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This started off as another critique of white audacity, hypocrisy and violence. A month or so ago I started writing a piece entitled “Comply or Die.” I didn’t finish it. Everything I attempted to write after was left incomplete. It wasn’t due to writer’s block – it was due to disgust.

As crimes against humanity skyrocket, the chronic trauma causes resting screwface. Their words are no longer cloaked in differences of opinions or ideology. We know what this is: Truly “supreme” people wouldn’t have to work so hard to suppress evidence of their consistent acts of oppression. The deflection is to debate about 1619 but it’s really about 2045.

They’re trapped in a history too entangled with our flesh and blood to deny social theories of relativity. DNA evidence is everywhere and totally contradicting their declarations of isolated happenstance. The body cams aren’t matching the police reports. Unearthed mass graves aren’t matching the body count in old news clippings. They no longer control the narrative so they’re muting mics and passing legislation to prevent critical thought of historical facts. This country is one big crime scene and they’ve been trying to cover it up since 1776.

Recessive gene paranoia got them taking irrational desperate measures. Instead of maintaining an illusion of integrity while fixing the fight for an imperfect union behind the scenes, they’re simply choosing violence. In a country which Black Republican Sen. Tim Scott claims isn’t racist, what is the message of the Emmitt Till Anti-Lynching Act stalling in the Senate? They’re basically trying to unofficially deputize lynch mobs (that will eat their own) and create legal loopholes to justify vehicular homicide of protestors; well, at least the ones they deem support progressive liberal values. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a volunteer militia Facebook group called Auxiliary Gestapo started by police and funded by the white wife of a Black Supreme Court Justice.

While they get mad at cries to “defund the police” their economic anxiety would rather let victim settlements bankrupt a city before changing qualified immunity. Look at all these slave catchers fearing for their lives when Black and brown people blink, but just last week they let two white kids (who look like an adolescent version of Justin & Hailey Bieber) shoot at them with an assorted arsenal for over 30 minutes. Yeah, of course, they were arrested alive. One officer even called the girl “sweetie” while tending to her wounds. You think that would happen if the girl was Black?

Since we know the answer, our auto-reply is to hashtag Tamir Rice. Meanwhile, we forget our trending protest is most likely causing additional trauma to his mother and family. Not to mention the guilt and insult that comes with not listing John Crawford and all the others who died holding a toy gun, cell phone or sandwich. Same story, different Black life taken. That’s why, for us, the short film, “Two Distant Strangers,” didn’t feel fictional. In some ways, it was sanitized for viewers’ discretion. I imagine the director’s cut would include unbearable screams from Carter’s mother as we writers self-plagiarize film reviews for a story that ends the same, but somehow never ends.

From Ramsey Orta to Darnella Frazier, acknowledging cinematographers usually leads to more police harassment. The state-sanctioned show is always renewed for another season and there is no pause button for us. Notification settings only allow for the option of nightmares deferred. And still, I scroll, bypassing videos of terror to the sensory overload of people escaping pain by posting alleged joy.

That’s when I noticed it was Black Music Month and decided to use it as an excuse to make a list under the guise of an editorial. One thing’s for certain, two things for sure – taxes and no matter how many Black people face unjust death during the week, during the weekend there will be backyard barbecues across America with drunk uncles debating hip-hop. Since being Gen X places me in that avuncular age group and since we’re approaching a summer of vaccination roulette with family, I figure I’d too choose violence and increase the Black-on-Black crime rate with my curated list of timeless hip-hop songs.

CRITERIA: Nostalgic, influential, iconic songs that cause reflexive head-bop, body-rock, goosebumps and/or the urge to recite the lyrics with early LL “I’m Bad” energy. The songs also must have the universal appeal that makes it undeniable to a 21st-century audience so they know to like it, learn it and respect it – or else they ain’t getting a plate.

