100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

What makes a great hip-hop song?

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14. Public Enemy, "Rebel Without a Pause"

Opening with a Jesse Jackson sample ("Brothers and sisters, I don't know what this world is coming to!") and upping the ante with Chuck D's broadcaster-baiting ("Radio/Suckers never play me"), this 1987 single perfected Public Enemy's hand-grenade attack and set the stage for their seminal It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. Its siren squeal is actually a looped horn from the 1970 J.B.'s jam "The Grunt Pt. 1"; the groove bites James Brown's "Funky Drummer"; and Terminator X scratches the chorus of Chubb Rock's "Rock and Roll Dude." ("We use samples like an artist would use paint," said producer Hank Shocklee.) When Chuck D heard the finished recording, he was so blown away he announced, "I could die tomorrow."

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