The leading music magazine Rolling Stone has announced the top 50 Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time. The cover of the magazine features today’s big stars, “Eminem” and “Jay Z,” and stars from the ’90s, “2Pac” and “Notorious B.I.G.” However, their songs are mostly found in the lower regions of the list. The top 10 is full of the genre’s pioneers such as Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash, and the Sugarhill Gang. The first woman on the list, Missy Elliott with “Get Ur Freak On,” is found at position 38. The full top 50 can be found here.
10. “Paid in Full” – Erik B. and Rakim
With its tight beats and complex rhyme schemes, “Paid in Full” by Erik B. and Rakim has had a lasting impact on hip-hop. Rakim’s style and flow in this song are revolutionary and have set the standard for future generations of rappers.
9. “Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A.
This explosive track put N.W.A. on the map and brought the reality of life in Compton to a global audience. The aggressive lyrics and powerful beats make it one of the most influential songs in gangsta rap.
8. “Juicy” – Notorious B.I.G.
“Juicy” is a rags-to-riches story that embodies the aspirations and dreams of many youths in the ’90s. Notorious B.I.G.’s smooth flow and catchy beat make this song a timeless classic.
7. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” is more than a song; it’s a political statement. With its powerful lyrics and energetic beats, it’s one of the most influential protest songs in hip-hop history.
6. “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg
Known for its laid-back flow and funky beats, this hip-hop song, a collaboration between Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, helped popularize the G-funk style and took West Coast hip-hop to a new level.
5. “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” – Geto Boys
The Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is a profound song that explores the psychological aspects of street life. Known for its honest lyrics, it’s one of the first songs to highlight the inner struggle and paranoia in hip-hop.
4. “Sucker M.C.’s” – Run-DMC
Run-DMC’s “Sucker M.C.’s” is a groundbreaking song that brought hip-hop to a wider audience. With its minimalist beat and straightforward lyrics, it set a new standard in hip-hop and paved the way for future innovations.
3. “Planet Rock” – Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force
Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” mixes electronic music with hip-hop, creating a completely new sound. Often credited as one of the founders of electro-funk, it pushed the musical boundaries of hip-hop.
2. “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugarhill Gang
As one of the first rap songs to achieve commercial success, “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang introduced hip-hop to a mainstream audience. The song is known for its cheerful beats and catchy lyrics.
1. “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is a groundbreaking track that highlights social issues in urban areas. It is considered one of the most powerful and influential songs in hip-hop history.