A good complimentary piece to Questlove’s Rollingstone list.

It’s a great list and I can appreciate how hard it is to put such a thing together. 50 starts to feel like a very small number real fast. One thing I was struck by as I read the list was how similar my experiences and sensibilities were/are to Questlove’s. His stories about growing up with hip hop rang very familiar and my responses to the songs on his list were almost exactly the same. I also completely agree with his pick for the number one, greatest hip hop song ever – “Rebel Without a Pause” by Public Enemy.

Having said all of that, my experience was very different from his in some significant ways: I’m white, I grew up in rural Canada – a long way from NYC or a big city like Philly and as I was discovering the music, I had no one to share it with. None of my friends were into hip hop at all. Most of them were into whatever was popular or metal. My pursuit was very solitary and almost clinical. I wasn’t hearing the music on the radio and certainly not in clubs. So I was never influenced by what was “hot” or anyone else’s opinion.

So! Even though no one asked, I felt compelled (by strong nerd impulses) to add my worthless two cents. There are only a few songs I would replace on his great list and there are a few other songs from the era (’79 – ’95) that I wanted to mention as important to me.



  1. It‘s not that serious. Or is it?