The 8 Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time

Hip hop music has been around for 30 years now, and during this time there have been many artists to produce amazing songs. But, some of those songs have stuck in our minds and still make us get up and dance and sing along when we hear them. We salute those who have given us musical talent so remarkable to make us melt when we hear their song.

The top 8 hip hop songs ever are (in no particular order):

1. ‘It was a good Day’ -Ice Cube

From the beat to the lyrics this is that feel good song that instantly relieves all of the stress of the day. We can all relate to the song, and no matter how many times it is played it is still that sound you bob your head to.

2. ‘Children’s Story’ -Slick Rick

You can’t talk about hip hop without talking about Slick Rick, one of the greatest performers in this genre. This song has that flowing beat and lyrics that get stuck in your mind every time. Anyone who knows hip hop knows this jam.

3. ‘Juicy’ -Biggie Smalls

This song started a new era in rap music as it is the song that made Big Poppa what he still is to the world today, even 10+ years after he was shot to death. Juicy said it was all a dream and this song provided inspiration and feel good vibes to every single person who listened to it.

4. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ -NWA

Straight Outta Compton is one of the most popular rap songs of all times. It is also responsible for the West Coast gangster rap movement that changed the lives of countless individuals. Straight Outta Compton details the life out on the streets of one of the state’s most dangerous cities with hardcore rapper Eazy-E on the vocals.

5. ‘Rapper’s Delight’ – The Sugar Hill Gang

Hip hop, hippty hop… He’s rapping to the beat just trying to move your feet. Most people know every single word to this classic song. This was one of the world’s first introductions to the musical genre, and an impressive one that it was.

6. ‘Push It’ -Salt N- Pepa

Released in 1986, Push It was a hit for the trio of rappers. This is a sassy joint that made it to dance charts and still today rocks the body and the party.

7. ‘Hypnotize’ -Biggie Smalls

The legendary rapper tops the top 10 list once again with this song, reaching number one just one week after the rappers death. This quick-witted, funny song with the quirky beat feels good to listen to. It also started an eruption of love, tears and celebration of life at Biggie’s funeral on his way to be laid to rest on the streets of Brooklyn.

8. ‘Hard Knock Life’ -Jay Z

Jay-Z is a musical god, as he proved back in 1998 with Hard Knock Life, a song sampling Annie in the chorus. Jay raps about living that hard knock life, a real song that most of us can feel at some level.

Rap music is a part of us, a part of our soul. There are thousands of amazing songs out there in this genre, with musical talent from around the world. There is nothing quite like hip hop music when the sounds hit you.

When you’re ready to get that southern hip hop flavor in your ear, make your way to Hip Hop in Nashville. The city is known as Music City USA but don’t assume this is only country music. There’s a lot of great talent waiting to be discovered in the city, and here’s your chance to experience it for yourself.

The Guitarist’s Quest for Absolute Zero

While this article is entitled ‘The Guitarist’s Quest for Absolute Zero’, you could just as easily substitute musician, artist, or even just human being for guitarist. A scientist will tell you there is no such thing as cold. Scientifically, cold is defined as the measurement of the absence of heat. Absolute zero is a scientific term that is defined as the absence of all heat. Scientists strive to create absolute zero conditions in the laboratory so they can study the effect, or impact, on the ordinary laws of physics. Interestingly, what they have found is that the ordinary laws of physics tend to break down, and things tend to start getting smeared together. I do not doubt that many future, beneficial discoveries will come from this ‘absolute zero’ research. However, right now, we can benefit by taking this absolute zero process, and extending it to think about the human learning and creative process.

Before we go a little farther, I want to add a few more illustrations. When I was in graduate school, I remember reading about a scientist who had been studying his advanced field for many years. One day, it dawned on him. He realized he could summarize everything he had been studying for all of those years, into about 3 or 4 main points onto the back of a letter envelope. Chuck Yeager was a famous test pilot. He was one of the first pilots to fly faster than the speed of sound. It was not a job for the faint hearted. When the plane approached the speed of sound, the plane started violently shaking. Yeager was not sure what would happen, when the plane hit and then passed the speed of sound. Well, once the plane was flying faster than the speed of sound, the vibrations stopped and the ride was very smooth. Lastly, is the illustration of the roller coaster. Nearly every roller coaster as a very slow, steep climb up to its highest point. Then to the delight (or horror) of its riders, it plunges speedily down the tracks on the other side.

