How the iPod Ruined Music

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on September 9, 2013

in Nerd Culture

Show host eclectik posed a tough question on a recent episode of the eclectic discussion Podcast.

“What is your favorite rap song of all time?”

I was frozen. I had no answer. Not because I didn’t have one, but because my iPod has ruined music for me.

Remember how excited we used to get when our favorite songs would play on the radio? Remember waiting by your stereo with your finger on the RECORD button, just hoping your song would come on and you would capture that clean, full recording of it? (If you were born in the late 80s or 90s, you missed out, and I’m sorry for you. We’ll show you how to build a fort with couch cushions, sheets and clothespins someday.)

a beginner’s guide

Back on track, sorry. Favorite rap song of all time. I couldn’t quickly bring answer to mind. I wouldn’t have been able to respond if the question was favorite rock song, favorite country song, favorite Yo Gabba Gabba song, or favorite pop song either. Why? Because nowadays we have the entire catalog of every song we’ve ever liked at our fingertips at all times. We don’t get excited when it comes on the radio. We don’t have to HOPE to hear it. We don’t have to borrow tapes from friends to dub them. We just have them all – but what’s the problem with that? I’ll tell you:

You put your mP3 player on shuffle. One of your favorite songs of all time comes on. You hit SKIP.

Every. Time.

I have songs on my iPod that I consider in my top 5 of ALL TIME, and I skip them every time they come on. I’m either tired of them, or I skip them for fear of becoming tired of them. The iPod has ruined true music enjoyment.

With that said, I had to do some thinking to answer e’s question. Once I took a complete mental inventory (and scanned through my iPod to look at all the songs that I so unceremoniously skip past every day) I had to order my thoughts. To make a long story short (too late), here are my 5 favorite rap songs of all time:


5. Big Daddy Kane – Raw

This is classic Kane, in his prime, influencing everybody else.


4. A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario

A complete circus of a song, in the best way possible. Something I saw when finding the clip for this song sums it up perfectly:

A comment under the “Scenario” music video on YouTube that says: “Justin Bieber fans will never find us here.”

Spot on. I’m so lucky to have grown up with Yo! MTV Raps and The Jam of the Week instead of whatever these poor lost souls listen to today.


3. Lyrics of Fury – Eric B & Rakim

“Follow the Leader” couldn’t have been a more apt title for the album this song came from. Sampling “Funky Drummer” by James Brown, this song had horror film references weaved throughout its lyrics, and has the perfect tempo to get you pumped for anything.


2. Nas – Memory Lane

Are memories the best thing we have or what? No one can ever take them, you choose which ones you want to keep and discard, and how often you want to go through them. Just like Nas, we are children of the 80s, the best possible decade to have grown up in. I’m always up for a walk down Memory Lane.


1. Notorious B.I.G – Juicy

The king of them all. Lyrically perfect, universally great.


Howie Decker green lantern batmanHowie Decker (AKA @HowardtheDeck) is the co-creator and editor of, a pop culture site for children of the 80s living in today’s world. He enjoys lightly seasoned Doritos, defending Ryan Reynolds, and bogarting his son’s LEGO sets.

Dex (@Dex1138) September 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

I am happy to say I have never heard any of those songs ever.

I’ve found the iPod has also changed something else for me: listening to an album. Back in the day, when I’d be telnet’ed into the local college’s server playing on MUDs and MUSHs, I’d pop CDs in my boom box and listen to them start to finish. Now with the ability to pull up literally thousands of songs in your hand, listening to a full album is a choice you have to commit to.

Kevin Hellions September 12, 2013 at 12:06 am

I now want to do Scenario with Howie. Alternating each part. Now Bo knows this. And Bo knows that….

Howard Decker September 12, 2013 at 7:54 am

But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap

Stacey Rader September 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

And if you guys are doing “Scenario”, I’ll follow up with some Young MC’s “Know How”.

Stacey Rader September 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

For someone like me who has musical ADD, the iPod is perfect. I’ve always been a fan of shuffle, and with my massive music collection, shuffling through my iPod is like an out of control jukebox that goes from cartoon theme songs to gangsta rap to swing and everything in between. I don’t always skip my favorite songs, though depending on mood, a song that is normally something I listen to several times in a row may annoy the crap outta me.

I totally agree with the album thing, though–it has to be a conscious decision to listen to an entire album.

I do miss recording songs off the radio. I regret not ripping my cassettes to mp3. Some of those mixtapes would have been great audio journals.

Jeremy December 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I was born in 1987 and I grew up having to get the a good clean copy of the song recorded from the radio. Usually that wouldn’t happen, the DJs always talked over the song. That would get to me. I was still using cassette tapes as my main form of recording media until 2008 or so. I really resented the iPod and even the CD because of poor quality, but once things become too easy, it just becomes pointless to go back, yet I still do record music on cassette tapes just because. That’s a Mid-Late 90s-era Memorex DBS cassette. They tweaked the design around 2000.

HowardTheDeck December 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

that’s fantastic. I’m glad to hear someone else is resistant to change!

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