UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1980: Photo of Grandmaster Flash  (Photo by Lisa Haun/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Lisa Haun/Getty Images

Big day for hip hop, as Birdman turns 44 (we got birthday wishes from Busta Rhymes, Jay Sean and Too $hort) and we celebrate the anniversary of Harlem rapper Big L's death with Mac Miller's Top 5 Big L songs. But we felt like going back even further. Hence, the playlist below, a compilation of pioneering tracks from hip hop's first generation. Before there were flashy videos. Hell, before anyone was making hip hop albums, these were the tracks that set the path for a global empire. #themoreyouknow