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How We Made the Best Hip-Hop Songs of All Time List

The editors of 'Rolling Stone' polled the following blue-ribbon panel of artists, record producers, industry professionals and music journalists

Jermaine Dupri, Chuck D and Rick Rubin.
Michael Bezjian/WireImage; Mike Coppola/Getty Images; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
December 5, 2012 3:20 PM ET

Artists/Producers
Busta Rhymes
Big Boi, Outkast
Luther Campbell
Mike Diamond, Beastie Boys
Jermaine Dupri
Adam Horovitz
Kurupt
Talib Kweli
MC Lyte
Tom Morello
Q-Tip
Questlove, The Roots
Nas
Vernon Reid
Boots Riley, The Coup
Pete Rock
Rick Rubin

Journalists/Music Executives
James Bernard, former editor, The Source
Nathan Brackett, Rolling Stone
Cortez Bryant, Bryant Management
Reginald Dennis, former editor, The Source
Jon Dolan, Rolling Stone
Will Hermes, Rolling Stone
Christian Hoard, Rolling Stone
Craig Kallman, Atlantic Records
Alan Light, journalist
Monica Herrera, Rolling Stone
Jonathan Ringen, Rolling Stone
Dante Ross, Warner Bros.
Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
Simon Vozick-Levinson, Rolling Stone

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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