May 31, 2017

10 of the Greatest Sophomore Rap Albums


Edited: Jul 8, 2018





Well, some artist fall victim to the "Sophomore Jinx" or slump while other MC's follow up great debut albums with projects just as potent. Some of these MC's actually surpass a very DOPE debut effort with a follow-up that starts a streak of great projects. Great projects can push an MC into legendary status. Below are The 10 Greatest Sophomore Rap Albums of all Time according to Da Dome. Give us your thoughts and also feel free to list some of your own. So, to keep things short and sweet lets get it started!


1. Outkast - Atliens: Now listen, I'm a huge fan of Outkast debut album. After years of dissecting Atliens, this could possible be the greatest Sophomore Rap Album ever. There are 3-4 that could be placed here. Atliens is simply amazing and a step up lyrically for Andre and Big Boi.

2. A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory: As much as I love People Instinctive Travels, The Low End Theory was stellar. Dr. Dre stated in the past that hearing this album made him concentrate even more on The Chronic. Need I say more?

3. Kanye West - Late Registration: As great as The College Dropout is, Late Registration was even more polished. I actually believe that it possibly aged better than Ye's debut. Some people feel that this is his best album. A friend of mine sent a text the other day saying this very thing.

4. Eric B. & Rakim - Follow The Leader: Yes, Paid In Full is monumental but Rakim was actually an overall better MC on Follow The Leader which was lyrically amazing when it dropped.

5. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid M.A.A.D City: I personally thought Section 80 was stellar but when I heard Good Kid Mad City, I knew K-Dot was here for the long haul.

6. Biggie Smalls - Life After Death: Biggie finally put it all together on LAD. Every aspect of Mcing was perfected. Turn LAD into a Single Disc & it's Top 10 of all time.

7. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back- I don't need to say anything here.. Yo Bum Rush The Show was a great LP but the follow up = Amazing

8. Gang Starr - Step In The Arena - No More Mr. Nice Guy was a good introductory album for GURU and PREMO but the follow-up was the start of a legendary run!

9. Mobb Deep - The Infamous - Casual Rap Fans don't know that The Infamous is Mobb Deep's 2nd album. The debut Juvenile Hell was overlooked and we understand why..

10. Boogie Down Productions (BDP) - By All Means Necessary : As I've said for years, By All Means Necessary is simply better than Criminal Minded. KRS stepped up the lyrics and production.


The list above are some of the ones that come to mind. Other MC's who had great sophomore albums were The Roots, The Fugees, De La Soul, Fat Joe, NAS, Ghostface Killah, Too Short, T.I., EPMD, Masta Ace, The Beastie Boys, Redman, Eminem and of course Ice Cube with The Death Certificate.


What are some that come to mind for you???







Jun 3, 2017

I'm not mad at this list at all! Part of me has the Fugees - The Score at that 3 spot with Late Registration at 4. I would wager that The Score was the introduction to many of the Fugees' fanbase. To this day, I can't remember ever before hearing so many people bumping one album. 1996 was a great year in Hip Hop music...

Jun 4, 2017

Yeah bro, that's a good point. I pretty much did this is off the top o my head. If you have more that I missed, let me know. I'm always curious.

Jul 25, 2017

Can't believe you left off Late Registration

Jul 25, 2017

My bad..You listed it...good spot for it.

Jul 26, 2017

Ha! Kanye on there playa..lol. That albums was GREAT!

New Posts
  • T-Hanes
    May 3

    Ok, this will be short and sweet. What MC's showed more growth and skills on their 2nd album? I'm going to name a few from my perspective. What are some in your opinion and do you agree with any I listed? 1. NAS on It Was Written: Yes, as great as Illmatic was NAS was a better overall MC on It Was Written. On Illmatic NAS was just rapping like on the block freestyling. On IWW NAS was telling stories like "I Gave You Power" and "Shootouts". Don't get me wrong, NAS was amazing on Illmatic but to me he was better on IWW. 2. Biggie on Life After Death: Yes, Ready to Die is a Classic but Biggie showed growth as an MC. Dude was doing "Notorious Thugs" with Bone Thugs and still kept the rawness on LAD that he did on RTD. Biggie showed more versatility. 3. Black Thought from the Roots was better on Do You Want More compared to Organix. 4. Big L was better on The Big Picture compared to Lifestyles of the Poor and Dangerous. 5. Q-Tip was a better MC on The Low End Theory compared to Tribe's debut. 6. Big Boi and Andre 3000 were both better on ATLIENS than Southernplayer. 7. OC was better on Jewelz than he was on Word Life. 8. Kanye was a better MC on The Late Registration vs The College Dropout. 9. Eminem was better on The Marshal Mathers LP vs The Slip Shady LP. 10. Rakim was a better MC on Follow The Leader than he was on Paid in Full... A few more thoughts: Do you think Redman was better after his debut on the second album? Do you feel that Scarface improved from album to album? I also believe KRS was better on By All Means vs Criminal Minded..... Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Oct 22, 2018

