Invented by the jazz critics of the 1950s (if you think blog readers are thirsty today, check out back issues of Downbeat from 1956); perfected by the staff of ego trip in the 1990s; and currently practiced by the team here at, lists have long been an inextricable part of the hip-hop experience.

Now more than ever, lists are the rap culture's sole means of digesting a world dominated by a daily hailstorm of facts, figures, and files. We make them because we need them; we hate them because we can't escape them. From the obligatory GOAT questionnaire or Top 5 debates to increasingly convoluted year-end roundups, lists are not only a reflection of the splendid dissent within the nation; they are the tool we use to prevent any inkling of stultifying consensus.