The 20 Best Hip-Hop EPs of All Time
Today, we'll be taking a look at the 20 best hip-hop EPs of all time. It's no secret that hip-hop has revolutionized the music world, and while there may be LP classics revered by millions of fans around the globe, it would be a mistake to overlook some of the most iconic EPs to ever grace our stereos.
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From the classic mid-90s bangers to the more recent works, here are 20 of the best releases that embody what it really means to be a great EP. By the way - this list was made in no particular order.
20. Warren G - 'Regulate... G Funk Era, Part II' (2015)
The '90s was a golden age for hip hop music, and it's impossible to talk about the decade without mentioning Warren G. His debut album Regulate…G Funk Era became an instant classic with its skillful mix of groovy melodies, hard-hitting beats, and intelligent storytelling. Twenty years later, he came back (with the sequel) to remind us why he is still regarded as a master of West coast rap. With his EP Regulate…G Funk Era Part II, Warren G crafted something that pays homage to his roots while also experimenting with some fresh sounds that help keep true to the timeless vibe of his classic songs from 20 years ago.
19. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - 'All Souled Out' (1991)
It's one of the most iconic duos in hip hop history – Pete Rock and CL Smooth. Together, they rocked the music world with their 1991 EP All Souled Out, a brilliant blend of jazz-influenced beats and old school rhymes that stood as a standout moment in rap culture at the time. Although this five-track project was didn’t even break 30 minutes long, its catchy yet meaningful lyrics combined with fresh production make it an essential listen for any true hip hop fan today.
18. Kendrick Lamar - 'Untitled.' (2016)
Aftermath / Interscope / Top Dawg Entertainment
A classic piece of work from one of the most acclaimed and influential hip-hop artists in recent times, Untitled. by Kendrick Lamar is a must listen for any true music fan. The EP's mix of smooth beats and explosive lyricism has aged incredibly well since its release in 2016, standing up as an impressive demonstration of Lamar’s skill for breaking down complex social issues and weaving deeply layered stories into his songs.
17. Slum Village - 'Villa Manifesto' (2009)
Slum Village's classic EP, Villa Manifesto, is an essential album for any true hip-hop fan. It features a distinctive blend of jazz-infused production and diverse lyrical themes that make it stand out from the rest. The Detroit trio provides clever bars about life in their city and heartfelt messages about family and relationships throughout the five tracks. Released nearly 20 years ago, this project still continues to captivate fans with its soulful soundscapes and memorable verses.
16. Drake - 'So Far Gone' (2009)
Young Money / Cash Money Records
When Drake dropped So Far Gone, it seemed like a seismic shift had occurred in the rap game. His powerful blend of heartfelt bars, melodic flows and grand production set him apart from the pack - but little did we know that this career-defining EP would end up being remembered as an iconic classic among hip hop aficionados for years to come! With personal tracks such as 'Best I Ever Had' and 'Houstatlantavegas', alongside bangers like 'Forever' and 'Successful', Drake's So Far Gone showcased the growth of both his emotive penmanship and unique production flair in creating a timeless record which stands tall to this very day.
15. Lil Wayne - 'The Leak' (2007)
Lil Wayne is on another level. The rap icon has been making waves ever since his start in the music industry over two decades ago, and it's certainly impressive just how much influence he has held despite continuous changes in the genre's landscape. His 2003 EP, The Leak, is one of his most celebrated records even today - and for good reason.
14. Jay-Z and Linkin Park - 'Collision Course' (2004)
Warner Records / Roc-A-Fella Records
Since its release in 2004, Collision Course – the debut EP from Jay-Z and Linkin Park – has cemented itself as one of hip hop's most iconic releases. Merging two very different genres, this collaboration created a whirlwind of sounds that cut across both rap and rock music. Featuring five remixed tracks plus an additional interlude, it was hailed by critics as being revolutionary and pushing the boundaries of what could be done with a mash up album. With memorable lyrics, unique production and plenty of charisma throughout, Collision Course is undoubtably one every fan of either genre should listen to at least once.
13. Eminem - 'The Slim Shady EP' (1997)
Most rap and hip-hop fans know the iconic name of Eminem – ranging from his debut album The Slim Shady LP to his latest releases. But before that, there was something else: The Slim Shady EP. Released in 1997, the six track record not only put Eminem on the map as a unique rapper but it also made him one of the most promising young acts in hip-hop culture. With tracks like "Just Don't Give a Fuck" and "If I Had," this record revolutionized rap music forever with its profane and often outrageous lyrics combined with an undeniable flow.
12. Black Thought - 'Streams of Thought, Volume 1' (2018)
The Orchard / Human ReSources
Looking for something classic and thought-provoking? Then look no further than Streams of Thoughts, Volume 1 by the legendary Black Thought. This 5-track EP is a must-listen for any music fan seeking powerful, meaningful rhymes combined with head-bopping beats. From the opening track "Twofifteen," to the closing bar on "Ghetto Hellfire," each song is filled with carefully crafted lyrics that details stories of resilience and reflection through his trademark lyrical skill set.
