Hip-Hop is rather new and has already taken so many shapes and forms. That made me wonder, which songs would actually transcend time and last forever. Whenever someone mentions oldies, we know what they mean. 60’s, 70’s maybe early 80’s. Songs, artists and genres that have stood the test of time. “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire; “Just My Imagination” by The Temptations; the Beatles, Stevie Wonder; the list goes on and on. What songs mean so much to the culture that they just can’t get left behind? I’ve made a list of my nominations below, but be sure to tweet me @_ThreeStacks using #HipHopForever with your own selections.
50 Cent was a force when he first dropped, his first album going Diamond and his lead single has over 532M plays on YouTube alone. Curtis Jackson upside down rapping “Go Shorty It’s Ya Birthday” is an iconic moment in hip-hop.
Let’s not act like Missy Elliott and Dave Meyers didn’t have MTV’s Making the Video on smash every other week. Her first single has just enough nostalgia to fit in any era and the “Beep, beep… who got the keys to my jeep” line is undefeated.
You gotta be one crazy white boy to get 400 other white boys to bleach their hair and march them into the MTV VMA performance but that’s exactly who Marshall Mathers is; one, crazy, white boy. I struggled between this or “Lose Yourself” as his hallmark song, but I can’t deny the voice Eminem gave to middle America with his first major hit.
“The flow of the century. Always timeless. You could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with me.” Hov proclaimed his own longevity on this song and we responded. This song comes on in the grocery store in 20 years and I’m rapping every word unashamed.
Few better partnerships have ever existed in Hip-Hop and we have to honor this by choosing their most turnt song. Not only is the video amazing but they introduced “That shit cray” into the lexicon. What’s not to love?
A historical pairing of two of the best pairs ever produced 4 of the best verses about Black love ever. Andre 3000 pens one of the illest breakup letters to single life ever. UGK and Big Boi details the successes of being single and the pitfalls of choosing the wrong one more eloquently than anyone has before or since.
Call him what you want but Pablo released one of the best intro songs in Hip-Hop history. Going from producer to master curator in this effort. Kanye brought together Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price, The Dream, Chance the Rapper a choir and himself to give one of the most heartfelt songs of 2016.
If you don’t know this song you need to walk to Junior’s now and get your closest friend some cheesecake. Not only are these verses a rags to riches blueprint but they’re a perfect picture of life in 1994 with so many cultural references your head could spin. (R.I.P. Big)
As a Marylander, I hate that Pac never owned his Baltimore days more openly, but I can’t deny the infectious beat and bars on California Love. Rapping from the roof of the Compton Swap Meet, Pac delivers exactly why the West coast is the best coast while Dre loops the piano and keeps the drums on point. (R.I.P. 2Pac)
The perfect cookout song. The tale of the perfect Summer day with so much potential for fun and happiness.
Of course Harlem made the list, more than once for sure. Feels So Good kept Bad Boy moving forward with it’s foray from just rappers to hip-hop artists. No longer did you have to just stand on stage or get in an opponent’s face. You could wear shiny suits, stunt on them and dance in your videos.
Speaking of dancing in videos. Few dances are more iconic than the Harlem Shake and this is the song that took that dance to the top. Not only did G Dep bring the dance to the forefront, he also brought fish and spaghetti out the hood. Here’s hoping that stays gone.
KDot had to make the list. I chose this song because, to be honest, it’s got the most applicable message and the best guitar melody. That seems to be a formula for longevity in music. Combined with this coming from what may be his first of numerous amazing albums, I feel confident standing by my choice.
1.2B YouTube Views. It’s on the list.
Although the lyrics, “Y’all gone make me lose my mind,” were probably an early cry for help by Dark Man X; this song is cemented. Not only is DMX integral part of hip-hop (first superstar rapper) but he also rocked the Karl Kani denim jean suit in this video. ICONIC.
The scene of Pac chasing and being chased around the hotel in Cali by models will never leave my brain. Another perfect Summer song from the East coast native. (Yes, I’m still mad)
Lil Wayne has ruled hip hop from 2006 to now (2017). If it hasn’t been him it’s been a direct protege. A Millie was the height though. Fresh off Da Drought 3 (pt. 1 & 2) Dr. Carter dove straight into Carter 3 delivering some of his biggest hits yet. I wasn’t sure whether to have this or Lollipop, it’s a toss up to me really. (R.I.P. Static Major)
Another no brainer. Next.
“Only dudes moving units: Em, Pimp Juice and us.” – Jay Z. Nelly had grown men wearing competing headbands and band aids on their face. His biggest party anthem set the charts on fire as well, breaking a number of records.
No brainer. Another effortless pairing in hip-hop. Dre’s beats with Snoop’s flow is undefeated.
Mr. West is back again with a hit from one of his most inventive time periods. Flashing Lights itself is an ode to the current state of Hip-Hop and it’s value in flash over substance. It doesn’t look like that trend is breaking any time soon.
I told you it was undefeated.
I know backpacking became cool with J Cole, Wale and others, but Slum Village got a big jump on that trend and even enlisted the help of Ye.
Another song that may skip some of the younger folks mind, but you know this song immediately. Please don’t think it’s J Cole’s forbidden fruit because this is where that sample comes from. (R.I.P. Phife Dawg)
For the pop crowd. Andre’s biggest hit and one of the best crossover records as well. Leave it to a band full of Andre 3000’s to make a timeless record.
As always, feel free to tweet me @_ThreeStacks and follow me on Instagram @WillBradley3rd. #HipHopForever