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“Dolby’s Top 100 Hip-Hop Tracks of All Time”

Hip-hop is alive and well! Jazz hands! Just ask, you know, The New Yorker! A bunch of weed grass smoothie sipping yuppies who live in lofted penthouses!
Ahem. Consider this the FIRST fist in the air, or knee during a national anthem. Although, yeah, I’m white. Everybody’s got some flaw, I guess.
Although please allow me to report that I’m dispatching from the Midwest, a region of the country with not a single one of the 15 fastest growing cities in America. It’s ‘cause we’re such a**holes, I guess.
Also, my whiteness hits me over and over as I’m making this list. It’s not even that I don’t feel authorized to speak on these songs, it’s that I know a lot of people wouldn’t like some of them. And that bums me out, because that’s not what they’re there for. That’s never what this music was about.

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100 50 Cent – “Patiently Waiting” feat. Eminem

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The chorus is as memorable as the verse is intimidating, as the beat is oxidizing. It’s also among a short list of great Eminem guest spots, which also includes “Forgot about Dre,” and of course, we can’t forget, Obie Trice’s “Richard.”

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99 Beanie Sigel – “One Shot Deal” feat. Redman

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And as with a lot of these songs, I vouch for the entire album, not just the given cut… Redman’s got a way of complimenting any mellower rapper perfectly, and when Sig is the “mellower” rapper in the cut, you know it’s pretty hype.

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98 Eminem – “Role Model”

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This was the song out of all Eminem’s songs I wanted to remix… it hits the most home for me. Verse 2 about OJ Simpson is the best (speaking of new movies that are coming out now).

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97 Noah23 – “Saw Palmetto”

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I hated him. That’s all there is to it. And it wasn’t even the fact that he was rapping like a fu**ing Black & Decker chainsaw, it was that I actually knew what Saw Palmetto was, and it was like he was getting under my skin. Solid album, in general, Quicksand.

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96 Dr. Dre – “Nothin’ But a G Thang” feat. Snoop Dogg

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Role that sh** light that sh** smoke it…

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95 Black Milk – “Hell Yeah”

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This might be my favorite beat by Black Milk because it’s so simple, also it gives one of the most graphic pictures of Milk’s home, Detroit.

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94 2Pac – “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” feat. Snoop Dogg

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This song is basically one big slurry of thug life… a couple things I like it about it are the chorus, where ‘Pac will come in after a long pause when the other dude is singing, and the incredibly funky bassline. Also, it’s a little more laid back than “Hit ‘em up,” but then, most songs are, aren’t they.

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93 Common – “Breaker 1/9”

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Sort of a stupid song, juvenile, but I like it for Mr. Common’s impeccable rhyming skill and style, the type of thing which apparently led to that whole Jay-Z AND Kweli “I’d like to be rhymin’ like Common Sense” thing.

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92 2Pac – “Me Against the World” feat. Spice1

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The classic lines just pile up at this point on the part of Pac, and we’re not even in the Top 90 yet (“Put one in the chamber / Whenever I’m feelin’ this anger”, etc.), but Spice1 kind of steals the show here too.

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91 Paul Wall – “Sittin’ Sidewayz” feat. Big Pokey

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Whoa is that beat funky! And dang can these black chicks dance in this video. And then we got “The undisputed king of the parking lot.”

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90 Black Milk – “Interpret Sabotage”

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The 6/8 funk-tronic that kicks off 2013’s No Poison, No Paradise which, I have to admit, I underrated when it first came out. Black Milk just always surprises me, and this is one of his most intense cuts.

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89 2Pac – “When We Ride on Our Enemies”

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There’s probably way more Tupac fans in Bloomington, Indiana than there should be… I remember hearing this one down the dorm hall coming out of the black dude’s room who kept his head down and never talked, but never got in anyone’s way either.

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88 Kanye West – “All of the Lights”

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I put this song behind a certain other one off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but da**ed if some nights this one doesn’t just wash into my head like a tidal wave… the “ghetto university” in both verse one and verse two does it.

