Summer Beats: Classic Hip-Hop Albums of July
Greetings, hip-hop aficionados. This is Talmage, back with another exploration into the rich tapestry of hip-hop history. Today, we’re journeying through the decades, focusing on the classic hip-hop albums that dropped in July. These albums didn’t just shape the genre; they also became the soundtrack to countless summer memories.
Slim Thug’s Already Platinum (July 12, 2005)
Already Platinum, the debut album from Slim Thug, helped spearhead a commercial wave of Houston rap in the mid-2000s, leading to everyone knowing Mike Jone’s phone number. The album’s confident lyrics, catchy hooks, and production from The Neptunes made it a summer hit. Arguably the production duos peak era, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo are the real stars here. Designating this album “a classic” might be controversial. However, I purchased the incredible “Chopped & Screwed” version on vinyl for 99 cents, and it’s better than the original.
• “3 Kings ” (feat. Bun B, T.I.)
• “Click Clack” (feat. Pusha T)
• “Like a Boss”
Destiny’s Child’s The Writing’s on the Wall (July 27, 1999)
While not a hip-hop album, Destiny’s Child‘s The Writing’s on the Wall significantly impacted the music scene. The album’s R&B and hip-hop elements blended perfectly with the trio’s singing style, charm, and overall aesthetic. Tracks like “Say My Name” and “Bills, Bills, Bills” became anthems of the era. Check out the stylish music video for “Say My Name” below.
• “Say My Name”
• “Bills, Bills, Bills”
• “Bug a Boo (H-Town Screwed Mix)”
Explore more about classic 90s R&B albums.
Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly (July 15, 1997)
Missy Elliott’s debut album, Supa Dupa Fly, was a game-changer. The album catapulted Elliott to stardom with its futuristic sound and innovative music videos. Tracks like “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” and “Sock It 2 Me” showcased Elliott’s unique style and creativity, making Supa Dupa Fly a classic.
• “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
• “Sock It 2 Me”
• “Pass the Blunt” (feat. Timbaland)
Young Jeezy’s Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 (July 26, 2005)
The debut studio album from Young Jeezy, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, was a refreshing addition to the mid-2000s hip-hop scene. The album’s raw storytelling and Jeezy’s unique delivery style struck a chord with fans, leading to its commercial success. Anthems like “Soul Survivor” and “And Then What” became the soundtrack of the summer, cementing Jeezy’s place in the annals of trap muzik.
• “Trap or Die” (feat. Bun B)
• “My Hood”
• “Get Ya Mind Right”
Geto Boys’ We Can’t Be Stopped (July 1, 1991)
The Geto Boys’ third studio album, We Can’t Be Stopped is a Southern hip-hop landmark. The album’s raw and unapologetic portrayal of life in Houston’s Fifth Ward resonated with listeners, making it the group’s most successful album. The iconic cover, featuring a hospitalized Bushwick Bill, remains one of the most memorable images in hip-hop. This song is also featured in our 20 best 90s hip-hop songs list.
• “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”
• “We Can’t Be Stopped”
• “The Other Level”
Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique (July 25, 1989)
Paul’s Boutique, the second studio album by the Beastie Boys, was initially considered a commercial failure but has since been recognized as a masterpiece. The album’s innovative use of sampling and its eclectic mix of musical styles made Paul’s Boutique ahead of its time.
• “Shake Your Rump”
• “The Sound of Science”
• “Hey Ladies”
De La Soul’s Stakes is High (July 2, 1996)
Stakes is High, the fourth album from De La Soul, marked a significant shift in the group’s sound and lyrical content. The album responded to the changing landscape of hip-hop, with the group critiquing the commercialization and violence that had become prevalent in the genre. The title track, “Stakes is High,” remains one of the most potent commentaries on the state of hip-hop. Explore De La Soul’s best songs.
• “Stakes is High”
• “The Bizness” (feat. Common)
Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid in Full (July 7, 1987)
Paid in Full, the debut album from Eric B. & Rakim is one of the most influential albums in hip-hop history. Rakim’s complex lyricism and Eric B.’s innovative DJing set a new standard for the genre. The album’s title track, with its iconic “Thinking of a master plan” line, remains a staple in hip-hop culture.
• “Paid in Full”
• “I Know You Got Soul”
• “I Ain’t No Joke”
UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty (July 30, 1996)
Ridin’ Dirty, UGK’s third studio album, is a cornerstone of Southern hip-hop. Bun B and Pimp C’s lyrical prowess and unique blend of soulful beats and gritty narratives made Ridin’ Dirty a classic. The album’s influence can still be felt in the music of many Southern hip-hop artists today.
• “One Day”
• “3 in The Mornin'”
These albums, released in the heart of summer, brought the heat in more ways than one. They pushed boundaries and challenged norms. Until next time, keep the beats flowing and the rhymes sharp.
Check out our previous installments of the series: