Who doesn't love a classic album? A timeless, quality piece of work that appears flawless & effortless intro to outro.
NaS-Illmatic, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx-Raekwon f/ Ghostface Killah, The Chronic-Dr. Dre, Doggystyle-Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Infamous-Mobb Deep, The Slim Shady LP-Eminem, Reasonable Doubt-Jay-Z, Enter The 36 Chambers-Wu Tang Clan, Makaveli: The 7 Day Theory-Tupac, Death Certificate/Amerikkka's Most Wanted-Ice Cube, Ready To Die-Notorious B.I.G., The Diary-Scarface, Muddy Waters-Redman....
The list goes on, but it's not endless. On the contrary, this era of Hip Hop, labeled "the golden years" (1990-2001), was basically the zenith of classic rap albums, with the exception of a couple of later entries, like Get Rich Or Die Trying-50 Cent & Tha Carter II-Lil Wayne. Since then, many have tried, but few, if any, have ascertained said greatness. One important aspect of the aforementioned records, is that they weren't recorded with the intention of becoming "classics". They just turned out as such.
What defines a classic LP should be: lyrics, production, concept, structure & emoted output. Simple requirements for a not-so-simple achievement. Granted, one listener's taste is surely skewed by various factors, including environment, age, sex, etc., but the same basic rules apply nonetheless. For instance, plenty Cali cats didn't feel, or have ever heard of "The Infamous", so on average generalization, it wouldn't be considered classic material. Personally, very few albums can achieve the level of legendary as Mobb Deep's second offering. Though, those same dudes still bump "Doggystyle" like it was released yesterday. Maybe I suffer from an acute case of open-minded bias, but both albums catch heavy spins in my universe.
Nowadays, we're faced with a faltering talent pool, & a lack of zeal & zest for the music. Hence, classic albums don't exist anymore. Sans all the reasoning why, it just doesn't happen. The problem is born out of the artists intentions on creating a masterpiece, as opposed to it happening naturally. Like, girls only get pregnant when they're not expecting to. Very rarely can a person predict a pregnancy; ovulation isn't guaranteed impregnation.
Ironically, most rap dudes that go in wanting to make that next perfect production fall short. No Dice. Stop trying to make the next classic. Don't tell me it's going to be a sunny day, because when it drizzles, I'm going to be pissed. Instead, focus on a solid effort. In today's fluctuating market, good=great. That same grade curve applies to record sells (fuck a soundscan, though).
Word to Federal Ranga, just give me something to get by. Perfect example; Blackout!2 by Method Man & Redman. Not a classic album, but a very good effort. Between that & Relapse, I can ride out the mediocrity, Auto-tune, & nigganometry I'm bombarded with until
If anybody is in the position to release the next big Hip Hop classic, I'll say it's between 50, Jay-Z & Kanye West. Not to discount Slaughterhouse, Wayne or
Other than that, just give me something I can listen to, & I'm good. If it so happens that it winds up added to the list of timeless music, then consider that a bonus. For you, the artist & us, the fans.