Okay, at this point, you may be scratching your head wondering where I am going with all this. In the context of this discussion, I define absolute zero as the point where a person’s knowledge, training, and experience come together, or converge, and allow this individual to freely create something unhindered by limitations of knowledge, technique (physically playing the instrument), understanding, or practically anything. I think this can be applied to any field, but we will limit it to music. Beethoven is the best example of the mental portion of this concept. He completed his last symphony, in his head, when he was deaf. For my money, no guitarist came closer to reaching absolute zero than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix had such a mastery of the guitar that he was able to use it as a vehicle for freedom of expression for what was in his mind and soul.

Let’s start connecting the dots. To do that I want to take you back to the illustration of the roller coaster slowly creeping up the steep incline, and the scientist who had been studying his field for years. When Paul McCartney first saw Jimi Hendrix play guitar, he commented that wow, that guy sure knows his way around the guitar. If you are a guitarist on a quest for absolute zero, the first step is for you to ‘know your way around the guitar’. Books have been written about this subject. It would take more than one lifetime to read all of the information available today on the Internet about the guitar. The guitar is a vast ocean and you will have to find your own way. There is no one right way to go. Steve Howe, the phenomenal guitar player for Yes does not read music. Listen to guitar players you like and find out what they are doing, and imitate them. You will need to put in a lot of time and effort in order to build a solid foundation of experience, knowledge, and technique.

Now here’s where things go into warp drive. This is where Dr. Frankenstein rubs his hands together and cranks his lightening rod up into the sky. This is where the letter carrier and the pit bull share a communal moment of silence when they both realize the pit bull’s chain just broke (but wait, that’s another story… ) In the roller coaster, it’s where you have reached the top and start plunging down the other side. For Chuck Yeager, it’s where the test flight that is violently shaking surpasses the speed of sound, and the flight becomes as smooth as glass. In absolute zero, this is where things get smeared together.

I remember laughing out loud when I listened to jazz guitar great Joe Pass explain that his chord progression was really quite simple. I laughed because I could see the truth and the contradiction. The underlying thread of the chord progressions was quite simple, but Joe’s use of substitution chords layered on top of that simple thread was not what I could call simple. The complex and the simple smeared together. I am still working on the finger roll technique. For me, it is physically difficult to play up to speed. Guitarist Al Petteway can play finger rolls quite easily. The fact is, finger rolls can not be played properly, unless you get to the point where you can play them easy and effortlessly. Do you see the pattern? The extremely difficult must become extremely easy. Smeared together. Absolute zero.

Let’s go back to Hendrix. When Hendrix started learning guitar he sounded out parts to old blues records that his father had. This became a part of Hendrix’s musical personality. He also intently studied the playing styles of Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper. So as experimental as Hendrix became with his music, these elements were often present. Again we have this smearing together. In this example, it is the old with the new.

In the laboratory, scientists have found normal physical laws start to break down when the temperature approaches absolute zero. In the musical world, the same thing happens. This is where knowledge and factoids become translated into human emotions and feelings. This is where scales, chords and arpeggios cease to be plunked-out in mindless regurgitation, and become beautiful music. This is where the guitarist (musician, artist, human being) has reached absolute zero.

Charlie Parker, a saxophone jazz legend. was nicknamed ‘Bird’ because he was completely unrestrained in his musical ability to express himself. Charlie Parker was well acquainted with the concept of absolute zero, although he did not express it in those terms. Parker said, “You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then you practice, practice, practice. And then when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail”.

Music Students and Their Levels of Ability

PUPILS – LEVELS OF ABILITY

Music teachers often generate credulity when they are fortunate enough to produce a talented and successful pupil. I believe that it often takes more teaching skill to coach less talented ones although making manifestly less spectacular progress but with at least as much effort (and often a great deal more) on the part of pupil and teacher.

THE LESS THAN AVERAGE PUPIL

For the less gifted and ones with learning difficulties it is important to correctly estimate their true potential as far as possible. The teacher needs special qualities of understanding and much patience. The pupil must be set achievable goals and given much commendation and encouragement for their efforts, even for relatively little progress.

