13. The Lady Of Rage "Afro Puffs" (1994)
Producer: Dr. Dre
Album: Above The Rim: The Soundtrack
Label: Interscope, Death Row Records, The Atlantic Group
In the early 1970s Ebony would run advertisements for afro puffs in the back of the magazine, next to other extinct wig models like the "Soul Wig" and "Lionessshaggy." They were the perfect symbol of the wild style and individualism of the Blaxploitation era, which was one of Dre's principle sources of inspiration during the Death Row era.
In the same way that Dre's Funkadelic obsession became an emblem for "Let Me Ride" and Snoop's Seventies-style blowout became a new symbol of ghetto bravura in the video for "Gin & Juice," The Lady of Rage's "Afro Puffs" connected black America's ill history to an even iller future.
For the beat, Dre utilized two Johnny Guitar Watson samples, amplifying an already-potent level of immoral majesty. The result was a historical funk tune, thick and murky. In the middle of it all was the Lady of Rage, rocking rough and stuff. In this moment, there was no one in rap—male or female—more large and in charge.