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87 Evidence – “Late for the Sky” feat. Slug & Aesop Rock

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Kickin’ it a little more laid-back here… wait all of these guys are white? I didn’t think any of them were. They even have a voice-over of a black dude in the intro telling this cabbie to turn up Jackson Browne’s song “Late for the Sky,” being like, “This is dope.” Well, that should tell you something, I guess.

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86 Tailb Kweli – “Broken Glass”

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You could call this song the most depressing rap song of all time, and I wouldn’t so much not disagree with you as I would slap you upside the head for saying some obvious sh**. At least he’s dispatching from New York, and not talking about like the depleting fossil fuel levels, or something.

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85 Wu-Tang Clan – “Hellz Wind Staff”

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I like a good breakneck-pace, blistering rap track like this, not unlike The W’s opener “Intro (Chaolin Finger Jab) / Chamber Music,” and if it should come from an equally underrated album, well, all the better.

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84 Jay-Z – “Dirt off Your Shoulders”

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Jay-Z definitely veers toward the “anthem” side of things, rather than, say, building small communities from the ground up, or whatever… but if you’re not pumped up by this song there’s probably something wrong with you.

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83 2Pac – “When We Ride”

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Aliases, oh my! Never has Tupac had this many partners on the song with him, other than in “Hit ‘em up,” and I left that off of this list. Yeah, something about that 45 year old woman dancing to it in While We’re Young, I guess.

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82 Wu-Tang Clan – “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fu** Wit”

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RZA’s rapping probably always needed some clean-up, whether it was claiming about being a “king” or mentioning Family Feud, on this song… I don’t think this is any of the emcees’ best verse, but it’s a high-energy beat in the middle of the album everybody loves.

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81 Pharoahe Monch – “What it is”

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One of my favorite beats ever, but the more I listened to it, da**, it’s a little bit ripped off of RZA’s on “Careful (Click, Click)”… well not ripped off, but you see where he got the m.o. from. Still, it works.

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80 Eminem – “Lose Yourself”

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You can almost hear Eminem’s irrelevance gathering its troupe out front, ready to storm the door and irreversibly pervade everybody’s psyche, but this still is one of Dre’s best beat, every bit worth the Grammy it got, which, da**, a lot of songs are.

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79 Eminem – “My Name is”

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What stands out about this song is that it’s the first one I ever heard by the ‘nem, and I thought right away that this was undoubtedly just another goof-off white rapper who’ll be gone in a year (lo and behold it took him three years to be gone).

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78 Drake – “Over”

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Drake, yeah, you gotta like him. It’s just hard not to. He had the beats, and he had the personality, and he had the love for the craft (one of my favorite lines on Thank Me Later is his bragging that “I’m the Osiris of this sh** right now). Sh**, who else would have been? Macklemore?

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77 Big Boi – “Shine Blockas” feat. Gucci Mane

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I love this whole album… couldn’t put it all on here. It’s got one of the best intro tracks in hip-hop history.

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76 Common – “Soul by the Pound”

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My favorite part is when that funky snare comes in before all of the choruses — it’s like the miked recording of a snare, then played into another microphone, amidst all of Common’s pointless bullsh** bragging which we all love.

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 Why do hip-hop magazines with black writers use white dialects 
of English when they write?

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75 DOOM – “Rap Ambush”

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DOOM’s got a way of packing like four minutes worth of rapping into one one-and-a-half minute songs, and da**ed if the shortness of these songs doesn’t contribute to this ALBUM being so great, and seamless. It’s busy, uneasy, and disgusting — quintessentially New York, in other words.

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74 Ghostface Killah – “9 Milli Bros.” feat. Wu-Tang Clan

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Way classic album here, Fishscale, came out right with Hell Hath No Fury and it’s just about as good. This is probably my second-favorite song on it, and Method Man’s first is the stuff to boggle minds, one of the great hip-hop 100 yard dashes.

