50. Jay-Z, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Jigga activated "I'm a business, man" mode after blessing us with Reasonable Doubt, bringing in Puffy's Hitmen to offset the Ski and DJ Premier material. The gamble works for the most part, since the hardcore material is so dope that it's easy to ignore the weaker tracks.
"A Million and One Questions," "Where I'm From," "Streets Is Watching," "Who You Wit II," "Friend or Foe '98" and "Rap Game/Crack Game" are all essential Shawn Carter burners. Just don't expect anyone to listen to "Sunshine" in 2013 with a straight face.