Geto Boys, "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" (1990)
This is what can happen if you just dial it down by 1000. Houston's Geto Boys first got our attention when Chuck D gave 'em a shout-out on Fear Of A Black Planet. Then they spent the entire summer of 1990 playing the press piñata of extreme shock rap. I mean, okay, I copped their debut and was more amused at their cartoon flow than afraid of them. America was all, "The youth are going to hell for listening to this ruckus!" Man, I was doing nothing but laughing. All that changed with this single. They lost the extremism and played it more to the middle, with chilling deadpan perfection. As a result, this is an awesome complex display of paranoia, and somehow manages to add a third dimension – which of course humanizes them in the end.