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More from Mixmaster A-B
2004-09-10 15:10
by Will Carroll

    Here's Alex Belth's list of "The Greatest Singles from Hip Hop's Golden Era (1986-94)."
Hip Hop’s “Golden Age” is generally considered to be from 1986-92, give or take a year in either direction.  I’ll go so far to say it was ’86-94.  Of course, there were great records before 1986 and since 1994.  But this was the genre’s greatest period.  The work was eclectic, innovative and I don’t know, just flat-out dope.  Records were plentiful, constantly surprising and energizing.  With the essential Ego Trip’s “Book of Rap Lists” by my side, I’ve compiled a listing of the greatest rap singles from the “Golden Era.”  You’ll be able to make some arguments here and there—for instance, I left off “OPP” by Naughty by Nature, “Mama Said Knock You Out” by Uncle L, “It Takes Two” by Robe Base and DJ E-Z, and other important records that were huge when they came out—but that’s what makes this kind of list fun, right?  To make this more manageable to read, I’ll break the list up into segments.  Enjoy. 

(In no particular order)


Bring the Noise-Public Enemy

Eric B is President b/w My Melody-Eric B and Rakim

South Bronx-BDP

It’s My thing b/w You’re a Customer-EPMD

Top Billin-The Audio Two

It’s a Demo b/w I’m Fly-Kool G Rap and DJ Polo 

I Ain’t No Joke-Eric B and Rakim

I Cram to Understand You-MC Lyte

My Adidas b/w Peter Piper-Run DMC

Make The Music With Your Mouth Biz-Biz Markie

I’m Bad-LL Cool J

The Bridge-MC Shan

Raw-Big Daddy Kane

Rebel Without a Pause-Public Enemy

Just Rhymin with the Biz-Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane

Tramp b/w Push It-Salt N Peppa

Jimbrowski-The Jungle Brothers

Saturday Night-Schooly D

Ego Trippin-Ultramagnetic

Faye b/w Forever My Beat-Stetsasonic (Faye is one of the great beat-box songs ever)


They Symphony-Marley Marl with Craig G, Masta Ace, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap

My Philosphy-BDP

You Gots to Chill-EPMD

Ain’t No Half Steppin-Big Daddy Kane

Straight Outta Compton-N.W.A.

I Got It Made-Special Ed

Children’s Story-Slick Rick

Just a Friend-Biz Markie

Plug Tunin-De La Soul

Microphone Fiend-Eric B and Rakim

Going Back to Cali-LL Cool J

The 900 Number-45 King

Paid in Full (Seven Minutes of Madness Remix)-Eric B and Rakim remixed by Cold Cut

Vapors-Biz Markie

Buddy-De La Soul with the Jungle Brothers,  A Tribe Called Quest, and Queen Latifah and Monie Love

The Gas Face-3rd Base featuring Zev Lov X

Hey Ladies b/w Shake Your Rump-The Beastie Boys

Cha Cha Cha-MC Lyte

So Wat Cha Sayin-EPMD

Jenifa (Taught Me) b/w Potholes in My Lawn-De La Soul


J Beez Coming Through-The Jungle Brothers

Bonita Aplebaum-A Tribe Called Quest

Rock Dis Funky Joint-Poor Righteous Teachers

The Humpty Dance-Digital Underground

Funky For You b/w No Bones in Ice Cream-Nice and Smooth

Looking At the Front Door-Main Source

Love’s Gonna Get ‘Cha (Material Love)-Boogie Down Productions

The Boomin System-LL Cool J

Streets of New York-Kool G Rap

Riff Rhyme (Back Again) b/w Played Like a Piano-King Tee (The “B” side wins again!)

Strictly For the Ladies-Lord Finesse

Treat Em Right-Chubb Rock

Kick It b/w When the Papes Come-A Tribe Called Quest


Me and the Biz-Masta Ace


Steady Mobbin b/w No Vaseline-Ice Cube

Check the Rhime-A Tribe Called Quest

Slow Down-Brand Nubian

Just Hanging Out b/w Live at the Barbeque-Main Source

How I Could Just Kill a Man-Cypress Hill

Mahogany-Eric B and Rakim

Who Me?-KMD

Mind Playing Tricks on Me-Ghetto Boys

All For One-Brand Nubian

Hip Hop Junkies-Nice and Smooth

Flavor of the Month-Black Sheep

Be A Father to Your Child-Ed OG and the Bulldogs

Step in the Arena b/w Check The Technique-Gangstarr

A Rollerskating Jam named “Saturdays”-De La Soul

Sobb Story-Leaders of the New School


Deep Cover-Dre Dre featuring Snoop Dog

Crossover b/w Brothers From Brentwood, L.I.-EPMD

Ill Street Blues-Kool G Rap

The Choice is Yours (Revisited)-Black Sheep

Scenario-A Tribe Called Quest and friends

T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)-Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth

DWYCK-Gangstarr featuring Nice and Smooth

Half Time-Nas

Jump Around-House of Pain

Juice (Know the Ledge)-Eric B and Rakim

So What’cha Want-Beastie Boys

Jazz (We Got)-A Tribe Called Quest

Blow Your Mind b/w How to Roll a Blunt-Redman

Best Kept Secret b/w freestyle, (Yo, That’s That Shit))-Diamond D

Fudge Pudge-Organized Konfusion


Protect Ya Neck-Wu Tang Clan

Come Clean-Jeru tha Damaja

Passin Me By-The Pharcyde

Gin and Juice-Snoop Dog and Dre

Bring the Pain-Method Man

Award Tour-A Tribe Called Quest

Sound of Da Police b/w Hip Hop vs. Rap-KRS-ONE

i used to love her-Common Sense

Time’s Up-OC

Electric Relaxation-A Tribe Called Quest

Tonight’s Da Night-Redman

Juicy b/w Unbelieable-Notorious B.I.G.

It Ain’t Hard to Tell-Nas

Ego Trippin (Part Two)-De La Soul

Nuthin But a G Thang-Warren G with Snoop and Dre

Wrong Side of the Tracks-The Artifacts

C.R.E.A.M.-Wu Tang Clan

I Seen a Man Die-Scarface

Crooklyn-The Crooklyn Dodgers

(quirky favorite: On and On-Shyheim)

Coming soon: The 20 Greatest Hip Hop Remixes of them all

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