Provided "All Time" is 1979 - 1995
December 21, 2012 3:57 PM   Subscribe

?uestlove's Top 50 Hip Hop Songs Of All Time
posted by mediocre (43 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spread over fifty-one pages. Yay!

And, um, does he ever actually give the names of the tracks?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:01 PM on December 21, 2012


Oh, the titles are way up there. Never mind.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:06 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seeing the larger Rolling Stone list that he was surveyed for, I looked at it with some agreements and inevitable WTF?!?!!?'s. But upon viewing his specific choices, I realized that aside from a glaring omission of Bone Thugs N Harmony's "Tha Crossroads" (an essential video and a great example of the influence of NWA/Dr. Dre's production style on the era) and Eazy-E's "Real Muthafukkin G's" (best diss track of all time) it was almost exactly like mine would be. Likely a product of my age, but I just can't get into hip hop made after 1995 or so like I did those tracks on his list when I was young..
posted by mediocre at 4:06 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


50 - Son of Bazerk feat. No Self Control and the Band, "Change the Style" (1990)
49 - Ice Cube, "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" (1990)
48 - Boogie Down Productions, "The Bridge Is Over" (1987)
47 - A Tribe Called Quest, "Bonita Applebum" (1990)
46 - Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth, "DWYCK" (1992)
45 - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, "Summertime" (1991)
44 - Public Enemy, "Shut 'Em Down (Pete Rock Remix)" (1991)
43 - A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School, "Scenario" (1991) / Marley Marl, "The Symphony" (1988)
42 - Trouble Funk, "Pump Me Up" (1981)
41 - EPMD, "You Gots to Chill" (1988)
40 - Ultramagnetic MCs, "Ego Trippin'" (1986)
39 - Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" (1992)
38 - Tim Dog, "Fuck Compton" (1991)
37 - UTFO, "Roxanne, Roxanne" (1984)
36 - The Pharcyde, "Passin' Me By" (1993)
35 - Audio Two, "Top Billin'" (1988)
34 - Mobb Deep, "Shook Ones Part II" (1995)
33 - Public Enemy, "Welcome to the Terrordome" (1990)
32 - Eric B. and Rakim, "I Know You Got Soul" (1987)
31 - Das EFX, "They Want EFX" (1992)
30 - Biz Markie, "Just a Friend" (1990)
29 - Cypress Hill, "How I Could Just Kill a Man" (1991)
28 - Black Sheep, "The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)" (1991)
27 - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" (1995)
26 - Common, "I Used to Love H.E.R." (1994)
25 - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, "White Lines" (1984)
24 - DJ Mark the 45 King, "The 900 Number" (1988)
23 - Naughty By Nature, "O.P.P." (1991)
22 - Big Daddy Kane, "Raw" (1988)
21 - Digital Underground, "The Humpty Dance" (1990)
20 - Craig Mack, "Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)" / The Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"/"Unbelievable" (1994)
19 - Wu-Tang Clan, "Protect Ya Neck" (1993)
18 - LL Cool J, "I Need Love" (1987)
17 - Geto Boys, "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" (1990)
16 - Schooly D, "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" (1985)
15 - Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, "It Takes Two" (1988)
14 - Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force, "Planet Rock" (1982)
13 - Run-DMC, "Rock Box" (1984)
12 - Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" (1993)
11 - Eric B. and Rakim, "Eric B is President"/"Check Out My Melody" (1986)
10 - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981)
9 - Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew, "The Show"/"La Di Da Di" (1985)
8 - Public Enemy, "Fight the Power" (1989)
7 - Beastie Boys, "Hold It Now, Hit It" (1986)
6 - Run-DMC, "My Adidas"/"Peter Piper" (1986)
5 - Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, "The Message" (1982)
4 - De La Soul feat. A Tribe Called Quest, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah and Monie Love, "Buddy" (1989)
3 - N.W.A., "Fuck Tha Police" (1989)
2 - Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight" (1979)
1 - Public Enemy, "Rebel Without a Pause" (1987)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:25 PM on December 21, 2012 [30 favorites]


Yeah, he kind of didn't play along with what they wanted from him. These are the tracks that most influenced him in his formative years, before he became a professional musician. He makes no attempt to rank his contemporaries.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:36 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish someone would pick "Albie Square Mall" instead of "Just a Friend", just once in my lifetime.
posted by bleep at 4:37 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Anyone else surprised the Fat Boys didn't make the list?
posted by playertobenamedlater at 4:37 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of interest to this thread is VH1's 40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of the 90s. I'd argue with a few of the picks (or the order), but it's a really solid list (and a hell of a nostalgia bomb for folks of a certain age).
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 4:41 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Got down to Will Smith's "Summertime," closed window.
posted by trunk muffins at 4:46 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rebel Without a Pause was incredible. ?uestlove, you now have the approval you desperately needed from me.
posted by ignignokt at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2012


To me, Real Muthafukkin' Gs always sounded really sad. Like, quick - round me up a posse to get back at those guys! Also, stop by Aldi's to pick up some of that G-funk production they're using on the way.

