We hop in a time machine to perhaps one of the most memorable eras of music, the eighties saw the development of hip-hop. It provided us with a number of classic hits that are still widely listened to today. Here are the top ten defining hip-hop tunes of the eighties…
1. Push It – Salt n Pepa
Released by one of the first all-female hip-hop groups ever, Salt n Pepa’s ‘Push It’ was a monster hit. In a time when rap music was considered to be a fad, the infectious ‘Push It’ proved the worth of hip-hop by going on to be nominated for a Grammy and is still being readily played today.
2. Run DMC – It’s Like That
Run DMC’s ‘It’s Like That’ is widely acclaimed as being the marker of a new era of hip-hop. Their first released single, ‘It’s Like That’ went straight to number one in eleven countries and was also certified platinum, making it one of the stand-out hip-hop tracks from the eighties.
3. N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton
The bad boys of eighties hip-hop, N.W.A are often credited with giving birth to gangster rap. Currently celebrating twenty five years since its release, ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was a hip-hop game-changer that is still popular today.
4. Run DMC – Walk This Way
In 1986, the world of hip-hop and the world of rock collided when Run DMC covered Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’. The result was a hugely successful single that actually charted higher than the original; becoming the first hip-hop single to make the top 5 in American chart history.
5. Run DMC – It’s Tricky
Run DMC scored another eighties hip-hop smash with ‘It’s Tricky’. Whilst its performance in the charts was relatively poor compared to their other offerings, ‘It’s Tricky’ is still remembered today – a true testament to the songs longevity.
6. Beastie Boys – Fight For Your Right
Quickly becoming one of the Beastie Boy’s best known songs, ‘Fight For Your Right’ became a cornerstone of hip-hop. It’s probably down to the songs infectious lyrics, which are simply impossible not to sing along to.
7. Blondie – Rapture
Blondie’s ‘Rapture’ incorporates the beginnings of the eighties hip-hop movement. It was the first single that featured rapping to top the charts, making it an iconic marker of eighties hip-hop.
8. Public Enemy – Fight the Power
Adding to the wealth of gangster rap that was produced in the eighties, Public Enemy released ‘Fight the Power’ in 1989. The song has then went on to become Public Enemy’s most well-known song.
9. Cameo – Word Up!
Cameo’s single ‘Word Up!’ had everyone dancing in 1986. Since then, it has been covered numerous times by various artists however none have matched the original’s popularity.
10. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand
‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’ won a Grammy for the Best Rap Performance in 1989, and also marked the start of the career of Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff.
All of these singles played an important role in defining hip-hop in the eighties.
Autumn is an avid listener of all types of music, although she prefers hip-hop and R&B to other genres. Combining her two passions, she regularly writes on the topic of music for DJ Tech Direct.