Clipse - "Intro"
“Players, we ain’t the same, I’m into ‘caine and guns.”
Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is how you bat lead off on your debut album—one of the best rap albums of all time.
“Out in Panama in that amazing sun, I’m amazing, son.”
That’s almost a haiku.
Out in Panama (5)
in that amazing sun, I’m (7)
amazing, son (4/5)
Class is in session, motherfuckers.
Memphis Bleek featuring T.I. & Trick Daddy - "Round Here"
Memphis Bleek does not have a library voice. That’s why we’ve always liked Memphis, one of the very first Roc-A-Fella artists (check out his album The Understanding).
A longtime friend of the Carters and go-to babysitter for Blue, Bleek gets excellent complements from T.I. and Trick Daddy who balance the song with some signature Southern comfort.
Cam'ron - "Killa Cam"
This song is on here because the beat is stupid. Cam is stupid, however, the beat, is stupid.
It's "I have to get out of the car because the beat is so stupid" kind of stupid.
Trae tha Truth featuring Pimp C & Hawk - "Swang Remix"
Task-forced by the Feds, Pimp C (R.I.P.) graces the opening verse of this remix, looking for something hairy in the club, which only he does. His delivery is so effortless and organic to this type of sound, he’s like Tony Romo on the golf course.
Also, Trae the Truth has a trillion dollar voice. He should read books on tape. I bet that’s a real thing in Texas. Life’s good in Texas. No state income tax, football and Trae the Truth reading books on tape.
UGK - "Candy"
Don't worry, we couldn't leave off the other half of UGK.
This solo effort from Bun is an ultra smooth tribute to you know exactly what kind of paint, partner.
Chaka Khan - "Ain't Nobody"
Whoa! Hold the phone. A diamond from your mother’s record collection has fallen into the mix, and we are going to let it play.
If I can get everyone’s attention again, for one second, if you are driving to work, or taking the bus to school, or otherwise existing on Wednesday morning without a little Chaka in your life, then you are doing it wrong, man.
Outkast - "Southernplayalisticadillacmusik"
This song makes your head nod. The birds start to sing when they hear this song. It makes your grandmother dance. It’s that good. Outkast is that good. You’re that good. Feel good about that.
Devin the Dude - "It’s A Shame"
Houston and Port Arthur, give yourselves a hand, you guys are all over this list.
It is a goddamn shame if you’re hearing this song for the first time. That sleepy jazz saxophone is a kindred spirit of Devin’s. The piano chords hammer, there is the faint whistle of a flute, and a soulful chorus from Pooh Bear.
Roll the windows down and play this for your grandkids.
E-40 – "I Hope I Don't Go Back"
If ever there’s a time for reflection and introspection, let it be leaned back in that scraper with your eyes fixed straight ahead, knowing in the bottom of your heart that there’s got to be another way to get this mayo. Marinate on that, though.
Football fans, Merton Hanks gets a shout out in the first verse, and it would actually take you a lifetime to find a reference quite that good in 20th century American literature.
Mac Dre – "Since ‘84"
Bay Area. High Five. You get another one.
Imagine the Niners never left Candlestick. Imagine protected left turns in downtown San Francisco. Imagine mandatory Thizzlamic courses in the public schools. Imagine a better America.
We miss you, Mac Dre.
Rich Boy – "Throw Some D’s"
You drive a Camry, but she feels like a Cadillac for about four minutes and some change, does she not?
Thank you, Rich Boy.
Freddie Gibbs featuring Dom Kennedy & Polyester the Saint – "Menace II Society"
Freddie Gibbs wishes your favorite rapper would. Dom Kennedy wishes your favorite rapper would not. They both make a point.
And cheers to Polyester the Saint, keeping the G-Funk Era alive in 2014—look him up.
Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg - "Still Dre"
I’m a West Coast kid, so it wouldn’t be kosher unless I made my closing remarks with a little bit of the Chronic.
Take it easy, everyone.