Song: "Paul Revere" (1986)
Album: Licensed to Ill

One of the most perfect examples not just of how a story rap should start-and that referenced a long line of story raps before it-but of how comic storytelling can work. The Beastie Boys rewrote history on "Paul Revere," a story that has nothing to do with the actual Paul Revere's midnight ride except for the horse, who's named after the panicked American patriot. And that horse, of course, is used to stick up a town, do the sherrif's daughter (with a whiffle ball bat), and cause complete mayhem. Ad Rock's shouted opening was the kind of delivery that gripped listeners by the throat, a no-nonsense assertion that didn't just take to center stage but stole it, the main idea so perfectly conveyed: We've got some shit to say, and wow, are you in for a treat.