A few weeks ago, XXL sat down with Freshmen Class of 2013 alum Trinidad Jame$ to discuss the impact of his music, during which he assessed that conscious hip-hop is no longer viable option in the music business. Although Jame$'s comments are geared towards his music's influence on rap's growing "Molly" subculture, the statement got XXL's editorial staff thinking: is conscious, politically-minded hip-hop really extinct?

Using the past decade—2003 to 2013—as a time frame, XXL decided to explore 18 significant political moments in modern hip-hop—from Kanye West's post-Katrina rant, to Immortal Technique's single "Bin Laden."