Album: The Big Picture (1974-1999)
Label: Rawkus

No music captures New York's famous grittiness like rap. Despite his Texan roots, DJ Premier excelled in achieving that dirty, dangerous feel of an empty NYC subway station late at night. So it made sense getting warriors of the concrete jungle like Big L and Fat Joe to lace the beat on "The Enemy." The beat sounds like watching old black and white footage of police lights flashing. Which makes all the more sense since L and Joe take the police (or "Columbo" as L hilariously refers to one of them) to task for racial profiling. This is vintage Premo, before he polished up his sound, when his beats were still as raw as a stab wound. —Insanul Ahmed