Black Sheep But I Know You See the GOAT in Me: Homage to Some of Hip-Hop’s GOAT Moments
An abbreviated list of Hip-Hop’s Greatest of All Time Moments
Disclaimer! This list of hip-hop greatest moments is not at all a ranking nor the end-all be-all of dope hip-hop moments. The actual list would be mad extensive.
Let’s face it, if you’re a hip-hop fan, you understand that hip-hop’s greatest moments can’t even be contained within the confines of “some list”. But nonetheless, hip-hop is and has always been more than just a musical genre; it’s a movement, a culture. It may be a descendant of the civil rights and black power movements, but this ain’t your ma’s ideal style of protest.
Hip-hop is everything your parents told you not to do or be. It’s always been gritty, rebellious, and harsh to swallow but addicting nonetheless. A movement used to hip people to everything intentionally buried behind closed doors. Hip-hop’s presence was always there to remind you of the cards a society has dealt, what they choose to confront, and what they reject to see in themselves.
Hip hop has been the best fuck you to a nation of finessers and fronters.
So, call me a groupie, stanning for a movement like hip-hop to keep challenging people to look in the mirror. I’ll take that. In reverence for the art form, I’ve created the following list as an effort to dive deeper into some of hip-hop’s greatest, most influential moments within the last 29 years or so.
- Pac Survives 5 Shots and Tells All of You Haters to Fuck Off
Back in ’94, everyone’s favorite rapper was robbed and shot 5 times while walking out of Quad Recording Studios in New York. Despite being shot twice in his head, twice in his groin, and once in the hand, the ghetto prophet survived the shooting and the incident ultimately resulted in one of hip hop’s most beautiful photographs.
The pic showed a triumphant Pac sticking his middle finger up as he was being carried away on a stretcher.
The photo has indeed become a classic, almost a hip-hop national treasure if you will.
2. Passing of the Torch
In 2011, during a show in L.A., The Game hit the stage with K.Dot for a fire freestyle. But in the midst of that, the L.A. rapper let the crowd in on some hip-hop, insider, exclusive gold that was about to go down: It was time to pass the torch to the TDE lyricist, Kendrick Lamar.
Could you imagine? OG rappers Kurupt, Dr. Dre, Snoop, and Warren G all gathered on stage to co-sign the passing of the torch down to the Compton rapper, in all his glory, still riding fresh off the success of Section .80.
Mind you, this is months before the release of Kung Fu Kenny’s second studio album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. Seven years later, and we all can most definitely agree (and of course some haters will want to debate) that the lyrical tyrant is not just the King of West Coast rap, but hip-hop period.
3. Lil Wayne’s Reign
In 2005, Nola based rapper, Lil’ Wayne was not exactly the person you wanted to lyrically fuck with. Wayne took the mixtape game to all new heights after literally snatching everyone’s attention with the drop of Tha Carter in 2004. Hip-hop fans couldn’t help but to realize that the homie was more than decent with the words.
So, to ride off everyone’s new peaked interest while working hard on Tha Carter II, Weezy joined forces with DJ Drama to create pure dopeness: The Dedication. What was even more impressive was that Dedication was loaded with material that just didn’t make the cut for Tha Carter II, flowing perfectly over other folks’ beats.
With Wayne’s cadence laden with witty rhymes, everyone was well aware that something incredible was on the way, and it most definitely was.
4. Nas and Hov Squash the Beef
Back in the mid-90’s Jay and Nasir had been throwing minor jabs back and forth at each other for a good minute until Hov performed a little bit of “Takeover,” at Hot 97’s 2001 Summer Jam, ultimately fueling an already simmering fire. Jigga hit the crowd with the,
Ask Nas, he don’t wan’t it with Hov. No!
line and the rest was history. Nas retaliated with his “Stillmatic freestyle,” and Jay hit him with the full version of “The Takeover.” Nas punched back and damn near annihilated the emcee with “Ether,” while Jay had everyone shaking their heads at a humiliating and unnecessary track, dubbed “Super Ugly,” in which he brought the mother of Nas’ child into the mix.
With Jay’s low blow, the feud ultimately came to a stop, concluding with Jay apologizing.
