Immediate reactions to SiriusXM’s Top 1000 Hip Hop Songs of All Time countdown… What they got right – and wrong

(June 20, 2020). As many of the blog’s readers know, SiriusXM has been running genre-specific, all-time Top 1000 countdowns on channel 177 for the past several weeks.  

This week it’s the Top 1000 hip-hop songs – a ranking compiled by the satellite radio company (likely by the various program directors for its hip-hop stations, which span the SiriusXM dial from Channel 43 to 47, in case you’re interested). 

SiriusXM is touting it as “three decades of hard rhymes and dope beats.” It’s really four decades – dating back to the oldest song on their list, 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight,” and hundreds of ‘80s classics, but who’s counting?

Pictured (from center going clockwise): The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Future, Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Dr. Dre, and 2Pac.

I gave the countdown a listen in its first airing, which ran from June 17 through early Saturday morning, June 20, and had the following quick reactions.  Note: SiriusXM ran a Top 500 Hip-Hop countdown back in April on Channel 30, and the top half of the chart likely duplicates that one.

(Spoiler alert: a ranking of the Top 250 songs follows the reactions, so if you’re planning to listen and want to be surprised, stop reading.  The countdown airs twice more between now and June 24.)

One.   There’s Drake, Drake and too much Drake.

Everyone knows that Drake has been the No. 1 rapper – heck, the No. 1 artist, period – over the past decade, and he has the record for the most charting songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 list with more than 210 entries there.  That success definitely translated to this countdown, where he easily has 40-plus entries, including more than two dozen as a lead artist and more than 20 in the top 500 alone.  That’s ridiculous, because no artist should be represented that many times in a greatest of all time countdown with so many other songs and artists from which to choose.

Two. No Love for Nicki.

Nicki Minaj is the woman with the most Hot 100 chart entries – hip-hop or otherwise – but this countdown didn’t show her much love.  In the top quarter of the list, from No. 1 to 250, she’s only represented once: as a feature on Migos’ “Motor Sport” at No. 219.  A feature! Her highest ranking solo entry is “Starships” at No. 499.  The rap Barbie may consider herself the Queen of Hip-Hop, but on this list, she’s a mere pauper.  Ouch!

Three.   Speaking of women, where are they?  

Everyone knows that hip-hop is a male-dominated world but, damn, only eight songs by all-female acts in the Top 100 of this countdown (with Lil Kim, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte not among them)? The women who did make the upper ten percent are led by Salt-N-Pepa who rep with three songs in the Top 100: “Push It” being the highest by any female act at No. 10, with “Whatta Man” featuring En Vogue at No. 87 and “Shoop” close behind at No. 94.  The other women in the Top 100: Missy Elliott, Eve (with Gwen Stefani), Roxanne Shante, and Cardi B.  To further show how scarce women are, the first woman isn’t even heard in the countdown until No. 964 (“B*tch From Da Souf” by Mulatto ft. Saweetie & Trina).

Four. Atlanta rappers are some bottom dwellers.

That heading may be a little misleading, as there are Atlanta artists sprinkled throughout this countdown.  But they’re not shown much love at the top of the list, with only one act – OutKast – representing the ATL as a lead act in the entire top 80. The ATLiens have four songs in that portion, with “Ms. Jackson” leading the way at No. 23 and three other southern hip-hop jams at Nos. 27, 43, and 68 (Atlanta’s 21 Savage is listed as a featured artist at No. 29 on J. Cole’s “Middle Child”).

But the bottom of the countdown is a different story entirely, with ATL artists representing 25 of the first 50 songs from No. 1000 to 951.  This includes tracks by Future, Jeezy, B.o.B, Big Boi, T.I., and others.  Notably, Future has six songs in the bottom 50 positions, versus zero in the entire Top 100.

Five. That’s not really rap!

When SiriusXM ran its Top 1000 R&B Songs Countdown earlier this month, it made a conscious effort to exclude rap tunes.  Of course, several Drake tracks made it on the list anyway, further illustrating the industry’s irrational love for all things Drizzy.  But to include several songs that were clearly NOT rap in this countdown is inexcusable.  Among the chief offenders are the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (No. 85), Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor” (No. 241), and R. Kelly’s “Fiesta” (320), all of which feature the lead artists singing, not rapping.  You could probably throw some of those Drake tunes in this paragraph as well. 

Six. These are too new to be among the greatest of all time.

