VH1 loves them some lists. The latest is the Top 100 Hip Hop Songs of All-Time. When I initially heard the concept, two songs popped into my head. The first was "Rapper's Delight," which has to be on this list in much the same way that "Thriller" will forever be on any list of the best music videos of all-time - even if it's not really deserving, it has to be there because it was groundbreaking at the time. The other song that occurred to me was "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang" by Dr. Dre, my favorite rap song ever.
Accordingly, these two songs rank #2 and #3 on VH1's list, behind Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." Overall, I can't quibble with the list. Even folks who aren't huge fans of the genre have to appreciate the dozens of gems here, including Salt N Pepa's '80s dance anthem "Push It" (#9); Jay-Z's Annie-cribbing "Hard Knock Life" (#11); Naughty by Nature's subtly explicit "O.P.P." (#22); Young MC's cerebral ode to sexing, "Bust a Move" (#47); Busta Rhymes' fantastically absurd "Woo-Hah! Got You All in Check" (#56); Big Pun's piano-heavy "Still Not a Player" (#76); and Biz Markie's deliriously off-key "Just a Friend" (#100).
VH1 allowed only one song per artist, so acts with multiple deserving songs got the shaft (i.e., no "99 Problems," "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," or "Big Pimpin'" from Jay-Z). As for Eminem, I feared that VH1 would select one of his bigger pop hits, like "Lose Yourself" or "The Real Slim Shady," but they did the right thing and went with "Stan" (#15), the most brilliantly-written rap song I've ever heard - I still get chills listening to it. And how about the inclusion of the long-forgotten (but awesome) "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo" (#92), a 1991 hit by female rapper Yo-Yo?
If I could add just one song to the list, it would be another long-forgotten 1991 hit: "I'll Do 4 U" by Father MC, which deftly samples Cheryl Lynn's "Got to be Real." Or how about "Jump" by Kris Kross? Come on, that track is undeniable - it's the "MMMBop" of hip hop! Or what about Blackstreet's "No Diggity"? Wow, I guess there quite a few songs that should've been on the list.
The show begins airing on VH1 on Monday, September 29 at 10 pm. For the complete top 100 list, go here.