"Predator," Ice Cube

In early December the only thing I was listening to was hip-hop, thanks to an amazing amazing amazing (one more) amazing social history of the genre coming out in February that I was reviewing. Each chapter sent me in search of some long-forgotten single or album, and the music never failed to disappoint. While The Predator isn't mentioned in the book (Amerikkka's Most Wanted gets the ink), it's always been one of my favorite hip-hop albums, and recently I've returned to it. Though "It Was a Good Day" is heavily lit perfection, "When Will They Shoot?" is the track that wows me: that orbiting guitar loop, the Cap'n Crunch snare cracks and Cube's furious barking, as if they parked the studio in the middle of Grape Street and hit record. A+