The current No. 1 song in the U.S. Hot 100 (as of this typing) is “ROCKSTAR” by DaBaby ft. Roddy Ricch (not to be confused with the other “Rockstar” by Post Malone, which was No. 1 just two years ago).  They’re both on this list (DaBaby’s song is at No. 965, Posty’s is at No. 82).  The fact that a song currently topping the charts is on this list of GOATs is questionable, as most songs need to be time-tested before they can be given such a weighty honor.  Other current-year No. 1s on this list include Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” The Scotts’ “THE SCOTTS” and Drake’s “Toosie Slide,” of course. Decent songs, maybe…but GOATs?

Seven. The classics do dominate though.  

Except for one song by Drake (2018’s “In My Feelings” all the way up at No. 4…why?), the top ten is comprised of songs that were all released before 2000.  The oldest among them – Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” from 1979 – is also the oldest one on the entire Top 1000.  It placed at an interesting No. 3 on this list, behind hits by Dr. Dre (No. 1) and pioneers Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (No. 2).  Those are joined in the top ten by fellow legends Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, Run-DMC (wrong song though), 2Pac and Biggie.  

Eight. Tupac vs. Biggie.

You know the blog had to go there.  The East-vs-West battle has been dead for decades, but the debate over 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. continues.  Both artists have a song in the top ten, with 2Pac outranking Brooklyn’s finest. Pac’s “California Love” is at No. 5, while Biggie’s “Hypnotize” is at No. 8.  The two songs are symbolic in that “California Love” was 2Pac’s ode to the west coast and his only No. 1 hit (coupled with “How Do You Want It”) – which occurred just months before his death in 1996.

“Hypnotize,” was released just before Biggie made that fateful trip to California, and it became his first No. 1 just a month after his murder in March 1997.  As far as numbers of songs on the list, the two artists are about even with roughly two dozen songs each when you include tracks where they were lead artists as well as those they were featured on, including group efforts (like Junior M.A.F.I.A. for Biggie).  A glaring omission from the Top 1000 was the “Stay With Me” remix of Biggie’s “One More Chance,” feat. Faith Evans, which clearly should have ranked higher than the No. 159 rank of the original version. 

Nine. Quality control took a hit (again).

There were at least half a dozen instances of songs being repeated in this countdown, including Jay-Z’s “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde” (with Beyoncé) at No. 253 and 996; Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” ft. Rihanna at No. 416 and at No. 815; Ludacris’ “Move Bitch” at No. 74 and again at No. 197; and Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” appearing at No. 18 and again at No. 410.  DMX’s “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” appeared twice also (Nos. 124 and 252), although one version was a remix.  And those were just the ones the blog caught.  Clearly, it’s a difficult prospect to create a list of 1000 songs and avoid duplication, especially if multiple people are involved.  But this is an issue that dogged all three of the Top 1000 lists DJROBBLOG covered, making us wonder if anyone bothered to do a quality check of these lists before going to air.  Hmmm. 

Ten.  “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” at No. 1?  Well, okay.

I think it’s very symbolic that a song from the 1990s – and one from the West Coast – topped this list.  Nineties hip-hop is viewed by many to be the genre’s best era, so it’s not a stretch that a song from the decade’s expansive years is at No. 1.  “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” is viewed by many as the song that cemented the west coast’s stronghold on mainstream hip-hop in 1992/93 and it made Dr. Dre a household name – both as a solo artist and as a producer.  You can debate whether it belongs at the very top of the list, especially with so many great (older) classics around it.  But there’s no doubt that the song touched a collective nerve during its peak (plus it introduced many of us to Snoop Dogg, the charismatic rapper who is represented at least a dozen more times on the list himself).

So those are the blog’s reactions to this countdown, which you can still catch (through June 24) by clicking here.  Below is a list of the top 250 on the list.  We will provide a link to the entire Top 1000 at a future date. 

The top 250 of SiriusXM’s Top 1000 Hip-Hop songs of all time:

