‘History of Rap’ — A Quick Hippity-Hoppity Hip-Hop Primer for the Ignorant Among Us


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Fallon and Timberlake rap

Jimmy Fallon and Justine Timberlake serve you a history lesson. (“Rap”/”Wrap” — get it? No? OK.)

For those of you who hadn’t seen it — and being a dinosaur myself, I had not — soon-to-be-Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s current show has been featuring a recurrent and intermittent series of Fallon and Justin Timberlake performing what they call “The History of Rap.” (While it includes lots of rap, it seems to me more like the history of hip-hop — plenty of good melody — but I admit that I’m no expert.) Most people my age do know that Jimmy Fallon is funny; the revelation, for people who can’t distinguish between Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber, is that Timberlake is not simply great, but stellar, and that the chemistry between him and the highly talented Fallon is a rare treat.

So, fellow ancient ones (and our younger readers as well): memorize this, and you’ll be able to impress people over Christmas dinner.

For the record, here’s the playbill, published on Dec 5, 2013:

History of Rap, Part 1
Sugarhill Gang – “Rapper’s Delight”
Run-DMC – “Peter Piper”
Beastie Boys – “Paul Revere”
A Tribe Called Quest – “Award Tour”
Digital Underground – “The Humpty Dance”
Snoop Dogg feat. Dr. Dre – “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”
Tupac Shakur – “California Love”
The Notorious B.I.G. – “Juicy”
The Roots – “The Seed”
Eminem – “My Name Is”
Missy Elliott – “Work It”
Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – “Crank That (Soulja Boy)”
T.I. feat. Rihanna – “Live Your Life”
Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx – “Gold Digger”
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”

History of Rap, Part 2
Kurtis Blow – “The Breaks”
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – “The Message”
N.W.A – “Express Yourself”
Public Enemy – “Bring the Noise”
Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock – “It Takes Two”
Salt-N-Pepa – “Push It”
Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby”
Fatman Scoop – “Put Your Hands Up”
Cypress Hill – “Insane in the Brain”
DJ Kool – “Let Me Clear My Throat”
DMX – “Party Up in Here”
Nelly – “Hot in Herre”
50 Cent – “In Da Club”
OutKast – “Hey Ya”
Lil Wayne – “A Milli”
DJ Khaled – “All I Do Is Win”
Cali Swag District – “Teach Me How to Dougie”
Rick Ross – “B.M.F.”
Biz Markie – “Just a Friend”
Kurtis Blow – “The Breaks”

History of Rap, Part 3
Run-DMC – “King of Rock”
LL Cool J – “Mama Said Knock You Out”
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “Parents Just Don’t Understand”
De La Soul – “Me, Myself and I”
JJ Fad – “Supersonic”
Sir Mix-a-Lot – “Baby Got Back”
Young MC – “Bust a Move”
House of Pain – “Jump Around”
Ice Cube – “It Was a Good Day”
Coolio – “Gangsta’s Paradise”
The Fugees – “Killing Me Softly”
Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”
Jay-Z – “I Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me)”
OutKast – “Ms. Jackson”
Snoop Dogg – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Kanye West – “Stronger”
Nicki Minaj -”Super Bass”
Naughty By Nature – “Hip Hop Hooray”

History of Rap, Part 4:
Sugarhill Gang – “Apache (Jump On It)”
Grandmaster Melle Mel – “White Lines (Don’t Do It) ”
Kurtis Blow – “Basketball”
Fat Boys – “The Fat Boys”
Run-DMC – “It’s Tricky”
Beastie Boys – “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”
LL Cool J – “Going Back to Cali”
Slick Rick – “Children’s Story”
2 Live Crew – “Me So Horny”
A Tribe Called Quest – “Scenario”
Cypress Hill – “Hand on the Pump”
Wreckx-N-Effect – “Rump Shaker”
Salt N Pepa – “Shoop”
Snoop Doggy Dogg – “Gin and Juice”
Busta Rhymes – “Woo-Ha! Got You All in Check”
The Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize”
Missy Elliott – “Get Ur Freak On”
Jay-Z – “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
Nelly – “Ride Wit Me”
50 Cent – “P.I.M.P.”
Chamillionaire – “Ridin Dirty”
Wiz Khalifa – “Black & Yellow”
Trinidad James – “All Gold Everything”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Thrift Shop”
Eminem – “Lose Yourself”

(Personally, I still don’t think anything tops “The Message.”)


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.