50 Years Of Hip-Hop (Part 5): Dr Dre, NWA, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Little Simz & more

50 Years Of Hip-Hop (Part 5): Dr Dre, NWA, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Little Simz & more

This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, with a legendary DJ Kool Herc party in the Bronx on August 11, 1973 commonly cited as its glorious moment of inception. To celebrate for a special edition of Music Week, we asked over 100 names – featuring everyone from Chuck D and Kanya King to top executives, broadcasters, managers, producers and more – to pick and salute one album that impacted their lives and pushed hip-hop culture forward…



“I was an 11-year-old Parisian kid spending most of the time daydreaming of the USA nation of MTV, Michael Jordan, Bart Simpson and Knight Rider. I remember, with my two best friends, we were obsessed with US rap culture from both the West and East Coasts, even though we didn’t speak more than five English words! At that time, the only place to find this music was either on MTV or in a few record shops – 31 years later, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg still sound as good as the first time I heard them. The Chronic is one of the best rap albums of all time.” David Ventura (Sony Music Publishing)

“Dr. Dre’s The Chronic totally changed my life, and this is no overstatement. In fact, it may be an understatement. Showcasing timelessly clean production that created a whole sub-genre, The Chronic meshed street hip-hop with truly global branding through its laid-back style, ingenious musicality, earth-shattering low-end and instantly classic iconography. With one fell swoop, Dre rendered all alternative rap ‘underground’ with the smash hits on this album, and yet at the same time soundtracked the violence and rioting of the time. The impact of this album led to my searingly passionate, and slightly worrying, allegiance to not just a whole coast of hip-hop, but the record label it launched [Death Row Records], telling me stories within its songs that helped shape my musical tastes as well as my political views. To this day, it rides in the car effortlessly and with such power that I still can’t turn it off.” Kambi Thandi (The Crate 808 Podcast) 

“The Chronic was my first ever album and actually I think it’s pretty cool that it was also the debut album for Dr. Dre. We’re going back to 1992 and I won’t tell you how old I was,  just know I had a moustache, one eyebrow and side burns. A hairy little Persian child who was introduced to hip-hop by her older sister and never looked back! Hip-hop was the sound of my upbringing, growing up not having a lot and being a child to a single parent who had only been in the country for five years… That album was my release. I remember watching videos for Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang and Fuck Wit Dre Day and being obsessed with rap culture, fashion and the very clear ‘F the system, get money’ attitude coming through every crevasse of the sound. I can still play tunes from this album in a rave today and it will go off. Dr. Dre’s influence transcends generations and he truly is an icon who helped shape and inspire me.” Ellie Prohan (KISS & Kiss Fresh)

2001 (1999)

“It was the first time I’d bought a hip-hop record – having grown up more on ’80s art-rock and synth-pop acts, bands, singer-songwriters and classical music. This record literally blew my mind. I was at uni in Leeds and would walk around the campus feeling completely invincible with tracks like Still DRE, What’s The Difference and The Next Episode being obvious highlights. I didn’t really know what it was, but I knew I needed a lot more of it in my life! The production is still insane. The features, the musicality, the hooks. Dre is a genius and what he’s done for hip-hop over the decades has continued to forge the path for producers to turn into artists – one which I personally rate and love across all genres.” Briony Turner (Atlantic)


“I first heard N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton LP at a house party in San Francisco while I was on vacation there in 1988. The whole place totally erupted when it came on. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing! It’s still a classic 35 years later.” Mike McCormack (Universal Music Publishing Group UK)


“If I had to pick one album, it would have to be Doggystyle. It’s the perfect album from top to bottom. The production is incredible – sonically, lyrically every track is a classic. Everyone is at the top of their game – Dre, Snoop, Tha Dogg Pound, Nate Dogg. No misses. It’s a masterpiece. If I were stuck on a desert island and only had one album to listen to, this would be it. Still slaps!” Joe Gossa (Black Butter)

“It was definitely one of the albums that changed my life. I was heavy on the East Coast side of things and it was more of a Boom Bap sound, but when I heard this album it was much more musical and funky, and just as hard. Snoop’s debut was more than an album, it was a whole movement – it showcased the whole crew, like The Lady Of Rage right from the jump on the intro, Tha Dogg Pound (Daz & Kurupt) and Nate Dogg (RIP). The interludes and skits on the album in between the tracks are also legendary. A real masterpiece body of work with no skips that used to get played everywhere. I was lucky enough to see them all live when they came to the UK to tour this album. Golden, priceless memories that will last forever!” Manny Norté (Capital Xtra)



“On the one hand, an absolute musical game-changer, and for the Polydor press team the start of a rollercoaster ride of media management, but also there was something almost quaint about the humour and storytelling. So vivid and, yes, at times shocking, it was a thrilling introduction to an incredible talent.” Selina Webb (Universal Music UK)


“Sometimes I Might Be Introvert was such a powerful artistic statement and established Little Simz as one of the most important UK artists of her generation. It’s brave, ambitious, experimental, but also accessible and timeless. The story it tells of her journey is profound and moving, and on a personal level brought home to me exactly why I have devoted my career to trying to help artists tell their stories.” Paul Hitchman (AWAL)


“On Capital Punishment Big Pun’s raps unravel like a tornado, as multi-syllabic witticisms and near-breathless flows pin the listener up against the wall. He left his enemies dead in the middle of Little Italy, insisted he wasn’t a player, and created a street rap album so dizzying that it made a Puerto Rican the first Latino [solo] rapper to go platinum. Figuratively and literally, Big Pun was a giant, and I can’t imagine a day where rappers won’t listen to Capital Punishment and say, ‘How the hell did he do that?’” Thomas Hobbs (journalist)


“It shaped my teenage years and was the first ever hip-hop album I purchased. It all started when my mum finally had enough money for us to install Sky Digital, I was flicking through the music channels and came across the video for Rollout (My Business) on MTV Base. The beat, the lyrics, the energy, the whacky creative visuals... I was hooked from that moment. Word Of Mouf will always remain close to my heart. It was playful and entertaining, yet had songs like Growing Pains. It really painted a picture of life in Atlanta for me.” Rashid Kasirye (Link Up TV)

Click here to read more about our special edition of Music Week celebrating 50 years of hip-hop.

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