  1. “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” – Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg 
  2. “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five 
  3. “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugar Hill Gang
  4. “In My Feelings” – Drake
  5. “California Love” – 2Pac ft. Dr. Dre
  6. “King of Rock” – Run-DMC
  7. “Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A.
  8. “Hypnotize” – The Notorious B.I.G.
  9. “Mama Said Knock You Out” – LL Cool J
  10. “Push It” – Salt-N-Pepa 
  11. “Lose Yourself” – Eminem 
  12. “HUMBLE.” – Kendrick Lamar 
  13. “Children’s Story” – Slick Rick
  14. “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” – Beastie Boys 
  15. “Hip Hop Hooray” – Naughty by Nature 
  16. “No Role Modelz” – J. Cole 
  17. “Big Pimpin'” – Jay-Z ft. UGK
  18. “It Was A Good Day” – Ice Cube 
  19. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West 
  20. “Gin and Juice” – Snoop Doggy Dogg 
  21. “God’s Plan” – Drake
  22. “Paid in Full” – Eric B. & Rakim 
  23. “Ms.  Jackson” – OutKast 
  24. “Fight The Power” – Public Enemy 
  25. “Get Ur Freak On” – Missy Elliott 
  26. “The Humpty Dance” – Digital Underground 
  27. “The Way You Move” – OutKast ft. Sleepy Brown
  28. “Party Up (Up In Here)” – DMX
  29. “Middle Child” – J. Cole ft. 21 Savage 
  30. “Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince 
  31. “Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B
  32. “It Takes Two” – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
  33. “Rock The Bells” – LL Cool J
  34. “Big Poppa (Remix)” – The Notorious B.I.G.
  35. “Check Yo Self (Remix)” – Ice Cube
  36. “C.R.E.A.M.” – Wu-Tang Clan 
  37. “Me, Myself and I” – De La Soul
  38. “Regulate” – Warren G ft. Nate Dogg
  39. “Have A Nice Day” – Roxanne Shante
  40. “Planet Rock” – Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force
  41. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” – Kendrick Lamar 
  42. “Work It” – Missy Elliott
  43. “So Fresh, So Clean” – OutKast 
  44. “Around the Way Girl” – LL Cool J
  45. “Hot in Herre” – Nelly
  46. “Jump Around” – House of Pain
  47. “It’s Tricky” – Run-DMC
  48. “Dre Day” – Dr. Dre
  49. “La-Di-Da-Di” – Slick Rick ft. Doug E. Fresh
  50. “It’s Like That” – Run-DMC
  51. “DNA.” – Kendrick Lamar 
  52. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell Williams 
  53. “Doin’ It” – LL Cool J
  54. “Mo Money, Mo Problems” – The Notorious B.I.G. ft. Mase & Puff Daddy
  55. “O.P.P.” – Naughty by Nature 
  56. “Express Yourself” – N.W.A.
  57. “Lollipop” – Lil Wayne ft. Static Major 
  58. “Forgot About Dre” – Dr. Dre ft. Eminem 
  59. “Back That Azz Up” – Juvenile ft. Lil Wayne & Mannie Fresh
  60. “The Boomin’ System” – LL Cool J
  61. “Insane In The Brain” – Cypress Hill 
  62. “SICKO MODE” – Travis Scott
  63. “Still D.R.E.” – Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg 
  64. “In Da Club” -50 Cent
  65. “Dear Mama” – 2Pac
  66. “Just A Friend” – Biz Markie
  67. “Beautiful” – Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell & Uncle Charlie Wilson
  68. “Hey Ya!” – OutKast 
  69. “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” – Digable Planets
  70. “The Real Slim Shady” – Eminem 
  71. “Tennessee” – Arrested Development 
  72. “Keep Ya Head Up” – 2Pac
  73. “Unforgettable” – French Montana ft. Swae Lee
  74. “Move Bitch” – Disturbing the Peace ft. Ludacris & Mystikal & I-20
  75. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice
  76. “P.I.M.P.” – 50 Cent
  77. “Let Me Blow Your Mind” – Eve & Gwen Stefani 
  78. “Boyz -N-The-Hood” – Eazy-E 
  79. “Freaks Come Out At Night” – Whodini
  80. “Slam” – Onyx
  81. “Can I Get A…” – Jay-Z ft. Amii & Ja Rule
  82. “rockstar” – Post Malone ft. 21 Savage 
  83. “Got Your Money” – Ol’ Dirty Bastard ft. Kelis
  84. “U Can’t Touch This” – MC Hammer
  85. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” – Fugees
  86. “The Next Episode” – Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg 
  87. “Whatta Man” – Salt-N-Pepa ft. En Vogue 
  88. “Bad and Boujee” – Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert 
