42. Boogie Down Productions, "South Bronx"
Kris "KRS-One" Parker of Boogie Down Productions was rap's original righteous teacher, and this funky-fresh story of hip-hop's early days is a required master class. DJ Scott La Rock threads a no-nonsense James Brown sample, and KRS recalls a late-Seventies golden age of jams in the park and innovators like Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc. Sadly, the same year "South Bronx" was released, La Rock (born Scott Monroe Sterling) was shot while trying to break up a fight, ending one of Eighties hip-hop's most promising careers.