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1
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
Ice Cube
04:08
2
Long Live the Kane
Big Daddy Kane
04:55
3
I Know You Got Soul
Eric B. & Rakim
04:44
4
Halftime
Nas
04:20
5
Butt In The Meantime
Black Sheep
04:13
6
Act Like You Know
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
04:03
7
Outta Here
KRS-One
04:28
8
Steppin'Hard Zulu Nation
Afrika Bambaataa
05:48
9
Keep Ya Head Up
2Pac
04:22
10
Street Life
Geto Boys
05:21
11
If It Ain't Ruff
N.W.A.
03:34
12
Tearz
Wu-Tang Clan
04:17
13
B.Y.S.
Gang Starr
03:05
14
Jack of Spades
Boogie Down Productions
04:49
15
Rock Dis Funky Joint
Poor Righteous Teachers
05:11
16
Put It On
Big L
03:37
17
Drop
The Pharcyde
05:34
18
Ragtime
Brand Nubian
04:15
19
Welcome To The Terrordome
Public Enemy
05:25
20
Mr. Nigga
Mos Def, Q-Tip
05:12
21
For Corners
Digable Planets
07:02
22
Bad as a Mutha
Queen Latifah
04:01
23
Hippa to da Hoppa
Ol' Dirty Bastard
03:01
24
Funkadelic Relic
LL Cool J
03:55
25
For All My Niggaz And Bitches (feat. Tha Dogg Pound & Lady of Rage)
Snoop Dogg, The Lady Of Rage, Tha Dogg Pound
04:43
26
Give Up the Goods (Just Step) (feat. Big Noyd)
Mobb Deep, Big Noyd
04:03
27
Step
Salt-N-Pepa
03:11
28
Things Done Changed - 2005 Remaster
The Notorious B.I.G.
03:58
29
Who Got Da Props
Black Moon
04:30
30
Excursions
A Tribe Called Quest
03:54

Golden Age Hip-Hop

The story of the unlikely actors who, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, reinvented American music and ushered in the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.

In many ways the art of hip-hop is the art of alchemy. It's transforming material into new forms of expression, culture, and music.  In a post-civil right's era America, a vacuous space of identity and culture sucked men into prisons and boys into crime. It took hip-hop's forefathers to excavate what was left, and recreate a new form of expression from the ashes of adversity. In this quest for the Philosopher's Stone of music, a Golden Age emerged from the most unlikely of places; the ghettos. The Geto Boy's "Street Life" puts 1990s African Americans’ situation into words,

"You know the streets is all I know
This is my way of survival
You know I've been dealt some bad cards
But I gots to play them
What else am I to do, look for a job?
But until then my family will starve and be broke
So I resort to the streets
[ ]
I'm stuck here" 

Young men were left to juggle the radioactivity of gang life, the heavy metals of poverty and were asked to make something of it.

Hiding in their musical laboratories, the Golden Age alchemists started to dig, knowing somehow that going deeper into themselves and their history was the key to finding the Philosopher's Stone. Whether by accident or design, hip-hop's forefathers found the ancient wisdom of the funk masters, the jazz men, and the holy chorus of soul music. 

So the alchemy began, transforming the heartfelt soul-bop of an obscure Wende Rene's "After Laughter Comes Tears" into a menacing anthem in Wu Tang Clan's "Tearz". Could Wende have known when she cried,

"I'll try to hide, hide my sorrows
I wonder can i hold them till tomorrow
Maybe ill hold them for a year
But they keep saying
After your laughter
Now you will see those wet little tears"

That the Wu-Tang would release her sorrow through their mystic methods of sampling and poetry nearly 30 year later?

Did Tupac know he would popularize the ideals of Afeni Shakur and the Black Panthers on African American woman in "Keep Ya Head Up"?

Were the gangster rappers, from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, to Nas and Notorious B.I.G., playing sleight of hand by rapping about their life of crime as a way to escape it ? 

Did NWA know that obscenities in "Fuck Tha Police" would rise to the Supreme Court and protect the sacred nature of speech?

Perhaps this is where hip-hop's fascination with wealth and violence comes from. It isn't easy to smash apart a heritage of music and ideas, and build it back together anew, shining like gold. 

The Golden Age mixed the most unlikely of elements in a search for transcendence. While it may have begun of necessity, it quickly became a quest to speak truth to power. The Philosopher's Stone may never have been found, as close as some may have come, and the magic recipe for eternal life remained as elusive for Q-Tip as it did for Newton. But in the annals of music it remains, boldly declaring its elevated consciousness, political awareness and creative expression, and for this, it is so much more than gold.

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