The Message tops Rolling Stone tally of influential hip hop
Track by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five mark breakthrough for young genre
Posted: Dec 5, 2012 3:59 PM ET
Last Updated: Dec 5, 2012 3:50 PM ET
The Message, with its recognizable synth hook and funky slow groove, is the greatest hip hop song of all time, according to Rolling Stone.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's 1982 track, featuring Melle Mel, topped the music magazine's first-ever list of the most influential hip hop songs.
"We've reached the point now where hip hop acts are getting into the [Rock and Roll] Hall Of Fame... it just felt like the right time," Nathan Brackett, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone, said of the relatively young musical genre in an interview with Reuters.
"It's a list that would have been a lot harder to do 10 or 15 years ago because hip hop is so young."
The Message was a breakthrough for hip hop music, marking a departure from the genre's party-music connotation. Its lyrics paint a grim portrait of life in New York and the struggles faced by those living in the urban ghettos of the era — driven home with each repetition of the memorable chorus: "It's like a jungle sometimes. It makes me wonder how I keep from going under."
"It played all day, every day," Grandmaster Flash recalled in an interview in 1997, according to Rolling Stone. "It put us on a whole new level."
The magazine previously listed The Message 51st in its tally of the 500 greatest songs of all time, published in 2011.
Unsurprisingly, other tracks in the magazine's hip hop top 10 are also retro tracks by veteran acts, including:
- Rapper's Delight, the 1979 song by Sugerhill Gang.
- Sucker M.C.'s, the 1983 track by Run-D.M.C.
- Fight the Power, the 1990 anthem by Public Enemy.
- Nuthin' But a G Thang, by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, which topped charts in 1992 and 1993.
- Juicy, the 1994 hit by the late Notorious B.I.G.
Kanye West, the Beastie Boys, OutKast, Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill are among the other artists who landed in the top 50.
The complete list of songs will be released Friday on the Rolling Stone website and via the print issue of the magazine, which will feature four different covers (images of Eminem, Jay-z, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac).
Nearly three dozen panellists, including the magazine's editors and hip hop experts like Ahmir Questlove Thompson of The Roots, comprised the jury that chose the 50 songs.
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