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73 Mos Def – “Quiet Dog”

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This was an interesting selection for the soundtrack of Ice-T’s documentary Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap… at the time it hadn’t struck me as anywhere near the best song on the album, but it’s sort of a grower: scrappy, and way subtler than the average rap song. Actually do you even REMEMBER subtlety in rap?

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72 Brand Nubian – “Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down”

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A staple of the Nube’s excellent Rhino: Hi-Five collection, and checked up by The Roots on the unforgettable “Mellow My Man.” Canonical, in other words.

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71 Beastie Boys – “Car Thief”

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This is my only Beasties cut on here, which tells you something, ‘cuz I named Hello Nasty as my favorite album of the 1990s, but as any fan knows, that’s no more a true “hip-hop album” than PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake is a rock album.

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70 A Tribe Called Quest – “Scenario” feat. Leaders of the New School

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This one’s just got more bounce and ruggedness than most by this group, I’ve got to say, and it moves at a faster pace than the stuff on Midnight Marauders.

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69 Talib Kweli – “A Game”

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This is “‘A’ game,” just to be clear… its title is not just “a game.” It’s pretty packed full of nice lines too, like “I got a 9 in my mind you can’t metal detect.”

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68 Dope Head – “Mirrorz”

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Certainty is not a quality you can deny that Dope Head has, nor is his claim that “I rock off my laptop / mothafu** yo DJ.” I first discovered him by way of I believe Black Milk’s website, or his myspace thing (yes, believe it or not, myspace came through in the clutch for me on this, about 2012).

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67 Black Milk – “Give the Drummer Sum”

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At once annoying and irresistible (with that weird modified voice in there), “Give the Drummer Sum” provides a key dark and gritty track on side a of Milk’s classic album Tronic, around the poppier “Without U.”

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66 Inspectah Deck – “Friction”

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Please allow me to make the tentative claim that no matter how bada** you think you are, you’re probably not as bada** as Inspectah Deck, unless of course you’re like Chuck Norris, or something. This is the “centerpiece” on Uncontrolled Substance the way the atomic bomb was the “centerpiece” of World War II.

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65 Wu-Tang Clan – “Intro (Shaolin Finger Jab) / Chamber Music”

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A great opener, kicking off a great album, and this is my first of many sycophantic, overly dramatic, all-caps speeches on this post: THIS IS METHOD MAN’S BEST VERSE EVER!

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64 GZA – “Cold World” feat. Inspectah Deck

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Here comes by Rebel-I bias again: there’s no doubt that Deck gets on this song and cold crushes it… he’s even rhyming right in lock step before the one beat even kicks in. Christ, you could at least wait ’til the flag drops! This is one of those songs that’s way too repetitive at the end, and yet it’s not.

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63 Eminem – “Amityville” feat. Bizarre

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What’s not to love about this song? It’s a thorough account of the “murder capital” entwined with a charming telling of gay incest sodomy. Ahem. For some reason, I never skip over it… makes up part of the classic last-five-songs on Marshall Mathers LP.

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62 Notorious B.I.G. – “Things Done Changed”

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The subject matter nitty gritty is there without a doubt, and you’ve got to like that it comes from New York, the birthplace of hip-hop: still, I think Tupac is the better flower.

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61 Clipse – “Nightmares” feat. Bilal & Pharrell Williams

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Possibly the most creative hip-hop album closeur of all time is both familiar and comforting in the way that music that’s meant to be is, and at the same time disconcerting, and upsetting, as if to say, this is still expressly black music, sort of made for white people, but sort of not.

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60 Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – “They Reminisce over You (T.R.O.Y.)”

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C.L. Smooth’s unorthodox rhyme schemes are one of the great things about this song, and Questlove once named it as his favorite intro, but what has to stand out is that it’s about Trouble T-Roy, cousin of Pete Rock and member of Heavy D and the Boys, who died in an accident at a concert.

