Five Essential Underground Hip Hop Albums

The realm of underground hip hop is expansive and huge, and there are many talented artists worth listening to. However, if you’re a big music fanatic, these are the five you absolutely cannot go without listening to.

Madvillain – Madvillainy (2004)


This is the big one. The collab between legendary producer Madlib and the masked mc MF DOOM, remains unmatched in both its sound and style. From the iconic “All Caps” to the goofier “Curls,” the album’s quoatability and influence remains felt to this day.

Dr. Octagon – Dr. Octagonecologyst


Kool Keith, also known by the alter-ego Dr. Octagon is a fascinating character. His lyrics are usually a comglomeration of words rather than a narrative, but that is what makes him and this album one of the most unique out there.

Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus (1997)


Rapper/producer El-P may be widely known for being one half of the rap duo Run the Jewels nowadays, but back in the ’90s his rap group Company Flow alongside Bigg Jus and Mr. Len pushed the boundaries. El-P’s production then and to this day, is light-years ahead of its time.

Aesop Rock – Labor Days


There are no rappers out there that match the sheer wordplay of Aesop Rock. Apart from being a darkly produced wonder, Aesop dense and varied wordplay simply cannot be matched. His latest album “The Iimpossible Kid” released last year, and proves that he 100% still has it.

J Dilla – Donuts


J Dilla was one of the most creative producers of all time, and “Donuts” is his masterpiece. Made mainly on his deathbed while dying from a rare, terminal disease at a tragically young age, “Donuts” is full of heart and soul, and embodies the highest potential of instrumental hip hop.


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