The Top Five Post-Break-Up Rap Debuts
3. Big Mike, Somethin' Serious (1994)
Houston rapper Big Mike is notable for releasing albums with two critically celebrated groups before venturing out as a solo artist. Originally one-half of The Convicts, whose self-titled concept album remains one of the strongest entries in the Rap-A-Lot catalog, he then joined the Geto Boys for the Til Death Do Us Part album during member Willie D's departure. After he returned, Mike forged a solo path, hot shotted by the landmark Pimp C-produced single "Havin' Thangs." Along with cementing Mike's status as one of the most consistent and prolific artists ever signed to Rap-A-Lot, "Havin' Thangs" went on to find a second life with new listeners after being included one year later on the Dangerous Minds soundtrack.
2. Ice Cube, Amerikkka's Most Wanted (1990)
Ice Cube's departure from gangsta rap innovators N.W.A. was anything but amicable. After helping put the genre, the group and the new west coast sound on the map, Cube faced the challenge of creating a debut that was guaranteed to continue his status as a hip-hop trailblazer. After enlisting Public Enemy's east coast beat architects the Bomb Squad to handle production duties, Cube readied Amerikkka's Most Wanted. The first solo debut album to get a perfect five mic score in the source, it effectively united hip-hop as one nation under Cube.