When it comes to the best albums of the 90s, there's an incredibly vast amount of competition amongst a multitude of genres. Making this list comes with a lot of difficult choices, but it will be well worth it in the end. Lo and behold, here are the 25 best albums of the 90s, ranked in order.
The 25 Best Albums of the 90s, Ranked
25. 2Pac - ‘All Eyez on Me’ (1996)
Top Tracks: "Ambitionz Az A Ridah," "All About U," "How Do U Want It," "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted," "Only God Can Judge Me," "Can't C Me"
Stacked with hits, 2Pac's 1996 project All Eyez On Me was a major success, and absolutely needed to find a spot within our list of the best albums of the 90s, without a doubt.
24. Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
Top Tracks: "Imaginary Players," "Streets Is Watching," "Friend or Foe '98," "Always Be My Sunshine," "Face Off"
In 1997, Jay-Z dropped off his classic album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, and it shook the streets up in the best way possible. It's had quite a lasting impact, one that will continue to live on for years and years to come.
23. Radiohead - ‘The Bends’ (1995)
Top Tracks: "High and Dry," "Fake Plastic Trees," "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"
Radiohead was one of the most prolific bands of the 90s and the 2000s, and their 1995 album The Bends was a perfect example of why that was.
22. Red Hot Chili Peppers - ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ (1991)
Top Tracks: "Under The Bridge," "Give It Away," "Breaking The Girl," "Suck My Kiss"
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are yet another iconic band that is well worth mentioning in our list of the best albums of the 90s. It's no surprise that they made their way on this, after all, "Under The Bridge" recently broke a billion streams on Spotify alone.
21. R.E.M. - ‘Automatic for the People’ (1992)
Top Tracks: "Everybody Hurts," "Man on the Moon," "Drive," "Nightswimming"
To no shock, R.E.M. have also made their way onto our list, and for good reason. This band helped define the sound of the decade, which was no easy task, to say the least.
20. Fugees, ‘The Score’ (1996)
Top Tracks: "Killing Me Softly With His Song," "Ready Or Not," "Fu-Gee-La"
At the number twenty spot on our list of the best albums of the 90s are the Fugees, who dropped an absolute classic in 1996 with their album, The Score. Talk about hits.
19. Metallica - ‘Metallica’ (1991)
Top Tracks: "Enter Sandman," "Sad But True," "The Unforgiven," "Wherever I May Roam," "Nothing Else Matters"
Metallica's self-titled debut album, Metallica, dropped in 1991, and set the stage for an incredibly legendary era of music. The album is an easy listen throughout, while donning some very impressive hits within.
18. Beastie Boys - ‘Ill Communication’ (1994)
Top Tracks: "Sabotage," "Sure Shot," "Flute Loop"
At the next spot is the Beastie Boys, who released an unforgettable project in 1994 with their Ill Communication. Sabotage was the clear favorite from the album, while the rest of it has a lot to love as well.
17. Nirvana - ‘In Utero’ (1993)
Top Tracks: "Heart-Shaped Box," "Rape Me," "Dumb," "All Apologies"
Any Nirvana album is safe to consider as legendary, and their 1993 album, In Utero, was no exception to the rule. With some classic songs, it proved to be some of their best, which is really saying a lot.
16. A Tribe Called Quest - ‘The Low End Theory’ (1991)
Top Tracks: "Check The Rhime," "Buggin' Out," "Jazz (We've Got)," "Scenario"
At the number sixteen spot on our list is A Tribe Called Quest with their 1991 album, The Low End Theory. This album is one of the most underrated albums of the decade, and played a major role in setting the stage for what the whole decade would sound like. When we say no skips, we mean it.
15. Pearl Jam - ‘Ten’ (1991)
Top Tracks: "Even Flow," "Alive," "Black," "Jeremy"
In the rock scene, Pearl Jam made a major move with the release of their 1991 album, Ten. With songs like "Even Flow" and "Alive," it's impossible to hate on this legendary drop.
14. Rage Against The Machine - 'Rage Against The Machine' (1992)
Top Tracks: "Killing In The Name," "Bombtrack" "Wake Up," "Know Your Enemy," "Bullet in the Head"
In 1992, Rage Against The Machine dropped off their self-titled debut project. This album would go on to set a standard in music that bridged the gap between rap and rock, and also shined a light on crucial political topics of the time.
13. Green Day - ‘Dookie’ (1994)
Top Tracks: "Basket Case," "When I Come Around," "Welcome to Paradise," "Longview"
In 1994, Green Day unveiled their third-ever project, Dookie, which donned some of their most memorable songs to date, like "Basket Case" and "When I Come Around." This proved to only be the beginning for the timeless group.