    Today I was listening to Biggie's classic album Ready to Die and other 90's Hip Hop joints. As I sat back and absorbed the lyrics to the final track, "Suicidal Thoughts", it pushed me to ask a few internal questions. I was thinking to myself, "Have I ever heard a Rap Song so grim and cynical?". At first the Scarface song "In My Time" off Last of a Dying Breed came to mind. This particular track was typical Scarface talking about his own funeral and the love ones left behind. This is why I call him the "Grim Reaper of Hip Hop" on most days. Biggie went a step and level deeper with "Suicidal Thoughts". You see, Ready to Die is like a Suicide Note, Diary, and Memoire all wrapped into a collection of songs. I tell you, it's surely an amazing piece of work but given his early death, it's chilling as well. As for the song, I attempted to remember the first time I heard it and my initial reaction. Looking back at it in 2018, I had to be amazed by the boldness of this song in 1994. I was a college freshman and listened to rap music every single day. I had to think "What the hell was this dude smoking and drinking when he wrote this song?". I mean, he starts the song off with the line "When I die, f**k it I want to go the hell cause I'm a piece of sh*t, it ain't hard to f**king tell". In the song he talked about heaven being too strict because of God and his rules/laws. He talked about his life of crime, family dysfunction and an ugly world in general. As I listen to this track tonight, I honestly don't remember a more vivid track in regard to the subject matter at hand. The album Ready to Die covers the life of a character (some of it based on Biggie but most of it is fiction) that lives a street life and at the end of the story, he commits suicide. Hip Hop is known for storytelling and for better or worse, this was graphic to say the least. Personally it would take years for another MC to talk about death in this fashion. Of course prior to Ready to Die you had Tupac talking about life and death, Scarface and eventually Bone Thugs on the track "Crossroads". In the years following Ready to Die, we were introduced to DMX and Eminem. Both of these artists talked the pain and pleasure of life. Even with the emotional ride that Pac, Eminem and DMX took listeners on, I don't recall ever having chills like I did hearing "Suicidal Thoughts". This is honestly one of those songs that you almost wished was never recorded. You can also look at it in the fashion of a case study on Mental Health and possibly Substance Abuse. No, I'm not saying Biggie had either, I'm saying the song could represent a character suffering from either, or both. Puffy is also featured on the song trying to call Biggie and talk him out of harming himself. Puffy's character was the voice of reason and friend to Biggie on this track. There are so many layers to the song and album. At the end of the day, each of us have experienced a nightmare before. Maybe this was one that Biggie experienced and wanted to share with the world through his music. Peace
  • T-Hanes
    Sep 3, 2018

    The old saying is "Music is food for the soul", and I have always believed this to be true. Music is a true link to various cultures, races and people from different generations. People who know me are familiar with my strong passion for music. If you only know me via Social Media, you might believe that I'm only a "Hip Hop Head", but that is far from the truth. I enjoy Rock, Jazz, Soul (R&B), Gospel, Rap and some Country Music. The overall creativity with 80's Music has a place in my heart as well. With that being said, only a few albums have totally blown my mind and left me amazed. I always loved Marvin Gaye and if you know me, you know he is my favorite artist. Gaye's 11th album (yes, 11th and he had 7 more released afterwards) What's Going On is the project that forced me to look at music and life from a different perspective. There are other albums I love, but no body of music expressed life in such a vivid depiction as this album managed to accomplish. Marvin Gaye completed this concept album (a lot of people don't know it's a concept album) in 1970 and released to the world on May 21, 1971. The album is a 9 song story about a Vietnam Vet coming back to America to find that hate, division, racism, poverty and inequality was still a reality. I mean, imagine returning home after fighting in a WAR, only to find that you have to continue fighting against a system that view you as a second class citizen. Marvin Gaye's introspective lyrics and poetry was delivered flawlessly. Several tracks resonate with me over 47 years after it's release. The title track "What's Going On", "Inner City Blues", "Mercy Mercy Me", and "What's Happening Brother" stay on repeat. Well, the entire album stay on repeat. This album could be used as a Case Study on Systematic Racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and what Veterans continue to deal with decades after The Vietnam War or The World Wars. Marvin was magical to me on this album and there are only a few other albums that came close. These albums are NAS Illmatic, Miles Davis Kind of Blue, Stevie Wonder Innervisions, the poetry Sade displayed on Love Deluxe and a song called "Who Is God" by Hip Hop Legend Rakim (of Eric B. & Rakim fame). Of course there are other amazing projects but these come to mind the fastest. Music is truly one of the best creations in the world. Whenever you are totally blown away by an album or song, it will nourish your soul without a doubt. I enjoy sharing my random thoughts here on Da Dome and on other Social Media outlets. What album totally changed your views on music, life and put you in a zone? What artist feed you with their words, instruments and/or passion? When I think about Marvin Gaye, Tupac and SADE, I often think about Philosophers that I learned about in High School and College. They are the musical versions of a Robert Frost who I respect, or Langston Hughes who I love. They are my versions of Shakespeare. They were able to go deeper than most. As I sit here listening to K Solo's Times Up album, the song "Who's Killing Who" blast from my speakers as I think about life on this Labor Day Holiday. Peace
  • SoundCloud Social Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Facebook Icon