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59 E-40 – “Dusted n Disgusted” feat. 2pac & Spice1

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Ah, this one is just unforgettable. Fun, lively, verbose, and most importantly, GHETTO! But when wasn’t E-40 ghetto? I’ve gotta admit, I’ve never gotten into the rest of his stuff, but as far as getting guest appearances to bury toward the end of the song, you could probably do worse than Tupac.

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58 2pac – “Hail Mary”

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One of Tupac’s classic lines here: “The penitentiaries is packed with promise makers.” You know, making this list, I feel a little need to defend myself for being white and listening to this much rap, so it’s nice to think of other people you wouldn’t think would be as rap-obsessed as they are, like Chris Rock.

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57 Nas – “NY State of Mind”

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To be honest I’m more of an It Was Written guy… just thought I’d throw some Illmatic in here for convention.

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56 Ghostface Killah – “The Champ”

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More than anything, within the classic album that is Fishscale, this was just Pretty Toney stating beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a bada**. No argument here, and he didn’t need any guest emcees on this cut.

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55 Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – “First of tha Month”

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The actual manifestation of this song almost isn’t as cool as just the concept itself — it’s not what one person has, it’s what the whole damn ghetto has, and part of that community is the beauty of the whole thing.

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54 Eminem – “Bit** Please II” feat. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit & Nate Dogg

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This is some of Eminem’s best rapping… he’s actually the best emcee on this song, which any honest person who’s heard it will agree with (but then, I’m not the biggest Snoop fan). And did Xzibit just say “Your little lungs are too small to hot box with God”?

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53 Atmosphere – “Trying to Find a Balance”

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I’ll admit, I hated this song for a while, mostly ‘cause it’s completely discussing, but you definitely can’t accuse him of leaving in his hip holster on this one… as its positioning as a prelude to a great career will surely indicate for the white Minnesota emcee.

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52 Run-DMC – “It’s Tricky”

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Primitive… but peppy. And that’s good enough for this class.

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51 Kanye West – “Power”

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This is when MUSIC more or less BECAME Kanye — the two terms emerged as interchangeable — no discussion of trends in rock, rap, country, jazz or Bulgarian polka could truly exist and flourish without in some way being viewed through a lens of this vulture stalking the earth. And yeah, to take a song that I think sort of sucked, by King Crimson, and make it into a dope joint, I think that’s pretty tight too.

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50 Killer Mike – “Big Beast” feat. Bun B., T.I. & Trouble

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This was what rap needed in 2012 without a doubt, amidst all that goof ball party stuff that probably got started by Lil’ Jon and Lil’ Wayne — this was back to the emcee living the everyday life, just wanting to get high and keep the cops off him. So shucks does he sound mean, considering all that.

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49 Das Racist – “Rainbow in the Dark”

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You know you’re gettin’ down to the nitty gritty of hip-hop when you write a song about being in White Castle and being like “Ask whom the bells tolls for / Hey yo where’d you get this place form / The he**hole store?”. This song moves along brisky with a bouncy, melodic beat, but I still don’t get that “You couldn’t see me like a Cuban playin’ hockey” line, to be honest.

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48 Cadence Weapon – “Getting Dumb”

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This is… the PERFECT beat… but if the song isn’t sorta dumb, the rest of the album definitely is. Oddly, here stop the political and social commentary messages… ‘cause he probably figured it was pointless anyway.

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47 2pac – “I Ain’t Mad atcha”

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Strangely enough, I once had this black female professor at IU who was like “I ain’t mad atcha” for like if we wanted to do a paper and a presentation on the same topic, it was something like that, and one time I’d printed out the “lyrics” to Raekwon’s spaced-out outro rant on Wu-Tang Forever and I accidentally stapled them to the back of an assignment I’d turned in.

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46 Black Milk – “Deion’s House”

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Oh God, the rants I could go on about this song… I’m mainly just pi**ed at myself that at first I didn’t realize the genius of No Poison No Paradise… it really slipped through the cracks on me. Pure Midwestern wintertime.

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45 Notorious B.I.G. – “Ready to Die”

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The centerpiece of a don’t-give-a-fu** hip-hop album, no more cuddling up, this is every man for his own.

