8. GZA "Gold"
One of the GZA's hardest street cuts, "Gold" was dense and detailed, a gritty real crime story that utilized all his writerly gifts to transmit a sense of primal urgency. He doesn't want gold, he needs it. The glory of that first verse is all in the specifics, from the blunt fires to the bums, wired, from the way the characters wait until the train rolls overhead to shoot their victim. The second verse is about mythos, the epic stories of drug lords implied rather than expressed explicitly. What GZA does best is give perspective, from the smallest events of the foot soldiers to the major players at the top.