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Take a nostalgic trip to 1994 when some of the most classic albums to date were released and then fast forward to 2014 to hear some of the most played albums and tracks of the year so far.

This Flashback Friday we take a look at some old, some new and some classics that have stood the test of time and define longevity within hip-hop. Then we bring it forward 20 years to hip-hop today, with the albums and tracks that have dominated the year of 2014, so far. From OutKast and Nas to Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q here are 10 tracks from then and now that showcase the wonderfully dynamic world of Hip-Hop over two decades.


Nas Illmatic

Then: The one and only Illmatic. This debut album from Nas was released in April 1994 and is recognized, globally, as a masterpiece based on the lyricists life experiences in Queensbridge. Illmatic is an influential album that remains a classic to many hip-hop heads 20 years on.

Mobb Deep The Infamous Mobb Deep

Now: Havoc and Prodigy, the Infamous Mobb Deep released their eighth studio album in April this year. The album is combined of unreleased tracks and some new and original material. ‘‘Taking You Off Here’’  was the first single to be released from the album.

OutKast Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik

Then: Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was the debut album from Andre 3000 and Big Boi, together they are known as, OutKast. Released in April 1994, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik went platinum and to this day remains a significant body of work that has stood the test of time within hip-hop.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Piñata

Now: Putting rapper, Freddie Gibbs and producer, Madlib (who produced the entire album) together was one of the highlights in the genre of Hip-Hop this year. The album Piñata, was released earlier this year and received universally – and well deserved – positive reviews.

Common Sense Resurrection

Then: A few years after being recognized as The Source’s Unsigned Hype act, Common Sense released Resurrection. An album still noted, to some, as the rappers best album to date. Although the album did not gain as much mainstream attention as Like water For Chocolate it was recognized for the impressive word play and lyricism throughout the entire album.

Common Nobody’s Smiling

Now: Conscious rapper Common addressed a number of issues surrounding the crime and violence in Chigago with Nobody’s Smiling. A tribute to his home town, the 10th studio album, produced by No. I.D featured guest appearances from Big Sean, Jhene Aiko, Vince Staples, Dreezy and others and gave us moments of nostalgia with tracks like ‘‘Rewind That.’’

Warren G Regulate…G Funk Era

Then: Dropping in the peak of the G Funk era this album sold 3 million copies in the US and went triple platinum. The West Coast rapper’s most notable track, ‘‘Regulate’’ with Nate Dogg is widely recognized as the standout track for both rappers as the track had a hand in dominating the summer of 1994.

Schoolboy Q Oxymoron

Now: A new classic in gangsta rap. Oxymoron, released in February, depicts candid moments and tales from TDE’s, Schoolboy Q. The album is the sound of a West Coast rappers thoughts, stories and adversities in the face of trials and tribulations.

The Notorious B.I.G Ready to Die

Then: In September of 1994 The Notorious B.I.G gave the world his debut album Ready To die. The singles won awards and the album was recognized commercially while obtaining quadruple platinum sales. The album showcased poignant story-telling success while capturing moments of life that surrounded him on a daily basis. Another classic album 20 years on.

Ab-Soul These Days

Now: These Days is the third studio album released in June this year. Full of enlightenment the album has made it to many people’s top albums of the year (so far). Following on from the acclaimed Control Systems, Ab-Soul continued to lyrically awaken us with his concept and insight into a complex mind.