The intro song on an album is beyond essential when it comes to hip-hop. With the short attention span that most of us millennials have, the first track can determine rather we want to keep listening in the car, or snatch back the aux cord from whoever was granted that honor. This is especially true now that everyone has access to millions of songs at all times with streaming services like Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, etc. With this being said, hip-hop has provided us with some album intros that are so dope that you wish the entire album sounded just like it.
Here is a list of my personal favorites. My criteria.......they have to give me this face when they come on.
Meek Mill - Dreams And Nightmares (Intro)
Though some people can’t get over Meek Mill’s past "beef" (the one versus the rapper/singer from Canada), he undeniably makes some of the best quality hype music around. Meek is my go-to artist when I'm in the gym. I need someone yelling in my ear telling me to go harder! As I digress, I’ve never seen a club react to an album intro the way I witness individuals do when Dreams and Nightmares comes on. This is one of the few intros to release in recent years where people know EVERY, SINGLE, WORD. The build up of this song is legendary to say the least. One of the best beat drops ever! There is no comparison to “HOLD ON WAIT A MINUTE, Y’ALL THOUGHT I WAS FINISHED”. This album intro will forever be a staple in Meek Mill’s career.
LL Cool J - Rock The Bells
“LL Cool J is hard as hell! Battle anybody I don’t care who you tell. I excel, they all fail!” Play this joint around old heads and watch the reaction! Earlier this year I was at the God Rakim’s concert in San Diego and the DJ played this joint. People screamed these lyrics like they were LL themselves. Seeing that it came out before I was born, I can only imagine it’s impact when it was released! Though LL is most notably known for being a sex-symbol with women, his mushy songs like "I Need Love", and acting, many forget that he was one of the first rappers to really spit hardcore in-your-face rhymes. He also had the best delivery amongst his peers. This is a classic record by one of the greatest hip-hop icons to touch a mic.
50 Cent - What Up Gangsta
50 Cents introduction into the rap industry is probably the biggest that I’ve ever witnessed. You couldn’t walk down the street, turn on your television, or enter any function without hearing a song from 50 when he dropped. His debut album "Get Rich or Die Trying" was/is incredible, and the album's intro slaps you in the face IMMEDIATELY. “G-Unit, WHAT, We in hear, WHAT. We can get the drama poppin’ we don’t care.. BLAH BLAH BLAH”. This track is so hard that I duck every time it comes on. This song's menacing lyrics laced on top of the tracks aggressive beat made this song embody everything 50 Cent represented during the early 2000’s.
Kanye West - We Don't Care
This intro is dope on so many levels. We Don’t Care truly set the tone for one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time (Click here for my list) "College Dropout". Let’s just break down the chorus. After the introduction skit of a high-school teacher asking Kanye to make a graduation song for the kids to sing, it begins with Ye sarcastically rapping “Drug dealing just to get by, stack ya money til' it gets sky high”. This attention grabbing line is followed by kids reciting one of the realest lines ever, “we weren’t supposed to make it past 25, jokes on you we still alive”. This line speaks volumes for the black experience and survival here in America. With the number of things working against black men and women in our society, to say that we weren’t set-up to survive in this country (let alone thrive) is an understatement. This track echoes these struggles and triumphs in a very unique and introspective way. It embodies what hip-hop is all about.
2pac - Ambitionz Az A Ridah
Last but certainly not least, is my personal favorite! There simply is nothing more epic than hearing “I won’t deny it, I’m a straight ridah… DUN DUN DUN DUN”. With “All Eyez On Me” being one of the most anticipated albums of all time, Pac definitely delivered with this double disc album’s intro! The dark and hard hitting beat, topped with 2pac rapping about all of his current controversy, made for one of the hardest hip-hop songs EVER. The intros most memorable content is Pac touching on him surviving an ambushed robbery in New York that left him hospitalized with 5 bullet wounds. Lyrics such as “they blasted me, but they didn’t finish. Didn’t diminish my powers, and now I’m back to be a mother******* menace", took this song to another level. Instead of talking from the perspective of a victim, Pac chose to take that of a survivor. This entire song screams "you tried to take me out, but couldn't stop me". The lyrics on this track give a feeling like no other before or after it, and it single-handedly defines 2pac’s persona with Death Row Records.
These are my all time favorite album intros. Comment yours below & share!