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44 Wu-Tang Clan – “Triumph” feat. Cappadonna

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There’s not enough I could ever say about this song… it’s been a favorite song of mine since high school, a five-and-a-half-minute trek of dizzying lyrical acrobatics, 10 different emcees and… no chorus.

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43 Clipse – “Keys Open Doors”

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Yeah, I know it’s stupid to be white and listening to this, but it’s fun… and it relieves some city tension.

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42 MF Doom – “Rapp Snitch Knishes” feat. Mr. Fantastik

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As far as I know this “Mr. Fantastik” dude isn’t on any other songs with Doom, but he is pretty funny: “True to the ski mask / New York’s my origin / Play a fake gangster / Like an old accordion”.

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41 Brand Nubian – “Slow Down”

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Coolest guitar riff in hip-hop. Hmm, not much competition there.

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40 Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – “Tha Crossroads”

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Not that this song needs an introduction, but I remember it really being all the buzz in 1996, a bunch of 13 year olds along with me singing along about the throes of mortality… wait, what? The power of music, eh.

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39 Young Jeezy – “My Hood”

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Taking on every meaning of the word “anthem” here — yup, it’s not often an emcee comes around and writes songs that are this simple, which may be the very reason why they’re so effective, just about being in the “hood” in a “white t,” etc.

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38 Mos Def – “Roses”

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Like Kanye’s song “Roses,” this track is quite sad, but more gorgeous and memorable, about looking on the bright side in life, grinning and bearing it, because that’s the only choice you’ve got.

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37 Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz – “Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)”

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Out of all the epochs, it was the late ‘90s that brought us this track paying respects to the ORIGINS of hip-hop: “If it wasn’t for the Bronx / This rap sh** probly never would be goin’ on”… sh** I’m still learning some words to this song haha. Also please allow me to add that this song had the ideal late ‘90s rap STRUCTURE: two LONG verses, each rapper gets on and spits one verse and they don’t need another… the song fades out after their respects and you’ve got a whole street picture.

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36 Missy Elliott – “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”

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Yeah, this song is weird, but nothing could be ever weirder than this video… is she wearing a giant trash bag? I love when her hair is straight, and she’s got her hands tied behind her back looking all crazy.

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35 The Highest Low – “Boom Bap”

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We go from famous to horribly not famous… this group, composed of Snotty Pippen and someone else (the a**holes fu**in’ deleted MY wikipedia blurb I had written) I’ll see with a facebook post six hours old and it’ll have two likes. And then… three. And they play at a venue regularly called the “sh**hole.” Charming. And… as I’ve said on facebook before… “This music imbibes a Chicago feel to an almost blood-curdling extent.”

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34 Black Milk – “Million Dollar Grind”

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Yeah, ok, I don’t actually want to make a million dollars, I get it, but at my more optimistic points in life I can’t help but get Milk’s laconic drawl ignited up somewhere in the back of my mind.

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33 The Roots – “Quills”

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I usually name this track as my favorite on Phrenology, but da**, “Water” is pretty good. It’s close. A lot of these lyrics are really amazing though: “Don’t act shaky and scream as if you real / Make me believe it ni**a”. He’s about six homicides past even trying to make sense.

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32 Cypress Hill – “Hand on the Pump”

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I swear Sen Dog gets on on this song and crushes… why isn’t he on more of the songs? I typically find Cypress Hill a smidgen overrated, but on this first album they were all clicking — the beats were glorious courtesy of DJ Muggs, and B Real had that great rapping style that, yes, if you’ve watched Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap you know, he didn’t have at first. Someone told him he had to sound hyper if he wanted to make it big.

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31 House of Pain – “Jump Around”

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Of course, this song isn’t complete without the video, and the video isn’t complete without your OWN cloud of weed smoke filling the entire room. And I can’t help but wonder what happened with that dude he calls a “punk” at the end of the video.

