20 Great Albums Turning 20 in 2016 - Rolling Stone
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20 Great Albums Turning 20 in 2016

From 2Pac to Wilco, see the records celebrating their anniversary this year

2 Pac; Aaliyah; Beck; Fugees; OutKast; Spice Girls; Weezer

Illustration by Brittany Falussy

As we tumble into 2016, that means the 20th anniversary celebrations of these 20 beloved albums will be officially upon us.

Jay-Z; Reasonable Doubt

Jay-Z, ‘Reasonable Doubt’

Jay had initially planned to call his debut Heir to the Throne, and wanted the cover to feature speedboats and Versace linen. He switched to the less grandiose title and art design at the last minute.

Maxwell; Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite

Maxwell, ‘Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite’

Marvin Gaye was such a powerful influence on neo-soul pioneer Maxwell that he chose to collaborate on his debut with both Leon Ware, who had co-produced Gaye's I Want You, and funk guitarist "Wah-Wah" Watson, the featured player on the Let's Get It On LP.

OutKast; ATLiens

Outkast, ‘ATLiens’

In 1995 the Atlanta rap duo was booed at the Source Awards while accepting the Best Newcomer trophy, inciting Andre 3000 to defiantly announce "The South got somethin' to say" from the stage. A year later, he and Big Boi backed up that boast with their sophomore album and their first Top 20 single "Elevators (Me & You)."

Rage Against the Machine; Evil Empire

Rage Against the Machine, ‘Evil Empire’

The cover of the rap-metal group's second album tweaked "Crimebuster," a 1993 work by pop artist Mel Ramos.

Sleater-Kinney; Call the Doctor

Sleater-Kinney, ‘Call the Doctor’

Shortly after the Olympia punk trio finished their second album, drummer Lora MacFarlane's visa expired and she had to return to her native Australia. She would never record with Sleater-Kinney again.

Spice Girls; Spice

Spice Girls, ‘Spice’

One reason the pop group's breakthrough hit "Wannabe" emits such giddy charm is that it was written and recorded in the studio in less than an hour, with the Girls adding their parts over a drum loop set up by producer Richard Stannard.

Swans; Soundtracks for the Blind

Swans, ‘Soundtracks for the Blind’

On their tenth album – and their last until 2010 – the New York avant-rockers toyed with loops and ambient passages.

Tool; Aenima

Tool, ‘Aenima’

The packaging for Tool's second studio full-length was as distinctive as the art-metal band's sound: The "Multi-Image CD case" featured four separate illustrated inlays that could be arranged behind a lenticular lens of sorts to simulate animation.

UGK; Ridin’ Dirty

UGK, ‘Ridin’ Dirty’

The Texas rap duo's third album was also their best selling, but the Underground Kingz went on an extended hiatus shortly afterward. They re-emerged with prominent guest spots in 2000 on Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" and Three 6 Mafia's "Sippin' on Some Syrup."

Weezer; Pinkerton

Weezer, ‘Pinkerton’

Rivers Cuomo abandoned work on a rock opera called Songs from the Black Hole to record the follow-up to the band's hit debut. It's named for AF Pinkerton, a character in Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly."

Wilco; Being There

Wilco, ‘Being There’

Jeff Tweedy was so determined to put out a double album that was priced the same as a single CD that he agreed to compensate Reprise Records for any financial loss. The decision cost the Wilco frontman $600,000.

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