The Ideal Qobuz Collection comprises original, uncompiled albums that have made a considerable mark on music history or which qualify as essential recordings within each musical genre. By downloading these albums, or streaming them with your subscription, you begin a journey that will shine a light on some of the finest moments in recorded music.

Albums

£11.69

Rap - Released September 9, 2005 | Arista - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
By their third album, Run-D.M.C. were primed for a breakthrough into the mainstream, but nobody was prepared for a blockbuster on the level of Raising Hell. Run-D.M.C. and King of Rock had established the crew's fusion of hip-hop and hard rock, but that sound didn't blossom until Raising Hell, partially due to the presence of Rick Rubin as producer. Rubin loved metal and rap in equal measures and he knew how to play to the strengths of both, while slipping in commercial concessions that seemed sly even when they borrowed from songs as familiar as "My Sharona" (heard on "It's Tricky"). Along with longtime Run-D.M.C. producer Russell Simmons, Rubin blew down the doors of what hip-hop could do with Raising Hell because it reached beyond rap-rock and found all sorts of sounds outside of it. Sonically, there is simply more going on in this album than any previous rap record -- more hooks, more drum loops (courtesy of ace drum programmer Sam Sever), more scratching, more riffs, more of everything. Where other rap records, including Run-D.M.C.'s, were all about the rhythm, this is layered with sounds and ideas, giving the music a tangible flow. But the brilliance of this record is that even with this increased musical depth, it still rocks as hard as hell, and in a manner that brought in a new audience. Of course, the cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," complete with that band's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, helped matters considerably, since it gave an audience unfamiliar with rap an entry point, but if it were just a novelty record, a one-shot fusion of rap and rock, Raising Hell would never have sold three million copies. No, the music was fully realized and thoroughly invigorating, rocking harder and better than any of its rock or rap peers in 1986, and years later, that sense of excitement is still palpable on this towering success story for rap in general and Run-D.M.C. in specific. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£11.59

Rap - Released July 25, 2005 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Along with Dr. Dre's The Chronic, the Wu-Tang Clan's debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was one of the most influential rap albums of the '90s. Its spare yet atmospheric production -- courtesy of RZA -- mapped out the sonic blueprint that countless other hardcore rappers would follow for years to come. It laid the groundwork for the rebirth of New York hip-hop in the hardcore age, paving the way for everybody from Biggie and Jay-Z to Nas and Mobb Deep. Moreover, it introduced a colorful cast of hugely talented MCs, some of whom ranked among the best and most unique individual rappers of the decade. Some were outsized, theatrical personalities, others were cerebral storytellers and lyrical technicians, but each had his own distinctive style, which made for an album of tremendous variety and consistency. Every track on Enter the Wu-Tang is packed with fresh, inventive rhymes, which are filled with martial arts metaphors, pop culture references (everything from Voltron to Lucky Charms cereal commercials to Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were"), bizarre threats of violence, and a truly twisted sense of humor. Their off-kilter menace is really brought to life, however, by the eerie, lo-fi production, which helped bring the raw sound of the underground into mainstream hip-hop. Starting with a foundation of hard, gritty beats and dialogue samples from kung fu movies, RZA kept things minimalistic, but added just enough minor-key piano, strings, or muted horns to create a background ambience that works like the soundtrack to a surreal nightmare. There was nothing like it in the hip-hop world at the time, and even after years of imitation, Enter the Wu-Tang still sounds fresh and original. Subsequent group and solo projects would refine and deepen this template, but collectively, the Wu have never been quite this tight again. ~ Steve Huey
£11.99

Rap - Released April 19, 2005 | Tommy Boy Music, LLC

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
As a major architect of early hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa is perhaps more deserving of a respectable compilation treatment than anyone. And while his considerable influence has largely been brushed aside by a rap world that sadly ignores far too many of its innovators, Looking for the Perfect Beat may help to change that. Whatever your opinion on the shelf life of his music, Bambaataa was an innovator of the highest order. While many rappers would be content to sample and name check James Brown ad nauseam, Bambaataa collaborated with the Godfather of Soul himself on the sharp "Unity Part 1 (The Third Coming)." The amazing double-punch of "Planet Rock" and "Looking for the Perfect Beat" serve as the centerpiece of this disc, while "Zulu Nation Throwdown" sits as a perfect opening track, in its time initiating a back-to-roots aesthetic that was years ahead of the Afrocentric rap explosion of the late '80s. Looking for the Perfect Beat also nicely augments the résumé of producer Arthur Baker, a trailblazing dance remixer of the early '80s. Sadly missing are any significant liner notes or photographs. Also available as a limited edition two-LP set. ~ John Duffy
£10.99

Rap - Released February 8, 2005 | Tommy Boy Music, LLC

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
It's an album that ushered in an era of a thousand suburbanites drinking malt liquor, wearing U.S. Postal Service caps, and reawakening their Irish (or in some cases pseudo-Irish) heritage. And it's also the debut album that ushered House of Pain into the forefront of rap culture for a brief period of time. While it's unfair to expect a whole album's worth of quality material like the dynamite classic "Jump Around," there are some strong points on their eponymous debut that emulate the single's strength. Admittedly, there is a significant amount of filler and the topics du jour aren't exactly the most original in hip-hop, but the impact of such songs as "Jump Around," "Shamrocks and Shenanigans," and "Put on Your Shit Kickers" more than makes up for the filler. A debut for a group that showed immense promise that sadly wasn't fully realized. ~ Rob Theakston
£14.03

