The Culture Joint

Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums of All Time: Lauryn Hill, Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé top list


After more than a week of counting down its 100 Best Albums of All Time, Apple Music has revealed its top 10, with Ms. Lauryn Hill’s seminal 1998 debut, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” taking the top spot.

Following Ms. Hill’s iconic album are Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” the Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” Prince’s “Purple Rain,” Frank Ocean’s “Blonde,” Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life,” Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” which rounds out the top 10.

Since launching on May 13, Apple Music’s list has sparked significant debate on social media. Critics have pointed out the absence of Latin, country, jazz, and dance albums that have significantly influenced contemporary music, while others have challenged the rankings for favoring recent albums over older, more foundational ones.

The complete list, which was unveiled in increments of 10 albums per day, showcased a diverse array of records spanning multiple decades. Highlights included SZA’s “SOS,” Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds.”

Topping the list is Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” a groundbreaking album that earned her the distinction of being the first rap artist to win Album of the Year at the 1999 Grammy Awards. In a statement shared via Apple Music, Ms. Hill credited her surroundings and influences as playing a significant role in her achieving this honor.

“I appreciate the acknowledgement, I really do, but I’d be remiss not to also acknowledge all of the music and artists who informed and inspired me,” she said.

“The leaders of community and movements that sparked me, the social dynamics and music scenes, both older and current at the time that intrigued and inspired me to contribute. The educators, both literal and not so literal, and the experiences that shaped me. My parents, my family, my friends, my community, where I come from, who I come from… I wanted that same flame that inspired me to remain, I couldn’t bare to see it lost. I made what I wanted to see and hear exist in the world at the time. I’m grateful that it connected and continues to connect with so many people.

“Thank you to EVERYONE who was a part of it, to EVERYONE who supported its release and movement around the world, even those who were reluctant at first, because it unleashed an indomitable creative will which again just exemplifies how much love was invested in me. Thank you tons to every careful listener, thank you to every casual listener, and love to all the artists and those who support them fighting the good, courageous, and noble fight of presenting the art you love to a world that desperately needs it.”

Top 10 of Apple Music’s 100 Best Albums

1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill

2. Thriller – Michael Jackson

3. Abbey Road – The Beatles

4. Purple Rain – Prince & The Revolution

5. Blonde – Frank Ocean

6. Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder

7. good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe Version) – Kendrick Lamar

8. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

9. Nevermind – Nirvana

10. Lemonade – Beyoncé

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