Tuesday, 14 August 2007

HHC Top 100 rap singles 10-1

#5&1 - Public Enemy

This is it; the grand finale. The Top 10 is here and some of you could probably guess its contents. Some of you will probably wonder why some tracks made it to the top, I believe they all can be justified; in this post I am going to write why I think each track deserves to be here.

10. Pharoahe Monch – Simon Says – 1999 – Internal Affairs (buy album here or tell me somewhere else where it's actually available and cheap!)
This track is here simply because there never was and never will be another track like it. Monch smashes this club hit that appeals to all kinds of hip hop fan and is guaranteed to make you hit the dance floor (even though you’ll never understand afterwards how it’s possible to dance to this).

9. House of Pain – Jump around – 1992 – House of Pain (buy album here)
It’s here because HoP managed to make a hard track with pop sensibilities, an amazing crossover tune with mass appeal. Not many acts manage to do it with credibility, even if you think you shouldn’t really like this you obviously do and I bet y’all do jump around when it comes on in a club.

8. Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight – 1979 – Rappers Delights (buy album here)
Erm…this doesn’t deserve to be here. Psyche! It’s the blueprint: samples (although they are replayed by session musicians), crowd involving party lyrics, boasting lyrics and story telling lyrics all in one hefty track. Where would we be now without this? Forget the controversy surrounding who released the first rap track and who actually wrote these rhymes and honour the Sugarhill.

7. Wu-Tang Clan – CREAM – 1994 – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (buy album here)
This is the anthem for all Hip Hoppers who are trying to make money and definitely the best and most well known acronym in the game and that is why it’s here. Oh and the amazing RZA track (his best?) and carefully thought out lyrics serve to flesh out the concept to perfection.

6. Dr. Dre – Ain’t Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang – 1992 – The Chronic (buy album here)
Why is this here?
a) It introduced Snoop to the world: good move Dre.
b) It’s all you need for cruising in the summertime.
c) This was innovative, Dre totally changed up the sound of Hip Hop all on his ownsome.
d) This is pure freshness…still, 15 years on.

5. Public Enemy – Fight the Power – 1990 – Fear of A Black Planet (buy album here)
The average Telegraph reader would maintain that rap music is mindless and repetitive. Are they right? Of course they’re not! Chuck D presents the idea that ordinary people are involved in politics as much as the politicians are, his methods maybe a little unorthodox (no lobbying, voting or letter writing; just fighting!) but his sentiment is important nevertheless. The subject here is still relevant even if the sound is dated. This track represents Hip Hops intelligence.

4. NWA – Straight Outta Compton – 1988 – Straight Outta Compton (buy album here)
So far we’ve had the underground breakthrough club hit, the party track, the original track, the money song, the summertime cruising song, the politically charged protest track and here we have the angry track in all its teen angst glory. This track needs to be here just for that reason.

3. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message – 1982
If I continue the theme of the comment on the last track then this is the track that has a message, it’s the reality rap, it tells it how it is, it is life in the Bronx documented on wax. This opened up a million and one opportunities for rappers to really open up and tell us how they were living. This tune was the nod of the head that gave the go ahead for MC’s to rap about anything they wanted to rap about.

2. Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (TROY) – 1992 – Mecca and The Soul Brother (buy album here)
Yup, this track is an entirely different sort of track to all the others in the top 10. This is the reminiscing track about and dedicated to a single person (T-Roy). This track could have been sad and melancholy due to its subject matter. Instead the bouncy horn driven beat really is a befitting tribute to T-Roy (he was a dancer) because if this came on in a club you wouldn’t stop dancing to shed a tear, you’d carry on dancing wouldn’t you?

1. Public Enemy – Rebel without a Pause – 1987 – It Takes a Nation of Millions… (buy album here)
Go to your itunes and type 1987 in the search box. Listen to all the other tracks from ’87. Ask yourself this: Does ‘Rebel without a Pause’ sound like them? Then answer thus: No. You could also check every single rap track ever made and ask the same question and still come up with the same negative answer. If this is the best rap single ever to be released we would have to conclude that a good rap track should be sonically original and interesting, that the MC has to mean the lyrics he is spitting and that it should really break the mould as a whole. Personally that sounds like a perfect recipe guideline for how it should be done, all that needs to be added is the personality and vision of the chef.

Obviously just one track does not sum up rap music but after a quick scan of the top 10 and I think you’d all agree that the tracks encapsulate and portray the varied sounds and topics of rap music.

