Where ya head at? What 5 tracks represent Hiphop in the 80’s / 90’s / 00’s?

This is a post I’ve been fucking with on and off for a while, and I think it might bear some interesting results. I intend to send it to the heads on the blogs I really respect and get their input too… hopefully everything should link back to this original post so that everyone’s thoughts can be compared…

What’s the deal you ask? Think of those dopey shrink tests where they hold up the abstract art… you know the ones where you’re meant to say the first thing that comes into your head that the random squiggles represent?

OK… clear your mind and tell me the first 5 tracks that come into your mind when I say…

80’s Hiphop

90’s Hiphop

00’s Hiphop

QUICK – don’t think about it, just spit em out.

What tracks did you pick? Why? What were your reasons? Remember its 5 tracks for a whole decade – you’ll be discounting classic albums and singles, entire genres, legendary artists… the whole nine. But don’t THINK about it – go with your gut… what are your picks and why? Even if you fuck up and place 90’s songs in the 80’s or 00 songs in the 90’s – why and how did those songs capture an entire decade?

Here are mine…

80's Hiphop

80’s Hiphop

1) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
2) Run DMC – Sucker MCs
3) Just-Ice – Welfare Recipient
4) Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight
5) Funky 4 + 1 – That’s The Joint

80’s Hiphop makes me think of electro, breakdancing, 808 bass, disco breaks versus snares-being-preferred-to-actual-music, leather and spikes, hand designed flyers for the LQ, and Run DMC. Despite the fact that ’88 and ’89 are the ‘Golden Years’ of Hiphop, not one track from then makes my list. Many of my favorites – PE, BDP, NWA etc etc don’t even get a sniff. Molly Moll’s entire stable of Cold Chillin’ artists don’t get a look either.

90's Hiphop

90’s Hiphop

1) Gang Starr – Mass Appeal
2) Black Moon – Who Got The Props?
3) Nas – It Ain’t Hard To Tell
4) A Tribe Called Quest – Jazz (We’ve Got)
5) Mobb Deep – Shook Ones Pt 2

So many tracks left out. SO many tracks! But 90’s Hiphop makes me think of nothing but New York. In the winter. Wearing plaid Starter jackets. Timbz and Hoodz check. With the temperature so cold you can see your breath coming out your mouth. Every track I’ve selected envisions wrapping up warm and riding the train while wearing a walkman. You can feel it can’t you? Think about it though… no Dre. No Snoop. No Biggie. No Pac. No Pun. The West Coast, Chicago and Down South are completely ignored. Look how much is missing… and yet… this is still, to me, the ultimate representation of 90’s Hiphop.

00's Hiphop

00’s Hiphop

1) DMX – Ruff Ryder’s Anthem
2) Jay-Z – Jigga My Nigga
3) Ja-Rule – Holla Holla
4) Freeway – Flipside
5) Nore – Nothing

As far as the 2000’s go, my mind is still kinda stuck on where Hiphop was as we moved from the 90’s. Remember when Def Jam were pushing DMX, Ja-Rule, Murder Inc etc? This list is heavy on Swizz Beatz-related shit, I know… but I automatically think of those damn Casio beats when Hiphop in the 2000’s enters my head – electronic, sample-bereft music with a more menacing undertone. There’s also a smattering of Neptunes flavor in there. Big names who don’t even enter my first thoughts for this include Kanye, Nas, Eminem, and the whole Dirty South movement.


Think about what has been discounted for a second. Tons and tons, years and years of quality music discounted just to get a quick five. Crazy innit? No Wu-Tang. No Biggie. No Kane. No G Rap. No PE. Ouch.

Now what are your picks? Add on in the comments… other blog heads, track and ping this shit back…

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