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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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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