No era in hip-hop is more mythologized these days than the 1990s. And no regional sound from "way back when" has become more hyped than the "boom bap" of the East Coast during that period. But 90s East Coast hip-hop was always a little more varied than its bubble jackets-and-Timbos image; you had quirky alternative rappers dropping classics, hardcore street hop serving the heads, glossy commercial music dominating the charts and indie rap eclectics keeping things interesting for the artsier set.

No, hip-hop wasn't a monolith then just like it isn't now—and we figured the best way to highlight this truism was to pick our favorite 1990s albums from the legendary East Coast acts who defined the sound after hip-hop exploded nationally and West Coast, Dirty South and Midwest acts got their share of the national spotlight.

So from DMX to A Tribe Called Quest, here are the 50 Greatest East Coast Hip-Hop Albums of the 1990s.

Watch DMX's Video for "Get At Me Dog":

Watch De La Soul's Video for "Stakes Is High":

Watch Nas' Video for "It Ain't Hard to Tell":