Recently Rolling Stone magazine out together a panel of 100 industry executives and came out with their list of the top 50 hip hop songs of all time. Now I read this list, absorbed this list, and disagreed with this list. So rather than being pissed off and trying to strike up a, “Hey what do you think about that questionable top 50 hip hop list Rolling Stone pot together” with unsuspecting strangers at the bar (That can be risky especially at the bars I go to). I said, “What the hell?” I will put together my own list. I have a blog that 1000 people a week read (That’s right I’m bragging). I should put out a list that all 1000 of those people will hate”. Thus it was born.
Now this is not a list meant to be a memorial for the golden age of hip-hop. That means that Slick Rick won’t have 10 songs in the top 10. At the same time this isn’t a referendum on mainstream east coast rap. That means that Silk That Shocker won’t have anything on this list. Sorry to break this news so publicly New Orleans, but I couldn’t do it with throwing up in my mouth (pink vomit style).
This list is a representation of the best hip hop songs of all-time. That means everything is in play from the Sugar Hill Gang to Drake (by the way Drake didn’t make it either, and I’m not sorry about breaking. As matter of fact I may write an entire post, just about why he didn’t make the list).
The list will be s count down, 50 – 1, because it adds suspense. The list will be broken down into 3 post with the first post being 50 – 31, the second post 30 – 11, and the final post being the top 10. So enjoy, and send all your hate to @kortneyshane on twitter.
First I want to highlight the controversial ones that didn’t make it.
I almost put James Brown on the list. I consider if to be the first mainstream hip-hop artist. Think about it. What’s the difference between, “I love it when you call me big Poppa” and “Poppa don’t take no mess.” Both of those dudes are rapping.
There is also no Uncle Luke or Lil Wayne. I tried to get both in, especially my boy Luke. I love Scared, but half I’m not sure if it qualifies as a rap song.
The biggest omission from this list is Scarface. He is one of the best if not the best lyrists of all-time. I really wanted to find a place for him but I just couldn’t. If I were forced to put a song of his on here it would have been, Seen a Man Die. I just didn’t know where to put it. What I’m trying to say is, I couldn’t find it in my heart to fit him in (whoa that just got weird).
Now let the list begin.
Welcome to Our World
Timbaland, Magoo, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot
This song is one of the best compilations of all time. This track announce Missy Elliot as legitimate rapper, and not just the “He, he, he” girl from the MC Lyte video. It also showcased Aaliyah and began Timbaland’s era of dominance as a producer.
Busta Ryhmes announced his arrival and unique style with this song. True story, I didn’t know a single word of this song up until 6 years ago.
Regulate…G Funk Era
Warren G, Nate Dogg
Money, Power, Respect
The LOX, Lil Kim
This is just a filthy record. Lil Kim laces the track with the hook. This is the best record The Lox ever made
46. Two Words
The College Dropout
Kanye West, Mos Def, Freeway
This record showcases the best of Kanye West’s rap skills. It would have been higher on the list if Freeway was able to enhance the track. However I put it 46, because it’s “Two Words/Mos Def/K-West hot sh*t!”
When Disaster Strikes
Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
This is DMX doing what he does best, telling a great story. X is one of the best hip-hop storytellers ever (yeah I went X right there, because I know him like that). Slippin’ showcase the best of those skills, and combines that unmistakable emotion that X always bring2.
43. You Got Me
Things Fall Apart
The Roots, Erykah Badu
The Roots are one of the best bands of all time, and a treasure for hip-hop music. You Got Me is a smooth track with a great story. It encapsulates everything hip hop music is.
I can’t stress enough that this is not Dead Presidents II. This is the original Dead Presidents. The version where Jay-Z says,
One day your cruisin’ in ya seven/
Next day your sweatin’ forgetin’ your lies/
Alibis ain’t matchin’ up, bullshit catchin’ up/
Hit with the rico, they repo your vehicle/
Everything was all good just a week ago
41. Big Poppa
Ready to Die
The Notorious B.IG.
This is a flashy track, but lyrically it’s one of Biggie’s best performances. Anytime you have dudes singing, “I love it when you call me Big Poppa” that’s fire. I just hate what the movie Hardball did to this song3.
All Eyes On Me
This song is synonymous with that video of 2Pac in that white suit, surrounded by smoke, some other questionable people in heaven, and a grand piano. It’s a great story, and showcases Tupac at his finest.
39. Bonita Applebum
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
A Tribe Called Quest
This is a smooth hip-hop ballad to the ladies.
The Fugees knocked it out of the park with this track. It represented the islands for hip-hop, and gave us our first indication that Pras was a little off.
The Wu-Tang Clan, Cappadonna
Every hip hop list, party, get together, and bank robbery has to have some Wu-Tang. Most of the tie I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about, but I’m bobbing me head while I dance in the middle of the street. Every member of The Clan(RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard make up The Wu-Tang Clan) and Cappadonna.1 killed it on this track.
Mecca and Soul Brother
Pete Rock, CL Smooth
This track is the perfect combination of a smooth beat and melodic rap. The horns on this track are sexy (did I just say that). If you don’t know this track, get on it. This is probably controversial positioning, but its deserving.
This is the most innovative hip-hop track ever. Not only did Nasty NaS (that’s right I just hit you with a Nasty NaS), rap an entire sing backwards, but he executed it flawlessly. This is a shining expel of why he is considered to be one of the top five rappers of all-time.
34. Through The Wire
The College Dropout
This is the second time Kaye West, and The College Dropout have appeared on this list. And it’s well deserved.
Life After Death
The Notorious B.I.G.
Before you start sending me hate mail for putting this song on the list, click the link and take a listen. Then listen again. This is the best lyrical performance by Biggie Smalls.
32. Mona Lisa
The Adventures of Slick Rick
So Slick Rick made the list after all, with one of his signature tracks.
31. Just A Friend
The Biz Never Sleeps
Oh this is what I call happy music. Anytime I see Biz I get happy. He prove that you can be an individual in hip-hop, and still have music that will live forever. Just A Friend isn’t a great lyrical or vocal performance. However it’s soulful and funny. Being made to be a fool is something everyone can relate no matter the age. This song will live forever.1. Full disclaimer I had to look this up. 2. I should have probably stopped at the first X. 3. I’m not going to discuss the movie. All you really need to know is Keanu Reeves was teaching kids on the Southside of Chicago how to play baseball.
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Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane