5. Solidified The Source's 5-Mic Rating System as the Standard
The debate at the time over whether or not Illmatic deserved the five-mic designation in The Source ran especially hot and revealed the importance of the magazine's rating system to a burgeoning hip-hop nation. West Coast artists grumbled that the five mic rating was proof positive that the "bible of hip-hop" was East Coast biased, especially after The Chronic got just four and a half mics. And while other albums would be deemed classic afterward, the rating system would later be compromised for various reasons ending with -zino and never again be respected enough to be so passionately debated.