No Vaseline is diss track that makes me go GODDAMN that had to hurt.
posted by ignignokt at 5:16 PM on December 21, 2012


I made a Spotify playlist. Doesn't include the following tracks which Spotify doesn't seem to have:
  1. Son of Bazerk feat. No Self Control and the Band, "Change the Style" (1990)
  2. A Tribe Called Quest and Leaders of the New School, "Scenario" (1991)
  3. Trouble Funk, "Pump Me Up" (1981)
  4. DJ Mark the 45 King, "The 900 Number" (1988)
  5. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" (1993)
  6. Eric B. and Rakim, "Check Out My Melody" (1986)

posted by milnak at 5:37 PM on December 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm so glad "The Show" made the list. Doug E. Fresh is the Joe Morello of beatboxing.
posted by Catblack at 5:40 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get why people tl;dr lists like these. Like, if you don't care enough about Questo to read 50 pages of him geeking out, why would you even be interested in the raw list?


milnak: "I made a Spotify playlist."

My man!
posted by danny the boy at 5:54 PM on December 21, 2012


Yeah, that's true. The reason they can get away with the 50 page split bullshit is Questo's writing about the tracks. That's the good stuff.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:01 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


No Tupac?? Really?? Am I missing something?
posted by desjardins at 6:46 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Son of Bazerk! Goddamn I loved that album. Wish I could find a copy of "One Time for the Rebel" to link to.
posted by googly at 7:03 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is Questlove's book deal?
posted by rogueepicurean at 7:18 PM on December 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite dis-track is LL Cool J's "Jack the Ripper" but I don't really care that it's a dis-track, it's just a great track.
posted by wobh at 7:33 PM on December 21, 2012


Well, I knew 7 (or 9 depending if you count over-hearing drunken renditions of "Fuck Tha Police", and the conviction that I knew "Planet Rock" but I just can't hum a few bars right now), and about 30% of the acts seem familiar. I guess I expected this list to be even more obscure.

Digital Underground, "The Humpty Dance" (1990)

I had completely blotted this song out of my head for the past 22 years.
It feels like an acid trip has just kicked in watching that video.
posted by Mezentian at 7:45 PM on December 21, 2012


List fails without "Informer" by Snow.
posted by Renoroc at 7:46 PM on December 21, 2012


List fails without "Informer" by Snow.

No. No it does not.

If it needs CanCon, what it needs is Maestro Fresh Wes.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The way Rolling Stone formats these lists is almost criminal. I'm glad that this (and their other lists) exists and is on the Web, but I'm even happier for the text-based transcription from Sys Req or the near-complete Spotify list from milnak. Thanks, guys.
posted by k8lin at 8:04 PM on December 21, 2012


?uibblers gonna ?uibble.
posted by argonauta at 8:11 PM on December 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rapper's Delight at number 2? Yes. That sounds about right. That way, everyone can have their own personal number one, but, seriously... who else is going to be in second place? They are way the hell up there on everybody's list.

A hip hop a hibby...
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:48 PM on December 21, 2012


There seems to be a not-at-all surprising lack of female artists on that list, which is a shame considering some of the amazing tracks put out in the last 30 years that've been by women. Again, not surprising in the least, just kind of disappointing.
posted by item at 8:52 PM on December 21, 2012


There seems to be a not-at-all surprising lack of female artists on that list, which is a shame considering some of the amazing tracks put out in the last 30 years that've been by women. Again, not surprising in the least, just kind of disappointing.


?uestlove's list only spans from 1979 to 1995; not a good time period to be a female MC...
posted by JimBennett at 9:14 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


?uestlove's list only spans from 1979 to 1995; not a good time period to be a female MC...

There were plenty, and they were awesome.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:36 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Son of Bazerk - Change The Style.

Nothing beats that Bomb Squad production. Nothing.

Here's another of the same.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:39 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were plenty, and they were awesome.

Fair enough, but were they exposed enough at the time to influence a young ?uestlove, along with thousands of other young hip-hop fans? Probably not.

For the record, I would LOVE to listen to some old school female MCs, so any recommendations are welcome.
posted by JimBennett at 9:43 PM on December 21, 2012


Fair enough, but were they exposed enough at the time to influence a young ?uestlove, along with thousands of other young hip-hop fans? Probably not.

