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1520 Sedgwick Avenue Recognized As Official Birthplace Of Hip-Hop In The Bronx

Hip-Hop celebrates 50 years of existence on August 11, and the genre continues to expand far beyond its origins in the Bronx into what is now a global phenomenon. To honor the evolution and existence of Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop Wired compiled a 50-song playlist that we hope captures the best the music and culture has to offer.

an old cassette recorder, a music center with a radio receiver

Photo: Getty

We’ve been creating playlists for a while now but nothing was as difficult as this one. For starters, we agonized over how to group together 50 songs from over the decades and were frustrated with the fact we had to omit songs from the 1970s. The reason is, the music truly took hold of the world in the early 1980s, as we open up our playlist with one of the greatest songs created in any genre, “The Message” released in 1982.

Breakin' In The Park

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

Most historians point to The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” as Hip-Hop’s first music single, while others would say The Fatback Band’s “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” gets the nod. Both tracks were released within months of each other in 1979, laying down the foundation for the MCs that emerged in the following decade.

All throughout the playlist, there will be glaring omissions, regions that didn’t get love, and other points of contention. Trust us, we’re just as upset but we wanted to include 10 songs that we feel captured each decade from the ’80s until now. If we had more time, we probably could have included 50 songs per era but who is willing to sit through that?

7th Ave. Subway Train Covered In Graffiti

Photo: Hulton Archive / Getty

To all of those acts who feel like we missed them, accept our apology and understand this was difficult to compile. We are also at the mercy of the DSP we used to host the playlist as some artists and their catalogs are not available in the digital realm

That said, we’re always honoring the veterans on our site and we pledge to return with a sequel to this playlist later in the month to get to those tracks we surely missed.

DJ playing music at a hip hop party. analog turntable, Dj uses turntable and mixer for scratching.

Photo: maksim kulikov / Getty

For now, check out our Hip-Hop @ 50 selection of tracks below. If you’re enjoying what you hear, sound off in the comments or via our social media channels.

Photo: Source: Al Pereira / Getty