A good beat will stand the test of time; a great beat will transcend it and catapult the listener to the exact moment and place where they first heard it. From hip-hop's humble Bronx beginnings to the global phenomenon it is today, the genre and the way rap music is made has continuously evolved.

Back in the day, it took the ingenious inventions of pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizzard Theodore and DJ Kool Herc to craft a beat for an MC to ride. As a kid, Flash would spend hours dissecting TVs, radios, cassette decks and stereo receivers he'd unearthed from a local junkyard. It's this curiosity that eventually led him to coining the "quick-mix theory," now one of the most commonly used DJing techniques in turntablism. But with the advent of the internet, making a beat is as simple as pulling up a program and pressing a few buttons. However, to create a beat that will cut through the inevitable noise takes a special touch.

With 50 years of hip-hop being celebrated over the last 10 months, it's only right to highlight 50 of the greatest hip-hop beats crafted across five decades of the genre. Among them is the unmistakeable opening bass line from A Tribe Called Quest’s "Scenario," the late, great J Dilla’s subtle use of Quincy Jones’ "Summer in the City" for The Pharcyde’s "Passin’ Me By," the infectious thump of Kendrick Lamar’s "Humble." and raucous roar of Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode." While hip-hop may always transform, one thing's for certain: the beat goes on. Check out 50 of the greatest hip-hop beats, in no particular order, below.

  • "The Message"

    Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

    Produced by Duke Bootee and Sylvia Robinson.

  • "Top Billin'"

    Audio Two

    Produced by Daddy-O and Audio Two.

  • "Deep Cover"

    Dr. Dre

    Produced by Dr. Dre.

  • “93 Til Infinity”

    Souls of Mischief

    Produced by Domino, Del the Funky Homosapien A Plus, Casual and Jay Biz.

  • "Shook Ones Part 2"

    Mobb Deep

    Produced by Havoc.

  • “Still Tippin’”

    Mike Jones featuring Slim Thug and Paul Wall

    Produced by Salih Williams.

  • “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”


    Produced by Timbaland.

  • “Through the Wire”

    Kanye West

    Produced by Kanye West.

  • "I Really Mean It"


    Produced by Just Blaze.

  • “C.R.E.A.M.”

    Wu-Tang Clan

    Produced by RZA.

  • “Pound Cake”


    Produced by Murda Beatz.

  • “Dollaz + Sense”

    DJ Quik

    Produced by DJ Quik, G-One and Robert Bacon.

  • “Luchini”

    Camp Lo

    Produced by Ski.

  • “Elevator (Me & You)”


    Produced by OutKast.

  • "Stay Fly"

    Three 6 Mafia featuring 8Ball & MJG and Young Buck

    Produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J.

  • "Day ‘N’ Nite"

    Kid Cudi

    Produced by Dot Da Genius and Kid Cudi.

  • "March Madness"


    Produced by Tarentino.

  • “It Was a Good Day"

    Ice Cube

    Produced by Ice Cube.

  • “All About the Benjamins”

    Puff Daddy featuring The Lox and Lil' Kim

    Produced by D-Dot.

  • "Dreams and Nightmares"

    Meek Mill

    Produced by Tone the Beat Bully.

  • “Swagga Like Us”

    T.I. and Jay-Z featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne

    Produced by Kanye West.

  • “Faneto”

    Chief Keef

    Produced by Chief Keef.

  • “Got Five On It”


    Produced by Tone Capone.

  • "Grindin'"


    Produced by The Neptunes.

  • "Bad and Boujee"

    Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert

    Produced by Metro Boomin.

  • “Ruff Ryders Anthem”


    Produced by Swizz Beatz.

  • "Get Low"

    Lil Jon

    Produced by Lil Jon.

  • “Drop It Like It’s Hot”

    Snoop Dogg

    Produced by The Neptunes.

  • "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)"

    Pete Rock and CL Smooth

    Produced by Pete Rock.

  • “Ready or Not”


    Produced by Fugees and Jerry Wonda.

  • “N***as In Paris”

    Kanye West and Jay-Z

    Produced by Kanye West, Mike Dean, Hit-Boy and Anthony Kilhoffer.

  • “Work It”

    Missy Elliott

    Produced by Timbaland.

  • "Humble."

    Kendrick Lamar

    Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It and Pluss.

  • "Magnolia”

    Playboi Carti

    Produced by Pi’erre Bourne.

  • “Move Bitch”


    Produced by KLC.

  • "Passin Me By"

    The Pharcyde

    Produced by J Dilla.

  • “Look at Me”


    Produced by Rojas and Jimmy Duval.

  • "In Da Club"

    Produced by Dr. Dre with co-production by Mike Elizondo.

  • “Sicko Mode”

    Travis Scott featuring Drake

    Produced by Rogét Chahayed, Hit-Boy, Oz, Cubeatz, Tay Keith and Mike Dean.

  • “Lean Back”

    Terror Squad featuring Fat Joe and Remy Ma

    Produced by Scott Storch.

  • “A Milli”

    Lil Wayne

    Produced by Bangladesh.

  • "Flava in Ya Ear"

    Craig Mack

    Produced by Easy Mo Bee.

  • "Made You Look"


    Produced by Salaam Remi.

  • "The Box"

    Roddy Ricch

    Produced by 30 Roc.

  • "Hard in Da Paint"

    Waka Flocka Flame

    Produced by Lex Luger.

  • “Still D.R.E.”

    Dr. Dre

    Produced by Dr. Dre.

  • "Mass Appeal"

    Gang Starr

    Produced by DJ Premier.

  • "Who Shot Ya"

    The Notorious B.I.G.

    Produced by Puff Daddy with co-production by Nashiem Myrick.

  • "Victory"

    Puff Daddy featuring The Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes

    Produced by Puff Daddy, Stevie J and the Hitmen.

  • "Scenario"

    A Tribe Called Quest

    Produced by A Tribe Called Quest.

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