36. Brand Nubian, One for All
Release Date: 12/4/1990
Few albums captured the spirit of the Zulu Nation as accurately as One for All, a powerhouse of a debut that also serves as a aural document to life in New York at the beginning of a new decade. Rap veteran Grand Puba Maxwell was at the top of his game when he recruited Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and DJ Alamo to record this masterpiece. With the exception of the New Jack Swing-flavored "Try To Do Me," every track here hits the mark, as the Nubian's deftly combined B-Boy attitude with a sprinkling of Five Percenter mathematics.
Showcasing the entire spectrum of musical styles that hip-hop draws from, the crew kicked it over beats sourced from reggae, funk, go-go, and even Bohemian folk, dropping intricate slang and flawlessly mixing Brag Rap with street science. One for All also holds the dubious honor of being one of the most bootlegged albums ever in the pre-Internet era, proving that rap fiends would stop at nothing to cop this amazing project.