In conjunction with this week’s feature story about the history of St. Louis hip-hop, A to Z counts down the top ten old school jamz of all-time. All songs released before 1985. Did we forget one? Let us know in the comments.
10. “You’ve Gotta Believe,” by Love Bug Starski. 1982. There has never and will never be a better hip-hop name than Love Bug Starski. )
9. “Monster Jam,” by Spoonie Gee meets The Sequence. 1980. While they were still the top label in the rap game, two of Sugar Hill Records’ biggest artists teamed up for this jam. )
8. “Unity,” by Afrika Bambaataa. 1984. What hip-hop was all about when it first started: Peace, unity, love and having fun.
7. “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel," by Grandmaster Flash. 1981. A million samples from the true master of the turntables, including a number that deserves honorable mention, “Rapture” by Blondie.
6. “Sucker MC’s,” by Run-DMC. 1984. The legendary group’s first song on the way to cultural transcendence. )
5. “The Breaks,” by Kurtis Blow. 1980. His first hit was “Christmas Rappin’” but “The Breaks” led to to Blow being the first rapper signed to a major label, the release of the first hip-hop LP and the first rapper to be featured on TV.
4. “Rockit,” by Herbie Hancock. 1983. The jam that brought turntablism to the mainstream.
3. “Planet Rock,” by Afrika Bambaataa. 1982. Twenty-five years before Kanye was sampling Daft Punk, Afrika Bambaataa was sampling Kraftwerk.
2. “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugarhill Gang. 1979. The song that really started it all. )
1. “The Message,” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. 1982. The first great “conscious” hip-hop song, featuring a stone cold verse from Melle Mel and that iconic sample revived by Puffy and Ma$e. )
-- compiled by Keegan Hamilton.