Called Quest and The Fugees; East Coast MC’s deliver a unique style and sound to the game.
Perhaps it’s the hard core rhymes, swift flows, and heavy-bass tracks that distinguish them from their West Coast and Southern counterparts—even till this day.
Since we’re celebrating the year 1996, a major time in Hip Hop history, here’s a list of the top East Coast albums that changed the game 20 years ago!
Lil Kim - Hard Core
Lil Kim aka “Queen Bee” made her debut in November of ’96 with the album Hard Core. Kim’s debut is considered raunchy and gangster, featuring appearances by Puff Daddy, Biggie, Jay Z, Lil Cease and more.
Jay- Z - Reasonable Doubt
Jay-Z also made his debut in 1996 with Reasonable Doubt, which is credited as “one of the greatest rap albums” by several publications.
Nas - It Was Written
Nas’ second album It was Written debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200. Popular singles include “If I Ruled the World, “Street Dreams”, and “The Message”.
Lost Boyz - Legal Drug Money
Legal Drug Money was the debut album of the Hip Hop group Lost Boyz. The album became certified Gold by the RIAA in August of 1996.
A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes and Life
Beats, Rhymes and Life was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance by Duo or Group.
Ghostface Killah - Ironman
Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah’s solo project Ironman has been called one of the greatest Wu-Tang solo albums. It features fellow Wu-Tang members Raekwon and Cappadonna with the production of RZA.
Foxy Brown - Ill Na Na
Foxy Brown’s debut album Ill Na Na sold 109,000 copies in the first week! The album was released a week after Lil Kim’s Hard Core and features Blackstreet, Havoc, Method Man, Kid Capri and Jay Z.
The Fugees - The Score
Known for its sampled melodies and multi-genre influences, The Score is the second and final album from Hip Hop trio The Fugees. The 13-track project earned a Grammy the following year (1997) for Best Rap album.