The Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All-Time


And so begins the great debate. The question of the greatest hip-hop beats of all time plagued each one us at some point. It’s a question that hip-hop producers, beat makers, MC’s, and fans have asked and argued since the beginning of time (or at least hip-hop history). Unfortunately, most people when confronted with the question have not had at their disposal the deep knowledge and passion of Crate Kings readers.

Now it’s your job to settle the argument once and for all?. Leave a comment with what you think were the greatest hip-hop beats of all time. Was there a sleeper that was truly underrated?

Depending on the nature of the comments, we may have a poll to determine what in fact is the single greatest hip-hop beat of all-time.

233 thoughts on “The Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All-Time”

  1. The greatest beat of all time? Has to be the most artistic, most creative, most beautiful, most breathtaking, most bangin beat ever…

    Therefor, it can only be T.R.O.Y.

    Nag Champa, Aquarius, Won’t do and 10 other Dilla beats are close seconds. Third place goes to KNO for Remember me from a piece of strange.

  2. The first ones that come to mind are:

    Pete Rock & CL Smooth – T.R.O.Y (probably #1)
    A Tribe Called Quest – Electric Relaxation & Lyrics to Go
    Pharcyde – Runnin
    Slum Village – Climax
    Busta Rhymes – Still Shining
    Gang Starr – Moment of Truth
    Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M

    Damn, I’m forgetting a whole bunch of shit…too much green.

  3. Greatest Beats of All Time:
    The Message by Grandmaster Flash
    NY State of Mind by Nas (DJ Premier)
    They Reminise Over You by Pete Rock
    It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube (DJ Pooh)
    Shook Ones pt. 2 by Mobb Deep (Havoc)
    Whoa! by Black Rob (who made this beat?)
    Nuthin But A G Thang by Dr. Dre
    93 til Infinity by Souls of Mischief (?)
    Passing Me By by The Pharcyde (?)
    Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest
    The Next Episode by Dr. Dre
    Ms Fat Booty by Mos Def (?)
    Summertime by Fresh Prince & DJ Jazzy Jeff
    Regulate by Warren G r.i.p. Nate Dogg
    It’s Like That by Run DMC (r.i.p. JMJ)
    The Symphony by Marley Marl
    C.R.E.A.M. by Wu Tang Clan (RZA)
    Heart of The City by Jay Z (my favorite Kanye beat)
    Nas is Like by Nas (DJ Premier)
    Looking At The Front Door by Main Source (Large Pro…
    What did those other dudes in Main Source do anyway? lol
    Peace to Large Professor)
    Hip Hop by Dead Prez… Um…. Peace -Mo$

      • can’t argue with too much on this list. i would only try to add to it:

        players club- too short & easy e
        feel it- diamond d and sadat x
        the bay- zion i
        da joint- epmd
        liquid words- gza
        bring da pain-method man
        milk the cow-cappadonna
        swan lake-blackalicious
        watch out now-beatnuts
        award tour-tribe called quest
        take a walk-masta ace
        hurricane starang- original gun clappaz
        soul on ice-rass kass (diamond d remix)

        I could keep going. I kept it to the classics but honorable mention to mf doom, deltron 3030, kool keith, etc.

  4. Here’s a few…
    Illegal Business – BDP
    8 Steps to Perfection – Company Flow
    Megaton B-Boy 2000 – Handsome Boy Modeling School
    Mos Def – Know That
    Microphone Fiend – Eric B & Rakim
    Let the Funk Flow – EPMD
    Strong Island – J.V.C Force
    Showbusiness – ATCQ

  5. T.R.O.Y – Pete Rock & CL Smooth
    Mind Playing Tricks On Me – Geto Boys
    Who Shot Ya? – Biggie
    It was a good day – Ice Cube
    C.R.E.A.M. – Wu Tang
    Shook Ones Part 2 – Mobb Deep
    Big Pimpin’ – Jay-Z
    Nas Is Like – Nas
    Paid In Full – Eric B. & Rakim
    Still DRE – Dr. Dre
    Sixth Sense – Common
    Boom – Royce Da 5’9 (DJ Premier)
    Below the Heavens – Blu & Exile
    The Next Episode – Dr. Dre
    It’s all real – Pitch Black (DJ Premier)
    When I Be On The Mic – Rakim