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30 Cadence Weapon – “True Story”

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For anyone who doesn’t know Cadence Weapon he put out a wonderfully lyrical hip-hop album in 2008 called Afterparty Babies which is probably a little gay and dancy by Midwest standards, but met with worthy critical acclaim in the hipster sectors at the time nonetheless.. he won an ensuing poet laureateship in Edmonton, Alberta, and this song handles the topic of being caught within a whirlwind of dirty, false rumors coming from people you’d hoped were your friends, featuring no less the line “I’ve never hated anyone who’s ever heard me”.

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29 Eminem – “Bad Meets Evil” feat. Royce da’ 5’ 9’’

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Some of the best flowing not only on the album, but imaginable at all… is this the dude Eminem’s been ripping off the whole time? My favorite line is, well, all of ‘em, but to be honest, I don’t feel comfortable repeating any of them. That’s how good it is.

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28 Kanye West – “Crack Music” feat. The Game

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This song is one of a kind… it could have easily ranked first, not sure why it didn’t but I’ve touted it on my other blog (hip-hopreleases.com) as the best song of the naughty oughties (known in more proper sectors as the “nominally fraught oughts”).

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27 Black Milk – “Welcome (Gotta Go)”

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I used to rap, my voice sounding way too white, and this was easily my favorite pump-up song on freezing cold Thursday evenings getting ready for open mic.

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26 DOOM – “Ballskin”

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What’s this song about? Yo, ho, ho, wrong question…

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How did Fabolous get away with stealing Tupac’s “Ambitionz 
as a Ridah”?

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25 GZA – “4th Chamber” feat. Ghostface, Killah Priest & RZA

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Like the rest of Liquid Swords, this song opens up with this bizarre movie sound byte from an old kung fu flick… it’s the type of thing that it’s a sort of a pain in the a** to sit through, but really, could you imagine it without it? It’s like life itself, sometimes.

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24 Inspectah Deck – “Grand Prix” feat. U-God & Streetlife

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I’m sort of torn about U-God’s verse in this… ‘cause dude has like the PERFECT New York Wu-Tang accent, but the stuff he’s rapping about isn’t exactly the hardest — snatching purses and then driving out of town… not exactly commendable stuff… but Streetlife shows himself as more than a worthy 11th-man on this cut.

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23 Wu-Tang Clan – “Hollow Bones”

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A Wu-Tang BALLAD. This is like when I think it was Paul McCartney said to Jimmy Page around his fifth album you never write a ballad and out came “The Rain Song.”

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22 D12 – “Purple Pills”

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PERFECT fu**ing beat. That’s why this song is on here. ‘Cause, you know, I’m not in high school anymore.

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21 Black Milk – “Bond 4 Life”

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Black Milk is a rapper who makes his own beats, produces his own albums, had crafted some of the best music in the history of the city of Detroit, and this song is evidence of his knack for laying down a bona fide R&B song, on recruitment and production, and then tearing it up with a fine flow.

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20 Deltron 3030 – “Virus”

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If you don’t know me by now you’ll never know me…

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19 Notorious B.I.G. – “Gimme the Loot”

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Ok.

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18 Nas – “If I Ruled the World”

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I’ll admit it I’m sort of a fag when it comes to listening to Nas… I think I just found It Was Written in the used bin one time and that’s why I just listen to that and not Illmatic like a sissy, but I do see this song cited quite a bit as having inspired people, and sh**, I ain’t complainin’ about it.

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17 Cypress Hill – “Pigs”

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First song on their first album… it gets you hype, but at the same time you’re like, wow, these guys know a lot about pigs. Yeah, we all do, I guess.

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16 Wu-Tang Clan – “Tearz”

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This is probably my favorite beat ever next to “Potholderz”… and did RZA just lay down the law?

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15 Cadence Weapon – “Limited Edition OJ Slammer”

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Another one off Afterparty Babies… and packed full of classic lines… my favorite is “Denzel got robbed and I’ll never forget the look he took…”

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14 Master P – “Make ‘em Say Uhh” feat. Fiend, Mystikal, Silkk tha Shocker and Mia-X

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I mean is Mystikal even human?

