Questlove's Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

What makes a great hip-hop song? Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson chooses his favorites.

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Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg,
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12. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" (1993)

I once heard someone say that the paydirt magic of "'G' Thang" was that hip-hop finally found an anthem that made white people want to deny their whiteness. (Note that I didn't say "want to be black" – that's been going on since the beginning of American music.) I gotta admit, before "'G' Thang," the biggest victory hip-hop could claim was getting its share of play in the club and on the air. This was a whole 'nother monster. The attraction really wasn't the song – and I'm biased a little, 'cause the good doctor sampled my parents' Seventies project Congress Alley for the hook. (Google "Are You Lookin'.") The attraction was the lifestyle. 1992 was a turning point of irony for Clinton's America. The seeds of leadership lay in the hands of two people. One, Kurt Cobain – he represented turning his back on the privileged glamour birthright awarded to all rockers, an anti-hero that meant it. And two, Dr Dre. He didn't necessarily revel in the glamorous lifestyle once denied to him, but he wrote the blueprint and Cliff Notes (I'm old school, sue me) that Sean "Puffy" Combs would utilize and rule with an iron fist down to the last Ciroc drop. Money was made, dreams were fulfilled, lives were lost, lines were crossed. This single would completely turn hip-hop on its head. The chronic proved greener on the other side – but at what price?

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