24kGoldn’s guitar-laced, melodic hip-hop defies a single genre, so it makes sense that his favorite songs are as eclectic as his own music. The 20-year-old rapper submitted his ballot for Rolling Stone’s new 500 Greatest Songs of All Time rankings, voting for a healthy mix of post-2000s hip-hop and R&B with the occasional soul classic and pop anthem. Goldn — real name Golden Landis Von Jones — was one of more than 250 artists, journalists, and industry figures to participate in the new list.
Goldn described his Number One song, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” as the “pinnacle of creativity,” from the iconic video to Jackson’s dance moves. “Even though it came out before I was born, it still stood the test of time to be better than a lot of stuff that was coming out since I’ve been alive,” he says.
Among his other choices are hip-hop classics that include Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” Kanye West and Rick Ross’s “Devil in a New Dress,” and Drake’s breakthrough “Best I Ever Had,” alongside pop and R&B hits like Beyonce and Jay Z’s “Crazy in Love” and Frank Ocean’s “Thinking ‘Bout You.”
The Gen-Z rapper’s most recent choices are other genre-blending tracks like Young Thug’s “Wyclef Jean” and Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower.” But perhaps the most surprising were older soul mainstays like “Easy” by the Commodores and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” the latter of which came in third on Rolling Stone’s new list.
“The tone of voice that Sam Cooke has is really, really cool,” Goldn says. “Just how it’s a little bit rough, similar to mine. But he’s able to hit these notes and have a distinct character and clarity to his voice as well. The lyrics were resonating with me because they give you hope. It gives you optimism that whatever it is, good or bad, this too shall change. ”