Rap - Released January 1, 2005 | Island Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£13.99

Rap - Released March 16, 2004 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Even in the vibrant early-'90s hip-hop scene, A Future Without a Past... emerged as a breath of fresh air, simultaneously presenting a throwback to the old-school rhyme tradeoffs and call-and-response rapping styles of crews like the Furious Five and the Funky Four + One, and vaulting rap headlong into its future. Brash and full of youthful energy and exuberance, Leaders of the New School was the perfect meshing of three distinctly different but entirely complementary personalities whose flows flew in the face of conventional MC etiquette, from Dinco D.'s straightforward, intellectual tongue-twisting to Charlie Brown's zany shrieks to Busta Rhymes' viscous, reggae-inspired toasting -- skirting the line between seriousness and humor -- which, only a few years later, would help him to hit commercial pay dirt as a solo artist. That's not even to mention the DJ and sometime reggae-tinged emcee, DJ Cut Monitor Milo. The result is one of the most infectious rap albums ever created. The songs are, first and foremost, meant to be fun and humorous, and they are certainly that, particularly on Charlie Brown's nonsensical "What's the Pinocchio's Theory," the insistent "Trains, Planes and Automobiles" and "My Ding-A-Ling," and Busta Rhymes' jovial ode to full-figured women, "Feminine Fatt." The cut-and-paste production is expert throughout, packed with fresh samples, thanks to Bomb Squad member Eric "Vietnam" Sadler, the Stimulated Dummies crew, and the Vibe Chemist Backspin, and the group also show themselves to be quite capable with a sampler, particularly Milo's incredible work on "Case of the P.T.A." and "My Ding-A-Ling." But it would be wrong to simply peg this album as a foray into kinder, gentler, more lighthearted and innocent hip-hop. Firstly, the album has the feel and scope of a loose concept album and is separated into three sections, the first two set in school, the final one following the members after school lets out, and that alone points to a group of young men -- mostly still teenagers -- trying to move rap into new dimensions. Secondly, the ambience of New York permeates A Future Without a Past, but it is simply presented from a younger and far less jaded perspective. Songs such as "Just When You Thought It Was Safe" and "Sound of the Zeekers @#^**?!," if not exactly hard-edged and political, offer far more than throwaway sentiment, and lyrically L.O.N.S. never descend into naiveté. The album portrays a group of young men who are fully emerged in the sometimes less-than-innocent urban life that characterizes hip-hop culture, but are also able to transcend the inherent limits and pitfalls to which that life can lead. In that sense, it is a celebration of all the best aspects of hip-hop culture and youth. ~ Stanton Swihart
£11.56

Rap - Released January 1, 2004 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£12.89

Rap - Released September 29, 2003 | Arista

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£16.99

Rap - Released March 3, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£7.99

Rap - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£16.99

Rap - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Rap - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Influenced by both the Jamaican dancehall scene and the G-funk sounds of Dr. Dre, Premiere Consultation is the inventive debut album from Guadeloupean-born French MC Doc Gyneco. Produced by Ken Kessie, the 1996 release includes the controversial suicide-themes track "Nirvana," the football song "Pas sement de Jambes," a duet with French Congolese rapper Passi ("Est-Ce Que Ca le Fait"), and a cover of Motown classic "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," alongside the singles "Viens Voir le Docteur," "Dans Ma Rue," and "Ne Ici." ~ Jon O'Brien
£10.99

Rap - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£13.99

Rap - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone France

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£14.03

Rap - Released January 1, 2003 | Island Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of the most influential rap albums of all time, Eric B. & Rakim's Paid in Full only continues to grow in stature as the record that ushered in hip-hop's modern era. The stripped-down production might seem a little bare to modern ears, but Rakim's technique on the mic still sounds utterly contemporary, even state-of-the-art -- and that from a record released in 1987, just one year after Run-D.M.C. hit the mainstream. Rakim basically invents modern lyrical technique over the course of Paid in Full, with his complex internal rhymes, literate imagery, velvet-smooth flow, and unpredictable, off-the-beat rhythms. The key cuts here are some of the most legendary rap singles ever released, starting with the duo's debut sides, "Eric B. Is President" and "My Melody." "I Know You Got Soul" single-handedly kicked off hip-hop's infatuation with James Brown samples, and Eric B. & Rakim topped it with the similarly inclined "I Ain't No Joke," a stunning display of lyrical virtuosity. The title cut, meanwhile, planted the seeds of hip-hop's material obsessions over a monumental beat. There are also three DJ showcases for Eric B., who like Rakim was among the technical leaders in his field. If sampling is the sincerest form of admiration in hip-hop, Paid in Full is positively worshipped. Just to name a few: Rakim's tossed-off "pump up the volume," from "I Know You Got Soul," became the basis for M/A/R/R/S' groundbreaking dance track; Eminem, a devoted Rakim student, lifted lines from "As the Rhyme Goes On" for the chorus of his own "The Way I Am"; and the percussion track of "Paid in Full" has been sampled so many times it's almost impossible to believe it had a point of origin. Paid in Full is essential listening for anyone even remotely interested in the basic musical foundations of hip-hop -- this is the form in its purest essence. ~ Steve Huey