I have found it useful to write down for them an outline of the lesson in their notebook, explaining clearly the work set for the week ahead – often just a few bars and a little theory. I try hard to target areas of strength to promote in them a feeling of self-worth, this obviously helps their confidence. Weaknesses can be worked on and overcome very gradually. I often use very simple primers because this can give a slow learner the feeling they are moving along at a reasonably normal rate.

I also sometimes monitor progress by keeping detailed notes of responses to various teaching techniques, always commending their relatively minor successes – this is crucial because under-average achievers can often be under-estimated as regards work-rate. I try also try to instil good practise and study habits, ensuring that this is clearly understood because much valuable time can be wasted by pupils practising, but not producing the best possible results. (See my article on Practicing)

Pupils considered on the dull side, who have a real desire to play can progress further than average ones who are indifferent. Desire can be the key to success, and of course a good teacher can help instil this through motivation, inspiration, and of course by practical demonstration and verbal encouragement.

THE AVERAGE PUPIL (if such a thing exists)

The average child usually has lots of other competing interests – sports, arts, dance, other musical instruments, computers etc. Some activities bring instant rewards for little effort. All this coupled with the usual school and peer pressures, exams, bullying, stress as a result of family problems etc. all these problems necessitate the modern music teacher to learn to develop good interaction with students in order to maintain interest and detect hidden obstacles that can impair progress.

The average pupil certainly needs motivation. I have found that once children have an exam or recital date in mind their practise schedule assumes a higher priority and progress often suddenly ensues as time presses nearer.

Unfortunately, many children today, seem to be becoming adversely affected by increased school exam pressures, especially teenagers who are also wrestling with all the usual problems of adolescence.

TALENTED

I have only only ever encountered a handful of prodigiously talented pupils so I feel unqualified to comment on how a teacher should handle this fortunate and privileged species. However, pupils with natural ability in certain areas such the ability to pick simple tunes out on the piano and/or possessing a natural sense of rhythm, still need encouragement in different ways.

They need to be aware that the novelty of their ability, unless developed, will become less impressive to their family and peers as time goes by. I recently reminded a lad who also had an interest in football that unless ‘Gazza’ (or if it had been today, maybe David Beckham) maintains self discipline and diligently practised the sporting equivalent of SCALES and ARPEGGIOS then all the talent and ability in the world wouldn’t be enough to get him to the world cup, or to perform with distinction. This kind of psychology (especially when born out in real life) can have the most powerful effect.

Unfortunately natural ability isn’t always coupled with a genuine desire to play well or even a deep love of music. If this can be cultivated then sometimes the need arises to attempt to convince one that regular practise and study can lead to a greatly enhanced lifetime of real fulfilment from music, or even a career in music.

The main problem seems to be the ease of progress enjoyed in the early stages in some, causes a later reluctance to work hard on technical studies which will bring real progress. Indeed many with natural musical talent often gravitate towards composition, arranging, production, computer music and areas such as these, whilst many who develop excellent performance skills will know that this talent can only be acquired as a result of much hard work.

Regardless of the level of ability of pupils, if a teacher can motivate enthusiasm and also extol the simple enjoyment of music then this alone in the long run can bring the best results.

SOME REAL LIFE EXAMPLES

I look for enthusiasm, not just ability. Good old fashioned plodders can occasionally eclipse a prima-donna who expects everything to arrive sugar-coated. I have personally observed many such cases.

The majority of my pupils have other family members also learning. This poses a variety of problems which have to be carefully dealt with.

Example 1:

A brother and sister started lessons together and although the lad was a little older, his sister progressed very quickly and achieved high honours passes in exams. Despite the neglect sometimes experienced by siblings whose headlights may be a little dimmer, this particular young man is still progressing well through the grades while his sister has long given up music and gone on to other pursuits.

Example 2:

One particular child is making lightning progress the like I have never seen before. Her younger sister who herself is above average became very upset at the amount of attention heaped upon her sister. These situations call for very delicate handling skills.

Example 3:

One very average girl struggled for years with rhythm and pitch problems but always worked hard and achieved good exam results. I never remotely could have predicted that she would go beyond Grade 8 and at 17yrs. had gained a professional teaching post with a global music corporation. Ten years later she has never looked back. Never give up on a ‘trier’ or a ‘plodder’, they nearly always get there in the end.

