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The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All Time

100. Public Enemy "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" (1989)

Producer: The Bomb Squad
Album: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Label: Def Jam, Columbia, CBS

The Bomb Squad had already proven that they could bring the noise with chaotic, multi-layered symphonies of sampled mayhem, but this this solemn tale of busting out of the bing showcased a more subtle approach. Based on a piano riff from Isaac Hayes' "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic," the tension of this beat builds-up from verse to verse, with the live phone-in from Flava Flav adding an authentic clandestine atmosphere to proceedings. Just Blaze would later flip the same loop for The Game in homage to the original, which is still one of the most effective displays of the power of Public Enemy to this day.

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