9. De La Soul "Breakadawn" (1993)
Producer: De La Soul & Prince Paul
Album: Buhloone Mindstate
Label: Tommy Boy/Warner Bros.
"Breakadawn" is one of De La Soul's most beautiful, elaborate songs; one gets the feeling that they were listening to a lot of Pete Rock & CL Smooth while recording Buhloone Mind State. The pairing of the Michael Jackson and Smokey Robinson samples is so classy and ingenious that it seems almost obvious from the perspective afforded by hindsight. After the group put their D.A.I.S.Y. image to rest with De La Soul Is Dead, nobody knew what to expect from their third album.
When it hit the airwaves, it was clear that the trio was intent on developing their sound without conceding to any prevailing trends. "Breakadawn" was a gem amidst a sea of Onyx impersonators with shouted choruses and nondescript attempts at "grimy" rapping, and it remains a fan favorite to this very day. Pos and Dave ride the beat like consummate professionals with flows so good you won't even notice that you barely have any idea what they're talking about.