So tonight, beginning at 10 and proceeding at that time throughout Friday, VH-1 will be airing the "100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of All-Time". Once upon a time in my life, I would arrange late evenings around VH-1 televised lists. Best albums, best dance songs, best love songs, best 80s songs, best songs period, most metal moments...I drank gleefully of the splashed Kool Aid. The subjects were interesting, the choices by turns exhiliratingly on or enragingly off, and the talking heads were more hit or miss.
Somewhere along the way, I just could no longer be bothered. I still love lists; just not VH-1's patented delivery of them. So tonight I will not be tuning in to watch C-list celebs rap badly along to choices 100-81.
Will I bitch about the list, which leaked to the Internet today? Oh yeah.
First, let's give the V some credit for the smart choices they made. Not just songs that deserve to be on the list, but tunes so worthy I'm actually gobsmacked that they made it.
94. "Make 'Em Say Ugggh", Master P and the entirety of his label at that time. This is a great song, passage of time be damned. Ridiculous horn blare beat on repeat, and Mia X showing up and showing up all the boys.
72. "Supersonic", J.J. Fad. Name a better all-girl rap group. Salt-n-Pepa, you say? Well, shit...you're right. Um. Okay. Name a better all-girl rap group that only had one hit album. Yeah!
68. "What You Know", T.I. One of modern mainstream hip hop's greatest accomplishments, mostly due to the syrupy synth swing provided by DJ Toomp's beat. Infinitely hummable, because no one really has a clue as to what T.I's saying. "Beeda yadda nadda, when I chirp, shorty chirp back!"
50. "The Block is Hot", Li'l Wayne. I'm not amazed that white media darling Mr. Carter made the list. It almost made the milk come out of my nose ala Milhouse to see the choice be old school Wayne, back when he was spitting average verbals over Mannie Fresh beats. See what I did with the italics there? Wayne over Mannie beats alien Wayne freestyling the alphabet any day. Here's a link to the vid; tell me I'm wrong.
23. "B.O.B", Outkast. The first time I heard this song, I thought it was extraterrestrial hip hop. As seeing the 'Kast are proud ATLiens, I wasn't really wrong. The beat defines the collective responsible for its creation (Organized Noize) and both Dre and Big Boi deliver triple time.
Then there's the choices that they were obliged to put on, because said songs are fucking aces, but they fucked up and put them way too low.
61. "Childrens Story"
49. "My Philosophy"
But then we have...the inscrutable, puzzling, dazzling selections that can indicate only the great minds of VH-1.
93. "Lapdance", N.E.R.D. You know, Pharrell's group. Trash.
87. "We Tryin' To Stay Alive", Wyclef. Mr. Fugee makes me gag as a rule. Dude wants to be the black Dylan quite badly. This song "interpolated" the disco classic "Stayin' Alive". Sounds like it sucked shit, huh? Oh yeah.
62. "Rebirth of Slick", Digable Planets. Piss off! I hated this pseudo-smooth poetry back when it debuted and hate it now.
26. "U Can't Touch This", MC Hammer. Fucking kidding me? This is like me putting a goddamn Modest Mouse on a top Indie Rock songs ever. Pure treason.
20. "Gold Digger", Kanye and 18. "In Da Club", 50 Cent. Put together because both are overplayed, overrated, overwrought, and just plain over.
4. "Walk This Way", Run DMC and Aerosmith. "Bring the Noise" by Anthrax and Public Enemy want a word with you, VH-1. Wow, so historic, the clashing of the two disparate genres! Yeah, but how'd they do? Pretty ass cheeks, if you ask me.
And what of number one? Very smart choice. Also very safe. Like cheese on bread.
My main beef is how narrow the list truly is. Where is Kool G Rap? Where's Redman? What about "Rockin' It", one of the greatest party starters of all time? You put one Nas track from Illmatic on there when I can name five off the top of my head better: "Halftime", "Represent", "NY State of Mind", "Memory Lane" and my personal choice for greatest hip hop song ever, "It Ain't Hard To Tell" (no greater example of coherent, creative lyricism over a tasteful and tasty beat in the genre). No "Bridge is Over". No Gang Starr. No solo Wu other than the media darling members. No "Come Clean". No "Top Billin'" (what more can I say?). Perhaps most egregious--no "Shook Ones Pt. 2". Consider list invalid.
Also, this is VH-1, so no Company Flow, no Nonphixion, Living Legends, Artifacts, Arsonists, et. al of the underground. Plenty of Eve, though. Super.