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©Grandmaster Flash / AP
© Grandmaster Flash / AP
'The Message' deemed greatest hip-hop song of all time

REUTERS (LOS ANGELES) -- The 1982 hit "The Message," by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, was named the greatest hip-hop song of all time on Wednesday, in the first such list by Rolling Stone magazine that celebrates the young but influential music genre.

"The Message," which tops a list of 50 influential hip-hop songs, was the first track "to tell, with hip-hop's rhythmic and vocal force, the truth about modern inner-city life in America," Rolling Stone said.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, a hip-hop collective from the South Bronx in New York, formed in 1978 and became one of the pioneers of the hip-hop genre.

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The full list spanned songs ranging from Sugarhill Gang's 1979 hit, "Rapper's Delight," which came in at No. 2, to Kanye West's 2004 hit "Jesus Walks," which landed at No. 32.

"It's a list that would have been a lot harder to do 10 or 15 years ago because hip-hop is so young," Nathan Brackett, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone, told Reuters.

"We've reached the point now where hip-hop acts are getting into the (Rock and Roll) Hall of Fame ... it just felt like the right time to give this the real Rolling Stone treatment."

Rolling Stone's Top 10 featured mostly hip-hop veterans, such as Run-D.M.C.'s 1983 track "Sucker M.C.'s," Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's 1992 hit "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang," Public Enemy's 1990 song "Fight the Power" and Notorious B.I.G's 1994 hit "Juicy."

Other influential artists in the Top 50 songs included Beastie Boys, who came in at No. 19 with "Paul Revere," and recordings by Jay-Z, Eminem, Missy Elliot, Outkast, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J, Nas and the late rapper 2Pac.

The list of 50 songs was compiled by a 33-panel of members comprising Rolling Stone editors and hip-hop experts. They included musician Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson of the Roots, whom Brackett described as "an incredible encyclopedia" of both old and new hip-hop knowledge.

Brackett noted that some songs considered to be one-hit wonders, such as Audio Two's 1988 hit "Top Billin'," made the final selection.

"The references in those songs become the building blocks of all these other songs down the road ... they become touchstones, really part of the meat of hip-hop songs going forward," Brackett said.

The full list will be released online at and in the pop culture magazine on newsstands on Dec.7. The issue will feature four different covers with Eminem, Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac.

Dec 11, 2012 3:22AM

When I grew up in the 80's and 90's and still love that music over anything newer and yet I had to look up "The Message" to make sure which song it actually was just proves it Definitely Doesn't Deserve the greatest hip hop song of All time!!


Then again if Rolling stones magazine didn't start controversy All the time it wouldn't still be in print today!!

Dec 5, 2012 3:42PM
Naw, Rapper's Delight is recognized a whole lot more. Most people don't even know half of The Message, but I'm sure they know more of Rapper's Delight
Dec 5, 2012 11:21AM
Dec 5, 2012 10:46AM
No, that would be "Fight The Power", with "The Show" a close second.
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