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13 MF Doom – “Potholderz”

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There you are, heh heh heh. I don’t even like this other dude Mike Spitz or whatever, he’s ok, this is just extremely absolutely the greatest beat of all time.

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12 Noah23 – “Learning Curve”

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This fu**ing god da**ed album is a wonderland (yes I’m channeling my inner John Mayer here)… I still remember when I got rigged up with downloading finally in like 2010, I was going crazy and then I’d burn this and listen to this CD in the car too… I love the end where he’s listing all the groups that “got the learning curve.”

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11 2pac – “Ambitionz as a Ridah”

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A song so good that Fabolous just straight up ripped it off, and got away with it, and sounded like a fu**ing fag doing it. First of all, it’s the wrong “coast.” Way wrong.

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10 Kanye West – “Heard ‘em Say” feat. Adam Levine

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If you like optimism, or just the best way to digest reality, this is about as good as you can get right here, a great way to kick off a classic album.

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9 Del the Funky Homosapien – “Ahonetwo, Ahonetwo”

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Great song on a great album here full of classic lines (“I chiseled up a sculpture to compliment my culture”, “Use my mental staffs to eliminate apartheid”).

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8 Eminem – “White America”

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Definitely one of the most invigorating hip-hop tracks in the world right here, with great production from Dre and a great emcee who was on top of the world by this time, but still had a chip on his shoulder.

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7 Wu-Tang Clan – “Let My Ni**az Live” feat. Nas

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This beat GAVE BIRTH to Pharoahe Monch’s “What it is,” on easily the most underrated Wu-Tang album ever. Don’t even come at me with that 8 Diagrams sh** either.

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6 Big L – “Put it on” feat. Kid Capri

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Big L basically cooks emcees like a dozen eggs in half a verse, if not a quarter, so a little bit goes a long way, and it’s sad ‘cause you look at his picture and he’s such a pretty face, gone so soon. You could talk your whole life and still not say enough but that’s just the way it is.

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5 Eminem – “Without Me”

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This song still gets me hype, and I’m proud to say that it came out the exact weekend I graduated from high school, or right around there. (Yup, per that trite old joke, it’s all a blur, huh huh). Anyway I’m proud of him for going a whole song without making fun of Christina Aguilera, for like, being really hot and successful, or whatever he made fun of her for.

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4 2pac – “How Do U Want it”

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Only Tupac could sound and look so gay, and still be so good… this was and always will be the perfect Friday night music to break up the tension, especially if you’re like me and you work in the restaurant industry, where that ain’t the da** weekend.

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3 Mos Def – “Auditorium” feat. Slick Rick

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Slick Rick the Ruler… does everybody know his story kids? He did a year and a half in prison and then they let him out finding out that he didn’t even commit the crime, and he was just like, whatever. He just did a jovial interview in a care-free, aw-shucks high speaking voice that he always has. A true pioneering exemplar of the craft, on display here even post-George W. Bush.

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2 Clipse – “Mr. Me Too”

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Never have I heard another hip-hop beat which is so subtle and mellow, but so dark and tense at the same time — we’re dealing with an existential thing here, presumably, the reality of your fellow man hating you simply because you have things. Is it worse in America? Eh, Celine wrote about the same thing. I wouldn’t overestimate it.

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1 Black Milk – “Overdose”

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An absolute miasma of melody and street b.s… you couldn’t mimic this song if you tried. It’s lodged right smack in the middle of the classic album Tronic (I used to rotate this and DOOM’s Born Like This fu**in’ incessantly when I worked at this book warehouse, or when I’d be driving around), and this I have to say was just the song I’d listen to and realize that NOBODY else could do this sh**… I mean there is no categorizing this music within a genre, because even with the medium of rap itself, he still continues to crush the game, touting his own greatness which you never once doubt.

41 thoughts on ““Dolby’s Top 100 Hip-Hop Tracks of All Time”

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