Given the sprawling, indefatigable nature of rap music, where recording careers can span decades, even the greatest rappers can drop dope albums which escape the attention of all but their most ardent fans.

Generally these type of albums fall into four distinct categories: early-career regional obscurities before the artist found fame; mid-career flops which were looked at at missteps at the time, but are revealed to be misunderstood in hindsight; late-career independent efforts which got lost in the shuffle; and stocking-stuffer odds-and-sods compilations of non-album tracks and guest spots on other rapper's songs.

Here, then, are 10 Underrated Albums by Great Rappers: A list of 10 rap albums you probably don't know (presented in chronological order), by 10 rap artists you definitely do, including Slick Rick, UGKAZ and DJ Quik.

Written by Marty Macready.

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