I normally don't like to send out to tape once it's in the computer, but in the case of hip hop, it would be way easier to produce in the digital world and run a mix out to tape and back for effect. Then you only have to worry about one decent stereo deck.
In a former time as a young bright-eyed bushy-tailed recording student, I went to a home-brew hip hop recording studio. I asked if they used tape at all, and he pointed to a boom box that had a cassette deck. That about said all I needed to know.
I agree with Slowrider - good for mix-down, but that's about it, given the present demands for multitrack DAW editing in that genre.
I think the real question is what kind of gear did the producers use when thinking about hip-hop in the analog age... And that would be almost strictly hardware samplers - in an age before the Mashine, or whatever. On Illmatic, I know DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip had a lot to do with the production of that album, and all three of them still swear by the MPC 2000. I don't know where editting/splicing would come into play... the way they would make the song could be changed very easily.
From what I've heard, this album was recorded in a proper professional studio (and since Jay-Z and Nas both had major label deals, I would Jay-Z's was done the same way)... so, back in the day, I would assume the setup was some kind of professional 2" 24 track tape machine (Studer or Otari, or what have you), with a really nice microphone (Neumann U87 or C414 for example), and a really nice mic pre, and a really nice compressor (such as a UA LA-2A, or Urei 1176, or something else of that nature)... It was probably pretty standard professional gear that was used in producing that album. Now, if you're talking Wu Tang, who knows what RZA was doing... that sound is so dirty, and he basically recorded that whole first album without the help of major label money, so...
I don't recommend you ask hip hop question to these dudes. They are mostly old hillbillies you can tell by the answers. I am kidding. jaja. These dudes do know analog gear made by tascam really well. Anyways Jay Z reasonable doubt was recorded at D&D Studios (I think Dj premiere buys the studio at some point) under MCI RtR machines, and the SSL 9000 mixer console?
Jajajaja This is embarrassing! And a disgrace to music lovers and analog seekers around the world. My music collection have so much hip hop recorded with top of the line analog gear, including reel to reels, is not even funny to think how stupid this sounds to my New York ears. Analog is not about music genre.. Ja!