DAR Hip Hop: 10 Important Albums From New Orleans Rappers

By @TrueGodImmortal

The hip hop culture in New Orleans has always been one that is full of style and flare. The artists are animated in their own right, along with their tales and stories of life in the streets and everything that surrounds them. While there have been legendary artists that came from New Orleans over the years, there are two movements that instantly come to mind when you think of New Orleans and hip hop: Cash Money and No Limit. A number of the best rappers from out of this impactful city came from under these two umbrellas at some point and made names for themselves. With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at 10 important albums from artists who come from New Orleans. Of course, this list will be Cash Money and No Limit heavy, but I attempted to keep it as balanced as possible, with only one album per artist, and their most important project IMO (not necessarily their best, but most important for whatever reason). Artists like Kevin Gates, Lil Boosie, and Webbie of course won't make this list because they are Baton Rouge artists and not New Orleans artists (just to clarify for people BEFORE they ask me why they are missing). Now, with that out of the way, let's take a look at the list.

*Juvenile- 400 Degreez (1998)

-We know that Juvenile is probably the all time GOAT from New Orleans with Wayne right there with me (or above him depending on your preference), but the legacy for Juve started with this album. Though he had already released projects before, this album would be a huge boost in popularity and success, selling over 5 million copies and catapulting Juvenile into a whole new limelight. The project was produced in full by Mannie Fresh like all the Cash Money albums were and it didn't disappoint. In addition to tracks like "Ha" and "Back That Azz Up", which were the big singles, there were tracks like "Follow Me Now", "Gone Ride With Me", "Rich Niggaz", "Juvenile On Fire", and many others that worked perfectly on this album, making it an undisputed classic and quite possibly the best album on this list.

*Lil Wayne- Tha Carter 2 (2005)

-If you had to pick out an album that's extremely important to the career of Wayne, one might look at the successful Carter 3 that sold over 3 million copies in total and still remains his biggest album, but it wasn't nearly as good as the first two editions of the Carter series. My personal favorite is the first Carter and I think that's the best album of his career, but Carter 2 was the true breakthrough project that changed perception on Wayne. It was his first project without Mannie Fresh and Wayne held his own alongside production from The Heatmakerz, The Runners, T-Mix, and a few others. Overall, the production here is the most cohesive of any Wayne album, with a lot of emphasis on soul samples and booming drums. Tracks like the classic "Tha Mobb", "Money On My Mind", "Lock And Load", "Hustler Musik", and of course "Receipt" would help shape the most well rounded album in his career. This album was nearly certified double platinum and received a ton of critical acclaim, making it easily the most important album from all perspectives for Wayne.

*Master P- Ghetto D (1997)

-There are three Master P albums that you could include on a list like this, so when I made my decision to include this one, my reasoning was clear. This is the breakthrough album for P in many ways. While he hadn't fully broke through yet with Ice Cream Man and he was already too popular with MP Tha Last Don, Ghetto D is seen by many as his greatest work and his magnum opus. Production wise, it is exactly what you would expect from a late 90's No Limit album, and lyrically of course, P is no giant, but this album works on many levels. With classics like "I Miss My Homies", "Tryin 2 Do Something", and "Make Em Say Uhh", this project flows smoothly, though my only gripe is the same as any album from No Limit: too many songs. Still, Ghetto D is very important to the New Orleans hip hop world.

*Big Tymers- I Got That Work (2000)

-Baby and Mannie Frssh were never seen as rappers or gifted artists, but they were extremely entertaining together as the Big Tymers. After their first project, they would be virtually quiet as Juve, Wayne, B.G., and the Hot Boys as a group experienced success, but that changed with the release of I Got That Work. With their popular first single leading the way, this was yet another platinum plaque for the CMR crew, and rightfully so. While no one would mistake this album for a game changer, who could deny "Get Your Roll On", "Sunday Night", "Niggas Couldn't Know", and "#1 Stunna". While I Got That Work isn't a hip hop classic, it was an entertaining album that solidified the Big Tymers right alongside the rest of the Cash Money crew.