So there we have it; a full 100 rap tracks that you really need to own or to at least have heard. Hit me up with comments such as 'What no Jay-Z?' or 'What no Biggie?'.

‘What next for Certified Banger?’ I hear you (by you I really mean me) ask. Well I’ve got a few ideas lined up and I’m gonna tell you them now but they’re copy written so don’t copy me.

Certified Bangers up and coming features:

‘Singled Out’ – the post where I go downstairs and pick either a tape, CD or vinyl single that I bought over the last 12 years, post the mp3 and write about the track and why I bought it. (Warning: This is gonna be warts and all so beware of ensuing embarrassing tracks)

‘Word Up!’ – the post where I choose a bit of Hippedy Hop slang, give it’s meaning(s) and give you a tune that includes the word in context.

‘Back in the Day’ – I’ve really enjoyed listening to all of these older tracks in the top 100 so I figured I’d post a track a week that was released within the first 5 years of Hip Hop’s birth (which for arguments sake we’ll say is 1979 when a Hip Hop track was first recorded and released)


Ass Hat said...

awesome work. buy yourself a cigar, mister cumberland.

Ass Hat said...

oh, and: what, no biggie? seriously, no 'hypnotize'?

ANS said...

Seriously, I think I woulda had some juicy and hypnotize in there if I'd have made it!

Anonymous said...

i posted earlier sayin this has been an enjoyable education. with the Top 80 now playing on repeat, its gonna be a while till anything else gets back on my playlist! i'll wait a couple days and get 100-81, for the complete set, but thanks again! ..as a fan of Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt and Nas's It Was Writen, i woulda included Dead Presidents, Cant Knock the Hustle, or The Message in my own list, but then again this is my first hearing of a lot of these classics...

ANS said...

Yeah those albums are classics, esp the Jay-Z one but there are so many good Hip Hop tracks out there. I didn't compile this top 100, it was the magazine Hip Hop Connection in 2002 but I like the list as it encompases alot of essential listening! There's always going to be something you haven't heard though. Sometimes just being satisifed with the music you've got is enough. It's not always about hearing something new. I did enjoy getting all these together and listening to them all though.

Tom said...

Sterling work lad, you've earned yourself a break!

Check out the Santogold tunes on't Hermit and let the bass from the speakers run through ya sneakers.

exactwords said...

Awesome list. Don't agree with it all, but you're right on for the most part. And I learned a lot too. Can't wait for you to lay down more of the old-school tracks.

AaronM said...

Congrats, Aidan!
Keep the features coming.
And let me know if you need any more tracks for the posts.

Maren McCoy Kyle said...


i'm really appreciating this top 100 that you posted. your blog is new to me and i'll def. keep coming back.

Anonymous said...


thanks for the list. it has been to follow it. ok, i have a request for the "old school" stuff that u are working on. can u please post "that's the joint" by funky 4+1...please? it is the jam and needs to be heard by the new school fans of hip-hop. thanks!!!

mike in va

ANS said...

Thanks for all the interest!
"Run me a score from from the funky four/that's the joint/now rewind that back" Sure will be posting that track!

I don't actually agree with all of these tracks being here in this order but hey, they're mostly good tracks!

sean broom said...

Alright-- so I have to say this as constructive criticism.

Let me start by saying that your commitment to this project is admirable and as hey, I haven't, I should probably just shut my mouth. But I think your list needs an asterix-- these songs are clearly your very arbitrary list of the 100 best Hip Hip songs ever.

It seems in many situations that you stumbled across a song and was like "Oh! That was the jam!" and then remembered another joint by the artist and put that in as well, I think this is evidenced by the clusters of artists you can find in different sections. IE. you have 3 Cypress Hill songs in one 10 song stretch.

Now I've got to say man, 3 tracks by Cypress Hill, but not a single one by Biggie? 2 Dialated tracks, but no Snoop solo joints? Four (?!?!?!?!?!?!?) LL tracks (only beaten by ATCQ, DLS with 5 each and PE with 6) but no Jay-Z??!?!

Four LL songs? I think I'ma have a coronary.

Wait... hmmm... I just read further in your comments. And this list was made not by you, but by a publication that actually was sold for profit? With an editorial board? Hmmm I just googled it. It appears as though it's an English mag.

Someone sure musta been smoking crack when they wrote this list.

My head hurts.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Banger:

Amazingly well done, thank you so much for tackling this tough project - I couldn't imagine even starting to try to list my top 100.

On top of all the amazing tracks, I have to say the Rawkus weed-out question from the top 30 is directly on-point.

Thanks very much.