2015 is shaping up to be one hell of a year – one that will surely go down in the history books. New releases aside, this year has also served as the official anniversaries for a legion of certified rap classics. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s debut album turned 20 years old. GZA’s now platinum Liquid Swords, Masta Ace’s Sittin On Chrome, Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… and Mobb Deep’s The Infamous also turned 20 years old. The list is near endless.
Now we can add a couple more albums to that ever-growing list. On Oct. 31st, 2000, OutKast debuted their fourth studio album, Stankonia to critical acclaim. The genre-bending, Grammy-award winning LP produced a cluster of chart-topping hits, including “Bombs Over Baghdad,” “Ms. Jackson” and “So Fresh, So Clean” – all of which have become certified anthems. I have to admit, I am not as versed in Stankonia as I am with their first three albums. Ignorance aside, I do know how much of an impact this album had on not just Hip-Hop, but music in general. It represented a dynamic shift in rap music, which was at the time, quickly transitioning away from its boom-bap roots and forward marching into the commercial era.
That’s not to say that 2000 was a year filled with complete duds. Au contraire, mon frère. The Year of the Dragon also saw incredible releases that included Supreme Clientele, Fantastic, Vol. 2, H.N.I.C., Like Water For Chocolate and JAY Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.
The latter, despite being labeled as his “fifth studio solo LP” was technically considered a compilation project, and served as the perfect opportunity for Hov to showcase his original roster of Roc-A-Fella artists. JAY’s dream team included his aide-de-camp Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Beanie Sigel and, errr, Amil. The latter, we wish we could erase from our memories.
And you got a couple of Beans and you don’t have a Clue?
Your situation is Bleek, Imma keep it real cause
Fuckin’ with me, you gotta drop a mill
Cause if you gonna cop somethin, you gotta cop for real
The heart and soul of Dynasty shined bright via the album’s producers, which included a then unrelatively known Just Blaze and a young Kanye West. In fact, Dynasty was the first JAY Z album to feature production from Kanye. The Neptunes supplied JAY with his chart topping single “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” while Bink! blessed the project with “You, Me, Him and Her” – a song which became fair game for many a rapper to freestyle over. I can recall that the LP was panned by very few with the general consensus being favorable, even garnering a much deserved 4 1/2 mics in The Source.
Fifteen years later, both albums sound crispy fresh as the day they were released, although admittedly, I’d have to side with Hov’s LP over Stankonia. I guess it’s about that time to break out the latter and soak it all in. And I suggest y’all do the same, for the sake of nostalgia.
Honorable mentions include Binary Star’s Masters of the Universe and Cypress Hill’s III: Temples of Boom, both which dropped 15 years ago to the day.
 Although nominated for Album of the Year, Stankonia ultimately lost to the original soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Seriously, that all types of WTF?!
 One year later, the entire squad, sans A Mil, would head up to Funk Flex’s show for a complete Roc-a-Fella takeover.