Label: Bad Boy
The juxtaposition of this nihilistic title with the smiling, adorable baby on the cover is eerie, but it makes sense: Biggie's timeless debut covers the life-affirming highs and life-threatening lows of inner-city existence like few albums before or since. Big made you believe every word he committed to wax, including the bone-chilling threats on "Suicidal Thoughts"-which proved Ready to Die went deeper than the title.
5. The Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die (1994)