100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

What makes a great hip-hop song?

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5. Geto Boys, "Mind Playing Tricks on Me"

Shortly before the Geto Boys released their 1991 album, We Can't Be Stopped, the Houston trio's diminutive member Bushwick Bill was shot in the eye during a suicidal freakout. He survived; a photo of him displaying his wound appeared on the album's cover. This Top 30 hit, recorded before but issued after the incident, revealed even more of the manic depression and death wish deep inside the Geto Boys' violent, misogynist rhymes. Scarface, who wrote and produced the track, sounded like his movie namesake: hopped-up and fully armed at the edge of sanity, over dark-treble guitar and a gunslinger-walk rhythm sampled from Isaac Hayes' soundtrack to the 1974 film Three Tough Guys. In a genre where fear was not thought manly, "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" was a classic of cracked ghetto armor and bloody surrender: proof that even the hardest of the hard have worried hearts.

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