Example 4:

Yet another pair of sisters who started together had problems when the 6 year old grasped the mathematics of note and rest values far quicker than her 8 year old sister. I am currently wrestling with the problem of convincing the older girl how she is just as clever in practical ways, and of course there is the gentle and subtle art of commending them equally in front of Mum and Dad.

Example 5:

Unfortunately there is dangerous attitude currently developing amongst some boys believing academic or artistic achievement is ‘uncool’. Boys are often teased unmercifully by their peers and sadly sometimes give up as a result. I discovered with two lads in particular that by teaching them to play tunes by ‘Oasis’ and other ‘pop-stars’ they suddenly cease to be considered ‘cissies’ by their mates and even take on ‘hero’ status.

Example 6:

A music teacher recently contacted me and asked if I would be prepared to take on a pupil who she had decided to let go. This ten year old boy had been unsuccessful three times at Grade 1 (keyboard). On meeting the lad with his parents I was struck by his pleasant manner, intelligence and quiet determination. He played quite well but had serious timing difficulties.

I was currently entering candidates for the next session and he persuaded me to enter him for another try, even though we only had a couple of months to make the necessary improvements. During one of his lessons I casually ask if he had any other interests.. He enthusiastically replied “High-jumping – I’m the best in school”. Thereafter we drew a symbol of a high-jump above the pieces he found most difficult using metronome speeds instead of height measurements.

Starting at very slow speeds he had to play perfectly in order to ‘clear the bar’ and qualify for the next height. We would then rub out the line (drawn in pencil) and draw the next one. On reaching the recommended speed he would be awarded an ‘Olympic Gold-Star’. He made astonishing progress and to everybody’s delight achieved an honours pass for Grade 1. He is now enjoying jazz and syncopation and making great progress through the grades and fortunately, his timing problems are a thing of the past. (Mark) eventually achieved grade 8!.

Now that is why teaching is the one of the most worthwhile professions.

Mel Stallwood is a music educator, pianist and author of the One-2-Five music theory E-tutor. He has spent many years playing back-up for many well known T.V. and recording artists.

Moving a Piano Without Wondering How Many Pieces It Will Arrive In

When you’re moving out, some items are typically more complicated to transport than others. This usually concerns large, bulky items – things like your couch, fridge, oven, as well as more unique items like a piano. Pianos in particular can be very tricky to move, especially more expensive and exquisite ones. You have to be very careful as even a small scratch can diminish the aesthetic appeal of the piano very badly – and then there’s the possibility for more serious problems, like dropping the piano and damaging its internal workings on a bad level.

Regular moving companies may or may not be able to handle a job like that – they mostly decide that on an individual basis. If you really care about your piano though, you should hire a company that specializes in this type of moving, and let them work things out professionally. There are moving companies that actually specialize entirely in moving pianos, and even though this might seem like a bit of a stretch, it’s a very useful type of service if you have an expensive/important piano.

This is particularly true if you live on a higher floor, in which case taking the piano down the stairs is pretty much impossible. Piano moving companies can provide various tools and special equipment, such as a heavy duty crane and protective harnesses in order to get the piano out through your window and safely load it onto a truck.

Insurance is another tricky topic when it comes to moving a piano, and another good reason to do it through a professional company that has a lot of experience in this field. An expensive piano is usually difficult to cover with a standard mover’s insurance policy, and a special insurance plan will have to be taken out for it. A good piano moving company should understand that and have readily available options for your insurance plan, although even in those cases you may sometimes need to make special arrangements to really make the insurance work for you. Pay special attention to things like the maximum covered value and any restrictions on piano models that might be in place.

If you’re moving out entirely – e.g. not just your piano but the entire home – you should take special precautions to schedule the piano movers’ visit so that it doesn’t interfere with the work of the regular movers. It doesn’t matter if your piano is coming out through the window while everything else is taken down by the stairs – workers can still get in each other’s ways pretty easily when it comes to a major moving job. Just make sure that one of the two crews arrives and does its job before the other – usually you’ll want this to be the piano moving company as they’ll have less work to do – and everything should be fine. And if possible, it’s a good idea to be present on the site to oversee the process and ensure that everyone does what they should instead of creating obstructions for the upcoming tasks.

You should definitely consider hiring a piano transport company in Mississauga if you need it in one piece at your new place. Click here to hire experienced people to move your piano.