100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

What makes a great hip-hop song?

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21. LL Cool J, "Rock the Bells"

Leaping off a hard-rock riff from AC/DC's "Flick of the Switch" (also tapped for the Beastie Boys' "Slow and Low"), Long Island teenager James Todd Smith calls out every rapper in town, disses Michael Jackson and Prince, dismisses Bruce Springsteen and pledges to "make Madonna scream." The third single from his 1985 debut is Rick Rubin's remix of an early 12-inch version that, in fact, had bells. But this one rings even louder. It's a rap Rosetta Stone quoted to this day. LL liked it so much he sampled it himself on 1991's equally crushing "Mama Said Knock You Out."

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