The Source's ☆☆☆☆☆Mic Albums


12. Jun. 2011, 10:02

The Record Report is a special feature in the publication in which journalists rate albums. Ratings range from one to five mics', paralleling a typical five-star rating scale. An album that is rated at four-and-a-half or five mics is considered by The Source to be a superior hip hop album. Over the first ten years or so, the heralded five-mic rating only applied to albums that were universally lauded hip hop albums. A total of 44 albums have been awarded five mics; a complete, chronological list is below.

Albums that originally received five mics:
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of RhythmA Tribe Called Quest
Let The Rhythm Hit 'EmEric B. & Rakim
AmeriKKKa's Most WantedIce Cube
One for AllBrand Nubian
De La Soul Is DeadDe La Soul
The Low End TheoryA Tribe Called Quest
Life After Death (Disc 1) Life After Death (Disc 2) ☆ The Notorious B.I.G.
The Blueprint Jay-Z
The FixScarface
The Naked Truth -- Lil' Kim
Trill O.G.Bun B
My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyKanye West

Albums that were not rated upon their releases, but were later rated five mics in 2002:
RadioLL Cool J
Licensed to IllBeastie Boys
Raising Hell ☆ Run-D.M.C.
Criminal MindedBoogie Down Productions
Paid In FullEric B. & Rakim
By All Means NecessaryBoogie Down Productions
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us BackPublic Enemy
Long Live the KaneBig Daddy Kane
Critical BeatdownUltramagnetic MC's
Straight Out The JungleJungle Brothers
Strictly BusinessEPMD
The Great Adventures Of Slick RickSlick Rick
Straight Outta ComptonN.W.A.
No One Can Do It BetterThe D.O.C.
All Eyez on Me (disc 1: Book 1) All Eyez on Me (disc 2: Book 2)2Pac

Albums that originally received 4.5 Mics, and were later re-rated to five:
Breaking AtomsMain Source
Death CertificateIce Cube
The ChronicDr. Dre
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)Wu-Tang Clan
Ready to DieNotorious B.I.G.
The InfamousMobb Deep
Only Built 4 Cuban LinxRaekwon
2001Dr. Dre

Albums that originally received four mics, and were later re-rated to five:
Grip It! On That Other LevelGeto Boys
DoggystyleSnoop Dogg
The DiaryScarface
Me Against the World2Pac
The ScoreFugees
Reasonable DoubtJay-Z


  • Kdo_Kenoute

    Nice article. I'm surprised at 5 mics to Life After Death though. Stillmatic and Lil Kim too. The retrospective 5 mics look a lot more like a list of classics.

    17. Jun. 2011, 22:44
  • gangstayoda

    i'm finally getting around to listening to some of these albums that i'm not familiar with like Brand Nubian, EPMD, Jungle Brothers...

    5. Jul. 2011, 22:45
  • WeirdoRipper

    Thanks for putting this up. I was just thinking about 5 mic albums the other day and how hard that rating has fallen off. Nice work.

    13. Jul. 2011, 19:18
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