Year Released: 1998

Good kid, m.A.A.d city wasn’t the first time people heard Kendrick Lamar rap, but it showed that he was able to put together a cohesive solo album that’s fun and serious and introspective, all at the same time. The same thing can be said for Aceyalone’s All Balls Don’t Bounce. It had its serious cuts, but it also had jams such as “Mic Check” and “Anywhere You Go.” But Acey decided to follow up his debut with something more conceptual, more art-driven, and that was A Book of Human Language

There’s such a brooding and moody feel to To Pimp a Butterfly, and that’s where it connects with A Book of Human Language. At the time of its release, Acey was viewed as the leader of the West Coast underground scene, much like Kendrick’s current status amongst California MCs. His method was to take a head-first dive into the subconscious, on a record that sounds scary and daring at times. And although it lacks the jazz feel of To Pimp a Butterfly, it shows a West Coast artist taking risks and focusing on making a complete album, even if it lacks the feel-good bangers.