VIBE magazine published this list in their 11th anniversary issue in september 2004.
They claimed that each of these albums represents "a generation, a sound, and in many cases, a movement."

Thanks to Olivier Moinet for this list.

aaliyah - aaliyah - i'm still in love with you
a.franklin - i never loved a man the way i love you
a tribe called quest - the low and theory
b.marley & the wailers - exodus
boogie down productions - criminal minded
d'angelo - brown sugar
d.hathaway - live
dr.dre - the chronic
earth, wind & fire - that's the way of the world
eric b. & rakim - paid in full
e.badu - baduizm
funkadelic - one nation under a groove
geto boys - we can't be stopped
guy - guy
the isley brothers - love songs
j. brown - live at the appollo volume 2
jay z - reasonable doubt
the jimi hendrix experience - electric ladyland
jodeci - forever my lady
j.coltrane - a love supreme
l.hill - the miseducation of lauryn hill
ll cool j - bigger and deffer
m.gaye - let's get it on
mary j blige - what's the 411?
m.jackson - off the wall
m.davis -sketches of spain
mobb deep - the infamous...
nas - illmatic
n.simone - high priestess of soul
the notorious big - life after death
n.w.a. - straight otta compton
outkast - southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
prince - sign o' the times
public enemy - it takes a nation of millions to hold us back
r.kelly - 12 play
run-dmc - raising hell
sade - love deluxe
s.cooke - live at the harlem square club, 1963
santana - abraxas
slick rick - the great adventures of slick rick
s.wonder - songs in the key of life
sly & the family stone - fresh
the temptations - temptin' temptations
tlc - crazysexycool
too short - born to mack
2 pac as makaveli - the don killuminati: the seven day theory
ugk - ridin' dirty
wu tang clan - enter the wu tang: 36 chambers
the 2 live crew - as nasty as they wanna be
8 ball & mjg - comin' out hard