Video: A History Of Hip-Hop From 1979-2017

by Terry Heick

If you read TeachThought, you probably know that I love hip-hop.

As an art form, cultural marker, and musical genre, hip-hop is deep with story-telling, literary devices, creative wordplay, and more while, for some artists anyway, remaining a voice from the streets and for the streets.

I ran across this video on YouTube recently and thought it might be informative for teachers wanting to implement more hip-hop into their lessons and units, but maybe not very well-versed in its tradition. The 48-minute video covers the entire history of hip, from 1979 to 2017, choosing a handful of songs from each year that, presumably, represent the best of that time period.

And this is where the list loses its power for me. While it isn’t ‘wrong’ anywhere, the quality of the list suffers from both its inclusions and its omissions. DJ Red Alert. Special Ed. Brand Nubian. Big L. The D.O.C. Spice 1. Black Moon. Pete Rock & CL Smooth–all missing, as are dozens of other artists that should be here, especially considering some appear multiple times.

Some of the choices are also baffling–2pac’s best music isn’t here, NWA, Public Enemy, and so many others are under-represented.

See also: 11 Classic Hip-Hop Songs You Can Teach With

Lil Wayne is on here three times, but no Masta Ace, UGK, Big KRIT, Gang Starr, Sir Mix-A-Lot, AZ, Mac Mall, Ray Luv, Freddie Gibbs, Geto Boys, Das EFX, Common, Dogg Pound–I could go on and on. EPMD and Too Short only once?

But Chamillionaire, Jibs, Migos, Birdman, Young Money, and Tyga? All here.

Issues with the overview notwithstanding, it is useful as exactly that–an imperfect overview. That imperfection could actually serve as a jumping off point for a project: Create a criteria, evaluate the library of hip-hop, and then make a better list.

Note, there is some Not Safe For Work (or school) language in the video, so depending on the age group you’re using it with, that could be an issue. In fact, it could be that the best way the video can help you is for your own personal use rather than something to show to students.

The playlist appears below.

Songs Used

1979 – The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight
1980 – Kurtis Blow – The Breaks
1981 – Kool Moe Dee Vs. Busy Bee – Live Battle
1982 – Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force – Planet Rock | Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message
1983 – Run-D.M.C. – It’s Like That
1984 – Fat Boys – Stick ‘Em
1985 – Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick – The Show
1986 – Salt-N-Pepa – Push It
1987 – LL Cool J – I’m Bad | Boogie Down Productions – The Bridge Is Over | Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full
1988 – Big Daddy Kane – Ain’t No Half Steppin’ | Public Enemy – Rebel Without A Pause | N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
1989 – Slick Rick – Children’s Story | Kool G Rap – Road To The Riches | De La Soul – Me, Myself & I
1990 – LL Coo J – Mama Said Knock You Out | Too $hort – The Ghetto | Public Enemy – Fight The Power
1991 – 2Pac – Brenda’s Got A Baby | Naughty By Nature – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright | A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhime
1992 – Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang | Eric B. & Rakim – Know The Ledge | Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day
1993 – Snoop Dogg – Who Am I? (What’s My Name?) | Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M. | Ice Cube – You Know How We Do It
1994 – Nas – It Ain’t Hard To Tell | Warren G & Nate Dogg – Regulate | The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy
1995 – Mobb Deep – Shook Ones Part 2 | 2Pac – Dear Mama | Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise
1996 – Xzibit – Paparazzi | JAY-Z – Dead Presidents | 2Pac – Hail Mary
1997 – The Notorious B.I.G. – Hypnotize | LL Cool J (ft. Method Man, Redman, DMX & Canibus) – 4321 | EPMD – Da Joint
1998 – Big Pun & Fat Joe – Twinz (Deep Cover 98) | DMX – Ruff Ryder’s Anthem | Canibus – Second Round K.O.
1999 – Method Man & Redman – Da Rockwilder | EMINEM – My Name Is | Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E.
2000 – M.O.P. (ft. Busta Rhymes & Remy Ma) – Ante Up (Remix) | Outkast – Ms. Jackson | EMINEM – Stan
2001 – Method Man & Redman – Part II | JAY-Z – Song Cry | Nas – Got Ur Self A G*n
2002 – Scarface – On My Block | Nelly – Hot In Herre | EMINEM – Lose Yourself
2003 – 50 Cent – In Da Club | DMX – X Gon’ Give It To Ya | JAY-Z – 99 Problems
2004 – Terror Squad – Lean Back | Lloyd Banks – On Fire | Jadakiss – Time’s Up
2005 – The Game – Hate It Or Love It | Chamillionaire (ft. Krayzie Bone) – Ridin’ | 50 Cent (ft. Olivia) – Candy Shop
2006 – T.I. – What You Know | Jibbs – Chain Hang Low | Rick Ross – Hustlin’
2007 – Young Buck – Get Buck | Souljah Boy – Crank That (Souljah Boy) | Gucci Mane – Freaky Gurl
2008 – Lil Wayne – Lollipop | Young Jeezy – Put On | Birdman (ft. Lil Wayne) – I Run This
2009 – Lil Boosie – Better Believe It | Drake, EMINEM, Lil Wayne & Kanye West – Forever | Young Money – Every Girl
2010 – B.o.B. (ft. Bruno Mars) – Nothin’ On You | Drake – Over | Lil Wayne (ft. EMINEM) – Drop The World
2011 – Nicki Minaj – Super Bass | P*tbull (ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer) – Give Me Everything | Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up
2012 – 2 Chainz (ft. Drake) – No Lie | Flo Rida – Whistle | Chief Keef (ft. Lil Reese) – I Don’t Like
2013 – Rich Homie Quan – Type Of Way | Migos – Versace | Tyga (ft. Chris Brown) – For The Road
2014 – Rae Sremmurd – No Type | Rich Gang (ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan) – Lifestyle | Lil John (ft. Tyga) – Bend Ova
2015 – Kendrick Lamar – Alright | Young Thug – Best Friend | Slim Jesus – Drill Time
2016 – Kodak Black – Like Dat | Dram (ft. Lil Yachty) – Broccoli | J. Cole – False Pr*phets
2017 – Ayo & Teo – Rolex | Future – Mask Off | Kendrick Lamar – Humble

See also:

Video: A History Of Hip-Hop From 1979-2017