In an age where the good rap/hip-hop album is a rare breed, albums with terrible titles add insult to injury. Here are our picks for the 25 most poorly titled albums of the genre. We’re sure there are plenty more than just this. Be sure to add your *least* favorite album titles in the comments section below and also cast your votes for the forthcoming “25 Best Rap Album Titles Ever”.
25. Digable Planets – Reachin’ (A New Refutation Of Time & Space) (1993, Elektra): This one barely made the list because we love the album so much, and we’re sure the earthy trio meant to sound extra interstellar with this title, but we’ve been banging this album for 17 some years and still can’t tell you what it’s called. Most people just refer to it as “Digable’s first album”.
24. A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm (1990, Jive) – Again, another groundbreaking, classic hip-hop record that we all hold dear to our hearts, but what’s up with the long, wordy title? Back then, it was cool to sound smart (unlike today), so the longer your album title was, the smarter you probably were. Like Digable, this is another one that few fans can remember exactly what it’s called and have to pronounce very slowly.
23. Nice & Smooth – Jewel Of The Nile (1994, RAL) - You know it’s bad when you are a fan of a group, and the title of their new LP screams “speaker poison”. Why did Nice & Smooth feel it was necessary to title their third album after a crappy Michael Douglas movie? Not seeing the connection here.
24. Snoop Dogg – Da Game Is To Be Sold Not To Be Told (1998, No Limit) – Remember when you first saw this album advertised in a No Limit ad in The Source, featuring Snoop Pen & Pixled in a throne? And then you tried to say it out loud? At least it rhymes; that’s something.
23. The Legion – Theme + Echo = Krill (1994, Mercury) – Really? We thought “theme” plus “echo” equaled….uh… “themecho”? Loved “Jingle Jangle” from every angle, but this title makes our brains hurt like an impossible math problem. Includes the tracks “Zootie Bang” and “Representando”, which also demonstrate the group’s knack for sharp, cutting edge titles.
22. Chali 2na – Fish Outta Water (Decon, 2009) - Is the title supposed to imply that Chali 2na is playing Marco Polo in the pool with the other members of Jurassic 5, except that he got out of the water, and then he got caught by a wet, shirtless Cut Chemist? Oh…. no… wait… it’s because he’s Chali 2na Fish. Okay, we get it, he’s trying to go for sort-of-a-Black Sheep Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing type-thing with the extended animal metaphor, by way of amphibian. Got it. This album cover also features Chali 2na as a half-man, half-fish type creature. All ball-breaking aside, Chali 2na is one of our favorite emcees and Decon one of our favorite labels.
21. Jim Jones – Hustler’s P.O.M.E. (Product Of My Environment) (Koch, 2006) – We like “Product Of My Environment” as a 3rd Bass song, but Jimmy’s creative abbreviation makes it look like he’s a guy in a diamond-studded t-shirt that doesn’t know how to spell “poem”. His 2009 magnum opus “Pray IV Reign” also is also nonsensical.
20. Field Mob – From Tha Roota 2 Tha Toota (2002, MCA Records) – No.
19. DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia – Scale A Ton (Skeleton) (2009, Scale A Ton) - See, there’s a little pun in the title there for you. Never a good sign when you have to explain the punchline to a joke after telling it by using parentheses. Here, DJ Paul realizes that the word “skeleton” sounds like the words “scale, a ton”, which have never been used together in a sentence before. But see, selling rap music is like selling dope, where scales are used, and Paul plans to sell-a-ton. Unfortunately, Paul’s label is also called “Scale A Ton”, meaning he’s kinda stuck with this horrible title for a while.
18. Terror Squad Presents DJ Khaled – Listennn – The Album (2006, Koch) – Look, we all love Khaled as a hype man and executive producer, etc. He’s got his own way of saying shit, however it doesn’t translate well to paper. This album can only be pronounced in a DJ Khaled voice and cadence, meaning that there were probably plenty of heads in 2006 at Tower Records asking for it by name.
Tower Employee: “Hello sir, what can I get for you”
Hip-Hop Listener: “TERROR SQUAD PRESENTS……DEE…. JAY…. KHA-LED……LISSSSSSTEEEEEENNNN: THE ALLLLBUMMMM!!!!!”
Also completely unnecessary to put “The Album” in your album title. We know that it’s an album.
17. Wu-Tang Clan – The W (Loud, 2000): Um…. were they celebrating Bush’s inauguration? Not a good look with September 11th just months away at that point.
16. Puff Daddy – Forever (Bad Boy, 1999) - Is this his cologne or his album? Maybe he liked Wu-Tang Forever so much that he decided to bite the title, just like he was biting everything else back then. Let’s not forget that he actually wasn’t “Puff Daddy” forever, as he shortly thereafter changed his name to “P. Diddy” and then once again, eventually settling with “Diddy”. He kinda Main Sourced himself right there.
15. The Game – The Doctor’s Advocate (Geffen, 2006) – Aside from being a great LP, this is probably the most inaccurately titled album ever. This was Game’s first post-Aftermath record, after 50 Cent essentially put a power move on him, forcing him to be removed from the label, despite The Documentary’s sales of over 5 million copies worldwide. Game told us over and over again that his album would have Dr. Dre production and even put his name in the album’s title, but slowly that changed. Instead, the album makes Game sound like Dr. Dre’s biggest Stan. And guess what, he is.
14. Killarmy – Fear, Love, & War (2001, Loud) - Is this a K’larmy butchered play on the saying, “All is fair in love and war”? Or does it refer to the Machiavellian philosophies on whether it is better to be loved or feared? Or maybe it’s a play on Dr. Gerald Jamposky’s self-help book, Love Is Letting Go Of Fear. The answer? All of the above. And it sucks in any capacity.
