The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

26

A Tribe Called Quest, 'Scenario'

a tribe called quest
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Ali Shaheed Muhammad cultivated a reputation as bohemian jazzbos, but they made one of their best songs when the incense smoke cleared, and they got into b-boy mode – slinging tight rhymes over a wicked downbeat. This meeting between Tribe and Leaders of the New School is one of rap's most exciting oddball summits. Everyone brings his A-game, with top honors going to Tribe's punch-line specialist, Phife: "Short, dark and handsome/Bust a nut inside your eye, to show you where I come from." "Scenario" is most famous for the breakout performance by 19-year-old Busta Rhymes, who comes out roaring like a dungeon dragon. "I thought he was ill," Q-Tip later said. "I just wanted to set him up."

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