Arresting narratives have always had an allure on Iann Dior. As someone who possesses a golden pen that flipped pages of his poetry into gold and platinum-selling songs, it comes as no surprise that projects containing plenty of lucid storytelling have earned the stamp of approval in this 2021 XXL Freshman's list of his top five favorite hip-hop albums.

For many J. Cole fans like Iann, the audio recollections of Cole’s adolescence power the reasoning behind 2014 Forest Hills Drive getting its due respect in this all-time discussion. “In high school, that had a big impact on me,” Iann rationalizes.

Immediately following with magnus opus-type quality on the table, the hip-hop and pop genre bender, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 as a feature on 24kGoldn's "Mood" last year, salutes Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 sophomore masterpiece, good kid, m.A.A.D. city second. “It was just so different,” he defends. “There was nothing like it whenever it came out."

For the third spot, Iann, a Puerto Rico-born, Texas-bred artist, discusses the muscle in Jay-Z’s top-charting effort The Blueprint, which left a nostalgic imprint on Iann's mind. His father would play the album for Iann as a kid. “That was the first rap album that I ever got into,” he says of the Billboard 200 No. 1-selling effort.

Drake’s Nothing Was The Same secures the fourth place in Iann's list. Supporters of Drizzy since his rookie days would agree with Iann, who believes that the 15-track fireball is Drake's “best album.”

Swapping genres to close out his top five, the 22-year-old entertainer concludes his choices with Frank Ocean’s watery-eyed classic Blond. “I loved it from top to bottom and that’s very hard for me to encounter when I’m listening to an album,” he explains.

Watch Iann Dior name his top five favorite hip-hop albums of all time below.

2021 XXL Freshman Class
Travis Shinn for XXL

See the 2021 XXL Freshman Class

Welcome 42 DuggIann DiorCoi LerayPooh ShiestyFlo MilliMorrayRubi RoseBlxstToosiiLakeyah and DDG to the 2021 XXL Freshman Class.

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