To make it in any music genre, an artist has to be consistent and deliver when it counts. If a reputation is built on that in hip-hop, artists tend to make a successful album into a series. An added bonus is if the first LP is deemed a classic, then the chances are higher that there will be an even warmer reception when the artist runs it back, and titles the next one as a sequel. While the title recognition is usually beneficial, there’s also the added pressure of living up to previous work. Here, XXL highlights the best hip-hop album series in which rappers put their best foot forward.
While Jay-Z and Nas were once longtime rivals, and are now friends, both created album series that helped solidify their careers. Jay’s series refers to three of his albums at “volumes”: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1; Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life; and Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. These albums were vital to Jay’s rise to a hip-hop legend, and are a time capsule of sorts, showing how the young Brooklyn MC found a way to maximize his talents. Meanwhile, Nas’ Lost Tapes series was pretty much a B-sides project and an unreleased compilation that caught fire, an official release for some of Nas’ most beloved bootlegs. An in-between albums compilation series doesn’t usually move the needle, but when the music is good, anything can happen.
Lil Wayne and Trippie Redd both have ongoing series that continue to be important parts of their careers. Weezy’s Tha Carter series encapsulates most of his solo career (not counting mixtapes), as it contains a lot of his hit songs, and, most importantly, his grasp on the art of hip-hop. The series will always be a part of his catalog (even if he retired tomorrow) due to how impactful the music is. Trippie Redd, a known fan of Wayne, also has his own series titled A Love Letter to You. All of the songs aren’t about romance and relationships though, a topic Trippie has never shied away from. Mixing in street raps with songs that lean closer to rock and R&B, Trippie can do it all, and that’s why he’s enjoyed so much success up to this point.
From Hov to Trippie Redd and more, check out the best album series in hip-hop below.
See the Best Album Series in Hip-Hop