17. The Format (prod. by DJ Premier)

I could probably start another blog that exclusively features beats by the legendary Preem, but I’ve tried quite hard not to feature a lot of them thus far. I had to cave in with this one though, which shows that he still has it after decades in the game. It may sound like simple, repetitive production, but it features some unreal scratching with not 1, not 2, but 3 samples right after one another on the hook: Method Man & Redman’s “Part II,” Little Vic’s “The Exorcist,” and Hasstyle, Guru, & Selena Cerron’s “Gotta Have You!” Few words to describe DJ Premier’s genius. If that’s not breathtaking already, the track is complemented with the smoothest of flows from AZ, who is very under-appreciated as a rapper in my opinion. It’s easy to forget that he was, after all, the only feature on one of the most iconic rap albums to date (Nas’ Illmatic).

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