The Firm The Album (1997)
The Firm's one and only album is so archetypal that if you're given the track titles and the line-up-Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Nature-you already know what you're getting into. You can look at the cover and practically predict what each song sounds like. The concept of gritty, Mob glorified and influenced raps already seemed played out by the time this album dropped in '97 and to some, the project was the final blow to a trend that was overstaying its welcome.
Yet here we are, 15 years later, and rappers still can't get enough of the Mob. It's clear that hip-hop has an inherent fascination with organized crime that goes far beyond a phase. While plenty of rappers have mastered the art of Mafia rhymes, few had an all-star lineup, production from Dr. Dre and Trackmasters, and the audacity to make an entire concept album out of it. Rap's obsession with the Mob still shows today on some of the most popular hip-hop, and whenever it does, we can't help but think of The Firm.