Questlove's Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

What makes a great hip-hop song? Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson chooses his favorites.

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Ice Cube,
Michel Linssen/Redferns49/50

49. Ice Cube, "Amerikkka's Most Wanted" (1990)

As we celebrate the victory that is Watch the Throne, we will notice that most joint collective hip-hop albums have been underwhelming. (Best of Both Worlds? The Firm, anyone?) Most will note that this pairing of Public Enemy's Bomb Squad & N.W.A.'s best MC was the best, and somewhat first, such summit meeting in hip-hop. If this were an albums list, this title cut and its album would gain instant top 10 status. Even though Cube has more iconic singles, the drummer in me selfishly chose this song simply because it has the best, most violently disturbing use of a hi-hat sample chop in hip-hop. Always on the cutting edge, the Squad skipped the solid drum break of Kool & the Gang's "Let the Music Take Your Mind" and actually looped the more colorful drum solo instead. Undoing James Brown's rule of "You ain't got to do no soloing brother, don't turn it loose!!!!" Yet somehow the panic of it all only added to Cube's fury. Man, it was a mother!

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