Three-Headed Crown: Examining the MCs with the Best Three-Album Run

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Kanye West answers questions from Sr. pastor Joel Osteen during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
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Credit by XXL Magazine. No Copyright Infringement Intended

In an era where words like GOAT and Classic get tossed around more than pizza
dough, the conversation requirements for what makes an artist achieve legendary
status are often never mentioned. So, while there are numerous arguments as to
what makes an MC elite, one is the three-album run – a consecutive pace of
albums released that dominated our speakers, souls, and Hip Hop arguments. So
below is a list of the best MCs to do it to date, and if you’re upset, that may be a
personal problem:

1. Lil Wayne:

(1) The Carter 1
(2) The Carter 2
(3) The Carter 3

Before the Carter series, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr was considered the third best
in the Hot Boyz (behind Juvenile and B.G.) for being a small size teen with more
brash than skill set. After the series, he became arguably the greatest rapper alive
since the greatest rapper
retired (at that moment.)

2. Kendrick Lamar:

This cover image released by Interscope Records shows “Damn.” the latest release by Kendrick Lamar. (Interscope Records via AP)

(1) Good Kid Mad City
(2) To Pimp a Butterfly
(3) DAMN

During this run, KDot could rap a story about why ketchup & mustard go together,
and we would all head nod to the chorus and write think pieces on the track.

3. OutKast:

(1) Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
(2) ATLiens
(3) Aquemini

It is likely the GOAT of all three-albums runs.

4. Lil Kim:

Lil Kim. Credit by BET. No copyright infringement intended
Lil Kim. Credit by BET. No copyright infringement intended

(1) Hard Core
(2) Notorious K.I.M.
(3) La Bella Mafia

Queen B was the first boss MC with a mic, fur coat, and lingerie.

5. 2Pac:

FILE – In this Aug. 15, 1996, file photo, rapper Tupac Shakur attends a voter registration event in South Central Los Angeles. The late rapper and Seattle-based rockers Pearl Jam lead a class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees that also include folkie Joan Baez and 1970s favorites Journey, Yes and Electric Light Orchestra. The hall’s 32nd annual induction ceremony will take place on April 7, 2016, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (AP Photo/Frank Wiese, File)

(1) Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
(2) Me Against the World
(3) All Eyez on Me

On Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z Pac was beefin with then Vice President Dan Quayle, Me Against the World is one of Hip Hop’s greatest albums ever, and All Eyez on Me was the culture’s first double
album. So, yea, say no more.

6. DMX:

(1) It’s Dark, and Hell is Hot
(2) Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.
(3) …. And Then There Was X

Any rapper who dropped an album at the same time as X’s run was either big
brave or big dumb.

7. Missy Elliot:

Missy Elliott poses in the press room with the Video Vanguard award at the MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(1) Supa Dupa Fly
(2) Da Real World
(3) Miss E… So Addictive

The creative Queen of lyrical visions sits on a throne of her own universe.

8. A Tribe Called Quest:

(1) People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
(2) The Low-End Theory
(3) Midnight Marauders
Another possible GOAT three-album run.

9. Eric B & Rakim:

(1) Paid in Full
(2) Follow the Leader
(3) Let the Rhythm Hit’em
The MC and DJ GOATS.

10. DJ Quik:

(1) Quik is the Name
(2) Way 2 Fonky
(3) Safe & Sound
Quik holds the title of Hip Hop’s greatest and most underrated producer in the
culture.

11. T.I:

(1) Trap Muzik
(2) Urban Legend
(3) King
T.I.’s music was superior when he was battling against himself (Tip)

12. Kanye West:

Kanye West answers questions from Sr. pastor Joel Osteen during the 11 am service at Lakewood Church Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

(1) College Dropout
(2) Late Registration
(3) Graduation
Groundbreaking.

13. Tyler the Creator:

(1) Flower boy
(2) Igor
(3) Call Me if You Get Lost
Tyler’s run represents the perfect combination of artistry and MC’ism because of
his constant pursuit to challenge himself by taking a risk with each release.

14. Nas:

Nas. Strictly for editorial purpose. No copyright infringement intended
Nas. Strictly for editorial purpose. No copyright infringement intended

(1) King’s Disease 1
(2) King’s Disease 2
(3) Magic

Nas and Hit-Boy are doing some of the culture’s most essential work between old
school/new school. Nas sounds lyrically refreshed, while Hit-Boy’s well-matched
production challenges all Nas-is-the-worst-beat-selector critics.

Check out the Three-Headed Crown playlist HERE

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