17. Run-DMC, "Peter Piper"
The greatest ode ever to the Midas-like powers of a DJ. Jam Master Jay sliced up composer Bob James' 1975 smooth-jazz nugget "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" as Run and DMC dropped nursery-rhyme science in summing up their partner's greatness: "He's a big bad wolf in your neighborhood/Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good!" Run-DMC's label, Profile Records, wanted the MTV-ready rap-rock Aerosmith collaboration "Walk This Way" to be the first single off their 1986 album, Raising Hell. But the group was adamant that "My Adidas/Peter Piper," anthems of hip-hop culture, be the first release; Darryl "DMC" McDaniels later recalled saying, "If ya'll don't do it, we're gonna give it to the radio and fuck everything up." They prevailed, and Raising Hell became rap's first blockbuster album. When Jam Master Jay (born Jason William Mizell) was shot and killed in 2002, Run-DMC immediately retired. They'd eventually reunite again in 2012, with Jam Master Jay's two sons as part of the group.