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I tried to think of hip-hop song that I got sick of hearing as a kid or was permanently damaged for me by repetitive playing by DJs. I can't really think of any. Hip-Hop, in my youth, wasn't really acknowledged the way Zepplin was in its hey-day. A good portion of black radio dedicated itself to keeping it off the air--stations would literally advertise themselves as "no rap." In Baltimore during the 80s, you'd sometimes have to wait till after ten at night to hear hip-hop. I can't ever remember hearing a single Boogie Down Productions song on the radio until I'd gone off to college.


The closest sub-genre I could think of were songs that stayed in heavy rotation at the parties. I don't really hate those joints either, though, because they all remind of, well, parties. I thought about "The Benjamins" but all I remember is being drunk on New Year's on a packed dance-floor, mashed up against a girl I didn't know. I've seen worse. 

I think, with much reservation, I'll go with "It Takes Two." Only because I was once at a party and heard a guy play this, I kid you not, five straight times. There was also a girl there who I swore was the love of my life. And I never told her. Always a mistake. I've been trying to teach my son that. Look her in the eye, boy. Tell her how you feel. Do not laugh. Ignore any giggling. And then keep moving. Talk in a straight line. Remember, you are not asking for a favor.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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