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My 25 Favorite Rap Songs

When I was 13 in Brooklyn rap music was a huge part of my life.  While I've always liked all types of music, there has always been something about rap music.  I think it's because rap music means so much more to someone who grew playing basketball in a housing project with actual rappers.  If you took the subway to school, spray painted a wall or spun on a piece of cardboard it takes on something different. While I didn't suffer a poor life like so many of my friends, I saw their world and the music told that story.  When I moved to Westchester, I found it ironic that people with no concept of that world, also liked the same music.  For them it was music, but they didn't know what it was like to live in that world. 

I made a list of about 80 songs and narrowed the list down to the top 25.  You will see many recognizable names, but not necessarily the songs they are most famous for.  You will also notice there is a huge name in the business not mentioned. That name is Jay-Z.  I can honestly say, if I had made a list of my top 100, I don't know if he'd crack it.  I just don't think he's very good.  There are greats who aren't on it either, like A Tribe Called Quest, Sugar Hill Gang, Big Pun, 3rd Bass and while some will find these almost implausible, no Beastie Boys, N.W.A. or Wu-Tang Clan. 

So here it goes, from 25-1 (actually 26, because I couldn't choose between them.

25. Basketball - Kurtis Blow...A laundry list of guys we all wanted to emulate as kids.
25. I Want You - LL Cool J....The first real rap love song.
24. La-di-da-di - Slick Rick & Dougie E. Fresh...usually following The Show - great combo.
23. Six Feet Deep - Geto Boys...Gangster rappers mourn all their fallen friends.
22. Chief Rocka - Lords of the Underground...One of the angriest sounding rap songs ever.
21. Classic - Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One, Rakim & DJ Premier...Ode to old school collaboration.
20. Colors - Ice-T...Theme song to one of the best gang movies ever made.
19. I Got It Made - Special Ed...one of the most underrated rappers ever.
18. They Reminisce over You - Pete Rock and CL Smooth...rap story telling at it's best.
17. Hip-Hop Is Dead - Nas...Iron Butterfly sample with machine gun lyrics.
16. Streets of New York - Kool G Rap & DJ Polo...What Jay-Z wishes he could be.
15. All I Need - Method Man & Mary J. Blige...best rap duet ever.
14. Juicy - Notorious B.I.G....One of the sweetest flowing raps ever.
13. When I'm Gone - Eminem...lesser known song is my personal favorite. 
12. Dear Mama - Tupac Shakur...ode to his mother.
11. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) - Digitable Planets...one hit wonders amazing jazzy song.
10. Radio - LL Cool J...He's been around for almost 30 years, but his first hit is his best.
9. Changes - Tupac Shakur...Who would have thought sampling Bruce Hornsby would be this great.
8. One Mic - Nas...slow style with some of the best lyrics ever put down.
7. Bring Your Whole Crew - DMX....First two lines tell you just what you're in for.
6. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos - Public Enemy...when this came out it shocked the world.
5. Friends - Whodini...Amazing beat and story about trust.
4. Can You Feel It - Fat Boys....gimmicky group's best cut.
3. Follow The Leader - Eric B. & Rakim...best MC ever absolutely kills it with lightening quick rap.
2. Five Minutes Funk - mesmerizing hook with smooth lyrics.
1. Rock Box - Run DMC...the godfather's of rap.  This song is what made a kid who liked The Clash turn into a rap affecienado.  They changed the game over and over.  This song, along with It's Like That and Sucker MC's changed the way people looked at rap.  Was my first favorite rap song and still holds up today.

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