  6. some of my favs (not in order):

    1. Deltron 3030 – Memory Loss – Dan the Automater
    2.Nice and Smooth – Sometimes I Rhyme Slow – Nice and Smooth (Tracy Chapman sample sick)
    3. Del – Catch a Bad One – Casual
    4. Camp Lo – Coolie High – Joe “Ski” Chink
    5. MF Doom – Doomsday – MF Doom

  7. Mobb Deep – Shook Ones Part II
    J.T. Money – Who Dat Feat. Sole’
    Birdman ft. Lil Wayne,Turk & Juvenile – Number One Stunna
    JAY-Z – Big Pimpin’ ft. UGK
    Missy Elliott – Hot Boyz
    2Pac feat. Dr.Dre & Roger Troutman – california love
    The Beatnuts-No Escapin This

  8. Papoose- Alphabetical Slaughter,
    Fat Joe- Lean Back, In Da Club- 50 cent, Nas- Hate Me Now, Still DRE-
    ….what else?

      • Jaylib-Champion Sound
        Gang Starr – Full Clip
        CunninLynguist – 616 Rewind
        Scarface- On my Block
        A Tribe Called Quest- Can I Kick It?
        Jedi Mind Tricks- Narrow Grave

      • still dre, in da club and lean back are all great beats are they not? any dr. dre beat is commercial is it not? he’ s one of the greatest producers/has produced a few of the greatest hip hop beats of all time has he not?

  9. Children Sing by Pacewon and Mr. Green
    Industrial Revolution by Immortal Technique
    Shook ones part 2 by Mobb Deep
    Still Dre by Dr Dre
    The Choice is Yours by Black Sheep

  10. Madvillain – fancy Clown
    Nas – Memory Lane
    Josh Martinez – Forged
    Common – 6th Sense
    Murs – Bad Man!
    Talib Kweli – Get By
    O.C – Time’s Up
    D.j Shadow – Orhan Donor
    Brother Ali – Win Some Lose Some
    Foreign Legion – Full Time B-Boy
    Mark B & Blade – Split Personalities
    Infesticons – Hero Theme
    Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour
    UGK – International Player’s Anthem
    Dilated Peoples – Worst Come To Worst
    Raekwon – Ice Cream
    Beastie Boys – Get It Together
    Malcolm Mclaren – Double Dutch
    Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ears
    B.I.G – Dead Wrong


  11. Quick List of Some Personal Favorites:

    Outkast- Spottieottiedopaliscious
    Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg- Gin N’ Juice
    Tribe Called Quest- Electric Relaxation
    Trick Daddy- I’m a Thug
    Scarface- On My Block
    Tupac- Keep Your Head Up
    Busta Rhymes- Gimme Some More
    Talib Kweli & Hi Tek – Memories Live
    Mos Def- Mr Nigga
    Kid Cudi- Simple As

    And Lastly:
    Brother Ali- Us (starts acapella, I get chills when the beat drops every time…)

  12. Busta rhymes make it hurt (produce by j.dilla) uhhh maybe gimme some more
    Jaylib- The red (again j.dilla and i think madlib)
    Dilated peoples the platform (produced by the alchemist)
    Raekwon- House of flying daggers (Produced by j.dilla uh you see where iam going with this one right)
    Big l platinum plus (Produced by Dj premier
    jayz – d’evils (Produced by Ski beatz)
    nas- the world is yours (produced by pete rock)
    Mobb depp- survival of the fittest (produced by havoc)
    redman whateva man (produced by erick sermon)

    Cmon son there is no best beat ever Dj premier will tell you Pete rock will tell you 9th wonder The alchemist any…..any producer will tell you there are classics and then just dope songs and then head knockers.Really there is no point of this man.

