The best hip hop albums of all time were ranked by Tone Deaf.

Yes there are countless great records full of swagger, however swagger alone does not make you the GOAT. Any good rapper should have charisma, this is a necessity not a bonus.  To be truly timeless you need substance and skill.

Here are the top 20 hip hop albums deemed to have the best songwriting and/or lyricism of all time, ranked from least to most consistent across their track list.

20. Drake – Take Care
Drake take care

Drake might be making bubble gum RnB pop songs now, but he didn’t start that way. His early mixtape tracks showed the world he is one of the most talented rappers and songwriters on the planet. Drake – Take Care is probably his most consistent record released to date.

19. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist
Macklemore The Heist

Ryan Lewis’ production was fresh and innovate, and Macklemore’s raps were impressive, profound and enthralling. This record is skilful enough for rap fans to love, and accessible enough that it generated massive global hits.

18. Wu-Tang Clan: ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’
Enter the wutang

The Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album is arguably the most important hip hop album of the Nineties. Sparse yet defining production by RZA’s complimented by the raps from Method Man, Ol Dirty Bastard, GZA, Chef Raekwon, Ghostface Killah who with one record, became iconic.

17. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city

Few artists are respected as much as Kendrick Lamar. He’s a rappers rapper, but he’s also every pop kids choice of hip hop expression. Released in 2012, no west coast record had such a big cultural impact since Dre’s 2001.

16. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Could this record be the best blend of rap and R&B in hip-hop history? Her stellar songwriting grappling with spirituality, love and parenting has made Lauryn Hill’s record of the best of all time.