Mandatory Metal: 5 Essential Bad Brains Songs

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Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the heavy-music pantheon. Up today, Bad Brains, those hardcore-punk trailblazers whose earth-shattering influence continues to resonate with big-name mega-fans such as Deftones’ Chino Moreno, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach. Bad Brains have many must-hear tunes in their catalog, but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.

“PAY TO CUM”

Recorded in 1979, this lightning-fast track is the spark that ignited U.S. hardcore.
Sample lyrics: “I make decisions with precision/Lost inside this manned collision.”

“SAILIN’ ON”
ALBUM: ROCK FOR LIGHT

One of the fastest, meanest, least emo-sounding tale of heartbreak ever committed to tape.
Sample lyrics: “I trust you, you used me/And now my heart’s all torn apart.”

“RE-IGNITION”
ALBUM: I AGAINST I

A paean to the Rasta deity set to a most bitchin’ riff.
Sample lyrics: “We love to make you understand/That this gross sphere is not Jah land.”

“SACRED LOVE”
ALBUM: I AGAINST I

This 1987 chaste-love anthem reportedly features vocals that were performed via telephone while Bad Brains frontman H.R was in jail.
Sample lyrics: “Baby, baby, baby, baby/I don’t want you to come to me as a whore.”

“WITH THE QUICKNESS”
ALBUM: QUICKNESS

A funk-metal classic complete with the mother of all gang vocals, and Jamaican patois to boot!
Sample lyrics: “Snatch it on fe crank, now/Steadfast, me sup and fling it!”