13. Master P – MP Da Last Don (1998, No Limit) - We guess no punctuation is better than too much (see later entries for more on that), but here was clearly a case where P wanted to call his album The Last Don, but couldn’t legally because of the Mario Puzo novel he was copying it from. So then he probably thought he’d call it Da Last Don, but this too was eerily similar to the novel. He ended up with MP Da Last Don, where the “MP” redundantly stands for Master P, not Mario Puzo. Just awful.
12. Ja Rule – Blood In My Eye (2003, Murder Inc) – So you got blood in your eye, big deal. I know dudes in fuckin’ wheelchairs.
11. Tragedy Khadafi – Thug Matrix (2005, Fastlife) - See it’s like The Matrix….. but with THUGS! Truthfully, we could have populated a whole list of abuses of the word “thug” in album titles, but this was by far the worst offender. It’s like he wanted to call his album The Matrix, and then thought it would sound too backpack, so he stuck “thug” in front of it. Way to blow.
10. Fergie – The Dutchess (Interscope, 2006) – Fergie was on TRL promoting this album in 2006, and the host asked her why she chose to spell the word “duchess” like “Dutch”. She was caught on live television dumb-founded, realizing that she spelled it wrong, and everyone at her label was too afraid to tell her. Her answer, “Uh, I just wanted to be different, I guess.” Fail.
9. De La Soul – Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (Tommy Boy, 2001) - Here’s a lesson. Whenever a rapper tells the press that they are going to release a three album trilogy, we only get one or two parts. It always happens this way. Case in point is De La’s clunkily titled Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, coupled with it’s sequel Art Official Intelligence: Bionix, both of which just sound like a bunch of words thrown together. Not horrible albums, but a definite departure from signature De La that we grew up on. The titles alone suggested something here was off.
8. Snoop Dogg – R & G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece (2004, Geffen) - Three titles for one album. The colon is the universal sign of the horrible album title. But couple it with parentheses and you get a real mouthful that nobody will ever talk about because it hurts their tongue. Also, suggesting your album is a “classic” or in this case, “masterpiece” is a sure fire way to make sure that it isn’t one.
7. DMX – It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998, Def Jam) - What are you trying to say here, X? That hell is dark and hot? Or that it’s dark right now, but also, hell is hot? That things are bad, but they could be a lot worse? We’re not getting you here, man. When asked in an interview on BET what the title meant, X replied something to the extent of “See because it’s like, it’s dark, and hell is hot….you know what I’m sayin?” No, we don’t.
6. Keith Murray – Rap-Murr-Phobia: Fear Of Real Hip-Hop (2007, Koch) – Sounds like Keith is trying to coin a term here, but instead is making up new words… with his name in them. And of course, the world is afraid Keith Murray because he is the epitome of real hip-hop. “Candi Bar” and all.
5. Wyclef Jean – The Ecleftic (2 Sides II A Book) (Columbia, 2000) – Where to begin? Like Keith Murray above, Wyclef’s creating new words that nobody knows how to say with his name in them. He also spells “two” and “to” in two different, confusing ways, and on top of it all suggests that books have two sides. Books have one side. You can’t turn them upside down and read them backwards.
4. Busta Rhymes – E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front (1998, Elektra) – It should be telling when the album title does not fit on the album’s cover. We imagine that the meeting at Elektra went something like this:
Elektra Exec: Well Busta, we’ve really got to settle on a title here. So far we are down to “Extinction Level Event” and “The Final World Front”. Which one do you like?
Elektra: We can’t do both, nobody will ever get it. Pick one.
Elektra: Okay, how about we just call it E.L.E.…? People seem to like initials. J.Z. and DMX are really popular right now.
Busta: BOTH!! YOU MUTHAFUCKAS WANT ME TO CHOOSE? THERE’S ONLY TWO YEARS LEFT! WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER ANY MORE!?!?! THE ALBUM IS CALLED EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT: THE FINAL WORLD FRONT!!! ROAAAOOW ROAAOW!!
Elektra: Uh……. okay, that’s fine, sir.
3. Originoo Gunn Clappaz – The M-Pire Shrikez Back (1999, Duck Down) – Duck Down had a rough beginning with lawsuits-a-plenty against Nervous, Smith & Wesson, etc. So naturally, they probably decided that OGC’s second LP avoid any imperial entanglements by not calling it The Empire Strikes Back. So the best solution was to call it The M-Pire Shrikez Back…? What’s an M-Pire? Who pronounces their ST’s like SH’s? And sorry, but who are O.G.C. to name their album after perhaps the greatest movie of all time? Duck Down has redeemed themselves from this little blemish time and again however, still remaining very relevant even to this day.
2. Public Enemy – Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age (1994, Def Jam) – What does that even mean? It translates to “Music and Our Message”. Took us years to realize this. This wound cut us especially deep, because it was the most disappointing album the ground-breaking group ever released, which found them experimenting with west-coast styles of production. Couple a let down of an album with a ridiculously over-thought album title that does not add up to anything and the end result is angry fans. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Sorry Chuck. We still love you just the same.
1. P.M. Dawn – The Bliss Album…? (Vibrations Of Love And Anger And The Ponderance Of Life And Existence) (1993, Gee Street) - Wow, just….wow. This is by far the worst offender in virtually every album title faux pas possible. Remember what we said about dudes trying to sound extra smart in their album titles? And what is with the question mark in the title – are they unsure if this is really The Bliss Album or not? Overkill guys, take a note from A Tribe Called Quest who executed this concept better with Beats, Rhymes, and Life.
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