Like scrimshaw, sand castles, and Haitian ice sculpture, the hip-hop skit is a lost art. Born in the late '80s, the tradition of dramatic album cuts flourished throughout the '90s. Some skits were humorous, some horrific, others corny or just plan ridiculous. At their height, skits were mandatory on any hip-hop LP worth its weight. But in recent years they’ve lost favor amongst many rappers, who seem content to clutter up their mixtapes with rambling boasts. In the mp3 era, skits have become an afterthought. And that’s a shame.

When we speak of skits, we’re not just talking about a basic intro, outro, or interlude. Skits don’t just fill the space, they set the mood and flip the script with expert acting and evocative sound effects. Some of them even sound like mini-songs complete with beats of their own, but one thing remains the same: Whether they’re answering machine vignettes, street sagas, manic monologues, or X-rated groupie stunts, good hip-hop skits are like little cinematic masterpieces for your mind.

At their best, skits are creative extensions of rappers' personalities, memorable moments full of comedy, tragedy—or a little bit of both. In fact rap could use a skit renaissance, and we’re trying to jump-start it right about now. (We do this for our culture.) So without further ado, Complex presents The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Skits Of All Time. And if you're still fiending for more, check our folks over at Egotripland...

Written by Gabriel Alvarez (of @egotripland)