Are you fucking kidding me? Hell yes there were. Along with Queen Latifah and Monie Love, sadly relegated here to bottom billing on the same track, how about Sha Rock? Nefertiti? Isis? MC Lyte? Da Brat? Salt-N-Pepa? Michie Mee? Left Eye? ...
posted by Sys Rq at 9:59 PM on December 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not the biggest connaisseur of hip hop, but here's at least one female MC they missed:
MC Lyte - Ruffneck
posted by Vindaloo at 10:05 PM on December 21, 2012


Thanks milnak! What f-ing web site in this century wouldn't bother to provide links to YouTube or other clips, or a Spotify or Rdio or LastFM or other playlist. Oh, Rolling Stone. Never mind. Again, thanks milnak.
posted by twsf at 10:13 PM on December 21, 2012


Thanks milnak! What f-ing web site in this century wouldn't bother to provide links to YouTube or other clips, or a Spotify or Rdio or LastFM or other playlist. Oh, Rolling Stone. Never mind. Again, thanks milnak.

I don't want to be "the guy who defends Rolling Stone" but I believe the whole list is presented as an Rdio playlist in the intro, though, to be fair, I can't actually get said playlist to load anymore. I know I saw it a few hours ago though!

Are you fucking kidding me? Hell yes there were. Along with Queen Latifah and Monie Love , sadly relegated here to bottom billing on the same track, how about Sha Rock? Nefertiti? Isis? MC Lyte? Da Brat? Salt-N-Pepa? Michie Mee? Left Eye? ...

I'm not "fucking kidding" you, I am "more or less unfamiliar with this era of rap" and trying to learn more. I'll just exit this conversation over here I guess. Thanks for the links.
posted by JimBennett at 10:39 PM on December 21, 2012


Fair enough, but were they exposed enough at the time to influence a young ?uestlove, along with thousands of other young hip-hop fans? Probably not.

In his defense, I would say, yes, and no. I fall very squarely into the same level of hip hop fandom as ?uest (9 years old when Rappers delight came out, life changed immediately) and this list is pretty much exactly the soundtrack of my life during the years he covers. This was a time when it was possible for us young b-boys to have pretty much the entire existing hip-hop catalog in our heads. There are not too many songs or artists from that era that got by.

For me the only song by a female artist that I would put on this list is Salt N Pepa's "Push It" That song was huge and influential, and wasn't a novelty because they were female. Which is the problem for a lot of the female MC's of the time. Lyte and Latifah also stood out as real MC's as well, but neither of them really had historic breakout singles that I would put on par with the majority of this list. Which I don't think diminishes them in any way. Like I said, at that time and place for so many of us ALL hip hop was important and groundbreaking and amazing.

This list is awesome not so much for the songs he lists, but for the little "history of a hip hop" fan details he sprinkles in. Like that feeling of taping a song, and running to your friends knowing you were about to blow their minds because they hadn't heard it yet. And his equating the eras of Hip Hop to the Drugs that were prevalent at the time. And the undercurrent running through it all, which is something that Ta-Nehisi Coates hints at sometimes, and I could go on about for hours and hours. How this music and culture was a literal lifeline for those of us growing up young, gifted and Black in a time and place that seemed hell bent on destroying us. By the mid-90s it changed, expanded it's audience, lost some of it's significance, but it was ok, because that first hip hop generation had grown up. But for that first 10-15 years it was everything.

And Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's "Summertime" is awesome. I will not argue about this.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:48 PM on December 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great list. Brings back a lot of memories and is in line with the sort of hip hop I like. I don't think it fails in anyway and indeed would say that the lack of Tupac and Snow are like the lack of Nickelback on a top 50 rock list, which is much appreciated. No Digable Planets but you can't have it all.
posted by juiceCake at 4:59 AM on December 22, 2012


"And Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince's "Summertime" is awesome. I will not argue about this.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:48 PM on December 21
"

Word.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:22 AM on December 22, 2012


""Wait . . . so all of those rappers were just code names for those that chose 'coke' names? Kool Rock Ski? Joe Ski Love? Kurtis Blow?" He just laughed. Boy, was I naive."

Me too!
posted by PHINC at 7:11 AM on December 22, 2012


Work It was released in 2002, but ladies and gentlemen: Missy Elliott
posted by lukemeister at 7:47 AM on December 22, 2012


Metafilter: You got what I need, but you say he's just a friend
posted by Renoroc at 8:01 AM on December 22, 2012


Metafilter: Oh SNAP! Look what I saw!
posted by bleep at 9:07 AM on December 22, 2012


I like this list, it doesn't try to be anything that it isn't. These are what Questlove thinks are the 50 best songs in history. He doesn't have to take a song from each era, each year, the best song from what people consider the best hip hop artists. He takes three songs from rakim, doesn't have one of the standard PE songs at one, has a Buddy up there.

this obvious just shows how absurd these top 50 lists are YET also shows how fun they are. I've been a hip hop dj for almost 20 years and my top 50 has records like:

The symphony 2
That's when you Lost Souls of mischief
My Fantasy by Freestyle Fellowship
OC Times up
Here We Go (live at the fun house) by Run DMC
biggie smalls- gimme da loot.
posted by LouieLoco at 2:14 PM on December 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, Top Billin'.. haven't listened to it in forever but since reading this list I've listened to it over a dozen times.
posted by yonega at 3:26 PM on December 24, 2012


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