15. A Tribe Called Quest, 'The Low End Theory' (1991)
A curious syllogism took shape in the Nineties: Jazz was black and cool; rap is black and cool; therefore rap is like jazz. While a logical misstep, it still sparked plenty of ingenious attempts to fuse those two great American art forms, but none expanded vistas quite this broadly. Initially pegged as the cute kid brothers in De La Soul's Native Tongues movement, here Q-Tip, Phife Dog, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (with significant low-end assistance from onetime Miles Davis sideman Ron Carter) crafted a bass-heavy gem that reminded listeners that hip-hop's heart was in its groove.