Straight Outta Compton, 1988
The pivot point between Public Enemy's Black Panther revivalism and gangsta rap's nihilism, this hard-funk assault indicted the L.A.P.D. and seemed like prophecy in the L.A. riots/Rodney King era. "Fuckin' with me 'cause I'm a teenager/With a little bit of gold and a pager," rhymes Ice Cube, who was 19 when the song was released, adding, "When I'm finished, it's gonna be a bloodbath of cops/Dyin' in L.A." The FBI took it seriously enough to send a warning letter to N.W.A's label that alleged the song "encourages violence against, and disrespect for, the law enforcement officer." The publicity established N.W.A as hip-hop's number-one bad boys.