In May 1998, Rawkus Records unveiled the seminal “Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1” compilation, a landmark release in hip-hop history. Inspired by New York’s vibrant Lyricist Lounge open mic showcases, the double-disc set showcased an impressive roster of talent including De La Soul, A.L., Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Punchline, Wordsworth, and KRS-One, among others.

The lead single, “Body Rock,” exemplified the album’s fusion of jazz-infused instrumentation and classic boom bap beats, featuring memorable performances from Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Tash. Meanwhile, “CIA (Criminals In Action)” delivered a potent critique of government malfeasance with contributions from The Last Emperor, Zack De La Rocha, and KRS-One. Beyond these singles, standout tracks like “Be Ok” by Bahamadia and Rah Digga, and “Jayou” by Jurassic 5, showcased the album’s depth and diversity. With its immersive skits and socially conscious themes, “Lyricist Lounge, Vol. 1” remains a testament to the golden age of lyricism in hip-hop, cementing its status as a timeless classic.

Lyricist Lounge: IG I Grab This Classic!