For the past 25 years, Billboard has tallied the country’s most popular hip-hop anthems with the Hot Rap Songs chart – and now, in honor of that quarter-century anniversary, the magazine has created a list of the chart’s top 100 tracks. While the final tally is mostly dominated by veterans, the Number One spot is claimed by “Thrift Shop,” the 2013 smash by newcomers (and controversial recent Grammy winners) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
As a whole, it’s an eclectic list, exemplified by the Nineties-dominated top 10: Digital Underground occupy the Number 10 spot with their goofy 1990 hit “The Humpty Dance,” with Waka Flocka Flame (featuring Roscoe Dash and Wale) coming in at Number Nine with 2010’s “No Hands” – one of three top 10 tracks coming from the current decade. The Notorious B.I.G.’s ultra-smooth 1995 classic “Big Poppa/Warning” ranks at Number Eight, with Craig Mack’s 1994 Bad Boy anthem “Flava in Ya Ear” at Number Seven.
The rest of the top 10 includes Coolio (featuring L.V.)’s “Gangsta’s Paradise (1995), Salt-N-Pepa’s “Expression” (1990), another Macklemore and Ryan Lewis single (2013’s “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton), Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot’s “Hot Boyz” (1999) and 69 Boyz’ “Tootsee Roll” (1994).
The final rankings are based on the chart’s “inverse point system,” which gives highest value to a song’s tenure at the Number One spot and less value to lower positions. “Due to various changes in chart rules, chart length and methodology throughout the years, songs had varying reigns at Number One and on the chart,” reads a note on the chart methodology. “To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 25 years, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference in turnover rates from those periods.”