11. Big Boi & Phantogram - 'Big Grams' (2015)
If you’re a true music fan, then chances are you’ve had Big Grams by Big Boi and Phantogram on repeat since its release in 2015. This 7-track EP sees the two vastly different acts—Big Boi of Outkast fame and indie duo Phantogram—join forces to create something truly special: an eclectic blend of hip hop and electro-pop that is uniquely their own.
10. D12 - 'The Underground EP' (1996)
If you're a fan of music that hits hard with both hard hitting production and iconic punchlines, then you've surely come across the classic EP The Underground EP by legendary rap collective D12. This is far from your average EP.
9. Three 6 Mafia - 'Live By Yo Rep' (1995)
Experience the stage-shaking intensity of Three 6 Mafia's timeless classic! Live By Yo Rep is an EP that is celebrated for its iconic beats and raps from the Memphis music legends. From classic tracks like "Ridin' Spinners," to instant rap bangers like "Body Parts 3," this EP showcases the trio at their creative peak. Revisit your favorite track or explore a classic work of hip-hop history—dive deep into what makes Live By Yo Rep one of Three 6 Mafia's most influential EPs.
8. N.W.A. - '100 Miles And Runnin' ' (1990)
One of the most pivotal moments in rap music history has to be the release of N.W.A's groundbreaking EP, 100 Miles And Runnin'. When it dropped almost three decades ago, it created a seismic shift in hip hop and has gone on to influence countless musicians—from revolutionary gangsta rappers to underground lyricists —who have come afterwards. From its iconic artwork to its hardcore lyrics about police brutality and racial injustice, this six-song album was more than just another collection of beats: It was both an anthem for anyone living through desperate times and a politically charged cry from the heart that's still relevant today.
7. Digital Underground - 'This Is An E.P.' (1991)
Digital Underground's This Is An E.P. is an essential album to have in your collection. Released in 1990, this five-track EP set the stage for the eventual success of its four featured members and introduced basic elements of funk and rap culture that would become mainstays of 90’s hip-hop sound. With its playful samples from 70’s soul records, humorous lyrics about politics and everyday life, and sharp beats from DJ Shock G–This Is An E.P. further cemented Digital Underground as one of the greatest acts in hip hop history—and no music fan should be without it! From bangers like "Doowutchyalike" to conscious tracks like "Humpty Dance," This Is An E.P. has something for everyone
6. Ice Cube - 'Kill At Will' (1991)
For any true fan of hip-hop, there are certain moments that become immortalized in our memories; rap songs and albums that became cornerstones for an entire genre. Such is the case with Ice Cube's EP Kill At Will, released in 1990 on Priority Records. Through seven hard hitting tracks backed by classic west coast beats, Ice Cube made a statement about life as he saw it - anger at societal wrongs and frustrations - while simultaneously inventing a new soundscape for old school gangsta rap.
5. Freddie Gibbs - 'Str8 Killa' (2010)
Freddie Gibbs has earned a reputation as one of the most prolific and creative rap artists in recent years, with releases such as Str8 Killa cementing his status. His iconic 2010 EP, which featured heavy production from The Alchemist, was an ambitious effort at pushing boundaries in hip-hop and is widely recognized as a classic listening experience that continues to influence modern rap music.
4. Maino - ' Unstoppable - The EP' (2010)
Are you a fan of classic hip-hop? Have you been searching for some new music that has a classic sound but also modern vibes? If so, then Unstoppable - The EP by Maino is the project for you. This record features hard hitting production and lyrics that reach far beyond your average rap song. It hits on topics like hustle and survival in these streets with come up anthems to keep grinding.
3. Gucci Mane - 'Wasted: The Prequel' (2009)
Throughout his legendary career, Gucci Mane has been paving the way for underground hip-hop music and his project Wasted: The Prequel EP further cemented his position as one of the most iconic rap artists of all time. From unleashing its infectious lead single "Courtside" to lyrically reflecting on various hardships throughout life that shaped him into who he is today, this 7 track masterpiece is sure to elevate your playlist
2. Nelly - '6 Derrty Hits' (2008)
Nelly's 6 Derrty Hits EP is an iconic piece of musical history. Released in 2000 as a collection of some of Nelly's most-loved hits, this compilation quickly became popular with music fans all over the world who were eager to hear tracks such as "Country Grammar," "E.I.," and "Ride wit me." Over two decades later, the impact of the six-track project still carries weight with hip hop aficionados around the globe who are continually discovering its influence and significance.
1. Brother Ali - 'The Truth Is Here' (2009)
If you're a fan of underground hip-hop, Brother Ali needs no introduction. The prolific Wisconsin rapper and songwriter has released nine studio albums over the course of his two decades in the music industry, combining socially conscious rhymes with soulful, inventive beats. His The Truth Is Here EP is a must-listen.
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