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

£7.99

Rap - Released September 8, 2017 | Melee - Wild Pitch

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£16.99

Rap - Released June 24, 2016 | Epic

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£13.99

Rap - Released September 13, 1994 | Bad Boy Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£19.49
£13.99

Rap - Released January 1, 2011 | Universal Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection Les Inrocks
£11.99

Rap - Released November 13, 1990 | Tommy Boy Music, LLC

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Brand Nubian never sold as many albums as the many West Coast rappers burning up the charts in the early '90s, but the New York group commanded great respect in East Coast rap circles. In black neighborhoods of New York and Philadelphia, Nubian's debut album, One for All, was actually a bigger seller than many of the platinum gangsta rap releases outselling it on a national level. Influenced by De La Soul and the Jungle Brothers, Nubian favored an abstract rapping style, and Eastern rap fans were drawn to the complexity of jams like "Dance to My Ministry," "Ragtime," and "All for One." Grand Puba, Lord Jamar, and Sadat X had a lot of technique, which was what hip-hoppers favored in the East. On the whole, Nubian's Nation of Islam rhetoric isn't as overbearing as some of the recordings that other Five Percenters were delivering at the time. The CD is a bit uneven, but on the whole is likable and exhilarating. ~ Alex Henderson
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£14.49

Rap - Released November 13, 2015 | Jive - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
One year after De la Soul re-drew the map for alternative rap, fellow Native Tongues brothers A Tribe Called Quest released their debut, the quiet beginning of a revolution in non-commercial hip-hop. People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm floated a few familiar hooks, but it wasn't a sampladelic record. Rappers Q-Tip and Phife Dawg dropped a few clunky rhymes, but their lyrics were packed with ideas, while their flow and interplay were among the most original in hip-hop. From the beginning, Tribe focused on intelligent message tracks but rarely sounded over-serious about them. With "Pubic Enemy," they put a humorous spin on the touchy subject of venereal disease (including a special award for the most inventive use of the classic "scratchin'" sample), and moved right into a love rap, "Bonita Applebum," which alternated a sitar sample with the type of jazzy keys often heard on later Tribe tracks. "Description of a Fool" took to task those with violent tendencies, while "Youthful Expression" spoke wisely of the power yet growing responsibility of teenagers. Next to important message tracks with great productions, A Tribe Called Quest could also be deliciously playful (or frustratingly unserious, depending on your opinion). "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" describes a vacation gone hilariously wrong, while "Ham 'n' Eggs" may be the oddest topic for a rap track ever heard up to that point ("I don't eat no ham and eggs, cuz they're high in cholesterol"). Contrary to the message in the track titles, the opener "Push It Along" and "Rhythm (Dedicated to the Art of Moving Butts)" were fusions of atmospheric samples with tough beats, special attention being paid to a pair of later Tribe sample favorites, jazz guitar and '70s fusion synth. Restless and ceaselessly imaginative, Tribe perhaps experimented too much on their debut, but they succeeded at much of it, certainly enough to show much promise as a new decade dawned. ~ John Bush
£14.99

Rap - Released January 1, 2005 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£12.49

Rap - Released August 8, 1988 | Universal Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£12.49

Rap - Released January 1, 1999 | Interscope

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The Slim Shady LP announced not only Eminem's arrival, but it established that his producer Dr. Dre was anything but passé, thereby raising expectations for 2001, the long-anticipated sequel to The Chronic. It suggested that 2001 wouldn't simply be recycled Chronic, and, musically speaking, that's more or less true. He's pushed himself hard, finding new variations in the formula by adding ominous strings, soulful vocals, and reggae, resulting in fairly interesting recontextualizations. Padded out to 22 tracks, 2001 isn't as consistent or striking as Slim Shady, but the music is always brimming with character. If only the same could be said about the rappers! Why does a producer as original as Dre work with such pedestrian rappers? Perhaps it's to ensure his control over the project, or to mask his own shortcomings as an MC, but the album suffers considerably as a result. Out of all the other rappers on 2001, only Snoop and Eminem -- Dre's two great protégés -- have character and while Eminem's jokiness still is unpredictable, Snoop sounds nearly as tired as the second-rate rappers. The only difference is, there's pleasure in hearing Snoop's style, while the rest sound staid. That's the major problem with 2001: lyrically and thematically, it's nothing but gangsta clichés. Scratch that, it's über-gangsta, blown up so large that it feels like a parody. Song after song, there's a never-ending litany of violence, drugs, pussy, bitches, dope, guns, and gangsters. After a full decade of this, it takes real effort to get outraged at this stuff, so chances are, you'll shut out the words and groove along since, sonically, this is first-rate, straight-up gangsta. Still, no matter how much fun you may have, it's hard not to shake the feeling that this is cheap, not lasting, fun. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rap - Released March 19, 2015 | Universal Music

