“Treat ‘Em Right” (Select Records)
Billboard chart positions: Hot 100 Singles (#95), Hot R&B Singles (#33), Hot Rap Singles (#1)
Chubb Rock’s reputation as a solid, oft-underrated contributor to hip-hop’s golden era is belied by his best-known hit. Released at the height of club culture, “Treat ‘Em Right” is a peak-hour blend of hip-house keyboards and New Jack rhythms. The lead single from his third album The One was omnipresent on BET’s Rap City during the early months of 1991, and Chubb Rock’s nimble and assured fast-rap flow let savvy listeners know that he had more depth to offer than Hitman Howie Tee’s antic production might indicate. These days, you’re more likely to hear him talk about better-regarded moments like “Ya Bad Chubbs” or his verse on “The Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers.” Still, “Treat ‘Em Right” is a time capsule of what the rap mainstream actually sounded like at the dawn of the ’90s…even if some of us would like to forget.
Read more: The 100 Best Rap Singles of 1990