Ohh, Nas was mentioned in this thread! I'd agree there - Illmatic was a damn fine album which I feel a lot of people into this genre don't fully appreciate, or even know much about. And speaking of the earlier albums of rappers who're pretty big now, I'd like to go out on a limb and chuck Jay-Z out there. Reasonable Doubt. Try it. I think it's pretty different to the newer, "marmite" Jay-Z and I feel like it's often overlooked as far as he's concerned which is a shame because I really enjoyed it.