1. Dr. Dre f/ Snoop Doggy Dogg "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" (1992)
Producer: Dr. Dre
Album: The Chronic
Label: Death Row
"Nuthin' But a G Thang" glows because within it there is a system of supernatural alignment. Dre's first big hit of the 1990s embodies the reconciliation of opposing forces: Between the improvised and the crafted; between the rich side of town and the poor side of town; between relevance to a present moment and utter timelessness. All these elements are unified for the four even minutes of "G Thang," which also happens to include the single most intoxicating bassline in all of hip-hop, which is itself a genealogy of basslines.
20 years after its release-on November 12, 1992, a tremor in advance of the earthquake that was The Chronic-we have reached the point where we can safely say that "G Thang" is only going to improve with age. It's never going to be dated. It's never going to sound wrong. Because of its sublime Leon Haywood sample (borrowed wholesale from the 1975 recording, like an untouched Cadillac engine rediscovered in an abandoned garage) the song was vintage as soon as it was released. The fact is it that it's never going to sound anything but ineffably warm and even wholesome-remember this is a rap song that actually encourages the use of condoms.
Play it all day every day and it will not lose an ounce of the excitement that surrounded its original release. At that time, it was a simple song that showed a producer and a rapper on the precipice of enormous change. In "G Thang" Dre created something both familiar and unknowable, an amalgamation that defies staleness, so that each time you break the seal on that bassline all that was old becomes new again.