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Grammy Awards
£12.99

Rap - Released February 13, 2015 | Jive

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of hip-hop's great lost masterpieces, 93 'Til Infinity is the best single album to come out of Oakland's Hieroglyphics camp, and ranks as a seminal early classic of the West Coast underground. The Souls of Mischief weren't even out of their teens when they completely redefined the art of lyrical technique for the West Coast, along with fellow standard-bearers Freestyle Fellowship, the Pharcyde, and Hiero founder Del tha Funkee Homosapien. The Souls come off as four brash young MCs who are too smart for their own good, yet they're so full of youthful exuberance that it's impossible to dislike them for it. They're also excellent storytellers, punctuating their tales with a wry wit and clever asides; still, they're able to take on the grittier subjects of violence and death with a worldliness beyond their years. The production -- all by various core Hieroglyphics members -- is just as good as the raps, driven by complex beats, unpredictable basslines, and samples drawn from spacy fusion records and East Coast jazz-rap crews. Main Source and Gang Starr both provide track foundations here, and it's possible to hear the intricately constructed loops of the former and the lean attack of the latter (circa Step in the Arena) in the record's overall style. A better comparison, though, would be to the effortless flow and telepathic trade-offs of A Tribe Called Quest. In fact, 93 'Til Infinity seems to actively aspire to the fluidity of the best Tribe albums; tracks often segue directly into one another without pause -- and the transitions are seamless. Although the title cut is an underappreciated classic, 93 'Til Infinity makes its greatest impression through its stunning consistency, not individual highlights. Put it all together, and you've got one of the most slept-on records of the '90s. ~ Steve Huey
£45.99

Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | WM France

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£14.99

Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£14.99

Rap - Released October 14, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
For many, Public Enemy’s second album is the greatest in rap history. And when it hit music stores in 1988, It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back enshrined Chuck D’s gang as the Rolling Stones of hip hop. An uppercut that changed the course of the genre’s history, Public Enemy remains thanks to this album THE benchmark in terms of ideological AND musical engagement. Offering a black version of CNN stripped of political correctness, examining each corner of American society with (extremely) rich rhymes and layers of literate and often carnivorous samples, Public Enemy impose their words as well as their sound. An aggressive approach to musical production (the Bomb Squad led by producer Hank Schocklee) that produces literal acoustic miracles. An electric and groovy tsunami, light years away from the bling-bling rap that would eventually take control of the genre, which attained its creative Golden Age in 1988. This Deluxe Edition includes a second record featuring thirteen bonuses, including the No Noise version of Bring The Noise, instrumentals for Rebel Without a Pause, Night Of The Living Baseheads and Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos, and the soundtrack version of Fight The Power for Spike Lee’s eponymous film. © MZ/Qobuz
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Rap - Released October 24, 2014 | Mass Appeal Records

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
There are those Jagger/Richards, Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis, or DJ Jazzy Jeff/Fresh Prince-styled collaborations that always seem fruitful. The music created by Killer Mike and El-P easily falls into this category, and is closest to that of Jeff and Prince's, not just because the duo fall under the same category of "hip-hop" but also because Run the Jewels 2, like its predecessor, comes with some joy baked in. It's a broken, ironic, and underground kind of joy as the hard-hitting "Oh My Darling Don't Cry" shows its pimp-hand with "You can all run naked backwards through a field of dicks" and also shows its business card because "You're in luck, it says I do two things: rap and fuck." This sophomore effort keeps the slanted spirit of the original, as mixing the attitude of N.W.A. with the weirdness of Adult Swim is both comfortable and fertile ground for the duo, but the "album" does try harder in the "serious" department. Paranoid androids like "Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1" benefit, as if Run-DMC embraced EL-P's compressed beatmaking and dropped the F-bomb whenever possible. "Early" is deadly serious with Killer Mike pleading "I apologize if it seems I got out of line sir, cuz I respect the badge and a gun/And I pray today ain't the day you drag me away right in front of my son," and that's right before things turn grave. "All Due Respect" with Travis Barker enters Death Grips' territory with punk, techno, and vicious rhymes all crawling up the spine, but this rebel music can still come with a smirk, as a stuttering Zach de la Rocha offers the infectious and weird hook on the wonderfully titled highlight "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)." If the first album was the supernova, RTJ2 is the RTJ universe forming, proving that Mike and El-P's one-off can be a going, and ever growing, concern. ~ David Jeffries
£12.49

Rap - Released January 1, 1994 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
DJ Premier's first album-length production outside of Gang Starr was his best by far. Where Premier's productions hadn't shone underneath the cracking, over-earnest vocals of Guru, with a superior stylist like Jeru these tracks became brilliant musical investigations with odd hooks (often detuned bells, keys, or vibes), perfectly scratched upchoruses, and the grittiest, funkiest Brooklynese beats pounding away in the background. Of course, the star of the show was Jeru, a cocksure young rapper who brought the dozens from the streets to a metaphysical battleground where he did battle with all manner of foe -- the guy around the corner on "D. Original" or an allegorical parade of hip-hop evils on "You Can't Stop the Prophet." The commentary about inner-city plagues arising from spiritual ignorance only continued on "Ain't the Devil Happy," with Jeru preaching knowledge of self as the only rescue from greed and violence. Jeru also courted some controversy with "Da Bichez," at first explaining, "I'm not talkin' 'bout the queens...not the sisters...not the young ladies," but later admitting his thoughts ("most chicks want minks, diamonds, or Benz"). His flow and delivery were natural, his themes were impressive, and he was able to make funky rhymes out of intellectual hyperbole like: "Written on these pages is the ageless, wisdom of the sages/Ignorance is contagious." It lacks a landmark track, but The Sun Rises in the East stands alongside Nas' Illmatic (released the same year, and also boasting the work of Premier) as one of the quintessential East Coast records. ~ John Bush
£13.99

