Let’s say you come across an alien that just landed from some far away planet or the ghost of Jay-Z’s past, basically someone who either doesn’t know what Hip Hop is, or has forgotten, or, as in Jay-Z’s case, both. Let’s say you were given the opportunity to put them up on game and introduce them to the music that has helped shaped you into the person that you are now. By helping shape their opinion on what you think good Hip Hop is, you know, not the new King of New York – French Montana, (btw who the hell spiked his syrup that got him thinking he’s Jay-Z’s heir apparent?), you would be introducing this alien to the “kush” of Hip Hop (no stress weed). And no Trinidad James.
As hard as it was, I racked my brain and scoured my iTunes library in search of the 10 essential Hip Hop songs IMO to introduce to a neophyte. And trust me, it was harder than it looks, since it’s nearly impossible to pick just 10. But I present to you DJ Fat Laces This is Hip Hop Mixtape for Dummies.
1. Buddy – De La Soul
Buddy was one of the first Posse cuts and the introduction to A Tribe Called Quest. Buddy represented a time in Hip Hop when the biggest concerns were fly gear, being original and who rocked the party best. And it’s one of my personal 5 favorite songs.
2. The Formula – The D.O.C.
The D.O.C. was a lyrical genius, it’s ashamed he lost the use of his vocal cords due to going through the front window of his car during an accident. The Formula is a step by step instructional on to how build not only a lyrical potent 16 bars but a dope song without a lot of cuss words. The D.O.C. along with The Formula was ahead of his time.
3. My Philosophy – BDP
My Philosophy is a lyrical ass whooping where BDP front man KRS 1 puts all sucker emcees on notice while doing it on an intellectual level. KRS 1 also speaks out against the stereotypes that plaque blacks, the dangers of fast food and how life “is not about a salary, it’s all about reality. What is there not to like about this song?
4. Straight Out Of Compton – NWA
You just knew I had to put the West Coast on this list. In 1988 5 thugs from South Central Los Angeles, kicked open the door and loudly proclaimed that they were Straight Out Of Compton. Straight Out Of Compton made the elitist New York take notice that the West had a voice. One could dare say that Straight Out Of Compton changed the sound of music that is still felt today. At the same introducing the criminal element to Hip Hop along with Jheri Curls, starched creased dickies and Chuck Taylors. Hip Hop has never been the same.
5. Players Ball – Outkast
Prior to Outkast the only Hip Hop representatives that the South had at the time were the Geto Boys out of Houston and Bass artists (which for those living outside of the south frowned upon) out of Miami and Atlanta. But when you think of Southern Hip Hop Outkast comes mind. Equipped with “funny accents, Adidas sweat pants and fury Kangols, Outkast proved that despite the slower living the south wasn’t slow or dumb and in fact lyrically, could hold it’s own against the East and West coasts.
6. Afro Puffs – The Lady of Rage
The Lady Of Rage wasn’t the first female emcee, but she was one of the best lyrically. So much so that not only could she hold her own on the mic against her male counterparts, but she had enough bravado to know that she was better than majority of them and backed it up on Afro Puffs. She was so nice on the mic that Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg hand picked the Farmville, VA representative to be the Bonne to Deathrow’s Clyde.
7. Jackin For Beats – Ice Cube
Ice Cube is my favorite emcee of all the time and the best to come out of the West Coast. Jackin For Beats was so ahead of it’s time that shortly after it’s release, rappers starting making mixtapes differently by rhyming over other rappers beats similar to what Ice Cube did on this track.
8. Paparazzi – Xzibit
Xzibit loudly called out every rapper that wanted to use hip hop as an atm. Pulling skirts of fake studio gangsters playing a part to make money off his/our beloved Hip Hop, caught up in the money and the fame. This song should have been a lyrical intervention for those perpetrating a fraud while hiding behind the mic.
9. Smile – Scarface and 2pac
While the West and East coasts were trading shots, with five of them hitting 2pac, he found time to sit back, smile and enjoy life. 2pac and Brad Jordan reminded us that no matter what we were going through to always smile and to be happy with what we have. And no matter what things will always get better.
10. Live On The Mic – Kurupt and KRS 1
This song is Hip Hop at it’s finest. With two of the best to ever pick up the mic freestyling, even though this is an album cut, these two are freestyling as if their lives depended on it. I can only imaging the studio engineer counting down from 3 to 1, pointing at both Kurupt and Krs saying go before pressing record, then standing back with his jaw to the floor. Witnessing history in the making and a clinic at the same, Live On The Mic is tutorial on freestyling. Something that every rapper should be able to do, but sadly many can’t, Live On The Mic is a step by step how-to freestyle.
that’s it, you don’t understand how just how hard it was to settle on ten songs. There are so many songs from rappers that I like that I didn’t include for various reasons but could have easily replaced the songs that I did include. Some are my favorites but again the focus is songs that I feel best represent what Hip Hop is.
So come take a dip with me in the low-low. If you think you can do better or just have a different opinion than me, please feel free to share your list. If it’s wack I’m going let you know.
Talk to me, I’ll talk back.
Breazy “Fat Laces” Taylor.