"If you ask the average music fan when hip hop and rnb really started to impact on the mainstream, I believe most would say around the mid 90s. For a black music artist success would normally be recognised as selling a gold album(500,000 us), platinum attainment was quite rare but all of that was about to change in a major way. The last ten years has seen our music explode on a global scale making household names of our favourite artists. I have been presenting the rhythm nation on radio 1 for 8 years and decided to do a listeners poll to find out what the most popular album of the last decade is. Over 10,000 people voted and the results are all on this page. It was a brilliant response and not short of a few surprises. Because the poll only includes albums made post '93, I could not include classics like Mary J Blige's (what's the 411) or Tribe Called Quest's 'low end theory", that aside see just how many of the fifty you have in your collection. A massive big up to 2Pac for pipping Lauryn Hill to the top spot proving just how much of an icon he truly is."
1. 2 Pac : "All Eyez on Me" (1996)
On his prison release, Tupac signed to Suge Knight's Death Row records. Massive tracks followed including 'California Love' and 'I Ain't Mad At Cha' . Publically regarded as the most influential rapper in history.
2. Lauryn Hill : "Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill" (1998)
We wondered whether she could eclipse the Fugees well Lauryn Hill went onto amaze with her debut album scooping 5 Grammy Awards. We're still desperate for an official studio follow up album. Includes classic cuts like "Doo-Woop", "X-factor" and "Everything"......
3. Dr Dre : "2001" (1999)
As well as crafting compelling cuts for the likes of Snoop Dogg and Eminem, Dre dropped two of the most acknowledged hip hop albums of all time. '2001' featured 'Still Dre' and 'Forgot About Dre'.
4. Justin Timberlake : "Justified" (2002)
If you leave a band to go solo its daunting enough. Add in crossing genres from pop to RnB - with Justified JT made the move successfully... all be it with Jacko's influence and strong Neptunes and Timbaland production.
5. 50 Cent : "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" (2003)
Hailing from the streets of New York he was infamously shot 9 times before Eminem signed him. The smash hit single 'In Da Club' took 50 to phenomenal success - he has sold over eight million albums and taken controversially taken hip-hop back to gangsta.
6. TLC : "CrazySexyCool" (1994)
The biggest selling female trio, T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chilli (TLC) brought their own unique style of hip-pop and RnB at a time when people where still trying to define the urban genre. CrazySexyCool was TLC's master piece - classic songs "Waterfalls" and "Creep" crossed over into the mainstream.
7. Alicia Keys : "Songs in A Minor" (2001)
Being spotted by the man who signed Aretha and Whitney may have weighed some artists down not Ms. Keys. A classical trained pianist whose Fallin single proved that a ballad can still launch a career. This debut sold over 7 million worldwide and won 5 Grammys
8. The Fugees : "The Score" (1996)
2nd album from the New Jersey trio, breaking away from the gangsta rap style of the mid 90's fusing rap, rnb and reggae. "Killing Me Softly" and "Ready or Not" were massive hits worldwide.
9. Mariah Carey : "Butterfly" (1997)
Some claimed that this was Mariah declaring independence from ex-husband and label boss Tommy Mottola. Much of it is devoted too ballads like "All I Am", except the Puff Daddy produced track "Honey".
10. Usher : "8701" (2001)
Grammy award winning 3rd album from Atlanta born singer Usher Raymond, production teams on the project included The Neptunes and Jam&Lewis.; The utlimate stage and video performer who was already a superstar in his teens
11. Eminem : "The Marshall Mathers LP" (2000)
"Stan", "The Way I Am", "Real Slim Shady"....just some of the reasons - along with the ballistic beats of Dr.Dre why this man has become the name in pop and hip hop globally. Outstanding album cementing him as the genres biggest star.
12. Snoop Doggy Dog : "Doggystyle" (1993)
Until 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin" this was the biggest selling debut rap album, hit singles include "What's My Name" and "Gin and Juice" the man is totally synonymous with west coast hip-hop.
13. Aaliyah : "Aaliyah" (2001)
Her 3rd album was the last complete studio set before her untimely death in a plane crash. Selections such as "We Need a Resolution" and "More Than a Woman", honed as usual by Timbaland production. Her music was timeless
14. Destiny's Child : "The Writings On The Wall" (1999)
After an average debut the original 4 texas girls in DC, cemented their status at the top of RnB, with assured singing and catchy chorus lines making this an album that appealed to the mainstream and purists alike. "Bills Bills Bills", "Bug a Boo" and "Say My Name" did the business by night and day
15. Craig David : "Born To Do It" (2000)
Having established a foothold on the music scene via his UK Garage material, Craig went onto to unveil an album that shifted over 7 million copies worldwide and delivered huge singles like "7 Days" and "Fill Me In". The most successful British urban export since Soul II Soul.