  13. I gotta go with the Battle Axe Warriors (Cut Father, Mad Child, Buc Fifty) song – “Go For Mine.” Phenomenal beat.

  14. T.R.O.Y. – Pete Rock and CL Smooth
    Heart of the City – Jay-Z
    California Love – Tupac and Dr. Dre
    Still D.R.E.- Dr. Dre
    Aint Nuthin but a G Thang – Dr. Dre
    Shit Hits the Fan – Obie Trice feat. Eminem and Dr. Dre
    The Instrumental – Lupe Fiasco
    Day N Night – Kid Cudi
    Business – Eminem
    Pass Out – Tinie Tempah
    How We Do – Game and 50 Cent
    Hate it or Love it- Game and 50 Cent
    Kush – Dr. Dre
    Like Toy Soldiers – Eminem (gotta love the snare drum)
    American Psycho II – D12
    The Way I Am – Eminem
    No Apologies – Eminem
    We Made It – Busta Rhymes feat. Linkin Park
    Hustler’s Anthem ’09 – Busta Rhymes feat. T-Pain

  15. group home – east NY theory
    KMD- what a niggy know
    Gang Starr- Mass Appeal
    Redman- Green Island
    MObb Deep- How u want it
    you can’t kill me – CNN

  16. Big L – Fall Back, Put it On, Dignified Soldiers(remix), Danger Zone
    Big Pun – Beware, You Ain’t a Killer, Glamour Life, Boomerang
    Cappadona – Dart Throwing
    Children on the Corn – The Corn, Fare One Pt II
    Common – Breaker 1/9
    D.I.T.C – Way of Life, Day One, Da Enemy
    D12- Purple Pills
    Danger Doom – Benzie Box
    Dead Prez – Hip Hop
    Dr. Dre – too many to list
    Eminem – too many to list
    Gang Starr – You Know My Steez, Work, Above the Clouds, JFK 2 LAX
    Ghostface – Iron Maiden, Winter Warz, One
    Gorillaz – Tomorrow Comes Today
    GZA – Liquid Swords (album)
    Inspectah Deck – Elevation, R.E.C. Room, Friction
    J Dilla – too many but Over the Breaks, So Far to Go, Love Jones, E=MC2
    Jay Z – U Don’t Know, The Watcher 2, Hard Knock Life
    Jaylib- The Red
    Jedi Mind Tricks – On the Eve of War, The Rage of Angels
    Masta Killa – Grab the Microphone, Whatever
    MED – Can’t Hold On
    Method Man – Meth vs. Chef
    Mobb Deep – The Start of Your Ending, Right Back at You, Shook Ones Pt II
    NaS – illmatic (album), It Was Written (album)
    Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (album), Life After Death (album)
    Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Brooklyn Zoo
    OutKast – B.O.B, Ms. Jackson, So Fresh So Clean, Roses
    Quasimoto – Boom Music, Bluffin, The Unseen, Microphone Mathematics
    Raekwon – OB4CL (album)
    Redman – Rock Da Spot, Da Bump, Smoke Buddah, Do What Ya Feel
    A Tribe Called Quest – The Anthology (album)
    Wu- Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (album),
    Wu-Tang Forever (album)

  17. Necro- Poetry in the Streets
    Lil B- I’m God (Hes a fucking retard, but I could seriously listen to this beat all day)

  18. To me the best beats never get old. The following are just a few that immediately came to mind. Thought I’d share.

    Nas- n.y. State of mind part 2, IMO better than original
    Wiz khalifa- visions (cleanest version of a beat used by multiple artists)
    Nas- the message
    Kanye- everything I am
    Jay z- girls girls girls

    I know plenty of underground hip/ hop rap artists. Don’t hate cuz I put commercial songs on the list. Incredible instrumentals IMO.

    If you like upbeat rap check out timbo and dre.
    Gritty shit check rza and havoc.
    Hip hop check premo.
    Kinda soulful laid back and creative shit check Kanye.
    Those dudes are behind a lot more beats than many people who haven’t heard much rap realize.
    Oh And j-dilla.

  19. Here are some which spring to mind first:

    RZA: ‘Cream’, ‘Scary hours/Cash Still Rules’, anything off ‘Liquid Swords’ & ‘…Cuban Linx’!

    Pete Rock / Pete Rock & CL Smooth: ‘TROY’

    The Bomb Squad / Public Enemy : ‘Night of the Living Baseheads’, ‘Fight the Power’, ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’

    Public Enemy/Pete Rock: ‘Shut ‘em Down’ Remix

    Numerous Primo suggestions, heres a few: NYG’z: ‘Your dayz r #’d’, Gangstarr: ‘Just to Get a Rep’, ‘Word from the Nutcracker’, ‘Mass Appeal’ Notorious B.I.G: ‘Unbelievable’

    The Roots / ?uestlove / Grand Negaz / Soulquarians: ‘Clones’, ‘What they Do’, ‘100% Dundee’

    Master P / Beats by the Pound: ‘Bout it ‘Bout it’

    Yes, ‘Jiggy’ as hell, but Hitmen / Diddy: ‘All about the Benjamins’

    Nashiem Myrick / Capone & Noreaga: ‘T.O.N.Y.’

