Staff Top 10
Top Ten Songs with Raps in the Middle



in the early '90s, recording contracts must have had boilerplate clauses requiring songs to have raps in the middle. Perhaps they were misguided attempts at crossover appeal, or early forms of affirmative action. Whatever the case, many white people got their first exposure to rap this way—i.e., in aerobics class. Sure, to revisit these dancefloor atrocities, you could track down old episodes of "Club MTV." But we thought we'd spare you Downtown Julie Brown and VJ this party ourselves.

Here are the Top 10 Songs with Raps in the Middle, with a few ground rules: (1) no "self-raps," i.e., when the singer raps on his/her own song; that's too logical (though it knocks out fine tracks like Prince's "Gett Off" and Blondie's "Rapture"); (2) no R&B songs with raps in the middle (again, too logical); and (3) no raps with multiple verses (not absurd enough, though it eliminates strong contenders like L.A. Style's "James Brown Is Dead" and the KLF's "3 A.M. Eternal"). We're talking about raps that have no business being in the songs where they were airdropped. Break out your Reebok Pumps and barf bags...

10. Paula Abdul - Opposites Attract

"Opposites Attract" was the seminal MC-in-the-middle track. It somewhat made sense in its video, which in hindsight looks like a long Cheetos ad. Believe it or not, MC Skat Kat is not Will Smith. If anyone has heard the MC Skat Kat solo album (which featured Abdul's conspicuous absence), do share.

9. Black Box - Strike It Up

This rap, by "Stepz," actually isn't that bad. Mostly, it makes me want to Jazzercise (TM).

8. Rush - Roll the Bones

The lowest point in Rush's career, which is saying something. According to the video, the rap in the middle was by a skeleton. Sadly, reality was much crueler—it was simply Geddy Lee with effects. The video only confirms the stereotypes about Rush's fans.

7. Erasure - Take a Chance on Me

Strangely, MC K's ragga rap is stuck near the end, as if Vince Clarke and Andy Bell suddenly found themselves contractually obligated to include it. The video looks like a similar afterthought.

6. Soup Dragons - I'm Free

The best single Screamadelica never had. Considering the fusion of disparate styles in early '90s Manchester/rave/breakbeat music, Junior Reid's ragga rap actually works.

5. The Shamen - Move Any Mountain

"Move Any Mountain" audaciously featured not one but two white rappers—Colin Angus ("with delivery smooth like water from a fountain"), temporarily breaking our self-rap rule, and Mr. C ("flowing like a river into the ocean"), who made Eminem sound like Chuck D. Say what you want about the Shamen, though, this song was dancefloor fire.

4. Snap - Rhythm Is a Dancer

Turbo B, we hardly knew ye. Thank you for the worst rap rhyme ever written: "I'm serious as cancer when I say rhythm is a dancer."

3. Curve - Ten Little Girls

The only shoegazer rap ever was both abysmal and brilliant. The video revealed that rapper JC001 was actually a young Bill Cowher.

2. Dee-Lite - Groove Is in the Heart

Easily the best rap here, probably because it's by an actual rapper, Q-Tip. Hip-house at its finest.

1. New Order - World in Motion

New Order's football anthem and their only #1 UK hit (!) has the worst rap ever recorded. John Barnes was conscripted for the role, undoubtedly because he was the only black guy on the team. Poor guy.


By: Cosmo Lee
Published on: 2007-10-19
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