In hip-hop many things can be called classics, but how do we determine what is really a classic or a five mic album. I believe we can break it down into 3 categories, Timeless Classics, Classics for its Time, and Impact Classics.
Timeless Classic– Illmatic, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Ready to Die, Chronic, Midnight Muaraders, Infamous ect.- These are classic that will be classics no matter what year it is, who listens to them. They are undeniable and undisputable. These albums are perfect. People base their albums off of these albums. When you listen to these albums it feels like you were transported back in time. You see things through the eyes of the artist. You know how they felt and their mind state during this time in their life.
Classics For its Time- Dynasty, Carter 2, N.O.R.E., Doe or Die, Tical, War Report, E.L.E., etc.- These are albums that are also classic but different from the above. They were 4 or 4.5 mics in their time. They are albums that you bumped for a period but then stopped listening to them. They do not have the longevity of Timeless classics. Many of the songs are still hot but just not as hot as they were back then. When you listen to them you are brought back to where you were when this album dropped. It brings back memories.
Impact Classics- Get Rich or Die Trying, Its Dark and Hell is Hot, Volume 2, Black Album, etc- These are albums that were a breathe of fresh air for hip hop. They signify a change in hip hop. A different mentality in the way a young hip hopper thinks. These are the most unique types because impact classics can be classics for its time, a timeless classic or neither. For instance I would classify Ghetto Fabolous as an impact classic but neither of the above. I say this because it started a whole new trend in rap. The throwback jersey, big earrings, Akademiks. This was far from a great album, in fact it was mediocre, but it started something new. An impact classic can signify the end of an era or the beginning of an era.
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