Rolling Stone sparked some heated debates on Tuesday, September 22 after they dropped their list for the 500 greatest albums of all time. This is a tradition the magazine first started back in 2003, so, Rolling Stone decided to give their huge undertaking an update, and the massive honor they bestowed upon Lauryn Hill ended up launching a larger conversation about some of the most beloved rap albums throughout history.
“You should be able to play an album the 101st time and find something new,” the outlet‘s reviews editor, Jon Dolan, said when discussing his criteria for naming the best albums of all time. “I was shocked listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico. I thought, ‘This really holds up.’ And that’s what’s incredible — to find the music that’s part of a conversation that goes on your whole life.”
With that explanation in mind, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was named one of the greatest albums of all time by the publication. Released in 1998, the debut project from the former Fugees frontwoman lands at number 10 on the magazine’s prestigious list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the highest placement for a rap album on the list.
Aside from this full list, which includes genres of all kind, Rolling Stone also named their top five rap albums of all time. In reverse order, the list includes The Notorious B.IG.’s Ready to Die, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Kanye West ’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and in the top spot, once again, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
“Each song was driven by a clarity of vision and personal honesty that felt revelatory,” the mag wrote about Hill‘s debut project. “At a time when pop was becoming increasingly slick and digitized in the go-go nineties, here was an album that showed the commercial appeal of a rawer sound.” Just like this song - the “Lost Ones”
Unsurprisingly, exactly as it happens each and every time one of these lists is produced, Hill‘s crowning was met with a ton of mixed reactions. While most fans of rap, R&B, and music in general agree that this is an impeccable album, some of the arguments for why this shouldn’t be so highly ranked on such a list includes those who argue that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was more R&B than rap.
It’s safe to say Rolling Stone had the whole internet talking with this selection.