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The Four Rap Songs That Changed the World

One of my favorite hobbies as of late has been to take these bullshit lists put together by Rolling Stone magazine and pick them apart to see how they rank hip-hop artists against one another. You’ll recall that I did something similar a few weeks ago with their list of the top 25 artists from New York, in which they had Jay-Z ranked ahead of the Notorious B.I.G.

The other day, I came across yet another bullshit list they’ve put together – The 40 Songs That Changed the World. Apparently, this time there’s some sort of contest, sponsored by the high-end tequila brand Patron. If you don’t like the list Rolling Stone put together, you can send in your own and they’ll create a new list based on your suggestions.

It’s not clear whether or not you actually win a bottle of Patron.

The list they’ve put together isn’t bad, except that it’s heavily skewed towards the skewed towards the baby boomer generation. While the list is numbered from 1 to 40, the selections are in order based on chronology, with Elvis’ “That’s Alright,” from the 1950s, at number one, and The White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl,” from 2001-ish at number 40.

Here are the four rap songs that made the list:

27) Sugarhill Gang “Rappers Delight” (1979)
33) Run-DMC “Walk This Way” (1986)
36) Public Enemy “Bring the Noise” (1987)
38) Dr. Dre “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” (1992)

So I guess the question is: are these the four rap songs that changed the world the most? Granted, it’s kind of a retarded question, but bear with me.

Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” wasn’t the first rap record, but I guess the other one, whose name I can’t recall off the top of my head, doesn’t count because it’s probably not very good. “Rapper’s Delight,” meanwhile was a pretty big hit in its time and was the first song that introduced a lot of people to the idea of rap music. So I guess it should be on the list.

Presumably, Run-DMC’s 1986 collaboration with Aerosmith was placed on the list by virtue of the fact that it was the song that helped spread rap music to cracka-ass crackas in the suburbs as well as the flyover states. Having grown up in the suburbs in a flyover state, I can attest to the fact that cracka-ass crackas around here love “Walk This Way.” And I suppose if you were going to pick a rap song for that reason, you could do worse than “Walk This Way.”

Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” definitely seems like the most questionable song on the list. Nothing against Public Enemy or the song itself, but you’d have to think that if they were looking for the song that brought political consciousness to rap lyrics, they could have gone with Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “The Message.” Instead, “Bring the Noise” seems to be on the list because what would a list of rap songs in a rock magazine be without at least one Public Enemy song?

Finally, there’s Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a G Thang.” Again, nuthin’ against Dr. Dre or the song itself, but it’s hard not to look back at “G Thang” as the final nail in the coffin with regard to the gentrification of gangsta rap. Where as just a few years prior, Dre and Ice Cube were rapping about police brutality and how fucked up things are in the ghetto, “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” is all about smoking weed and pouring 40s on bitches and what have you. In that sense, I’d say it’s pretty good choice.

Overall, I don’t think Rolling Stone did that bad of a job with this list. The few rap song that are there are pretty hard to argue with. If anything, I wish that a) there were more rap songs on the list overall, and b) the list included some rap music more current than “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” which came out 15 years ago, fer chrissakes. What do you d-bags think? Are there any songs that definitely shouldn’t have made the list? And which songs should be there but aren’t?

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