16. Jay Z : "Blueprint" (2001)
Regarded by many as his best album to date, The Blueprint racked up Jay Z's 6th platinum album with hit singles "Girls Girls Girls" and "Takeover" simply the most successful rapper out of New York since B.I.G.
17. TLC : "Fanmail" (1999)
The pressure was on to deliver after the success of "CrazySexyCool". Featured RnB anthems 'No Scrubs" and "Unpretty" and strong videos too.
18. Eminem : "The Eminem Show" (2002)
Now more than a mere artist, after the success of the film "8 Mile" he has become a media phenomenon. "Lose Yourself" and "Cleanin Out My Closet" showed he still had his eye on the music.
19. Nas : "Illmatic" (1994)
East coast rapper Nasir Jones is seen as a main cog during a golden age of East coast rap music. Incredible debut album that the critics still hail as his best. Check likes of "It Aint Hard To Tell" and the "World Is Yours". He recently had any epic battle with Jay Z to find out who was the King of New York
20. Aaliyah : "One In A Million" (1996)
With her debut album "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number", Aaliyah stamped her mark on the RnB scene as a major talent. Here she cemented that impression on cuts like "One in a Million" and "If Your Girl Only Knew".
21. Whitney Houston : "My Love Is Your Love" (1998)
One of the biggest pop stars of all time, Whitney has been making hit records since the early 80's. She returned after an 8 year break wtih a more contemporary urban set using producers like Rodney Jerkins and Wyclef Jean. Featuring "It's Not Right but It's OK" and "My love is your love".
22. Beyonce : "Dangerously In Love" (2003)
Leaving Destiny's Child to one side, Beyonce shows why she is the star of the trio. It includes sexy collaborations with Sean Paul and Jay Z from the new skool and Luther Vandross from the old skool
23. Notorious B.I.G. : "Ready To Die" (1994)
Sean "Puffy" Combs signed Christopher Wallace to the newly formed Bad Boy records, "Ready To Die" went multi- platinum and put East Coast rap back on the map with classics like "One more chance."
24. Notorious B.I.G. : "Life After Death" (1997)
Released on the 25th march 1997 two weeks after his death in LA, "Life After Death" is one of the biggest selling rap albums of all time. Leaving B.I.G. as a legend of the rap game, through his story setting and impeccable flow.
25. Nerd : "In Search Of........." (2002)
One of the hottest production teams, Chad and Pharrell donned their No One Ever Really Dies personna to combine styles on this set. Innovative and intereseting take on the hip hop/RnB soundscape whilst embracing rock.
26. Boyz II Men : "II" (1994)
Massive sales for this and the preceeding album ( 20 million in the USA) mean they go down in RnB and mainstream chart history."II" featured "I'll Make Love to You", "On Bended Knee" and "Water Runs Dry" keeping Motown Records afloat in the mid 90's.
27. Sean Paul : "Dutty Rock" (2002)
Argubly the most succesful dancehall reggae act to cross over into the mainstream arena, Dutty Rock has sold over 3 million units worldwide. Hit singles "Gimme the Light" , "Get Busy" and "Like Glue" were club anthems
28. Jill Scott : "Who is Jill Scott" (2000)
The question was answered in fine style on Philly singer/songwriter's debut. Strong from start to finish with standouts like "Slowly Surely", a "Long Walk", "Getting in The Way' and "He Loves Me".
29. Erykah Badu : "Baduizm" (1997)
If D'Angelo helped develop a new style for RnB/Soul, Erykah Badu made an equally strong contribution to the neo soul sound. An album to chill to - old school soul music with jazz
30. Janet Jackson : "Velvet Rope" (1997)
Many artists would struggle to follow in the footsteps of megastar siblings but Janet has secured superstar status in her own right. Her 6th album debuted at number 1 with hits galore.
31. D'Angelo : "Brown Sugar" (1995)
Responsible not only for this superb debut album but also the rebirth of soul/RnB as neo soul. Straddled the ground between Marvin Gaye and Prince on tunes like "Brown Sugar", "Lady" and "Crusin".
32. R.Kelly : "R" (1998)
Hugely successful double album which went platinum. The single "Believe I can Fly" earned him a grammy award and become a wedding anthem!