Leap ahead to October 2005 and we get a more official closure to the Nas and Jay diss epic. Jay was on his “I Declare War,” tour when to everyone’s surprise, he had Nas hit the stage. The two rocked out with each other and performed each other’s cuts in front of a stadium of blown minds.
Nas and Hov dropping the beef was a pivotal hip-hop moment.
5. Ye Tells The World That George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People
Before Yeezy was escorted to the Sunken Place by irrelevant reality stars, the Chicago native was what some would call militant and politically outspoken. The rapper and producer had no qualms about letting everyone know what was up.
During a telethon on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, Ye stood in front of the camera with an oblivious Mike Meyers and spoke his truth. While everyone else turned a blind eye to FEMA’s failures, Yeezy spit truth by lighting up audiences with one of his best lines yet,
George Bush doesn’t care about black people.
Shout out to old Ye for shining a light on a topic that everyone else was just going to ignore. That’s classic Ye.
6. ODB Interrupts the Grammy’s
Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best!
Yes, that line should be inscribed somewhere and on something, doesn’t really matter where.
During the 1998’s Grammy’s, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP) bum rushed the stage to tell the world and the Grammy audience exactly what was on his mind. And that’s exactly what hip-hop has always been about. Not giving a fuck about protocol, etiquette, and formal ass procedures.
After Wu-Tang’s, Wu-Tang Forever, lost Best Rap album to Puff’s, No Way Out, the drunk Staten Island rapper hit the stage (without an invitation) to let the world know what all kids of hip-hop have always known.
Wu-Tang is for the children.
Shout out and rest in peace to the Wu-Tang rapper who was spitting nothing but #Facts.
7. The South Gets Some Overdue Respect
Much of the 80’s and 90’s was all about East and West coast rap. The South really wasn’t getting any love, and that’s a shame because the southern region was home to some of rap’s greatest rappers. From UGK to Geto Boys and even Arrested Development, it’d be hard to fathom such a slight.
But in 1993, OutKast’s “Player’s Ball,” would be the single that forever changed the way hip hop fans perceived southern rappers, but it would take the 1995 Source Awards for folks to ultimately see that OutKast was more than a legit rap group.
That award night, the teens from East Point won Best New Artist while everyone else had their panties in a bunch. 3 Stacks said it best though when he simply exclaimed,
The South got something to say.
The crowd’s boos proved that they were less than impressed with the duo, but the award and Andre’s simple speech was all that was needed to solidify OutKast as a group whose presence alone would now and forever demand respect.
8. Jay-Z Campaigns for Obama at Ohio Rally
Although Jay-Z had performed at Obama’s 2008 Inauguration, his performance at the then-president’s 2012 campaign rally in Ohio was a major leap for rap and politics’ historically rocky relationship.
Hov performed a few of his songs, including “99 Problems” and “Public Service Announcement” the night before the 2012 presidential election, forcing everyone to go completely nuts.
Let’s really think about this. Historically, presidents weren’t out here publicly aligning themselves with hip-hop, confessing their love for the art form, and inviting rappers to the White House. They were instead bad-mouthing artists, using rap as a scapegoat, and essentially waging a war on hip-hop.
Jigga and Obama’s budding bromance would eventually be the progress for rap and politics that the world needed in order to shift the narrative.
Big ups to Hov for this stride.
9. Hip-Hop Boycotts the Grammy’s
In 1989, the Grammy’s tried to include hip hop in its annual grand award ceremony, but they still somehow managed to fuck up. How? Well, the Grammy’s finally created a category for rap artists (Best Rap Performance) but, they came to the conclusion that the presentation of the award should remain off everyone’s radar by not being televised. Sigh.
Talk about a slap in the face. So, the hip-hop community stood as a united front and pretty much gave the Grammy’s a big fat, unanimous fuck you back by not attending the pretentious award ceremony.
10. Three 6 Mafia Wins An Oscar
In 2006, Three 6 won an Oscar, yes, that’s right an Oscar, in the Best Original Song category for Hustle & Flow’s, “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp.” That’s crazy historic being that no rap group has ever in the history of rap groups won an Oscar.
Hell, the Grammy’s doesn’t even give rap its due respect. Nonetheless, the group also made history by becoming the first rap group to also perform at the Oscar’s.
This post was originally published in The G.E.D Section.