The Ultimate Hip Hop Playlist (2015)

I am a sucker for old school hip hop. The classic age, the golden age between 1985 and 1995. During this period the beats were magnificent, the production fantastic and the sampling out of this world. This was a pioneering period for a new style of music that has since gone on to become one of the most popular music genres. I do not really warm to modern hip hop, I think it has been co-opted by the industry and doesn’t stand for much in terms of political or social ideas like hip hop acts of the past did. That said, not all of todays hip hop is bad and there are a few tracks that are just as good as the best from the golden age. So, with this said, I have decided to list my top twenty favorite hip hop tracks. There are several things I like in a good hip hop track. Sampling, matching fresh beats with little snippets or samples of other records to me is an essential component of hip hop, and a component that is seen less these days. Good beats, the best hip hop tracks for mine have the sickest beats and backing tracks to them. You want something to groove to when you listen to hip hop that is for sure, and good beats provide that. And, finally, lyrics that mean something, lyrics that explore social and political themes, lyrics that encapture a time or place, and that are not just about being in the club or getting drunk. So, all this considered, I reckon the songs on this list encapture nicely all that is good about hip hop and to me represent some of the best hip hop tracks.
Kurtis Blow – The Breaks (Kurtis Blow, 1980)

Grandmaster Flash and the Furous Five – The Message (The Message, 1982)

NWA – If It Ain’t Rough (Straight Outta Compton, 1988)

De La Soul – Say No Go (3 Feet High and Rising, 1989)

De La Soul – Me Myself and I (3 Feet High and Rising, 1989)

De La Soul – Eye Know (3 Feet High and Rising, 1989)

The Pharcyde – Passin’ Me By (Bizzare Ride II the Pharcyde, 1992)

Snoop Dog – Who Am I? (What’s My Name?) (Doggystyle, 1993)

Wu Tang Clan – Shame On A Nigga (Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993)

Wu Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M (Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993)

Outkast – Players Ball (Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, 1994)

Beastie Boys – Sabotage (Ill Communication, 1994)

Warren G – Regulate feat. Nate Dogg (Regulate… G Funk Era, 1994)

2Pac – California Love (All Eyez On Me, 1996)

Outkast – SpottieOttieDopaliscious (Aquemini, 1998)

Mos Def – Ms. Fat Booty (Black on Both Sides, 1999)

The Roots – The Seed (2.0) (Phrenology, 2002)

Kendrick Lamar – i (To Pimp a Butterfly, 2015)

Average Rap Band – Mother Mary (Stream of Nonsenseness, 2015)
Average Rap Band – Bending Spoons (Stream of Nonsenseness, 2015)

– Sam 

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