You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when it comes to Rap music, hip-hop artists understand that. Before iTunes came and changed everything, including giving us the luxury of picking and choosing which tracks to listen to first.
We had to buy cassette tapes and C.D.s to listen to everything we paid for. The intro tracks are what usually decide if the album is worth listening to from start to finish. When it comes to the intro track of an album, the artist must get the listener’s attention from the beginning because you have no time to waste when it comes to music fans. In this article, I will be discussing the five greatest hip-hop intro tracks.
Best hip-hop intro tracks
5. Jay Z – “Intro” (2000)
The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album was originally supposed to be a Roc-A-Fella Records compilation album. Those plans would change, and it would become one of Jay-Z’s best albums to date. Jay wasted no time making sure his fans and the hip hop world knew that he was the best rapper in the world at this time. The beat was made by Just Blaze and it starts off with Jay saying, “This is ghetto to ghetto, gutter to gutter, street corner to street corner, project to project.”
When you first listen, you might think it’s just another intro track of a rapper talking, but then Jay start going off for one of the most exciting hip-hop intros of all time.
4. A Tribe Called Quest – “Excursions” (1991)
The second album from the legendary group delivered one of the best intro songs ever. The very first thing you hear on The Low-End Theory is the sound of a bass played by a man who goes by the name of Mickey Bass.
Q-Tip being the creative producer he is, would make sure that The Low-End Theory became the JAZZ-influenced classic album we all grew to love. The intro track Excursions represents the beginning of when Tribe proved that Jazz and Hip-Hop could be fused together to create timeless records.
3. Nas – “N.Y. State of Mind” (1994)
When we talk about Hip-Hop music being a true art, this is one of the songs that should be mentioned. In the intro track of Nas’s classic debut album, he paints a picture of New York. In the ’80s and ’90s, it was popular to sample sirens and police radio sounds to help paint the picture of the inner city struggle African Americans go through, but what Nas and Dj Premier did on “N.Y. State of Mind” was just nasty and one amazing way to start off an album.
The track samples two jazz songs, “Mind Rain” by Joe Chambers and “Flight Time” by Donald Bryd, and these two samples help paint the perfect picture. This is one of the greatest intro songs because of the beat and the way that Nas was flowing on the beat; it was the perfect beat for the right emcee.
2. N.W.A – “Straight Outta Compton” (1988)
“Straight outta Compton” completely embodies the title of the song. It was the perfect introduction to Compton. The track feels like fireworks without warnings and proceeds to continue throughout the whole track, and there are no breaks. This was the track that allowed N.W.A to paint a picture of what was going on in South L.A street. The track defiantly has Dre. Funk style production, but it is by any means laidback. This track is in your face energy and feels like a riot in L.A.
1. 2Pac – “Ambitionz Az a Ridah” (1996)
The number one track on this list is Tupac “Ambitionz Az a Ridah,” which was not only the classic album “All Eyez on me” intro but the introduction of the world to The Deathrow Records version of Tupac. The track was produced by Daz, and Tupac made the beat his.
Tupac had a lion’s heart and a world champion fighter mouth, which made it more effective than he began his magnum opus saying, “I don’t deny it, I’m a straight ridah you don’t wanna f**k with me.” It is the hard-hitting track that showed us that Tupac was more than a poet, but he could use the anger he had bottled up from being in shot and in jail to create a classic album.