'No Way Out,' released July 1997.

'No Way Out,' released July 1997.

20 years ago this month, Sean Combs released his album, 'No Way Out' - the first album I ever owned. 

I have been listening to hip hop ever since. To commemorate the anniversary of this album and 20 years of listening to hip hop, I compiled a playlist of 50 songs, JG20. 

One of my earliest musical memories is sitting in the backseat of the car listening to The Fugees "Killing Me Softly" on the radio, and noticing the way Lauryn Hill's voice, the instrumentation, the boom bap drums and Wyclef's background vocals all blended together.

From a young age, I have gravitated toward the genre. I do not know why - the draw is beyond words, almost visceral. Nothing, except for maybe film, hits me like hip hop does.

With this playlist of 50 songs, I tried to accomplish a dual purpose: a selection of my favorite songs and a representation of hip hop as an art form. I hope have succeeded in some small way for the latter goal. Please find the playlist below.

PS - Even if you do not have Tidal, you can preview all of the songs via the widget below. I went with Tidal because it is the only streaming platform that has all of Jay Z's catalogue, and the list would feel incomplete without those inclusions.

Also, this list was a (fun) challenge to compile. I may make a B-Sides/Honorable Mentions playlist for the songs I omitted!

- JG