The Five Best Sequels In Hip Hop

Last week we tackled the worst, this week we look at those who kept up the standard on their sequels, including Wu-Tang Clan, Def Squad and N.W.A. alumni.

Last week we tackled the Hip Hop sequels that failed miserably to live up to their originals, this week we’ll look at those that fared the best. We’re not talking parts of a series here, not Volume 1 vs. Volume 2. This is for those who chose to revisit their seminal album years later; a bold choice that can fail horribly (as evidenced last week). Four of the originals below just happen to be on the short list of the greatest albums of all-time. Stakes is high.

Dr. Dre - 2001 (1999)

A lot of folks forget about this one as a sequel because of the name. But those of you who weren’t in diapers when 2001 dropped may remember that the original title of the Good Doctor’s sophomore record was The Chronic 2000. That is until the always pesky Suge Knight cock-blocked Dre and drop his own Chronic 2000 six months before Dre was set to release his. Suge’s antics don’t disqualify what Dre’s intentions where. 

Dre’s task was particularly monumental as he was following up both one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time. 2001 didn’t turn the Hip Hop world upside down like its predecessor, but it was pretty much universally acclaimed as a classic. And to think, muthafuckers acted like they forgot about Dre. 

On 1992's The Chronic you got “Nuthin But A G Thing .” On 1999's 2001 you still got “The Watcher

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II (2009)

Much like Dr. Dre, Raekwon was attempting to follow up one of the most beloved albums ever made. His route was a much different on though. Rae had dropped a couple horrible albums in between and was coming to the table without the RZA running the show. After Rae announced his intentions to make Only Built For Cuban Linx 2, a mythical saga of Detox like proportions began. A lot of folks became certain it would never see the light of day. But it did, and boy did it shine. A host of Hip Hop’s most talented producers channeled The Abbott and The Chef sounded his best since the O.G. Cuban Linx. Of course Pt. 2 wasn’t as good, but it was about as close as he could come. 

On 1995's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... you got “Criminology ." On 2008's OBFCL 2 you still got "Surgical Gloves "

Nas - Stillmatic (2001)

Ever since the 21 year old QB emcee dropped his legendary debut, fans - unfairly or not - had been awaiting another Illmatic. Nas was not the same man after he made Illmatic, and his subsequent albums reflected that. Large Professor was replaced by the Trackmasters, the black army suit for a pink one and introspection for materialism. Three albums and seven years later Nas had come back around, not quite full circle, but to a place we could all appreciate. I’ve never thought Stillmatic was a classic, and it certainly can’t tie Illmatic’s shoes, but it was a great album that resurrected Nasir’s career.

On 1994's Illmatic you got “NY State of Mind .” On 2001's Stillmatic you still got “What Goes Around

GZA - Legend of the Liquid Sword (2002)

This is an often forgotten album, and while it isn’t the same caliber as Rae’s part 2, it is probably GZA’s second best album. Unlike Rae, GZA only waited one album and seven years before he went back to the well. Not to mention, he hadn’t made terrible albums in between like Rae (Beneath The Surface still bangs). So the expectations weren’t as high, neither was the hype. The album dropped on the same day as Common and Nas, and within two weeks of Snoop, 2Pac, Busta and The Roots. He entered the charts 64 spots back from his previous two albums and it came and went with little fanfare. But that doesn’t change how good the album is. The production was dark and dense and GZA’s sword was as sharp as ever.

On 1995's Liquid Swords you got “Labels .” On 2002's Legend of the Liquid Sword you got “Fame

Keith Murray - It’s a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Keith Murray was excellent, there is no denying that. There is also no denying that it isn’t on the level of any of the others above. Nevertheless, when he named his third LP It’s A Beautiful Thing he had his own legacy to live up to. The Def Squad did just that, his final Jive release was barely a notch below his debut. Keith went to jail shortly after this album and the wild energy that leads to him assaulting people shines on the mic as well. Erick Sermon handles all the production, much like The Most Beautifullest, you can’t go wrong there. You also can’t go wrong with back to back Canibus//LL guest spots while things were still hot. 

On 1994's The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World you got “Get Lifted .” On 1999's It’s A Beautiful Thing you still got “High As Hell

58 Comments

  • mrconceited

    HOT BEATS @ MRCONCEITED .COM

  • SwagGordon

    This is a pretty good list. I would have like to seen how the ratings played out against each other. The song selections could have been better. Criminology over Incarcerated Scarfaces??? Chillllll son. You guys should check out these dude's website (www.justmythoughtsman.com) Now these guys really know how to dig into the music, WORD IS BOMB

  • tMoto

    regardless of whether they are squels to me it dont matter,, but brings good memories from these dope ass artsits musicians>>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRTgagpoZcw

  • Anonymous

    ..funny how when we start talking mad politics on this site...the story gets pulled the next day, but when we aint on shit the story runs for dayssssssssss! What corporate giant owns Dx anyway???

  • jesterdxxl

    I posted on the 'The Five Worst Sequels in Hip Hop' that 2001 & Stillmatic was bonafide sequels Best sequel it's between 2001 or Stillamitic & best double disc is defently All Eyez on Me. (MP: HiphopDX should do a sophomore jinx article next. Talk about all those horrible second albums that was wack!!!!!) I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT ARTICLE HAPPEN

  • HIP HOP HISTORIAN

    this guys a proper hater... Stillmatic wasnt a classic? is that a joke or somethin? it was the releast shit out that year

    • Shabaz 101 naiajaboy

      I agree with u, the guy must be a damn hater...STiLLMAtIC, was and is still is the best ever to come, all in all raps

  • bawse2ulookouts

    what a crock of sh!t "keith murry and the gza hav got 2go!!!

