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The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time – A Chronological History of the Top Rap Songs, 1981 – 1983 (Volume 2)

Posted by Bill Wilson on June 30, 2010

Volume 2 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of All-Time picks up in the Fall of 1981 with Tommy Boy Records first ever release “Jazzy Sensation” and covers the influential time period through 1983 including “The Message”, “White Lines”, Run-DMC exploding on the scene, Malcolm McLaren introducing Hip Hop to the British, and of course the Fresh 3 MCs.  I hope you too enjoy Volume 2.

Hip-Hop from Front to Back: Volume 2, Fall 1981 – 1983

  1. “Jazzy Sensation”  Afrika Bambaataa & The Jazzy Five
  2. “Genius Rap”          Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde
  3. “Planet Rock”          Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force
  4. “The Message”      Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5
  5. “Break Dance”      West Street Mob
  6. “We are Known As Emcees” (We Turn Party’s Out)”    Crash Crew
  7. “Rock It”                  Herbie Hancock
  8. “White Lines (Don’t Do It)”     Grandmaster Melle Mel
  9. “It’s Like That”     Run D.M.C.
  10. “Sucker MCs”        Run D.M.C.
  11. “Play That Beat Mr DJ    G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid
  12. “Buffalo Gal” & “Hobo Scratch”    Malcolm McLaren
  13. “Fresh”                   Fresh 3 MCs

1) Afrika Bambaata & The Jazzy Five “Jazzy Sensation” 1981

First rap single on Tom Silverman’s classic Tommy Boy Records

2) Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde   “Genius Rap” 1982

Where Andre “Dr Jeckyll” Harrell got his start (prior to hooking up intern Puff Daddy (Sean Combs)  as CEO of Uptown Records) along with Alonzo “Mr. Hyde” Brown, as one of the original rappers who rocked business attire.  They first performed under the name “Harlem World Crew”.  This hit sampled the famous Tom Tom Club track “Genius of Love”

3) Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force     “Planet Rock” 1982

All Time Classic produced by Arthur Baker and one of the first hip-hop tracks to use a drum machine.

Enjoy the video….

4) Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5      “The Message” 1982

Another All Time Classic

5)  West Street Mob    “Break Dance (Electric Boogie)” 1983

Sampled Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s song “Apache” from 1973 (highlighted on Volume 1)

6)  Crash Crew     “We are Known As Emcees” (We Turn Party’s Out)” 1983

Crash Crew members were DJ Daryll C., G. Man, La Shubee, Barry Bistro, Ek Mike C., and Reggie Reg.  Loved this track back in ’83.

Can’t find this track but here is another by Crash Crew which I liked (just not as much as “we are known as emcees”)

7) Herbie Hancock with GrandMixer DST “Rock It” 1983

Classic that influenced many for years to come.   Herbie with DST (aka DXT) with Bill Laswell on Bass.

Must see clip including Grammy Award win for Rock-It with MJ in the front row with Brooke

8)  Grandmaster Melle Mel    “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” 1983

9) Run D.M.C.     “It’s Like That” 1983

Pioneers (Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam-Master Jay” Mizell) in Hip-Hop from Hollis Queens.  I still remember the day I picked up this 12″ as side A (“It’s Like That”) and side B (“Sucker MCs”) as both tracks were instant classics.   Signed to Profile records and released this their first single in late 1983.  Everything changed as a result.  In 1984 they released their debut album Run-D.M.C. and it to this day is a Top 10 album of all time.  The seeds of hard core hip-hop were planted and cultivated for many years by Run D.M.C.

Classic performance live of “It’s Like That”

10) Run D.M.C.     “Sucker MCs” 1983

Great video of Run DMC doing Sucker MC’s and then battling Kool Moe Dee and Special K on Graffiti Rock….

11)  G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid   “Play That Beat Mr DJ 1983

Blew me away back in 1983 and it is still one of my favorites to this day.

good clip – starts 30 seconds in….

12)  Malcolm McLaren   “Hobo Scratch” 1983

McLaren may be best known for the Sex Pistols but what connected with me at the time was his “D’ya Like Scratching EP”.   Many say Malcolm was responsible for bringing Hip-Hop to the UK at the time via his “Buffalo Gals” track (it entered the UK Pop charts in December 1982 and went on to climb to a Top 10 hit) this original 12″ was a highlight for me back then; every track off this original 12″ is amazing.   Still spin this weekly.  Love that Trevor Horn co-wrote the song while next going on to work on one of my favorite artists, Art of Noise in 1984

In the great 1984 BBC documentary ‘Beat This! – A Hip Hop History’, Malcolm gave a rare TV interview on how he discovered Hip Hop and his initial reaction and thoughts.  A must watch.

Original Music Video

13) Fresh 3 MCs      “Fresh” 1983

Just sharing this track listing amazes me of the strength of hip-hop back in the early 1980s.  Fresh 3 MC’s (Mr. Bee, Supreme GQ, Jay Cool & DJ Devine) were signed to Profile Records in 1982 and put out this 12″ the following year {They were also featured on the Pumpkin 12″ called “Here Comes that Beat” as members of the Profile All-stars.}.  Loved this track and still do.

“Yo, That’s Fresh”

Honorable Mention:  Although I would classify it more as a dance track, it is still hip-hop to me…Freeze’s 1983 hit I.O.U. It was written, produced and mixed by Arthur Baker  and when featured in the movie Beat Street.

Link for Volume 1 of The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time – A Chronological History of Rap Music 1979 – present


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