Mos Def, Black On Both Sides (1999)
Label: Rawkus, Priority
Coming off the success of a classic project like Black Star's debut makes expectations ridiculously high, but Mos Def didn't disappoint. He still had a lot to say, and he did it with artistry that overpowered the stigma attached to the "conscious rap" label. Hip-hop with a message isn't easy to come by these days. Even harder to find is good hip-hop with a message, so if you're feeling the need to nod your head and think about society's issues at the same time, Black On Both Sides never fails to deliver.