'Illmatic,' by Nas

Let's not act like we're surprised this tops the list. 'Illmatic' lands at No. 1 for the same reason people still do the electric slide at weddings: It's classic! A 15-year-old Nasir Jones hooked up with Large Professor, who later introduced him to MC Serch and DJ Premier, and a few years later the underground MC's debut was finally ready for the masses. Nas took a cue from Rakim -- with a faster flow -- and wrote what could be summed up as a journal from the streets.