Rap - Released January 1, 1996 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
As a suburban Californian kid, DJ Shadow tended to treat hip-hop as a musical innovation, not as an explicit social protest, which goes a long way toward explaining why his debut album Endtroducing... sounded like nothing else at the time of its release. Using hip-hop, not only its rhythms but its cut-and-paste techniques, as a foundation, Shadow created a deep, endlessly intriguing world on Endtroducing, one where there are no musical genres, only shifting sonic textures and styles. Shadow created the entire album from samples, almost all pulled from obscure, forgotten vinyl, and the effect is that of a hazy, half-familiar dream -- parts of the record sound familiar, yet it's clear that it only suggests music you've heard before, and that the multi-layered samples and genres create something new. And that's one of the keys to the success of Endtroducing -- it's innovative, but it builds on a solid historical foundation, giving it a rich, multi-faceted sound. It's not only a major breakthrough for hip-hop and electronica, but for pop music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£11.49

Rap - Released September 25, 2014 | RCA Records Label

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of the cornerstones of the New York hardcore movement, The Infamous is Mobb Deep's masterpiece, a relentlessly bleak song cycle that's been hailed by hardcore rap fans as one of the most realistic gangsta albums ever recorded. Given Mobb Deep's youthful age and art-school background, it's highly unlikely that The Infamous is drawn strictly from real-life experience, yet it's utterly convincing, because it has all the foreboding atmosphere and thematic sweep of an epic crime drama. That's partly because of the cinematic vision behind the duo's detailed narratives, but it's also a tribute to how well the raw, grimy production evokes the world that Mobb Deep is depicting. The group produced the vast majority of the album itself, with help on a few tracks from the Abstract (better known as Q-Tip), and establishes a spare, throbbing, no-frills style indebted to the Wu-Tang Clan. This is hard, underground hip-hop that demands to be met on its own terms, with few melodic hooks to draw the listener in. Similarly, there's little pleasure or relief offered in the picture of the streets Mobb Deep paints here: They inhabit a war zone where crime and paranoia hang constantly in the air. Gangs are bound together by a code of fierce loyalty, relying wholly on one another for survival in a hopeless environment. Hostile forces -- cops, rivals, neighborhood snitches -- are potentially everywhere, and one slip around the wrong person can mean prison or death. There's hardly any mention of women, and the violence is grim, serious business, never hedonistic. Pretty much everything on the album contributes to this picture, but standouts among the consistency include "Survival of the Fittest," "Eye for a Eye," "Temperature's Rising," "Cradle to the Grave," and the classic "Shook Ones, Pt. 2." The product of an uncommon artistic vision, The Infamous stands as an all-time gangsta/hardcore classic. ~ Steve Huey
£14.99

Rap - Released September 16, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£12.49

Rap - Released January 1, 2000 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Common spent the '90s carrying the Native Tongues torch through an era dominated by gangsta rap, earning a sizable underground following. Positive-minded alternative rap came back into vogue by the new millennium, and Common managed to land with major label MCA for 2000's Like Water for Chocolate. The album established him as a leading figure of alternative rap's second generation, not just because of the best promotion he'd ever had, but also because it was his great musical leap forward, building on the strides of One Day It'll All Make Sense. There's production work by the Roots' ?uestlove, neo-soul auteur D'Angelo, the Soulquarians, and DJ Premier. But the vast majority of the album was handled by Slum Village's Jay Dee, and his thick, mellow, soul- and jazz-inflected sonics make Like Water for Chocolate one of the richest-sounding albums of the new underground movement. Common isn't always a master technician on the mic, but it hardly matters when the music serves his deeply spiritual vision and smooth-flowing raps so effectively. The singles "The Light" and "The 6th Sense" are quintessential Common, uplifting and thoughtful, and helped bring him a whole new audience. They're well complemented by the slinky, jazzy funk and lush neo-soul ballads that make up the record. Not everything is sweetness and utopia, either; Common sends up his own progressive image on "A Film Called (Pimp)," which features a hilarious guest appearance by MC Lyte, and spins a gripping first-person tale of revenge on the streets on "Payback Is a Grandmother" (though the tougher "Dooinit" feels a bit forced). The album could have been trimmed a bit to keep its momentum going, but on the whole, Like Water for Chocolate is a major statement from an artist whose true importance was just coming into focus. ~ Steve Huey