Billboard recently published a ranking of the 10 greatest hip hop beats of all-time. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message,” Produced by Ed Fletcher, Clifton “Jiggs” Chase and Sylvia Robinson, took the top spot. Coming in at #2 was the Nasir Jones and DJ Premier collaboration on “NY State of Mind” off of Nas’ classic Illmatic. Here’s the description below.
DJ Premier is arguably the best hip-hop producer of all time, and this may he his finest beat, and the one that represents him the best. He was raised in Texas before moving east, but his mid ’90s work — particularly on Nas’ flawless Illmatic debut — basically exemplifies the classic New York underground sound that folks like Joey Bada$$ idolize to this day. It’s been called “boom bap,” and the drums that start this classic Nas highlight (arguably the best album opener of all time) could very well be the inspiration for the term. It features also another Premier signature — one of his weird, unidentifiable monotone chirps, sampled from who knows where — and then the piano riff fades in, as sinister as the darkest Queensbridge stairwell. There’s no escape from the street scenarios it inspired Nas to describe — or this unforgettable beat once it gets into your nodding head.
You can check out the rest of the list here.