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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Masterpiece alert! When the first album from the trio Main Source came out at the height of the summer of 1991, the group formed by New York MC Large Professor and Canadian DJs Sir Scratch and K-Cut from Toronto were already very well-respected on the hip hop underground. Written and recorded throughout the previous year, with the legendary E-mu SP-1200 sampler, Breaking Atoms marked a turning point in rap, in particular with its production that held up sturdily against an avalanche of jazz, soul and funk samples. We encounter snatches of song from Donald Byrd, Bob James, Mike Bloomfield, Johnny Taylor, Lou Donaldson, Lyn Collins, MFSB, Kool & The Gang, the Three Sounds, Lou Courtney, S.O.U.L., Funk, Inc. and the Detroit Emeralds. Funky to the point of madness, Large Professor's flow and the subtlety of his punchlines set the album apart from the competition. Breaking Atoms is a major record of golden era hip hop, and also legendary for the début, on Live at the Barbeque, of a young rapper of 17 named Nas… This remaster of Breaking Atoms includes several bonus tracks, like the grandiose single Fakin' the Funk, released in 1992 on the soundtrack to White Men Can't Jump, and carried by its sample of Magic Shoes by The Main Ingredient. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Rap - Released April 14, 2017 | Aftermath

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
To Pimp a Butterfly's proper and oft-biblical follow-up arrived on Good Friday, 13 months after untitled unmastered., an intermediary release that eclipsed the best work of most contemporary artists. If Kendrick Lamar felt pressure to continue living up to his previous output, there's no evidence on DAMN. He's too occupied tracing the spectrum of his mental states, from "boxin' demons" to "flex on swole," questioning and reveling in his affluence, castigating and celebrating his bloodline, humble enough to relate his vulnerabilities, assured enough to proclaim "Ain't none of y'all fuckin' with the flow." Throughout, he intensely examines most of the seven deadly sins, aware all along that his existence is threatened by anyone who objects to the color of his skin or clothes -- or, in the case of the blind stranger who shoots him during the album's opener, nothing that is apparent. Compared to the maximum-capacity, genre-twisting vastness and winding narratives of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. on the surface seems like a comparatively simple rap album that demands less from the listener. There's relative concision in the track titles and material, and a greater emphasis on commercial sounds -- such as Mike WiLL's lean and piano-laced trap beat for the strong-arming "HUMBLE.," Lamar's first Top Ten pop hit, and a couple productions that are merely functional backdrops lacking distinction. In a way, however, DAMN. is just as lavish and singular as the preceding albums, its quantity and weight of thoughts and connected concepts condensed into a considerably tighter space. It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper. Although it's occasionally distorted, stretched, smeared, and reversed to compelling and imagination-fueling effect, his voice is at its most affecting in its many untreated forms. Take "FEAR.," in which he switches between echoing hot-blooded parental threats to enumerating, with a 40-acre stare, various death scenarios. His storytelling hits an astonishing new high on "Duckworth," the album's finale. Over ethereal funk sewn by 9th Wonder, Lamar details a potentially tragic encounter between his father and future Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith -- and the conditions leading to it -- that occurred long before Kung Fu Kenny was known as K. Dot. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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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 /TiVo
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Rap - Released March 19, 2015 | Aftermath

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Grammy Awards
CD€33.99

Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | Warner (France)

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released November 24, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD€21.99

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 13, 2014 | Jarring Effects

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD€21.99

Rap - Released September 16, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released September 9, 2014 | Concord Records, Inc.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A forgotten man in the rise of West Coast rap, Tone-Loc was effectively cut off from his hometown scene in Los Angeles by his unexpected pop success. Paced by the singles "Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina" -- both co-written by a pre-fame Young MC -- and some of the earliest productions by the legendary Dust Brothers, Loc's debut album, Loc-ed After Dark, became the second rap album to top the pop charts, following the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill. Loc's distinctively rough, raspy voice and easygoing delivery made him an appealing storyteller, but he was aiming for the streets more than the pop charts. So there's the occasional profanity, the stalker-tinged title track, and "Cheeba Cheeba," which made waves at the time as one of the earliest pro-marijuana raps on record (of course, this was before Cypress Hill, and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was still fresh in the public's mind). The minor singles "I Got It Goin' On" and "On Fire" (the latter the first record ever released on Delicious Vinyl) are both pretty good, but some of the album's momentum is wasted on some fairly standard MC boasts (Loc has much more personality than he does lyrical technique). Even if Loc-ed After Dark is erratic, though, it still deserves more respect than it's generally accorded. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Rap - Released April 11, 2014 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Rap - Released January 13, 2014 | Big Dada