  • erocx23

    wtf just cuz it has a similar title doesnt make it a sequel. its only a sequel if it has 2 or the year its released in the title. keith murray has no sequels

  • Anonymous

    The only thing i dont like about list like these is...i think some shit make the list just so the person who makes the list looks more "hip-hopish" if you follow where im going. 2001 & Stillmatic i have no problem with. How can some of the other albums (not saying they arent good albums) make the list and most people would have a hard time naming any song from the album. Hell, most would have no clue a sequel came out. I know the response will be "well they dont know hip hop" or something to that effect. How can you have a "best ever" list and not one of the songs on the sequeal got any radio outside of the 2AM time slot?

  • Controverse

    Good call on Legend of the Liquid Sword!

  • djspontaneus

    legend of the liquid sword is not a sequel in my eyes....liquid swords 2 is coming out and im sure dx knows about this so why would they put "legend" as a sequel?

  • Charles ExSavior

    I have zero complaints on 2001 being the best rap sequel. The production is top notch and every guest appearance was nothing short of great (if a name didn't ring a bell, people like Devin The Dude caught instant recognition from the album). And the Liquid Swords sequel is bullshit. It's a decent CD but to put it up there as if it matched the intensity of the first record is straight up silly. Didn't GZA confirm not too long ago he was gonna work on Liquid Swords 2 anyway?! If so then this was a little off.

  • Bvbvbvbv

    2001 as the best sequel in hip hop ? Hahahaha. 2001 is not that good. You got something like 4 or 5good songs- You got Still D.R.E, What's the Difference, Forgot About Dre, The Next Episode and the one that features Kurupt (can't recall the name).

    • joe shmo

      kill yourself.

    • Anonymous

      You can't even remember the name of songs so don't act like you know about hip hop. Everybody knows 2001 is the best sequel ever that whole CD bangs, not that you ever listened to any song that's not Still D.R.E. Here's hoping Detox can live up to it.

  • Eldonkey

    Why didn't they add Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Volume 2? On volume 1 you had the classic Dance with the Devil and on volume 2 you got have You Never Know

  • whoiscgm

    If one more person says Late Registration was a great sequel Im gonna start listening to country music. That album was a fucking joke. wack beats with ridiculous song structure - one verse rhymes, recycled in some cases, super long overblown stretches of music without rhyming. Totally sounds like he never even heard College Dropout, which was perfect.

  • whoiscgm

    You all have got to be kidding me with that GZA album. Anyone who says it's a classic could not have possibly heard the first liquid swords. It's impossible how superior the first one is. Both Beneath the Surface and moreso Grandmasters run laps around Legend. The beats and the rhymes are uninspired and weak. The intro sounds like a theWB show, and the whole thing sounds like it was recorded in someone's basement.

  • Vocab

    That GZA album is amazing, a personal favorite of mine, classic joint. Good to see it got some love here

  • Joel Anthony Castro

    Alot of people didn't like it but Blueprint 2, but I gotta say Late Registration should of got a mention.

  • Toppdogg908

    no Marshall Mathers LP? and GZA's was a terrible ass album and they forgot to mention Ice Cube's War and Peace "The Peace disc"

    • Pat Neeland

      How the fuck is War & Peace a sequel? It was a 2-disc album, with each disc being released separately. Not a goddamn thing "sequel"-ish about it.

    • Anonymous

      put the syringe down as well then pick up a gun and kill yo self What would you replace it with then? Ice Cube's joints were vol.1&2 illiterate mother fucker

    • khordkutta

      "GZA's was a terrible ass album" Put the pipe down

  • Anonymous

    um Life After Death? Marshall Mathers Lp

  • T

    Can anyone say "Tha Carter III?"

  • FLogin

    Provocative list...esp with Keith Murray on there.

  • SBling

    THE MARSHALL MATHERS LP

  • Anonymous

    nice to se none of the BP's got on here but what about Life After Death its basically a ready to die 2 w/ a different perspective on the theme both are classics

  • Edi Kajmolli

    wow you cant be fuckin seriousss.... this is straight garbage cube we waited for THIS?! Really?? my COLOGNE? OLD MONEY? REALLLYY?!!!!

  • John45/23

    How did Keith Murray make this list before Kanye's Late Registration? Technically it was a sequel from College Dropout.

    • Pat Neeland

      You do realize lists are more personal opinion than "hey everybody likes this album, so let's include it!", right?

    • Anonymous

      you are idiots! 2001 shits all over late registration! Chronic 2001 is the best album of 2 decades. Pick up a book!

    • da1

      Hey man your right late registration was a sequel. and in my opinion it's one of the greatest of rap seguels in my book. even better then 2001 to me atleast. 2001 had too many fillers.]Late registration was definitely a great follow up. Damn i wondered why they forgot that one.

  • Sensaye252

    Blueprint 2 or 3? H.N.I.C. 2? T2: Judgement Day?

  • arkitekt

    Don't forget about Wu-Tang Forever too!

    • C-Arson

      J-23 What up! Fellow Hiphop Head Salute!!!!

    • J-23

      How is Wu Forever a sequel? It was just their next album. If a dude makes an album that is labeled part 1 or vol 1 and makes an album the next year called part 2 it wasn't considered for this. Y'all are missing the point. If Rae called Cuban Linx Vol.1 and made Vol.2 in 96 would anyone have made a big deal? No, we made a big deal because he dared to make a part 2 almost 15 years later with a couple shitty albums in between. It was a bold move to call back to his classic album. Wayne naming every album The Carter is not the same thing