*Mystikal- Let's Get Ready (2000)

-While Mystikal was already known and had released some classic albums and solid projects before, it would take him leaving behind No Limit Records before he reached a higher plateau and a lot of that could be attributed to his work with The Neptunes. Mystikal had a style that was sort of an acquired taste, but once you paired him with the producers of the moment, The Neptunes, alongside a few catchy hooks, he would go to another level. This album is nearly certified triple platinum, easily his biggest project. Singles like "Shake Ya Ass" and "Danger (Been So Long)" along with album tracks such as the Petey Pablo and Da Brat assisted "Come See About Me", "Family", and more makes this a very solid release, even if it isn't his greatest work. It is easily his most important.

*Curren$y- Pilot Talk (2010)

-I was never the biggest fan of his work, but to deny the impact of Curren$y is impossible. He has made a lane for himself as an independent artist and his albums have some of the best production in hip hop every time. His ear for beats is impeccable and while his rapping isn't my favorite, he does flow very smoothly and laid back on the production he utilizes. Perhaps there is no better example of that than on the first Pilot Talk, which is a series of albums that took the N.O. rapper to newer heights. With production mostly from the underrated Ski Beatz, Curren$y floats over each track with a relative ease, alongside guest features from Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Devin The Dude, Big K.R.I.T., Snoop Dogg, and many more. Songs like "The Day", "Prioritize", "Skybourne", and more help round out what I feel is still his best overall work.

*Hot Boyz- Guerrilla Warfare (1999)

-A true classic in many ways, Guerrilla Warfare was one of the most important albums of the late 90's for young True. As an avid Cash Money fan, I was definitely excited to hear this album and it didn't disappoint. Mannie Fresh would deliver on the production end of things, but what made this special was hearing the chemistry exhibited on tracks from Juvenile, Wayne, Turk, and B.G. throughout the album. Whether it was the back and forth style of "We On Fire", or the classic hit "I Need A Hot Girl" or even extremely catchy anthems like "Tuesdays and Thursdays", "Respect My Mind", and "You Dig", the Hot Boys showcased why they might be a top 5 group from the South and one of the greatest in hip hop history with this album. The biggest New Orleans group ever delivered on this project and I only wish we would have been able to get at least two more albums from these four southern legends. Still, Guerrilla Warfare is etched in music history forever.

*Soulja Slim- Give It To Em Raw (1998)

-Many people slept on Slim when he was alive, but his style was undeniable. One of the more influential artists from New Orleans and one of the most rugged and raw lyricists, Slim would deliver on his one debut album on No Limit, and I still feel this was best work. The production was the classic No Limit sound and Slim did his thing as expected with tracks like "Street Life", "At The Same Time", "Head Buster", and "Only Real Niggas" being true highlights on this album. Slim was a No Limit legend and New Orleans icon and this is the most important album in his career.

*B.G.- Chopper City In The Ghetto (1999)

-I'll be honest, I prefer his earlier albums over this one, but this is his claim to worldwide fame and it would be criminal to not at least include this on the list. B.G. had given the world some good music through albums like Chopper City and the It's All On U series, but Chopper City In The Ghetto is where he finally broke through to become a household name. With Mannie Fresh behind the boards yet again, B.G. would deliver some top notch tracks like the Baby featured classic "Made Man", the mega hit "Bling Bling", the Hot Boys featured "Play'n It Raw", the Juvenile and Lil Wayne featured "Niggas In Trouble", and many more. Chopper City In The Ghetto is a huge moment for both Cash Money and B.G., so it is only right to add this album to the list.

*Fiend- There's One In Every Family (1998)

-Last but not least, one of the most slept on New Orleans rappers by the masses. With a style that was certainly his own, Fiend was a part of the No Limit family and managed to make more of a name for himself with this album, his first on the label and his second overall. Like most albums from No Limit during this time, this was a success, going gold thanks to the strength of tracks like "Take My Pain", "Do You Know", and more. Fiend wasn't the most popular New Orleans rapper, but he had something with this album IMO and it sticks out to me more so than any other solo on No Limit (aside from Slim).



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