I've recently heard 3 landmark hip hop albums, 4 if you count Endtroducing. My rankings :
GZA - Liquid Swords - 10+/10 - Just about as perfect as a hip hop album could get, not too long, killer beats, killer flow,and with good reason DDD's favorite rap album
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing - 10+/10 - the rap album for all haters of rap, I've already got some of my anti hip hop buddies onto this, which speaks volume of its quality and accessibility.
UGK - Ridin Dirty - 10/10 - I dont give this a 10+ cause I've heard it just once in completion, but Bun B just about destroys everybody I've ever heard in his delivery style and him and Pimp C make a great team.
Cunninlynguistics - A Piece of Strange - 9.5/10 - Easily the most melodically musical rap album I've heard, its solid from start to finish, but lacks a bit in the wow factor where the other 3 albums excel. Again, 1 listen only, so maybe I need more time. Also, the rapping and delivery is weaker than UGK and GZA, perhaps Im setting high standards here, but since I've listened to them within the span of a couple days, and I heard this album last, i have Bun B and the Wu Tang folks in my mind, however, the run from tracks 10-16 is probably better than anything on any of the other albums, but its not completely bowled me over like the other.
I also listened to a bit of J Dilla's Donuts, and must thank Rashed for recing that, though its an album thats long been around that I never bothered checking out, and I guess it was 420 Bro's avatar for the longest time as well. I havent given it a proper listen yet though, so cant comment on it. I did enjoy the 15 minutes that I did listen to it a lot, albeit slightly lesser than the other albums I mentioned.
Also, if someone can upload a working version of Madvillainy, Id be very grateful, since it seems thats the album i should listen to next