Five great hip hop songs from 1989

Ice-T has become a household name as an actor, but in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he was widely considered one of the most dangerous people on that planet, at least in circles of uptight white people and by Oprah. Thing is–and I understood this as a thirteen year-old, so I don’t know what that sad about adults–these songs were ALL cautionary tales. Nowhere is this more clearly evidenced than on “You Played Yourself.” Now Ice-T is on a hit TV show that your mom watches and Snoop Dogg has a cooking show with Martha Stewart while Bill Cosby sits in prison for so many rapes. He raped so much there was hardly any rape left for anyone else! Smh

1989 was Public Enemy’s breakout year, and I could go with Fight the Power, which everyone knows and would be predictable, but I think I’ll go with a somewhat deeper cut.

Welcome to the Terrordome encapsulates everything I liked about public enemy’s sound when I was a teenager. It was hard and loud like the metal and punk I was just starting to get into. It sounded menacing and obnoxious and old people hated it. It was exciting.

Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Beepers is a classic. It’s way better than Prince’s “Batdance” which it samples.

Paul’s Boutique is one of the most underrated albums ever. The Beastie Boys recruited the Dust Brothers and together they got super high and super experimental in the studio, sampling the shit out of everything under the sun and piecing it all together into a timeless work of art.

In 1989, Goin’ Back to Cali was the smoothest fucking song I’d ever heard in my life. Rick Rubin’s beat, which LL was highly skeptical of, was so next-level that the world is only now catching up to it.


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