33. Destiny's Child : "Survivor" (2001)
The "Independent Women" single from this set could be said to perfectly sum up the female psyche of the time. Title track and "Emotions" continued chart domination for the now trio of Texans
34. Ms Dynamite : "A Little Deeper" (2002)
A Little Deeper......just that and winning her a Mercury Music Prize. Proving there is more to Dynamite than MCing on singles like "It Takes More" and "Dy-Na-Mi-Tee".
35. Blackstreet : "Blackstreet" (1994)
Acknowledged as the orginator of "swingbeat", Teddy Riley linked that style with a more RnB group feel.They blended vocal harmonies to create a "swingsoul" sound on cuts like "U Blow My Mind" and "Joy".
36. R.Kelly : "Chocolate Factory" (2003)
The latest offering which topped the Billboard album charts early in 2003, the single "Ignition (remix)" stayed at number one on the UK charts for several weeks
37. Missy Elliot : "Under Construction" (2002)
With Timbaland behind the boards once again, Missy's midas touch continues. Singles include "Work it" and "Gossip Folks".
38. Outkast : "Stankonia" (2000)
Wacky duo hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. They saw their 4th studio album catapult them into the mainstream thanks to the multi-award winning single "Ms Jackson" and "So Fresh So Clean".
39. India Airee : "Acoustic Soul" (2001)
Atlanta soul scene has produced several significant names none more so than Airee. She struck a chord with her meaningful lyrics and strong but uncomplicated melodies on tracks like "Brown Sugar" and 'Video".
40. A Tribe Called Quest : "Midnight Marauders" (1993)
Their third album "Midnight Marauders" offered up arguably the best illustration of their "message" style hip hop musings, via tracks like "Award Tour", "Sucka Nigga" and "Electric Relaxation".
41. Jay Z : "Reasonable Doubt" (1996)
The first installment in what proves to be the finest East coast rap debut album since B.I.G's "Ready To Die" set. Major hits with "Can't Knock the Hustle" and "Brooklyn's Finest".
42. Missy Elliot : "So Addictive" (2001)
The lead single from this album "Get your Freak On" was one of the most prominent hits that year that sampled asian beats.
43. Maxwell : "Urban Hang Suite" (1996)
Along with D'Angelo and Erykah Badu many urban music fans feel that Maxwell co-created the term neo classic soul with this album. Where as D'Angelo had more of a hip-hop edge to his brand of soul, Maxwell proved on this album that there was room for sophisticated and initmate soul in todays market.
44. Ja Rule : "Pain Is Love" (2001)
The Murder Inc. main man dominated the charts with this 3rd album. Filled with hits that included "Livin it Up", "I'm Real" and his collaborations with Ashanti " Always on time" was the biggest selling single in Def Jam history.
45. Ashanti : "Ashanti" (2002)
After being guest vocalist for Fat Joe "What's Luv" and Ja Rule's "Always On Time" , her own album debut carried her on the Murder Inc wave of success. Mainstream charts loved "Foolish", "Happy" and "Baby".
46. Jodeci : "Diary Of A Mad Band" (1993)
Possibly the coolest and most influential boy band of the last decade or so the 2 sets of brothers K Ci / Jo Jo and Devante / Dalvin caused mass hysteria wherever they went but no-one could doubt their prowess as a vocal group and as RnB producers. Highlights include " Cry for You", "My Heart Belongs to You" and "Feenin".
47. Joe : "All That I Am" (1997)
The sophomore album from the East Coast crooner contained "All The Things Your Man Wont Do". "Good Girls" and "Dont Wanna Be A Player". He somehow carved a niche as a balladeer in an already saturated market.
48. Lucy Pearl : "Lucy Pearl" (2000)
Raphael Saadiq (Toni Tony Tone) Ali-Shaheed (Tribe called quest) and Dawn (EnVogue) formed this mini super group for a one off album that left the purists purring. Tracks included "Dont Mess With My Man" and "Dance Tonight".
49. Common : "Like Water For Chocolate" (2000)
An album that combined mellow hip hop with jazz, soul and afrobeat flavas to universal acclaim. "The Light" , "The Sixth Sense" and "Time Travelling", strong examples of this.
50. Mary J Blige : "My Life" (1994)
The 2nd album that Puff Daddy produced for Mary J Blige a typical reflection on her troubled life at the time. Mary really endeared herself particularly to women who empathised with her. Via songs likes "My Life", "Be Happy" and "Going Down".