DAR Hip Hop: The 8 Greatest Albums From Ruthless Records

By @TrueGodImmortal

One of the most infamous labels in the history of the game, Ruthless Records was founded by the legendary Eazy E. When we look back at the legacy of Ruthless Records, it is known and seen as the company that brought us Eazy, N.W.A., Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs, along with other artists and acts. Ruthless doesn't get thrown in the conversation of the most important record labels in hip hop history and that's criminal because Ruthless definitely had momentum for a number of years, even following the death of Eazy. Today, we wanted to pay homage to Ruthless and Eazy by looking at the 8 greatest albums released by the label. Which albums make the list? Which albums cracks the top 3? What is no. 1? Read on and find out.

8. J.J. Fad- Supersonic (1988)

-While this album was far from my favorite, I think it deserves a mention on this list over Above The Law, H.W.A., Kokane, MC Ren, and a few other artists that were on the label. Some might say that 100 Miles and Runnin needed to be on this list, but I feel the album from J.J Fad was too important to ignore. This album was different, as it was hip hop, but not exactly what you would have expected from a label like Ruthless. Songs like "Is It Love", the title track, "In The Mix", and more helped shape the image of this group of women who usually get ignored in the convos about females in hip hop. Was this a flawless album? Far from it, but it was enjoyable enough and a big moment for Ruthless as a label.

7. Bone Thugs N' Harmony- Creepin On Ah Come Up (1994)

-We know very well that Bone Thugs has a place in the world as one of the greatest groups in hip hop, and every group starts somewhere. This was the beginning of the Bone Thugs story, as Ruthless provided them the platform to showcase their top notch talent and they would deliver with a debut EP that would change the entire game. With only 8 tracks, Bone Thugs would show the game their harmonic style of hip hop, blending in murderous lyrics and weed lover rhetoric all in one project. The two big singles from this EP were "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" and of course "Foe The Love Of Money", both of which are classics. Other tracks like "Down Foe My Thang" and "No Surrender" are highlights as well. Bone Thugs put the hip hop game on notice that they had arrived.

6. Eazy E- It's On 187Um Killa (1993)

-This is an extremely slept on album and the best project from Eazy E since his solo debut. While this project was released during a time of turmoil and beef, Eazy managed to come with an album that was aggressive and war ready. Technically an EP, this 8 song project was full of scathing disses to Death Row and Dr. Dre, and saw Eazy willing to take on any challengers. The highlights on this 8 song project include "Real Muthaphuckkin G's", "Any Last Werdz", "Still A Nigga", and "Down 2 Tha Last Roach", all tracks that show exactly what Eazy was loved for. While his 1996 posthumous release deserves some credit, I still think this EP is the best example of high quality Eazy E music. 

5. Bone Thugs N Harmony- E. 1999 Eternal (1995)

-After releasing a classic EP that sold well, Bone Thugs were on top of the world seemingly. Their music was reaching millions of ears and they could do no wrong. Tragedy struck as the death of Eazy E rocked the hip hop world and of course it hit Bone Thugs personally, but they would dedicate their album and their biggest single to him. This album would move over 6 million copies, earn Grammy nominations, and be playing out of most car radios during this time period. While many look to their big single "Tha Crossroads" as the go to song on this album, for me the best song here was the classic "1st Of Tha Month". Other highlights on the album include "Mo Murda", "Buddah Lovaz", and more. Bone Thugs delivered an album that stands the test of time and is the most notable release in their catalog. It is without a doubt a top 5 Ruthless release.

4. Eazy E- Eazy Duz It (1988)

-The debut solo from Eazy is interesting. So, it isn't better than some of the albums it is ahead of necessarily, but it holds a special place in terms of the legacy of the label, so it cracks the top 5 for sure. Released a month or so after Straight After Compton, this project saw Ice Cube, The D.O.C., and MC Ren put their pens to work to make sure Eazy lyrically sounded his best. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella handled the production as well, as we get classic tracks like "We Want Eazy", "Boyz N The Hood", "Ruthless Villain", "Radio", and more. This was the best Eazy album by far and it delivers some of the most engaging music to come out of the entire N.W.A. camp during this era. This album isn't a complete classic quality wise, but it is a classic impact wise, so it ranks at no. 4 on this list.

3. The D.O.C.- Nobody Does It Better (1989)

-We have always recognized how great The D.O.C. was in his prime, and that prime came during his time on Ruthless without a doubt. He was a great writer and a solid artist that had his sights set on showing the game what he could do, and his debut would be reflective of someone who had something to prove. His project features the production of Dr. Dre and the sound doesn't disappoint one bit. In terms of lyrics, D.O.C. was a gifted wordsmith, and he showcased his prowess on tracks like "It's Funky Enough", "Beautiful But Deadly", "The Formula", and "The Grand Finale". All in all, The D.O.C. gave Ruthless an album that has stood the test of time and aged well. Nobody Does It Better is a true hip hop classic.

2. N.W.A.- Niggaz4Life (1991)

-You might be surprised to see this so high on the list, but this is in the running for the best album from the World's Most Dangerous Group. While Straight Outta Compton was the anchor for the label of course, this album was just as concise and possibly better than the group's debut. This album was special because it was their first full length project without Ice Cube, and this would put a heavy weight onto the rest of the members, but surprisingly they delivered. Dre, Ren, and Eazy manage to carry this album with classic tracks helping fill out the tracklist like "Real Niggaz", "She Swallowed It", "Appetite For Destruction", the title track, and "Findum, Fuckum, and Flee". All in all, this album was N.W.A. at their most disrespectful and their best. At a time when things were looking shaky over at Ruthless, the group delivered a near classic album. That makes it a top 3 Ruthless release for sure, without question.

1. N.W.A.- Straight Outta Compton (1988)

-This album is a few weeks from turning 30. In reality, it says a lot that two of the artists on this album are legends and still relevant today in the entertainment world and it says just as much that the topics and subject matter can be relevant today as well. N.W.A. came into the game addressing everyone and aiming at whoever wanted issues, which in turn made them public enemy no. 1 for the media and surprisingly the police. This album was groundbreaking and allowed the group the opportunity to express what they felt and how they saw the world. Songs like the title track, "Gangsta Gangsta", "Express Yourself", "Dopeman (Remix)", and of course, "Fuck The Police". N.W.A. managed to put together an album that truly summed up the climate at the time and because of that, not only is it a perfect listen, but it means much more than you know to the hip hop world. 



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