Just reading in another thread someone saying MF Doom was responsible and got me thinking about that again.
Going far back, I'd say Critical Beatdown was one of the first un-comercial hip hop albums, that gained a big following for being different.
But as far as backpack, or underground rap from the 90's onwards, Ive always thought The RZA styled ALL of that, up to what we see today. Without being too biased, thats my geniune opinion.
Theres so many examples of what RZA did with Wu that styled so much back pack rap after it.
The whole thing with detailed lyricism Wu bought, seeing lyricsm as an art, the comic book covers of Liquid Swords, the dark weird beats, the weird samples. Im not gonna make a list right now but its endless.
Then in 1996, Company Flow released Funcrusher, which I always felt was a Wu homage. I consider Company Flow one of the first 'back pack' records. If not THE first.
Then came Wu Forever.
Again, Wu Forever sparked off back pack rap even more. Wu Forever set the blueprint for what back pack rap would be. The clean but noncommercial beats and the intense, 'were taking this rhyming shit serious' lyrics.
For instance, Rawkus, Dilated Peoples, they came in 2000ish. They all were still using the Wu Forever heavy sound imo.
who else could be seen as one of the first?
Common's Ressurection album also set a tone, as did Nas' Illmatic.
But the first actual back pack album? I'm pretty sure Operation Doomsday wasnt the first.