Label: Chrysalis

Ironically, it was a transplant from Boston who created one of hip-hop's foremost salutes to Brooklyn. Gang Starr's "The Place Where We Dwell" was as much a borough map as it was a song, introducing hip-hop fans the world over to the city geography in two and a half quick minutes. Over a sample of Stetsasonic's "Go Stetsa"—the origin of the shouted "Brooklyn" chant synched in the background—and a Cannonball Adderly drum break, Guru acted as a guided tour to the parts of BK most tourists avoided: "Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, Brownsville/Crown Heights and East New York will be down til..." He celebrates the borough's history, heritage ("Brooklyn is the home of cultural awareness"), women ("the take-no-bullshit hotties"), and graciously invites visitors not to fear: "Don't be afraid to venture over the bridge/although you may run into some wild-ass kids." OK, so much of Brooklyn might not have the intimidating reputation that it did in the early '90s. But "The Place Where We Dwell" offers a postcard from a time and place that captures the pride it engendered, even in former residents of Massachusetts. —David Drake