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Hip-Hop Beats Ranked

The 30 best hip-hop beats, samples and backing music, as ranked by me. My opinions, but feel free to look at it objectively (as if you need an invitation).
1Warren G

Probably the most recognizable sample/beat ever recorded. Also, R.I.P. Nate Dogg.
I Got 5 On It

No, but really, who HASN'T heard this beat?
3Pete Rock and CL Smooth
They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)
4The Notorious B.I.G.
Big Poppa

The top four songs are probably the most classic beats/samples hip-hop has ever produced.
5Black Sheep
The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)

One of the best basslines I've ever heard in a hip-hop song.
6The Pharcyde
7Mobb Deep
Shook Ones, Pt II.

The sample gives the song half of its power; DRIPPING with ominousness.
Lose Yourself

Very simple guitar chord, but one of the best beats Em has ever produced.
9A Tribe Called Quest
Electric Relaxation

I heard it first on The Wayans' Bros. show, and it's been stuck in my head ever since.
10Ice Cube
It Was A Good Day

See #13 and #15.
Are You That Somebody

Not hip-hop really (Timbaland aside), but this is just undeniable. Tell me you don't remember everyone beating this out on tabletops at lunch in middle school.
Gangsta's Paradise
13Ice Cube
Check Yo' Self (Radio Remix)

Ice Cube had quite a few classic beats, actually. His two most famous ones are on this list.
The World Is Yours

This song ignited my recent passion in hip-hop, and the beat was most of the reason. That old out-of-tune piano gives the whole song an almost nostalgic, 'round-the-block feel that really hit home for me. For a while, I cited it as the most musical hip-hop song I'd ever heard.
15Snoop Dogg
Gin & Juice

Off-kilter beats of songs like this and Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" can really help make a song memorable.
16Black Star

Smooth-as-eggs jazz guitar gives the entire song a reflective quality it might not otherwise have, despite featuring three of my favorite MC's.
17Dr. Dre
The Next Episode
18The Notorious B.I.G.
Everyday Struggles
House of Flying Daggers

It's one single half-second long sound sample repeated over and over and over throughout the whole damn song, and it works! OOOOH, how it works (for the same reason that #21's beat works)!
It Ain't Hard To Tell

'Illmatic''s most successful song, thanks in no small part to that horn blowing during the chorus and the damn-near cheerful synth line in the verses.
21DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

Took a classic summertime jam (Kool and the Gang's "Summer Madness"), made it a sample, and made another classic summertime jam.
22Dr. Dre
Forgot About Dre

Hawks is right: this absolutely deserves to be on here.
99 Problems

A very simple one-sound-repeated sample that gives the song immense weight.
I Used To Love H.E.R.
25MC Breed
Ain't No Future In Yo Frontin'

Classic, classic beat.
26Craig Mack
Flava In Ya Ear

Oddly enough, I remember this sample being used both in the original Grand Theft Auto and in that one J-Lo song (the one that started with, "IT! MUST! BE DA ASS!").
Express Yourself

Of all the songs on that album, why this one? Because in the midst of setting the stage for gangsta rap to become hip-hop's leading voice, this song is fucking POSITIVE--no cursing, no killing, and it has an ANTI-DRUG message in the middle. The beat matches the song perfectly; I always think of kicking back on the porch in summer watching kids play in the street. Good times.
28Kanye West

"21st CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN." 'Nuff said.
On My Block

Another nostalgia trip (I love pianos in hip-hop songs)
Sofa King (Remix)

For some reason, I love the remix of this song waaay more than the original.
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