questlove's top hip hop songs

Earlier this month, ?uestlove wrote the introduction to Rolling Stone’s latest attempt to canonize the 50 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.  Now, the magazine has posted ?uesto’s personal list of 50 undisputable hip-hop classics from 1979 to 1995. “I wanted to concentrate on the period that I was not professionally involved in the art form,” ?uestlove notes. “I wanted to celebrate the period that built and led to the influence that got me a record deal.”

Check out excerpts of what ?uesto had to say about numbers 45-50 after the jump! Here are ?uestlove’s top hip-hop songs!

50. Son of Bazerk feat. No Self Control and the Band, “Change the Style” (1990)

“The most brilliant swan song ever created by Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad production team. After this record, their patented ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ style of production was deemed financially impossible, and illegal. (So illegal I had to beg Chuck D to give me a copy after I lost my Son of Bazerk album.)”

49. Ice Cube, “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted” (1990)

“Even though Cube has more iconic singles, the drummer in me selfishly chose this song simply because it has the best, most violently disturbing use of a hi-hat sample chop in hip-hop.”

48. Boogie Down Productions, “Jimmy” (1988)

“The best example of a song from the crew that introduced dancehall reggae ideas into the mix.”

47. A Tribe Called Quest, “Bonita Applebum” (1990)

“This is the song that truly birthed the idea of neo-soul. It was the coolest love song hip-hop has ever offered us.”

46. Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth, “DWYCK” (1992)

“The most powerful B-side of all time in hip-hop. No sugary hooks. Rhymes and ammo.”

45. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, “Summertime” (1991)

“I kinda have to say, this single was the best pop hit Eric B. and Rakim never got to record.”

Check the full list on RollingStone.com!



  • Very rarely do I leave comments on anything, but as soon as I read the comment on the Fresh Prince I had to write something because I thought the same thing when I first heard the song, especially since I was in the Navy at the time and we had just pulled into the Philippines. I just knew it was Eric B. and Rakim.

  • Brad

    I was finding it hard to hear the dancehall reggae ideas in #48 before referring to the list at rolling stone and seeing that it was supposed to be “The Bridge is Over”, not “Jimmy”.

  • WhoWho

    No Tupac. Fuck this list

    • beatsie boytsie

      Maybe because the list is meant to feature influential stuff only?

  • Brad

    (having now finished the whole list… aside from that mis-link — wow, what a list, and what great writing! There’s no musician I’d sooner read than Questlove).

  • Vinchinzo

    The most powerfulb-side of all time is Push-It by Salt
    n Pepa

  • am

    This was a good list but no Pac “Keep ya head up” should have made the list. No Nas “NY state of mind”. But at list of only 50 I guess there were many songs that could have been listed.

  • Bonita Applebaum’s beat is so ill and Summertime is a classic

  • Hey blade

    Son of bazerk? Best. List. Ever.

  • rtoriq

    Nothing to add besides ?uest looks smangable in that pic.
    Givin me a George Clinton vibe too for some reason.