10 Great Rap Songs Ruined by Hip-Hop Nerds

Sorry, your overt enthusiasm is not appreciated.

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Image via Complex Original
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Let's get a few things straight. All the songs included on this list are great—hence the second word in the title. These are 100% certified classics, the kind of records revered by hip-hop worldwide.

We are neither deprecating nor defecating on these songs in any way, shape, or form. What we are doing, however, is making a case to let them be. Put them in the hall of fame. Hang their jerseys in the rafters, if you will. Not because we don't like these songs. But because too many hip-hop heads don't know how to act when these records come on.

We're talking about the people who start running around with little rap nerd boners. They gesticulate wildly, like, "Look at me, this is my jam!" They form little cyphers in the middle of the floor and lip synch the words, or worse, rap them out loud. It's like they need the world to know just how much they love these records, and they just can't seem to curb their enthusiasm.

Frankly, this behavior breaks the vibe and messes up the party. Let's save these songs for a special hip-hop head night. Until then, please chill out when you hear them.

Written by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)

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A Tribe Called Quest ‎"Scenario" (1992)

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Audio Two "Top Billin'" (1987)

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Album: What More Can I Say?
Producer: Daddy-O, Audio Two
Label: First Priority Music, Atlantic Records

We know the beat was used for Mary J. Blige's "Real Love." We know 50 Cent sampled the hook for "I Get Money." We know you rap nerds feel no guilt when you're bustin' up a party. But maybe you should. We're all very impressed that you memorized the lyrics and left lots of thoughtful comments on YouTube. This is not the time to tell us about them. We're in the club now. There are girls in here who want to dance, not hear you wanking about hip-hop trivia. Milk is chilling. Giz is chilling. What more can we say? Please stop.

Black Sheep ‎"The Choice Is Yours" (1991)

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Album: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Producer: Black Sheep
Label: Mercury Records, Polygram Records

Dres caught wreck on this one. It's easily one of the most enduring Native Tongues joints ever. And it would be cool to hear it almost any time—except when you're surrounded by a certain kind of "hip-hop head." You know the type: They're the ones who act all overexcited and annoying whenever the DJ drops a record their mans and them consider "classic." By the time it gets to "Engine engine number 9/On the New York transit line" there's sure to be some bozo jumping around like a demented dervish. Look at me! I'm a Black Sheep too! Real hip-hop forever!

(Full disclosure: White people also played a role in ruining this song, too.)

Digable Planets "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)" (1992)

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Album: Reachin (A New Refutation of Time and Space)
Producer: Butterfly, Shane Faber, Mike Mangini
Label: Pendulum Records, Elektra Records

Hip-hop! Jazz! Butterfly! Ladybug! Doodlebug! How cool is that? Way too cool, apparently. Like they said on the record: "Us flow a rush when the DJ's booming classics." Just not this classic. Because certain heads—you know who you are—are sure to start acting pretentious. Debates will break out about whether "real" hip-hop and "true" jazz can ever reach No. 15 on the pop charts. The whole thing will get extremely tiresome. Throw on a beret and smoke a clove cigarette. Hey DJ, play some Shabazz Palaces instead.

Doug E. Fresh & M.C. Ricky D "La Di Da Di" (1985)

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Album: N/A
Producer: Dennis Bell, Ollie Cotton
Label: Reality

One of the most sampled recordings in hip-hop history, "La Di Da Di" is like a holy scripture of rap. The B-side to "The Show" 12-inch single has come to eclipse the A-side over the years, and with good reason. Doug E. Fresh's stellar display of human beatboxing skills is the perfect complement to Slick Rick's ribald story-telling and B-Boy witticisms.

Dope though it may be, some records just can't be played in public anymore without inciting overzealous hip-hop heads to break out into riotous displays of nerdish abandon. Who cares if you can name every song that sampled this in alphabetical order? Do you really need to re-enact all of Doug E.'s beatbox sound effects with funny facial expressions and eyebrow arches? "Yo peep this!" No, thanks. We'll just listen to this on our headphones later.

Jay-Z f/ Foxy Brown "Ain't No Nigga" (1996)

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Album: Reasonable Doubt
Producer: Big Jaz
Label: Roc-A-Fella Records

We get it. We really do. It's a dope song. It's historically signficant. It's Jay-Z's first radio hit, the B-side to the "Dead Presidents" 12-inch featuring young Foxy Brown. It's built on a classic breakbeat, "Seven Minutes of Funk" by The Whole Darn Family. The same break used by EPMD on their first record, "It's My Thing." And when it comes on in the club you want to tell everybody all about it. Stop.

Jeru the Damaja "Come Clean" (1993)

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Album: The Sun Rises in the East
Producer: DJ Premier
Label: Full Frequency Range Records

A 1993 Premier beat is like a 1998 bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape—something to be treasured, savored, and remembered for years to come. There's no doubt that Jeru's breakthrough hit ranks right up there among the best Preemo beats ever. That reverberating sample of Shelly Manne's drums sounds like some sort of merciless Chinese water torture inflicting on fake gangsta MCs.

Add Jeru's "freaky freaky freaky freaky flow" and you've got four of the greatest minutes of hip-hop ever committed to wax. Too bad it makes all those rap nerds start huddling up and flailing wildly like they're a bunch of Five Percenters doing the knowledge. OK guys. We get it. Enough.

LL Cool J "Mama Said Knock You Out" (1990)

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Album: Mama Said Knock You Out
Producer: Marley Marl, Bobby "Bobcat" Ervin
Label: Def Jam Records

LL's been here for years—and so has this song. When we heard it back in 1991, his aggro flow over a Marley Marl beat was like a jolt of electricity, a shot in the arm for one of hip-hop's great pioneers. When we hear it in 2012 we start gritting our teeth, hoping nobody is going to start the same old tired debates-whether Todd James peaked with his debut, what "Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag" really means, if he jerked Canibus by re-recording his verse, and who really is the G.O.A.T.?

All of these points will be argued while mimicking L.L.'s boxing ring video moves. Ding ding. Standing eight. TKO. Let's call this one off before somebody gets hurt for real. And please don't call it a comeback.

M.O.P. "How About Some Hardcore" (1994)

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Nas "Got Ur Self A..." (2001)

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Album: Stillmatic
Producer: Megahertz
Label: Ill Will Records, Columbia Records

Remember the great Jay-Z vs. Nas battle? Of course you do. How could you forget hip-hop's last great epic conflict of lyrical giants. The Summer Jam screen. "Supa Ugly." "Ether." "Takeover." Hip-hop heads love to hear the story again and again. And they debate the merits of each record over and over. Point/counterpoint. Blow for blow. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum. Until it's not that much fun anymore.

One of the songs that came out during this era and was unrelated to the beef was Nas' "Got Ur Self A..." With rap fans picking sides, people were rallying behind singles from Stillmatic with an unprecedented excitement. That energy was nice at first, but over 10 years later, it's caused "Got Ur Self A..." to sound overexposed and what was once an awesome hook now sounds like cheesy radio promo.

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