The Best Rap Singles series began in 2020 and has undergone changes in the years since. This list of entries shows what’s been removed.
These nine artists were early sprouts of what would soon be called the “new school,” a generation of musicians who’d remake hip-hop culture.
In a year defined by electro kingdoms and fresh wild styles, Run-D.M.C., Afrika Bambaataa and others sought to explore rap’s future.
Most of the best hip-hop of 1981 didn’t appear on rap records — with Grandmaster Flash’s “Wheels of Steel” a gloriously historic exception.
More than just a doc of an indestructible pop act, Wham! offers an instructive look at how early rap penetrated the mainstream.
The year brought classics like “Planet Rock” and “The Message,” and hip-hop seemed to grow out of its prepubescent phase overnight.
Wayne Garland and Charlie Chucks’ parody of Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” is largely notable for Jigsaw Inc.’s monster boogie-funk groove.
The Treacherous Three’s single finds Clifton “Jiggs” Chase’s Jigsaw crew turning the Pointer Sisters’ 70s chestnut into an electro groove.
With Sugar Hill-style raps from soul singer Shelly Richard, this may be the first rap record to emerge from New Orleans.
This single finds Master Don and Frank Heller capitalizing on the first wave of video arcade madness with an impressive vocoder hook.
Today, Masterdon Committee is best known for a chant that Master P later made famous with “Make ‘ Em Say Uhh.”
As the “queen” of Sugar Hill Records, Sylvia’s sense of musicality makes this disco-fried parody of Mel Brooks superior to the original.