Once Game Theory's Scott Miller knew he wasn't going to get his well-deserved commercial breakthrough with the Loud Family, he doubled down on their angular melodies, noisy window dressing, and sharp dynamics on their third album, 1996's Interbabe Concern. It's sometimes hard to get through the surface of the music, yet the brilliance of "Don't Respond, She Can Tell," "I'm Not Really a Spring," and "Where They Walk Over Sainte Therese" make the effort worthwhile.
Having already revolutionized hip-hop, Eric B. & Rakim came up with a second straight classic in their sophomore album, which basically follows the same blueprint for greatness, albeit with subtle refinements. It may not have broken much new ground, but it captures one of the greatest pure hip-hop acts at the top of its form.