15. N.W.A, "Fuck tha Police"
The pivot point between Public Enemy's Black Panther revivalism and gangsta rap's nihilism, this 1988 hard-funk assault indicted the LAPD and seemed like prophecy in the Rodney King/L.A. riots era. "Fuckin with me cuz I'm a teenager/With a little bit of gold and a pager," rhymes a 19-year-old Ice Cube, 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 the group'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 bad boys and made the song an agit-pop anthem for the ages. "Peace is a fiction to me," Ice Cube told Rolling Stone in 1989. "We deal with reality. Violence is reality. When you say something like that, it scares people. You're supposed to picture life as a bowl of cherries. But it's not."