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The 50 Greatest Sophomore Albums in Hip-Hop History

26. N.W.A, Niggaz4Life (1991)

Label: Ruthless, Priority

The 100 Miles and Running EP had proven that NWA were still "the world's most dangerous group" without Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre managed to take them to new heights by delivering the most cutting-edge production of the day for their second full-length album. Gone were the frantic tempos of their earlier work, as Dre slowed things down for a more menacing atmosphere as he began developing his G-Funk sound, as well as adding a number of humorous skits, making it ideal fodder for drunken sing-a-longs.

MC Ren stepped up to fill the lyrical void left by Cube (who they continued to take shots at over the course of the record), while the good doctor replaced O'Shea's amusing "I Ain't Tha 1" material with the disturbing "One Less Bitch" in an effort to shock and titillate the fans. At the end of the day, though, the incredible beats were undeniable, and even lifetime N.W.A haters such as Tim Dog must have been nodding their heads uncontrollably when "Alwayz Into Somethin'" came on.

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