Album: Illadelph Halflife

When Big Pun released his street single “Toe to Toe” alongside his buddy Cuban Link in 2000, it reminded of my of why I loved “Clones” so much. The beat interludes provided by a Quincy Jones’ “Summer in the City” sample before respective verses is the stuff of legends, highlighting the Roots astonishing ear for production. “Clones” it’s one of the illest beats ever constructed and M.A.R.S., Black Thought, Dice Raw, and Malik B. go in, leaving sucka MCs in their wake. When people ask for a real hip-hop song, play this track and we guarantee they'll instantly fall in love with the genre. Each rapper had memorable lines and drop jewels, with an emphasis on M.A.R.S.’ verse. From the “I hate gettin locked up, cause that upstate bus reminds me of the slave ships” line to the “I try to tell ya, don't let these streets fuckin' fail ya, the way niggas be gettin' clapped shit'll fuckin' scare ya” one, his bars have saved lives since the song’s release in ‘96. —Angel Diaz