These are also essential:
hmmmm, Sugar Hill definitely gets props for being first on the scene, but after Sugar Hill Gang and Grandmaster Flash, they really havent put out a whole lot. Cold Chillin' probly warrants a 9 or 10 spot, as Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, MC Shan, MC Lyte are some huge names on that one. Good call there... As for Rap-A-Lot, after the Geto Boys and Scarface theyve put out a whole lot of crap. Definitely not top 10 material....
While I agree that Rap-A-Lot has had its share of crappy releases, it is unquestionably an essential pioneering label of gangsta rap. In addition to all the classic Geto Boys albums (as well as the solo albums from 'Face, Willie D and Bushwick Bill), the label has released many bangers by the likes of Big Mike, Ganksta NIP, Bun B (of U.G.K.), Do Or Die, 5th Ward Boyz and more. Rap-A-Lot also served as the longtime home of the hilarious and highly underappreciated pothead rapper/crooner Devin The Dude and his group the Odd Squad. One thing that bothers me about Rap-A-Lot, however (especially in recent years), is that their promotion sucks, causing many of their albums to be neglected by the masses. This would probably at least partly explain your inclusion (as well as the overall popularity) of No Limit, for their promotion was excellent (remember all those Source magazine advertisements?).
Furthermore, I feel that Rap-A-Lot deserves recognition just for still being around after so long. There aren't too many independent hip hop labels that can say they've been around for over 20 years and still counting. As for No Limit, Master P's completely washed up as far as music goes. Nobody's checking for him anymore. He's into other non-music business ventures now, which is great, but he will never be able to contribute in the music world like he once did. And if you wanna talk about CRAP, No Limit hasn't put out a listenable album since maybe 2000 or 2001. And this is coming from somebody who at one time owned EVERY No Limit album ever released.
But hey, I can't tell you how to manage your list, I'm just putting my two cents in. It's not a bad list overall. All I'm saying is, if you're gonna put No Limit on there, it's borderline criminal to exclude Rap-A-Lot. Hell, even Cash Money belongs on there more than No Limit. As much as I hate to admit it, they had the rap game on lock for quite a while and as long as Lil' Wayne's on board, they'll still hold a significant place in hip hop.