What’s the Best Rap Album Intro of All-Time?
Here's how I come up with the "Question of the Week" every Wednesday, it's a very scientific process. First I get hammered. Then I call whatever rap nerds friends I have that haven't learned not to answer the phone when I call. I throw a bunch of questions at them, and if we end up arguing about one, I know I'm onto something. So with that in mind, let's get to it: "What's the Best Rap Album Intro of All-Time?"
Before we get started, I have to define "intro track"; per usual, it's harder to define than you might think. Critically, I'm not just talking about the first track on an album. We're only talking intro track here, tracks that were clearly set aside specially to frame the upcoming album. Case in point, Wu-Tang's classic "Bring Da Ruckus" from "36 Chambers". That's a hell of a way to set off an album, but it's more the first track on the album than a specific intro track. I'll acknowledge there's still going to be some grey area here though. Maybe a good general rule is that a true intro track couldn't be pushed as an individual single; it wouldn't work nearly as well removed from the context of the album.
Also, the intro track doesn't necessarily have to be rapping, or a song. It could be a skit, a speech, a song, a combination of all of them. "Sherane" off Kendrick's "GKMC" goes from skit to song and back to skit, and considering it's the opening of a storyline that continues throughout the album, I'd classify it as an intro track. Got it?
Moving on to the possible candidates, sweet baby jesus, where do I even start? Going off the top of my head: the Nas' "Stillmatic (The Intro)", Jay-Z' "Dynasty (Intro)", Ludacris' 'Southern Fried (Intro)" was the man at his best, Biggie's "Ready to Die (Intro)" and Outkast's "Intro" from "Stankonia", Outkast's was rap free but just set up the weird mood of the album so well. And maybe more unexpected, but I'd seriously throw Young Jeezy's "Recession (Intro) into the discussion.
But for me, while it may be a little off the average radar, I have to go with "Wolves" from Dead Prez' "Let's Get Free". Not only did that....sermon?...from Chairman Omali Yeshitela set the album off perfectly, but it's one of the best encapsulations of the war on poverty and black America I've ever heard. You could either spend four years and thousands of dollars taking sociology/political science/American history classes in college, or you could just listen to "Wolves" for two minutes and 16 seconds and call it a day. How many tracks on a rap album can you say that about, let alone an opening track?
Alright RefinedHype Nation, this is one of those questions that's it's going to take some real rap nerds to fully answer. Luckily, I've got an entire army of rap nerds on this site. Have at it, I'm stoked to hear what you come up with....
This article originally appeared on RefinedHype.com, which has now merged with The DJBooth. For more info, click here.
Written by Nathan S. on 08/28/13
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