  89. “Goosebumps” – Travis Scott ft. Kendrick Lamar 
  90. “Ready or Not” – Fugees
  91. “Jump” – Kris Kross
  92. “Peter Piper” – Run-DMC
  93. “Who Am I? (What’s My Name)” – Snoop Doggy Dogg 
  94. “Shoop” – Salt-N-Pepa 
  95. “Look Back At It” – A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
  96. “Me And My Girlfriend” – 2Pac (Makaveli)
  97. “Walk This Way” – Run-DMC ft. Aerosmith 
  98. “Always On Time” – Ja Rule ft. Ashanti 
  99. “Stand Up” – Ludacris ft. Shawnna
  100. “Let Me Clear My Throat” – DJ Kool
  101. “ZEZE” – Kodak Black ft. Offset & Travis Scott 
  102. “Put It On Me” – Ja Rule & Vita
  103. “All Eyez On Me” – 2Pac
  104. “Juicy” – The Notorious B.I.G.
  105. “Rump Shaker” – Wreckz-N-Effect
  106. “Both” – Gucci Mane ft. Drake
  107. “Still Not A Player” – Big Pun ft. Joe
  108. “What’s Your Fantasy” – Ludacris ft. Shawnna 
  109. “How I Could Just Kill A Man” – Cypress Hill 
  110. “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” – Beastie Boys 
  111. “Taste” – Tyga ft. Offset
  112. “Plug Walk” – Rich the Kid
  113. “People Everyday” – Arrested Development 
  114. “Brass Monkey” – Beastie Boys 
  115. “(Hot Sh*t) Country Grammar” – Nelly
  116. “I Got A Man” – Positive K
  117. “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” – Nas
  118. “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” – Geto Boys 
  119. “2 Phones” – Kevin Gates
  120. “Live Your Life” – T.I. ft. Rihanna 
  121. “I Need Love” – LL Cool J
  122. “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” – Jay-Z 
  123. “Going Back To Cali” – The Notorious B.I.G.
  124. “Ruff Ryders Anthem” – DMX
  125. “The Choice Is Yours” – Black Sheep 
  126. “Tipsy” – J-Kwon
  127. “No Problem” – Chance the Rapper ft. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz 
  128. “What’s My Name?” – DMX
  129. “Changes” – 2Pac
  130. “Wasted” – Juice WRLD ft. Lil Uzi Vert 
  131. “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” – LL Cool J
  132. “Rebel Without a Pause” – Public Enemy 
  133. “Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are)” – Pras Michel ft. Ol’ Dirty Bastard 
  134. “New Freezer” – Rich the Kid ft. Kendrick Lamar 
  135. “Loungin’ (Who Do Ya Luv)” – LL Cool J
  136. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” – Lauryn Hill 
  137. “Dilemma” – Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland
  138. “Lucid Dreams” – Juice WRLD 
  139. “Hard Knock Life” – Jay-Z 
  140. “Let Me Ride” – Dr. Dre
  141. “E.I.” – Nelly
  142. “Tha Crossroads” – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony 
  143. “The London” – Young Thug ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott 
  144. “Don’t Believe the Hype” – Public Enemy 
  145. “Gz and Hustlas” – Snoop Doggy Dogg 
  146. “I’m Bad” – LL Cool J
  147. “It’s A Vibe” – 2 Chainz ft. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko
  148. “Joy and Pain” – Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock
  149. “Xo Tour Llif3” – Lil Uzi Vert
  150. “Antidote” – Travis Scott
  151. “Smooth Operator” – Big Daddy Kane
  152. “Low” – Flo-Rida ft. T-Pain
  153. “Shake Ya Ass” – Mystikal ft. Pharrell 
  154. “Look Alive” – Blocboy JB ft. Drake
  155. “Whatever You Like” – T.I.
  156. “Nonstop” – Drake
  157. “Doggy Dogg World” – Snoop Doggy Dogg 
  158. “Paul Revere” – Beastie Boys 
  159. “One More Chance” – The Notorious B.I.G.
  160. “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” – 2Pac
  161. “B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)” – OutKast 
  162. “Bust A Move” – Young MC
  163. “F*ck Tha Police” – N.W.A.
  164. “Congratulations” – Post Malone ft. Quavo 
  165. “Get Low” – Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz ft. the YingYangTwins 
  166. “I Got 5 On It” – Luniz
  167. “Jam On It” – Newcleus 
  168. “911 Is A Joke” – Public Enemy 
  169. “Can’t Deny It” – Fabolous & Nate Dogg 
  170. “Better Now” – Post Malone
  171. “Strictly Business” – EPMD
  172. “Drip Too Hard” – Lil Baby & Gunna
  173. “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” – Jay-Z 
  174. “Now That We Found Love” – Heavy D & the Boyz
