By Serge Severe. Photography by Arian Stevens.

(Ed’s Note: With the Greatest Rap Show Ever coming up December 9th at the Ash Street in Portland, we thought we’d take a moment to let Serge Severe let us know about his 10 favorite hip hop albums of all time. Make sure you check him out on our Free Sampler, follow on twitter @sergesevere and pick up his latest album HERE. #OutHerePDX)

Dr. Dre -The Chronic (1992)-Dr. Dre departs from the West Coast super group N.W.A., and Hip Hop on the left side of the country changes forever. Dre’s Parliament G-Funk soundscapes get laced with smooth gangster rhymes. This album introduces Snoop Dogg to the world and jump starts the Death Row Records industry takeover. Ain’t nothin’ but  G thang…..Baby!

A Tribe Called Quest- Midnight Marauders (1993)- 93’ til’ infinity! Tribe’s second album was for Hip Hop’s night owls. The mysterious woman figure on the cover even talked to you! She let us all know “seven times out of ten, we listen to our music at night”. Marauding through choice cuts like Award Tour, Electric Relaxation, and Oh My God; Tribe loots the listener’s ears (In the best way possible). Just listen to the hypnotic keys on Award Tour. Did you know that was Maseo of De La Soul on the hook?

Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle (1993)After the monstrous success of The Chronic, Snoop debuts at No. 1 selling 800,000 copies in the first week. In an era where politicians and the media were blaming rap music on society ills; the weed smoking, khaki suit wearing, blue flag waving spitter was king. I had to get my copy high speed dubbed on cassette tape from a friend, because the record stores were strict on letting kids buy this album. Just listen to the bass line of Doggy Dogg World and throw up a W.

Nas- Illmatic (1994) Nas’ debut at 20 years old is a certified classic. The Queensbridge native introduces himself to the rap game with some of the dopest rhyming ever heard. Hip Hop had a new emcee extraordinaire that shined over the production of Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip. Not a bad cast for your first project. Did you know the album was named after Nas’ incarcerated friend, Illmatic Ice? Nas let us know the world was ours, but it was really his in Ninety-Fo’.

Notorious B.I.G.- Ready to Die-(1994) The Brooklyn Bully drops his eerily titled debut 5 months after Illmatic, and Hip Hop changes forever. The face of NY Hip Hop cements himself into Rap’s history with an unmistakable voice, storytelling, and fresh beat selection. Biggie dies three years later, but to this day everybody and their respective mothers know the song Juicy. It was all a dream…..

2 Pac- All Eyez on Me-(1996)- All eyes were on Pac when he was bailed out of jail by Suge Knight. Tupac starts riding with Death Row Records, and bangs out a classic double-disc album in 2 weeks! The West Coast was on fire when California Love hit the air waves and dance floors. The Mad Max themed music video is one of the best of all time. Most of the album’s hard-hitting slaps were produced by Johnny J and Daz Dillinger. Hide yo kids and hide yo wife when Ambitionz Az a Ridah punches through your speakers, compelling you to flex on innocent people. Pac’s presence in Hip Hop will never be matched, ever.

Outkast-Atliens (1996) – Andre 3000 and Big Boi show you how to be original. Fast or slow, these southern players could murk any tempo.  This album was a stark contrast to what was dominating Rap. They had their own flavor down south, and the innovative cuts like ATLiens, Wheelz of Steel, and Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac) are Hip Hop classics. You and me, yo mama and yo cousin too…

Eminem- The Slim Shady LP-(1999) Introducing Marshall Mathers with a gigantic co-sign of production from Dr. Dre. Eminem dropped bars that were raw and uncut, autobiographical, and filled with creative, humorous story-telling. Em hit the scene when skills still sold records and he never looked back. I saw him on tour in support of this album in 99’ at the Roseland Theater with his hype- man, Proof (RIP).  Easily one of the best shows I have ever seen.  Em soon became the most popular rapper in the world and didn’t give a flying fuck about what anybody had to say about it.

Ghostface Killah-Supreme Clientele (2000)- Ghostdini may be the most original lyricist of all-time, but you won’t see this album on any typical list. Thematically and sonically charged tracks, laced by Tony Stark’s lyrical dexterity make this album a Hip Hop classic; hands down. Wu tang Clan’s leader, Rza, lends his hand to six gritty tracks.  Check out the song Mighty Healthy and transport yourself to an alternative universe.  The verbal dart thrower is a true original in every sense of the word. I challenge you to match his rhyme schemes on Nutmeg.

Jay Z- The Blueprint (2001)-Despite the album dropping the same day of the Big Apple’s twin towers, Jay-Z debuts at No. 1 on Billboard for the 4th consecutive time. This time around, Jay grabs some of Kanye West’s and Just Blazes’ best production. The soulful beats and Jay’s flawless flow dominated the early 00’s. Ye’s sampling of Bobby Bland’s, Ain’t No Love In The heart of the City, is one of my favorite records of all time.  Most list Jay’s debut, Reasonable Doubt, as his magnum opus, but to me, Jigga’s flow is just so much more refined on this classic.