Recently, Rolling Stone magazine gathered thirty-three of some the most iconic MCs (Q-Tip, Nas, Busta Rhymes, AdRock and Mike D), producers (Pete Rock, Rick Rubin, Questlove) and music journalists (James Bernard, Nathan Brackett) in hip hop to select and organize the fifty greatest hip hop songs of all time. What makes a great hip hop song? Questlove says,
The greatest hip-hop songs have the power to pull energy and excitement and anger and questions and self-doubt and raw emotion out of you. It could be a song that sets your neighborhood on fire (“Rebel Without a Pause”) or a song on your headphones that makes you rethink what hip-hop is (Ultramagnetic MCs’ “Ego Trippin’ ”). The common thread is change. The best hip-hop songs aren’t blueprints – they are calls to action, reminders that you can start a revolution in three minutes. Just keep that clock radio on.
The top ten won’t surprise many, and the list itself is certainly worth a read, but you can also hear every song on a Spotify playlist assembled for the event. Dope.