  175. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  176. “Down In The DM” – Yo Gotti
  177. “Deep Cover” – Snoop Dogg
  178. “My Adidas” – Run-DMC
  179. “Close Friends” – Lil Baby
  180. “Ride Wit Me” – Nelly ft. City Spud
  181. “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” – Puff Daddy ft. Mase
  182. “Suge” – DaBaby
  183. “I Just Wanna Love U” – Jay-Z ft. Pharrell 
  184. “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy ft. Faith Evans & 112
  185. “Between Me & You” – Ja Rule ft. Christina Milian 
  186. “Cold Rock A Party” – MC Lyte
  187. “Slippery” – Migos ft. Gucci Mane
  188. “Dopeman” – N.W.A.
  189. “Here Comes the Hotstepper” – Ini Kimoze 
  190. “Hit ‘Em Up” – 2Pac & Outlawz 
  191. “I Wish” – Skee-Lo
  192. “Apache” – Sugar Hill Gang
  193. “I Know What You Want” – Busta Rhymes ft. Mariah Carey & Flipmode Squad
  194. “Money In the Grave” – Drake ft. Rick Ross
  195. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” – Missy Elliott 
  196. “You Can Do It” – Ice Cube 
  197. “Move Bitch” – Disturbing the Peace ft. Ludacris & Mystikal & I-20
  198. “How Do U Want It” – 2Pac ft. K-Ci & JoJo
  199. “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)” – Snoop Doggy Dogg ft. Kurupt
  200. “Going Bad” – Meek Mill ft. Drake
  201. “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar 
  202. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” – Lauryn Hill 
  203. “All About You” – 2Pac
  204. “Going Back To Cali” – LL Cool J
  205. “Lodi Dodi” – Slick Rick
  206. “You Know How We Do It” – Ice Cube 
  207. “Deja Vu” – J. Cole 
  208. “Lean Back” – Terror Squad ft. Fat Joe & Remy
  209. “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio ft. L.V.
  210. “Can I Kick It?” – A Tribe Called Quest 
  211. “Eazy-Duz-It” – Eazy-E 
  212. “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” – Naughty by Nature 
  213. “Mask Off” – Future 
  214. “Keep Their Heads Ringin'” – Dr. Dre
  215. “So What’cha Want” – Beastie Boys 
  216. “The Breaks” – Kurtis Blow 
  217. “They Reminisce Over You” – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
  218. “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys 
  219. “Motor Sport” – Migos ft. Nicki Minaj & Cardi B
  220. “Right Thurr” – Chingy
  221. “My Name Is” – Eminem
  222. “Parents Just Don’t Understand” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  223. “The Way I Am” – Eminem 
  224. “I Need A Girl, Part 2” – P. Diddy ft. Ginuwine & Mario Winans & Loon & Tammy Ruggen
  225. “Baby” – Quality Control, Lil Baby & DaBaby
  226. “Gossip Folks” – Ludacris & Missy Elliott 
  227. “6 In the Morning” – Ice-T 
  228. “Fantastic Voyage” – Coolio
  229. “Get Money” – Junior M.A.F.I.A. 
  230. “I’ll Be” – Foxy Brown ft. Jay-Z 
  231. “Poetic Justice” – Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake
  232. “What’s Luv?” – Fat Joe ft. Ashanti
  233. ”Bop Gun” – George Clinton/Ice Cube 
  234. “Bow Down” – Westside Connection 
  235. “It’s All About the Benjamins” – Puff Daddy ft. The Notorious B.I.G. & Lil’ Kim
  236. “21” – DaBaby
  237. “Can’t Get Enough” – J. Cole ft. Trey Songz
  238. “Wow” – Post Malone
  239. “They Want Efx” – Das Efx
  240. “Boombastic” – Shaggy
  241. “Ex Factor” – Lauryn Hill
  242. “Oh Boy” – Cam’ron ft. Juelz Santana 
  243. “Work Out” – J. Cole 
  244. “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” – Busta Rhymes 
  245. “Vivrant Thing” – Q-Tip
  246. “Bonita Applebum” – A Tribe Called Quest 
  247. “Feel Me Flow” – Naughty by Nature 
  248. “Frontin’” – Pharrell ft. Jay-Z 
  249. “Highest In the Room” – Travis Scott
  250. “Mary, Mary” – Run-DMC

So what do you think?  It’s likely we all have different views about this list, and many who think it’s off the mark probably think so for different reasons.  What are yours?  Feel free to leave comments either here or in the blog’s social media feeds.  

DJRob

DJRob

DJRob is an African-American freelance blogger from Chicago who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on Twitter @djrobblog.

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