There are still many people out in the world that consider rap and hip-hop that “new music” but, the fact is, it has been around a long, long time and has built up quite a legacy of recordings.
Its longstanding historical legacy is shown well in Rolling Stones’ new list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. In the top ten, eight of the songs are from artists who have been recording 25 years or more and a ninth will qualify next year as the Geto Boys began recording in 1988.
Of the top fifty, 28 are by or include veteran artists including three a piece for Dr. Dre, as part of N.W.A. and as a solo artist, and LL Cool J, both solo and as part of a collaboration. Three additional acts will pass the 25 year mark in 2013, pushing the veteran count on the list even higher.
The top two spots on the list are reserved for the (arguably) two most important Hip-Hop Records ever recorded, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five‘s The Message, which introduced social consciousness to the genre, and the Sugarhill Gang‘s Rapper’s Delight which became the first mainstream hit from rap.
The rest of the list is full of artists who have become household names, not only as musicians but also as actors, business people and philanthropists, showing just how much this “new” genre of music has influenced a generation of people.
To compile the list, Rolling Stone asked 33 artists and experts to choose their favorite hip-hop tracks. Those voting included Busta Rhymes, Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz from the Beastie Boys, Questlove from the Roots, Nas, Rick Rubin and Tom Morello.
The top ten with all other positions by or including veteran artists:
- 01. The Message – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
- 02. Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
- 03. Planet Rock – Afrika Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force
- 04. Sucker M.C.’s – Run-DMC
- 05. Mind Playing Tricks on Me – Geto Boys
- 06. Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang! – Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg
- 07. Fight the Power – Public Enemy
- 08. Juicy – Notorious B.I.G.
- 09. Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A.
- 10. Paid in Full – Eric B. and Rakim
- 13. La Di Da Di – Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew
- 14. Rebel Without a Pause – Public Enemy
- 15. Fuck tha Police – N.W.A.
- 17. Peter Piper – Run-DMC
- 19. Paul Revere – Beastie Boys
- 21. Rock the Bells – LL Cool J
- 22. Strictly Business – EPMD
- 23. I Know You Got Soul – Eric B. and Rakim
- 27. Flava In Ya Ear (Remix) – Craig Mack, Rampage, the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes
- 29. Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
- 34. P.S.K. What Does It Mean? – Schoolly D
- 37. It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube
- 40. The Breaks – Kurtis Blow
- 41. California Love – 2Pac and Dr. Dre
- 42. South Bronx – Boogie Down Productions
- 43. Top Billin’ – Audio Two
- 46. Push It – Salt-N-Pepa
- 47. That’s the Joint – Funky 4 + 1
- 48. The Symphony – Marley Marl
- 49. Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five