Ten essential gangsta-rap albums
8. Mobb Deep -- The Infamous
A standout in the traditionally funk-based gangsta-rap genre, The Infamous relied heavily on Havoc's dark and hypnotic piano loops, most famously that of "Shook Ones, Part II," which featured what is perhaps rap's most effective sample, taken from Herbie Hancock's "Jessica." Havoc and Prodigy's lyrics eschewed traditional moral values for more street-worthy, Darwinian, even nihilistic ethics, as seen in "Only the Strong Survive," "Eye for a Eye" and "Trife Life." There's a thin line between boast and glorification; while this duo does employ hyper-masculine boasts familiar in gangsta rap, there's nothing glorious here.