1 Jill Scott, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 (Epic/Hidden Beach) The singer best known for writing the Roots' "You Got Me" gets hers on this sublime debut. A jazz/R&B/hip-hop masterpiece devoted to love--after an album like this, no one will ever ask who she is again.
2 Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, Reflection Eternal (Priority/Rawkus) Talib Kweli came so hard and so raw, it was like '86 all over again on this jawn. Kweli threw down a battle-MC gauntlet over Hi-Tek's sublime beats and lyrically ripped through every other MC in '00.
3 Outkast, Stankonia (Arista/LaFace) One part root men, one part Br'er Rabbit, sonic shape-shifters Dre and Big Boi effortlessly morphed through hip-hop, gospel, rock, P-Funk, and anything else they could fit in and grew a bright garden of sounds.
4 Amel Larrieux, Infinite Possibilities (Epic) "Get Up," the smoothest cut all year, buttressed the cool-as-ice solo debut from this Groove Theory alum. Infinite Possibilities is hypnotic in its low-key tone.
5 Erykah Badu, Mama's Gun (Motown) Who knew? Not only did Badu beat the sophomore jinx, she delivered arguably the best-produced and most musically ambitious R&B album of the year. Good stuff.
6 Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (Interscope) Yeah, he's overrated. Yeah, his white-boy-ness gets him access to venues and markets that better rappers can't get near. Yeah, he's a wack, misogynistic, destructive dickhead. But he can rhyme his ass off, and Dr. Dre's production always sounds good.
7 Blackalicious, Nia (Quannum Projects) Challenging and cerebral, Blackalicious' first full-length album is like a lyrical onion, delivering more satisfaction the more you listen in and peel it down.
8 Common, Like Water For Chocolate (MCA) Sigh. Although it's nowhere near as good as the last one, One Day It'll All Make Sense, mediocre Common is better than the best most others have to offer.
9 De La Soul, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (Tommy Boy) See above. Replace One Day It'll All Make Sense with Stakes Is High. Add comment about too many guests. Cook at 350. Serve with baked potato.
10 D'Angelo, Voodoo (Virgin) This is the album that should have had Mama's Gun's production. D'Angelo still managed to make a really good album, but he limped his ass onto this list too.