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The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All Time

12. Public Enemy "Rebel Without A Pause" (1987)

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

This landmark moment in hip-hop production was largely inspired by Eric B. and Rakim. After hearing the cutting-edge new sound of their competition, Chuck D and the Bomb Squad literally went back to the lab to create a song that would blow everyone else out of the water. Looping the abrasive noise from The JB's "The Grunt," they then instructed Flavor Flav to manually trigger the "Funky Drummer" loop for a full five minutes. Once Chuck laid down his incendiary verses and Terminator X added his own take on the "Transformer" scratch (which had originated from the Philly DJ scene), Public Enemy unleashed the first example of a revolutionary sound that lay ahead on It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back and took their rightful spot at the top of the hip-hop food chain.

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