10 Slept-On Hip Hop Gems - Volume One
Listen to 10 of the best underground / rare hip hop albums from back in the day.
General Criteria: Underground Classic / Rare / Obscure / Underrated / Unheard of / Forgotten
Albums fall under this general criteria and have some substantial quality and value.
You may know some of these you may not hopefully I can introduce you to something dope.
These albums are mostly hard to find, some are out of print. When possible, Ive provided links to the best places to find the album.
Juggaknots - "Trouble Man"
Juggaknots - Clear Blue Skies
Juggaknots - "Clear Blue Skies" 
Forgotten classic right here. Juggaknots drops smooth boom bap supporting dope verses. Full of incredible flow and delivery - check "Trouble Man".
The two MCs here are Breezly Brewin and Buddy Slim both incredible. Completely underground, some tracks are just a couple verses over a beat but its all really dope.
Not your typical mid 90s boom bap album - title track goes into racial stereotypes with an interesting viewpoint.
The original album was released in 96 and due to rarity rereleased in 2002 with bonus tracks. Overall Clear Blue Skies is an underground gem for sure.
Juggaknots - "Clear Blue Skies"
Jamal - "Keep It Real"
Jamal - "Fades Em All"
Jamal - "Last Chance No Breaks" 
Jamal of the Def Squad dropped only one full length album in his career - the incredibly dope "Last Chance No Breaks".
The beats on this album are absolutely fantastic thanks to tracks by Easy Mo Bee, Mike Dean, and Redman among others.
The young MC has got mad skills for his age and for any MC for that matter really making it a shame that Jamal never dropped a sophomore album.
Full review here.
People Without Shoes - "Evil For Eternity"
People Without Shoes - "Thoughts of an Opt Mist" 
Nearly invisible release by New York crew (or rapper) People Without Shoes; there is hardly any information about these guys. The album is full of moody East Coast vibes produced by a guy named Melvin Gibbs and lyrics and flow to match. Although its really New York style, these guys bring a unique sound and the MC has a distinct voice. Thoughts of an Opt Mist (the only album released by People Without Shoes) is really extremely overlooked and although it might not be a top release it is a gem of the underground.
People Without Shoes - "Nappyhead Assassin"
Pete Rock & InI - "Fakin Jax"
Pete Rock & InI - "Center of Attention" 
Center of Attention (mostly produced by Pete Rock) is an incredibly relaxing listen with ample jazzy vibes. The album was shelved before its planned release in 95 and only known from bootlegs until it was rereleased by Pete Rock as "Hip Hop Underground Soul Classics" in 2003. InI is a group of MCs affiliated with rasta stuff and spit mostly positive verses, and are easy to agree with most of the time. All of their voices are very laid back and lazy matching perfectly the laid back jazzy beats by Pete Rock. The entire album maintains a great feel. Full review here.
Eminem - "Infinite"
Eminem - "Infinite" 
Before Eminem became well known with his major label albums, he dropped Infiniteto the underground in 96. Infinite has a very different sound than any of Eminem's later albums. His voice is a bit different; the beats have that awesome mid 90s boom bap feel. Lyrically, this album is absolutely insane. Eminem slaughters verses with his signature complex-rhythmic-everything-rhymes-yet-also-makes-sense style. The title track "Infinite" is simply one of the dopest hip hop tracks altogether.
Ras Kass - "Marinatin"
Ras Kass - "Soul on Ice" 
Lyrically insane and great boom bap beats; Ras Kass dropped a style of album rarely heard coming from the West Coast. Production has got a distinct atmospheric feel - at moments epic ("On Earth as It Is...") - the sound has more East Coast elements than West Coast.
Ras Kass - "On Earth as It Is.."
Down South - "Southern Comfort"
Down South - "Lost In Brooklyn" 
The only material ever released by this New York crew, "" has got that boom bap feel, somewhat jazzy, from 94. In fact this album is very well produced - the majority of the beats are produced by Shawn J. Period with 3 from Beatnuts and 2 from T Ray. The album is pretty obscure but did spawn one popular single in "Southern Comfort". A lot of the album is inspired by southern lifestyle. The MCing here is good as well - overall "Lost In Brooklyn" is an album with great chemistry and one that really represents some real hip hop from back in the day. Lost In Brooklyn
Scientifik - "Criminal"
Scientifik - "Criminal" 
The only official release by the Boston area MC, "Criminal" is another lost release from a slept on MC with dope beats.
Production here includes Buckwild, Diamond D, ED OG, and one track produced by RZA. Classic by all means.
Available in CD form (rerelease) and MP3.
O.C. - "Word...Life"
O.C. - "Word...Life" 
Really great and overly slept on gem from 94. O.C. lays down real life verses over beautiful jazzy beats mainly produced by Buckwild. O.C. has got a real mic presence and is no gimmicks, showing you that to have flavor you don't have to spit gangster-ism. Full review here.
O.C. - "Ma Dukes"
Dred Scott - "Back In the Day"
Dred Scott - "Breakin' Combs" 
Dred Scott (hailing I think from the West Coast) is quite impressive in the fact that he wrote and produced this entire album. The sound is very East Coast NY style in the sense that it is very funky and jazzy although the sound quality and layers is more clear and complex giving it a kind of unique sound especially for 1994. On the mic Dred Scott has got flow and delivery with a lot of energy although he sticks with a lot of punchline verses; but there are deep tracks as well and a lot about everyday living from the perspective of something else than gangsta and gun clappin. There is not very much information about this guy and the CD is somewhat rare but you can find it on amazon for a decent used price.
Cassette (CD also available)
I hope you got something out of this hub, I will be posting more of these in the future along with reviews of individual albums.