VIBE’s Editors Share 44 Of Their Favorite Hip Hop Moments

Hip-hop’s official birthday (Aug. 11) has left us feeling thankful.

After all, where would we be if not for the albums, images and moments that helped create a culture the masses can’t get enough of? On top of hitting it’s 44th year in existence (although historians would debate this), hip-hop has cemented its place in history for birthing legends like Rakim, JAY-Z, Nas, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G. and MC Lyte to Hollywood’s elite like Will Smith, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Common and many more. Providing a blueprint for storytelling in the projects in the Bronx to the streets of Compton has allowed us to grow up with a genre that has gotten better with time.

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While it’s hard to narrow down our favorites, we gave it a shot. In no particular order, take a look at the VIBE staff’s personal as well as monumental moments attributed to hip-hop.


Datwon Thomas | Editor in Chief | Coolest Living Dinosaur

44. Going to my first concert at the Apollo. Biz Markie, Kwame, EPMD and Redhead and the F.B.I. performed.

43. Recreating  the “Great Day In Harlem” photograph for XXL.


42. Breakdancing for money and later battling my best friend (I lost).

41. Being on stage with Jay Z & Kanye West in 2011.

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40. Helping out at the DJ battle between X-Men and The Invisibl Skratch Piklz.

39. The release of Illmatic.

38. Hearing good kid, m.A.A.d city in full on an Amtrak ride to Howard University.


Marjua Estevez | Senior Editor | Feels Whisperer

37. Discovering writing through Hip-hop, because it eventually introduced me to poetry.

36. Big Pun becoming the first Latino rapper to have an album certified platinum as a solo act.


35. One of the greatest love songs ever, Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By.”

34. JAY-Z and Nas’ beef (Nas reigned supreme, hands own).

33. Alicia Keys for me embodied Hip-hop through an R&B lens.

44th Annual Grammy Awards - Show Part II
CREDIT: Getty Images

32. Hip-hop giving birth to a new generation of politicians, poets, journalists, educators, professors, filmmakers and artists.

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31. “Ladies Night Anthem.”

Mikey Fresh | Music Editor | Purveyor Of Cholula Hot Sauces

30. When Naughty By Nature filmed their “Feel Me Flow” video with a bunch of snowboarders.

29. When Jin became the first Asian-American to be inducted in the Freestyle Friday Hall of Fame, which earned him a deal with Ruff Ryders.

CREDIT: Getty Images

28. That time Rage Against The Machine toured with Wu-Tang.

Camille Augustin | Associate Editor | Silent Assassin

27. Helping out with the J. Cole & Nas 2013 VIBE cover and getting Nas lunch (I almost “Let Nas Down”).


26. Watching Rap City: Tha Basement Freestyles.

25. Looking forward to each G.O.O.D Friday release.

24. Hearing Young Jeezy’s “My President Is Black” after Obama won the ’08 election.

23. Wishing I had a pair of S. Carter sneakers in junior High School, especially the black and pink version.


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22. TDE’s Cypher At The 2013 BET Awards.

Desire Thompson | Associate News Editor | Bronx Girl

21. Kool Herc DJing the Bronx Ten Mile I ran in 2015.

20. Listening to my first hip-hop album at 11; Warren G’s debut album, Regulate…G Funk Era.

CREDIT: Wikipedia

19. Swag surfin for the first time.

18. Sharing adoption stories with King DMC at a hip-hop health benefit show.

17. Knowing all the words to Nicki Minaj’s “Itty Bitty Piggy.”

16. Having all of the DJ Ty Boogie and Kay Slay mixtapes from the neighborhood bootleg man.

15. Deciphering hidden messages in BET’s Videolink series.

14. Watching the world premiere of Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” at Times Square and later chanting “Alright” at a Black Lives Matter march.

13. Busta Rhymes’ “Scenario” verse.

Pedro Pincay | Social Media Assistant | Nickname Avoider

12.When trigger fingers turned into twitter fingers (Drake vs. Meek Mill).


11. Frank Ocean made us wait 4 years for two timeless albums.

10. With The Smoke Part 1 (Swizz vs. Just Blaze).

9. Lenny S. Pins Pedroski (Lenny Santiago gives me the Roc-A-Fella pin off his hat).

9. Obama bringing the Hip-hop Avengers to the White House.

CREDIT: Instagram

7. Never forget, J. Cole goes double platinum twice with no features.

6. Being at the 40/40 Club when 4:44 dropped.

Darryl Robertson | Contributing Editor | Resident Book Man

5. Watching Krush Groove for the first time.

4. When Wu-Tang dropped Wu-Tang Forever.


3. Reading Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.


2. JAY-Z’s induction into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

1. Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse

Tell us your faves in the comments below.

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