The 1997 album Paid in Full by Eric B & Rakim has been hailed as the greatest hip-hop album in a poll marking 25 years of rap.
The late Notorious BIG came third in the poll
Entertainment Weekly picked the album because of its influence on so many artists since.
Second in the top 25 was the 1989 album 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul, followed by the late Notorious BIG's Ready to Die.
The poll, picked by music writers, celebrates the birth of mainstream rap.
Paid in Full was described by Entertainment Weekly as making "hip-hop a true art
form, doing for rap what Bob Dylan did for rock in the
Also in the top five were Public Enemy and Run-DMC.
"It's not a record sales list," said Entertainment Weekly's Neil Drumming.
"Most of the people you find on the list or not on the list, rappers in general, are going to reference Eric B & Rakim as a seminal rap group," he said.
Source of debate
Despite their obvious influence Eric B & Rakim split up and went on to file lawsuits against their record company alleging they were in fact not paid proper royalties.
Today's chart-toppers have been missed out of the top 10, although Outkast were named at number 11 for Aquemini and Jay-Z's The Blueprint was at 15.
Eminem was named at number 17 for his second album The Marshall Mathers LP.
"It's an endless source of debate even after it's published," added Drumming.
The release of the Sugarhill Gang track Rapper's Delight has been put as the starting block for the rap phenomenon, which hit the charts in 1979.
"A lot of people didn't believe it would last, what people
are acknowledging now is that it's not a fad," Drumming said.