After focusing on 1994 last week, now, we're wondering what the best year for music was of the '90s. We've already made a case for 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. Now it's time for 1996 and 1997.
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When critics go about naming the best albums of the '90s, the top choice is almost never a record from 1996. It is not the year of The Chronic, OK Computer or Loveless. But unlike most years in the '90s, 1996 boasted a diverse slew of trailblazing albums that actually span a range of emotions, genres and regions. Eighteen years later, we can rightfully call them classics.
In hip-hop alone, OutKast released their first start-to-finish masterpiece, ATLiens, and Fugees' changed rap forever with The Score. 1996 saw two perfect debuts with Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt and Lil' Kim's Hard Core, as well as the release of not one but two classic albums from 2Pac: the acclaimed All Eyez on Me and Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. The latter, a posthumous album met with confusion at the time, is now often considered his best.