Comeback albums reinvigorate careers and end an extensive hiatus. Other times, they’re the solution to an underwhelming prior release or stand as the reintroduction to an already established artist. No matter how you look at it, comeback albums in hip-hop hold weight.
Take for example Dr. Dre’s G-funk classic 2001, released in 1999. Following the arrival of his well-respected, street-tested debut LP, The Chronic, the Compton native closed a seven-year solo gap with an effort full of sonically elite bangers like “Xxplosive” and “Still D.R.E.” He even features songs that your mother would cry to like “The Message.” With this project, he rebuilt his post-Death Row Records brand and gave his legacy a power up.
On the note of coming back stronger after a less-appreciated drop, Common’s Be gets a top spot. The Chicago legend’s 2002 project, Electric Circus, was heavily criticized for being stylistically all over the place with various genres. Common took that to the chest and followed up in 2005, with Be, his most successful album thus far, assisted by the production prowess of Kanye West. Their chemistry is reflected on tracks like “The Corner,” Testify” and “Go!.”
2 Chainz’s 2012 album, Based On a T.R.U. Story, fits firmly on the third side of that triangle. Tracks such as “No Lie,” “Birthday Song” and “I’m Different” further stamped the Atlanta OG as a walking quote machine and charismatic slick-talker. He shed the past alias Tity Boi and reintroduced himself in true fashion.
Looking through the legacies of some of your favorite artists, XXL highlights a handful of other albums that are credited for being the best comeback offerings in hip-hop. Peep them below.