12. Dr. Dre - ‘The Chronic’ (1992)
Top Tracks: "Nuthin' But A "G" Thang," "Fuck Wit Dre Day," "Let Me Ride"
In 1992, Dr. Dre released his debut album, The Chronic, which proved to be a fan favorite. "Nuthin' But A "G" Thang" was a clear winner amongst the project, while the rest of the album had a lot of substance as well.
11. Outkast - ‘Aquemini’ (1998)
Top Tracks: "Rosa Parks," "Aquemini," "SpottieOttieDopaliscious"
Towards the end of the decade, Outkast gave listeners an incredibly classic piece of music with the release of their 1998 album, Aquemini. This project was a quintessential example of why they're so beloved, and featured some of their most memorable tracks ever.
10. Sublime - 'Sublime' (1996)
Top Tracks: "Santeria," "What I Got," "Wrong Way," "Doin' Time"
Sublime was easily one of the most iconic rock bands in the 90s, and their style introduced a fresh take in music at the time. They guided rock into a new direction, and dropped some of the most classic songs of the decade in their self-titled 1996 debut.
9. Wu-Tang Clan - ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ (1993)
Top Tracks: "C.R.E.A.M.," "Protect Ya Neck," "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit," "Bring Da Ruckus"
From start to finish, the Wu-Tang Clan's debut album from 1993, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), is an incredible piece of music. It was one of the most vivid examples of storytelling in music at the time, and featured some timeless tracks that will never be forgotten.
8. Nas - 'Illmatic' (1994)
Top Tracks: "N.Y. State of Mind," "The World Is Yours," "Halftime," "It Ain't Hard to Tell"
In 1994, Nas unveiled arguably his best project ever, Illmatic, which has since become one of the highly regarded projects ever in hip-hop. This album has hits on hits, and is well worth a listen all the way through.
7. Lauryn Hill - 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' (1998)
Top Tracks: "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Ex-Factor," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You - (I Love You Baby)"
As the decade was nearing its end in 1998, Lauryn Hill showed off her best work on her album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Beyond hip-hop, this is one of the most praised albums of all-time, period, and it's no coincidence.
6. Radiohead - 'OK Computer' (1997)
Top Tracks: "No Surprises," "Karma Police," "Paranoid Android," "Let Down"
In 1997, Radiohead unveiled one of their best albums ever, OK Computer, which contained some of the most definitive songs of the decade, like "No Surprises" and "Karma Police."
5. Jay-Z - 'Reasonable Doubt' (1996)
Top Tracks: "Dead Presidents II," "Can't Knock The Hustle," "Brooklyn's Finest," "Feelin' It," "D'evils"
A little past the halfway-mark of the decade came Jay-Z with one of the best hip-hop albums of all-time, Reasonable Doubt. From start to finish, you wouldn't want to miss a single second of this absolutely classic piece of music.
4. Snoop Dogg - 'Doggystyle' (1993)
Top Tracks: "Gin and Juice," "Who Am I (What's My Name?)," "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)"
In 1993, Snoop Dogg gave his formal introduction to listeners with his debut album, Doggystyle. This project proved to be a seamless entrance into the hip-hop scene, and it came at the perfect time, setting the bar high for west coast rap for the remainder of the decade and beyond.
3. Dr. Dre - '2001' (1999)
Top Tracks: "Still D.R.E.," "The Next Episode," "Forgot About Dre," "What's The Difference," "The Watcher," "Fuck You"
Dr. Dre had set the bar high earlier in the decade with his debut album, and somehow, he managed to find a way to top it with his 1999 classic project, 2001. This album features hit after hit; it just doesn't stop until the album is done playing. It shows off his personality and style in a variety of ways, which was yet another iconic example of proper storytelling from this particular decade.
2. The Notorious B.I.G. - 'Ready to Die' (1994)
Top Tracks: "Juicy," "Big Poppa," "Gimme The Loot," "Who Shot Ya?," "Suicidal Thoughts," "The What"
At the number two spot on our list of the best albums of the 90s, we've got The Notorious B.I.G. with his 1994 album, Ready to Die. This project features a large chunk of the rapper's greatest hits ever, which is quite the feat.
1. Nirvana - 'Nevermind' (1991)
Top Tracks: "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come As You Are," "Lithium," "Something In The Way," "In Bloom"
At the number one spot on our list of the best albums of the 90s is Nirvana with their 1991 project, Nevermind. This album features their best work ever, and set the bar ridiculously high for the decade that would ensue thereafter. Not only does it have hits that are known by virtually everybody, but the project itself is a work of art all the way through. It was one of the most definitive works of the era, and for very good reason.