Nicole & DJ Khaled's Birthday Celebration With Haute Living And Roger Dubuis

Speaking of drunk uncles… | Source: Romain Maurice / Getty

And it goes a little something like this:

Summertime -Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff

Back That Azz Up – Juvenile, Lil Wayne, Mannie Fresh

Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang

La-Di-Da-Di – Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh

Nuthin But A G Thang – Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg

Top Billin – Audio Two

Shook Ones Part II – Mobb Deep

Dreams & Nightmares – Meek Mill

It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube

The Message – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Eric B. For President – Eric B. & Rakim

It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock

In Da Club – 50 Cent

Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G

Drop It Like It’s Hot – Snoop Dogg

It’s All About The Benjamins – Puff Daddy & The Family

Ni**as In Paris – Jay-Z, Kanye West

Electric Relaxation – A Tribe Called Quest

I Get Around – Tupac

Beautiful – Snoop Dogg

Ruff Ryders Anthem – DMX

The Bridge Is Over – Boogie Down Productions

Sucker MC’s – Run DMC

Paid In Full – Eric B. & Rakim

California Love – 2Pac, Dr. Dre

Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See – Busta Rhymes

Fuck Tha Police – N.W.A

Fight the Power – Public Enemy

Knuck If You Buck – Crime Mob

Pop That – French Montana, Rick Ross, Drake, Lil Wayne

Ante Up (Remix) – M.O.P. Busta Rhymes, Remy Ma, Teflon

Lean Back – Fat Joe, Remy Ma

C.R.E.A.M. – Wu-Tang Clan

Int’l Players Anthem – UGK, Outkast

What We Do – Freeway ft. Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel

Hot in Herre – Nelly

Doin It – LL Cool J

Alright – Kendrick Lamar

Children’s Story – Slick Rick

Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest

The World Is Yours/If I Ruled the World (interchangeable) – Nas

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

Sky’s The Limit/ 10 Crack Commandments (interchangeable)

93 ‘Til Infinity Souls of Mischief

Mass Appeal – Gangstarr

Passin’ Me By – The Pharcyde

We Gonna Make It – Jadakiss, Styles P

B.M.F – Rick Ross, Styles P

Party Up – DMX

Luchini AKA This Is It – Camp Lo

Push It – Salt N Pepa

Work It – Missy Elliot

All I Need To Get By – Method Man, Mary J. Blige

Gold Digger – Kanye West

I Just Wanna Luv U – Jay-Z

Blow the Whistle – Too $hort

I Got It Made – Special Ed

Ain’t No Half Steppin – Big Daddy Kane

Gin N Juice – Snoop Dogg

Why You Wanna – T.I

Still Not A Player – Big Pun ft Joe

Whoa – Black Rob

Bad & Boujee – Migos

Started From the Bottom – Drake

Sicko Mode – Travis Scott, Drake

Da Rockwilder – Method Man & Redman

O.P.P. – Naughty By Nature

Jump Around – House Of Pain

Humpty Dance – Digital Underground

Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot

All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled

Swag Surfin’ – F.L.Y (Fast Life Yungstaz)

Hot N*gga – Bobby Shmurda

Oh Boy – Cam’ron ft Juelz Santana

We Fly High – Jim Jones

Mind Playing Tricks On Me – Geto Boys

You Gots To Chill – EPMD

Lovers & Friends – Lil Jon, Ludacris, Usher

I Got 5 On It – Luniz

Got Your Money – Ol’ Dirty Bastard

Birthday Song – 2Chainz, Kanye West

I Don’t F-ck With You – Big Sean, E-40

Dance (A$$) – Big Sean, Nicki Minaj

Tipsy – J-Kwon

Stay Fly – Three 6 Mafia, Young Buck, 8Ball, MJG

Nann – Trick Daddy, Trina

Next Episode – Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Nate Dogg

How We Do – The Game, 50 Cent

Grindin – Clipse

Cut It – O.T. Genasis, Young Dolph

Rack City/Taste (Interchangeable) – Tyga

Hip Hop – Dead Prez

Yup – E-40

How many is that? I’m drunk…

…I think 93. What 7 would you add to complete the Timeless Hip-Hop 100 List?

Feel free to make your own list and get@me on Twitter — but in the words of Lil Duval “I ain’t goin back and forth with you…”

#Smile #TimelessHipHopList #DrunkUncleSelfCare #BlackMusicMonth

Trevor is a creative mercenary and ethical lobbyist born and raised on Beale Street. Follow him on Twitter @trevbetter.


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