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Top 10 Hip Hop Songs that Represent (Rep) Brooklyn
In Hip Hop, it is en vogue to give a shout out to the place where you are from or reside. From its early days until now artists have made anthems as a tribute to the place that has helped to shape the person that they have become. Everyone knew that Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy E were coming “Straight Outta Compton. Will Smith’s first line from his iconic sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” was “In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playgrounds is where I spent most of my days.” E-40 let you know he resides in the Bay. Redman states in the classic Hardcore by EPMD “from Newark, New Jersey, knock heads like Mike Nunn.”
This competitive enthusiasm has routinely morphed into crew battles. Think back to the classic clash between the Bronx and Queens with the Boogie Down Productions – Juice Crew battle. MC Shan comes out with “The Bridge” and BDP answers with “The Bridge is Over”. Fast forward to 1996, Los Angeles and Long Beach teamed up to battle New York (Brooklyn in particular). Tupac and Snoop Dogg led the charge in the epic battle against Notorious B.I.G. and Junior Mafia. LL Cool let Ice T know that he’s “Going back to Cali, uh un, I don’t think so.” Some of Hip Hop’s best material was born out of these battles.
Who Represents the Best?
Which city has the best homage "representing" songs?
When it comes to Hip Hop however, there is one place that represents like no other. This place is Brooklyn! Whether you search from the ATL to New Orleans, move on down to H-Town Houston and then back up to Chicago, you won’t find a better group of anthems to “big-up” your city. These songs are so infectious; you may temporarily forget you are not from Brooklyn while you are nodding your head to the song. Biggie Smalls makes sure you know what he is all about in the beginning of “Unbelievable” when he begins with “Live from Bedford Stuyvesant, the livest one, representing B.K. to the fullest.” On “The Place Where We Dwell”, D.J. Premier infuses a catchy MC Lyte sample – “Those who live in Brooklyn know just what I’m talking.” Three Hip Hop Legends came together to give Spike Lee’s movie “Crooklyn” an anthem. The song though, was much larger than that. Crooklyn gave you a birds’ eye view of what it was like to live in the Planet Brooklyn. The song opens up with:
Panic, as another manic depressant
Adolescent stares at death, now what's left
When there ain't no God, and a whole lot of pride
It might be a homicide, so let the drama slide
We don't want no problems, B
Get your name in the obituary column sheet
Cause life is too short and it just gets shorter
I wish I had a quarter for all my people they slaughter
Last year alone, in the dead zone
Special Ed – “Crooklyn”
The following are arguably10 of the top Hip Hop records that pay homage to Brooklyn. The following tracks each give a unique perspective to various elements of life in Brooklyn. What are your thoughts?
- The Place Where We Dwell - Gangstarr
- Borough Check – Digable Planets ft. GURU
- Crooklyn - Crooklyn Dodgers (Masta Ace, Special Ed, Buckshot)
- Brooklyn’s Finest – Jay Z ft. Notorius B.I.G.
- Brooklyn Zoo – Old Dirty Bastard
- No Sleep Til Brooklyn – The Beastie Boys
- Hello Brooklyn – Jay Z ft. Lil Wayne
- Lighter’s up – Lil Kim
- Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers - Crooklyn Dogers 95' (Chubb Rock, OC, Jeru the Damaja)
- Audio Two - Top Billin'