Label: Roc-A-Fella, Diplomat Records, Def Jam

Diplomatic Immunity was chaotic, and that's why it's so important. These days, we're used to New York rap pulling influence from all over the map, but the Diplomats were ahead of their time in this sense, meshing Southern and West Coast style with their East Coast flavor. New York can be a stubborn place when it comes to rap, but Dipset helped to broaden the city's sonic palette, making masterful use of Heatmakerz, Just Blaze, and their sped-up soul samples. The sound was highlighted by an uncanny wittiness in lyrics that found Cam'ron at his best, and solidified Jim Jones and Juelz Santana as stars. — Jacob Moore

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