Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One week left.

On Saturday I'll be departing from Minneapolis and moving to my more permanent home in Winona. I am incredibly excited for the school year to start for various reasons: my brother will be attending; a new year of SMU athletics; and I will also be turning 21 very soon. I will definitely miss the Twin Cities, though!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My top 25 rap songs of all time

I've wanted to do this for a while. Keep in mind that these are my FAVORITE songs and not what I perceive as the "best". That list would probably be very different.

These are the songs that make me love rap, the songs that I can remember where and when I was when I first heard them; the songs that make me think back to specific memories, people, and events. They all hold a special place in my heart.

I tried to tag all my friends that dig hip-hop, sorry if I missed you.

1. Uncommon Valor by Jedi Mind Tricks


The storytelling style immerses the listener directly in the Vietnam War, with Vinnie Paz dropping his usual cutting lyrics on top of a haunting sample. An incredibly impressive second verse by R.A. The Rugged Man makes this song my favorite rap song ever. RA sat down with his father, decorated veteran John Thorburn, for several hours and crafted this masterpiece verse with great detail.

I have goosebumps every time I listen to this song! This is what rap is supposed to be about... forget Gucci Mane.

2. Stan by Eminem


Another masterpiece. Marshall Mathers perfectly captures a tragic story in rhyme form. The link above is to the version with Elton John singing the hook at the Grammys. Also, this is one of the sickest sampled hooks around.

3. Buggin' Out by A Tribe Called Quest


Two words: OLD SCHOOL. A filthy bass line with a splashy ride cymbal prove that less is more.

4. Paid in Full by Eric B & Rakim


With this song, Rakim Allah invented flow. The beat also uses some of the most famous samples in hip-hop... making them famous.

5. Notorious Thugs by Notorious B.I.G. and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony


Combining two of the best flows in rap, this track is a weed-smoking anthem.

6. T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You) by Pete Rock & CL Smooth


7. C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan


"I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side, where stayin' alive was no jive" If this song doesn't put you onto Wu-Tang, I don't know what to tell you.

8. 99 Problems by Jay-Z


A sick black and white video compliments a dirty, dirty track.

9. Shook Ones part II by Mobb Deep


10. Through the Wire by Kanye West


Took sampling to a new level.

11. Triumph by Wu-Tang Clan


Inspectah Deck takes this track's first verse straight to the classic rack. It sounds like dude scanned Webster's Dictionary to come up with this stuff.

12. Fight the Power by Public Enemy


13. Brooklyn's Finest by Jay-Z, featuring Notorious B.I.G.


Two of the greatest in their prime.

14. Daydreamin' by Lupe Fiasco


The lyrical prodigy in his debut album... so damn descriptive.

15. Thug Luv by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony featuring Tupac


Bizzy kills the first verse, then Pac comes in and it's a wrap.

16. Run's House by Run-DMC


My favorite rap group in 8th grade. Truly trendsetters...

17. I Got a Story To Tell by Notorious B.I.G.


Another brilliant storytelling track. Biggie was the master.

18. Player's Ball by Outkast


Drops harder than almost any track I've heard. Video is dope.

19. Hate it or Love it by The Game, featuring 50 Cent


Sort of a guilty pleasure. St. Louis cross-cultural trip anyone?

20. Touch the Sky by Kanye West, featuring Lupe Fiasco


The first time I saw Mr. Fiasco on a major track.... after that fire verse, I knew he was something. Off my favorite Kanye album.

21. Ghetto Gospel by Tupac, featuring Elton John


A perfect sample off of Elton John's "Indian Sunset" makes this one soulful post-mortem Tupac song.

22. Da Art of Storytellin' part 1 by Outkast, featuring Slick Rick


Another storytelling classic. MC Ricky D comes in and brings the old school flavor.

23. Day and Night by Kid Cudi


Perfectly embodies the loner stoner Cudi. What a simple yet effective beat.

24. Ate Miles From the City of Dope by Andre Nickatina, featuring Equipto


I'm a little embarrassed that Andre Nicky T isn't higher on the list. This is my favorite beat of his, ever. Where my tigers at?

25. My Life by The Game, featuring Lil' Wayne


Another guilty pleasure Game track. Dude is corny at times, but sometimes he can hit emotions like no one else. Wayne keeps his mumbling garbage off the track and instead keeps the hook real soulful.


Real Muthafuckin' G's by Eazy-E
88 by The Cool Kids
East 1999 by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Mr. Me Too ft Pharrell by Clipse
I Used To Love H.E.R. by Common
Hip Hop by Dead Prez
Battlesong by Deltron 3030
Roc Boys (And The Winner Is).. by Jay-Z
US Placers featuring Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell by Kanye West
Little Weapon (featuring Bishop G & Nikki Jean) by Lupe Fiasco
One Mic by Nas
Down With The King by Run-D.M.C.
Doe Boy Fresh f/ Chamillionaire by Three 6 Mafia
2 Of Americas Most Wanted by Tupac
Patiently Waiting (featuring Eminem) by 50 Cent