    Too many Dilla beats to mention, but ‘Time: Donut of the Heart’ gives me the chills, as does ‘Don’t Cry’

    Oh No / Slum Village: ‘Reunion’

    Madlib / MF Doom: ‘America’s most Blunted’, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’

    Anything off ‘Illmatic’

    Just Blaze / Jay Electronica: ‘Exhibit A’, ‘Exhibit C’

    El-P / Cannibal Ox: ‘Phoenix’

    I am sat at my work desk right now and this list is off the top of my head, so please forgive any typos, inaccuracies and omissions!

  20. TROY-Pete Rock & CL Smooth
    Up- Wiz Kalifa (i cant stand him but this beat is sexy)
    Alot of Kid Cudi beats, again i dont listen to him much but the production is sick
    Forest Green, Timeless-Mike G (hes in Odd Future)
    Drunk-Domo Genesis
    Who Shot Ya-Biggie
    I Aint Mad At Ya- Tupac
    Grindin-The Clipse(i cant believe this was left out)
    Electric Relaxation-TCQ
    Rella-Odd Future
    Flashing Lights- Kanye West
    Dirt OFf Your Shoulders, Aint No-Jay Z
    Slippin, The Omen-DMX
    What’s Your Fantasy- Ludacris
    Six Days (remix)-DJ Shadow and Mos Def
    MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know, Step Into A World- KRS One
    Vibrate-Andre 3000
    Most OutKast beats
    Ghettomusick-Big Boi
    Almost anything produced by RZA
    especially the Liquid Swords album
    Daydreamin’-Lupe Fiasco

  21. Ultramagnetic MC’s_Give The Drummer Some
    Audio Two-Top Billin’
    Kool G Rap & DJ Polo-It’s A Demo (original 12 nich mix)
    Gang Starr-Mass Appeal
    Pete Rock & CL Smooth-For Pete’s Sake

    off the top of the head…

  22. Best BEATS… like hands down Of ALL TIME?….hmm…off the top….

    DWYCK- Dj Premiere
    Take it personal – Dj Premiere
    D’Evils – Dj premiere
    10 crack commandments – Dj premiere
    Kick in the Door – Dj premiere
    Can I kick it? – Q Tip
    Bonita Applebum – Q Tip
    Check The rhime – Q Tip
    The World is yours Tip mix
    It aint hard to tell – Large professor
    Triumph – RZA
    C R E A M – RZA
    Incarcerated scarfaces – RZA
    T R O Y- Pete rock
    The World Is Yours – Pete Rock
    Eric B For President – Marly Marl
    Nobody Beats the Biz – Marly Marl
    Aint no half steppin – Marly marl
    Top Billin- Audio Two
    stop look listen – king of chill
    Peter Piper – Rick Ruben
    Players – Jay Dilla
    Fall In Love – Jay Dilla
    Stakes is high – Jay Dilla
    plug tunin – Prince Paul
    Buddy – Prince Paul
    Shook Ones – Havoc
    Quiet Storm – Havoc
    Insane in the brain – DJ Muggs
    Nothing But a G Thang – Dr Dre
    California Love – Dr Dre
    In the club – Dr Dre
    Aint no fun – Dr dre
    The Bridge is over – BDP
    Jump – Jermain dupri
    PSA- Just Blaze
    Dead Presidents – Ski Beats
    Fugee La – Salaam remi
    DOA – No ID
    I Used to love H E R – No ID
    Bucktown – Da beatminerz
    Times up – Buckwild
    Elevators – Organized Noize

    too many to name lol….

  23. No Come Clean, Who Shot Ya, Code Of The Streets, Hail Mary, Whoa!, but like you said too many to name so it’s all good, stay true!

  24. Nobody mentioned Blue Sky by Common? That beat is one of a kind. Also, Macklemore’s Make the Money, that joint gives me chills.

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