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
The introductory salvo from rap superduo Run the Jewels is a fine example of a union that is so perfect one might wonder how the universe existed before it. The combination of Killer Mike's menacing Hulk power and El-P's sneering quips and lively production make Run the Jewels a thrilling experience. Everything about RTJ is hyperbolic excess -- both in attitude and sound -- stomping boot prints into the concrete and hurling innocent bystanders through brick walls. Although the pair didn't truly come into their own until the stellar 2014 sequel Run the Jewels 2, this 2013 debut hints at everything to come. Top-shelf production from El-P, Little Shalimar, and Wilder Zoby lends a fresh and exciting energy to each song, while El and Mike trade verses that are so dense with humor and bravado that new zingers are revealed with each successive listen. RTJ operate on a singular setting: imagine the silliest, most outrageous boast possible and then top it with a wink and a grin. From the opening blast of "Run the Jewels" to "36" Chain," they threaten with "Riverdance cleats on your face" and pulling guns "on your poodle or your fuckin' baby," taking typical hip-hop intimidation to ridiculous levels. Amongst the quotable gems, RTJ drop the occasional social commentary -- mostly regarding police oppression, poverty, and inner city struggles -- which balances the sophomoric overload with enough gravitas to justify the merit of the project (Mike's entire verse on "DDFH" ("Do dope, fuck hope") is a fine example of this insight). Some familiar friends also make appearances on the album: Mike's fellow ATLien Big Boi drops a standout verse on "Banana Clipper" while Prince Paul injects the filthy "Twin Hype Back" with a number of naughty nuggets as alter ego Chest Rockwell. While Run the Jewels is the appetizer to RTJ2's instant-classic main course, it stands as a no-holds-barred slap to the head for the rap game, calling out complacent contemporaries with each verbal shot fired. As Mike declares on highlight "Get It," "we are the new Avengers." With an aggressive strength that emboldens listeners with delusions of superhero grandeur, it's an apt claim from a dangerous duo that is more powerful than any comic book savior. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Rap - Released January 7, 2014 | 45 Scientific

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD€33.99

Rap - Released September 30, 2013 | Parlophone (France)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Aftermath

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Hip-hop debuts don't come much more "highly anticipated" than Kendrick Lamar's. A series of killer mixtapes displayed his talent for thought-provoking street lyrics delivered with an attention-grabbing flow, and then there was his membership in the Black Hippy crew with his brethren Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, and Jay Rock all issuing solo releases that pleased the "true hip-hop" set, setting the stage for a massive fourth and final. Top it off with a pre-release XXL Magazine cover that he shared with his label boss and all-around legend Dr. Dre, and the "biggest debut since Illmatic" stuff starts to flow, but Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City would be a milestone even without the back-story, offering cool and compelling lyrics, great guests (Drake, Dr. Dre, and MC Eiht) and attractive production (from Pharrell, Just Blaze, Tabu, and others). Here, Kendrick is living his life like status and cash were extra credit. It is what makes this kid so "good" as he navigates his "mad" city (Compton) with experience and wisdom beyond his years (25). He's shamelessly bold about the allure of the trap, contrasting the sickness of his city with the universal feeling of getting homesick, and carrying a Springsteen-sized love for the home team. Course, in his gang-ruled city, N.W.A. was the home team, but as the truly beautiful, steeped-in-soul, biographic key track "The Art of Peer Pressure" finds a reluctant young Kendrick and his friends feeding off the life-force of Young Jeezy's debut album, it's something Clash, Public Enemy, and all other rebel music fans can relate to. Still, when he realizes that hero Jeezy must have risen above the game -- because the real playas are damned and never show their faces -- it spawns a kind of elevated gangsta rap that's as pimp-connectable as the most vicious Eazy-E, and yet poignant enough to blow the dust off any cracked soul. Equally heavy is the cautionary tale of drank dubbed "Swimming Pools," yet that highlight is as hooky and hallucinatory as most Houston drank anthems, and breaks off into one of the chilling, cassette-quality interludes that connect the album, adding to the documentary or eavesdropping quality of it all. Soul children will experience déjà vu when "Poetic Justice" slides by with its Janet Jackson sample -- sounding like it came off his Aunt's VHS copy of the movie it's named after -- while the closing "Compton" is an anthem sure to make the Game jealous, featuring Dre in beast mode, acting pre-Chronic and pre-Death Row. This journey through the concrete jungle of Compton is worth taking because of the artistic richness within, plus the attraction of a whip-smart rapper flying high during his rookie season. Any hesitation about the horror of it all is quickly wiped away by Kendrick's mix of true talk, open heart, open mind, and extended hand. Add it all up and even without the hype, this one is still potent and smart enough to rise to the top of the pile. © David Jeffries /TiVo
CD€21.99

Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Rock The World - IDJ - Kanye - LP6

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Everyone professionally involved with the creation of Kanye West's sixth solo effort was sworn to secrecy, and with no preorders allowed, plus the news that producer Rick Rubin was still tinkering with tracks seven days prior to the drop, this instant, no-singles, anti-hype album got pre-release hyped on an Olympic scale. Think of the roll-up as a revolutionary blow against the empire or the supernova ego of West in full effect, and while it's probably a little of both, Yeezus the album is a lot of both, with good taste and bad taste both turned up to 11. This aggro-industrial earthquake with booming bass and minimal synths balances groundbreaking hip-hop lyrics ("New Slaves" is a bizarre, layered concept clash where high fashion, slavery, and "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" all collide) with punkish, irresponsible blast-femy (during the draggy, trap track "I'm in It," West's melodious and melancholy voice shouts its dreams to the multitude, pleading "Your titties, let 'em out, free at last/Thank God almighty, they free at last" as if civil rights and booty calls were equally noble quests), and it all works in an astonishing, compelling manner. It's as if West spent the last year listening exclusively to Death Grips and Chief Keef and all the political, social, and musical contradictions became his muse, inspiring moments like the Keef and Bon Iver meet-up that fuels the mile-high hangover number "Hold My Liquor." "Blood on the Leaves" is recklessly bold as it uses Nina Simone's performance of "Strange Fruit" under its snide tale of ex-girlfriends, groupies, and date rape drugs; then there's the obviously volatile "I Am a God" ("Hurry up with my damn massage!/Hurry up with my damn ménage!"), which still outdoes its provocative title with a swelled-head manifesto plus an unexpected, Magic-Mike-meets-Aphex-Twin boom production courtesy of Daft Punk. The closing beauty called "Bound 2" finds veteran singer Charlie Wilson reuniting with that Gap Band bassline but in chilly, new wave surroundings, but the most spellbinding juxtaposition on the album comes on first as claustrophobic electro-clasher "On Sight" offers "Black dick all up in your spouse again/And I know she like chocolate men/Got mo' n*ggas off than Cochran" -- stunning because Kanye is family now with the OJ Simpson trial's "Dream Team," seeing as how he's dating Kim of the Kardashian family and the couple welcomed a child three days before the album's release. Coming from the man who jumped on-stage and grabbed Taylor Swift's VMA award, or called the American President a racist during a nationally televised charity event, this angry, cathartic, and concise album (punkishly running 40 minutes), and its unconventional road to release seems like a personal quest for the next provocative, headline-making, and unforgettable fix. That's an unfathomable thing for most and irritating for many, but it's Kanye's unbelievable reality, so complaining about Yeezus being unrelatable is like complaining the sky is untouchable. At least he has decided to indulge his giant hunger with the help of art, and if anything, this is the moment he becomes a swashbuckling Salvador Dali figure, chopping down all that's conventional with highly imaginative work and crass, attention-grabbing attitude. Unlike Dali's separate delivery of the two, Yeezus is an extravagant stunt with the high-art packed in, offering an eccentric, audacious, and gripping experience that's vital and truly unlike anything else. © David Jeffries /TiVo
CD€17.99

Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | Cash Money Records - Young Money Ent. - Universal Rec.

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | FRONTLINE CATALOG (P81)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
CD€17.99

Rap - Released January 1, 2013 | FRONTLINE CATALOG (P81)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography