It was bad enough that it took the Grammy Awards until 1989 to even give hip-hop its own category; even then, though, the year that brought us certified hip-hop classics The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, It Takes a Nation of Millions and Straight Outta Compton got snubbed. Why? Because the awards show didn't even institute a separate album award until 1996, missing a run of some of the genre's most consistent, adventurous and ground-breaking work. At the time, there was a running belief that hip-hop was a 'singles genre.' While there are certain periods in the genre's history where this is unquestionably the case, the period during which the Grammys decided hip-hop was worth paying attention to was not one of them.
1996 Was the First Year Rap Albums are Even Nominated