The best hip-hop song ever? Eminem's ''Lose Yourself,'' according to VH1, which put the tune at No. 4 on its just-released list of the ''100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years.'' The only better tunes over the past quarter century? Guns N' Roses ''Sweet Child O' Mine'' (No. 3), Michael Jackson's ''Billie Jean'' (No. 2), and at No. 1, Nirvana's ''Smells Like Teen Spirit.''
Eminem and Jackson were two of only a handful of artists to place more than once on the list. (Eminem also placed with ''My Name Is'' at No. 85, while Jackson's '"Beat It'' is No. 40.) U2's ''One'' came in at No. 5, while ''With or Without You'' is No. 21. Prince's ''When Doves Cry'' is No. 7, and his ''Little Red Corvette'' is No. 23. The Police's ''Every Breath You Take'' is No. 9, while ''Roxanne'' is No. 90. Madonna's ''Like a Virgin'' is No. 10, while ''Ray of Light'' squeaks in at No. 100. Rounding out the top 10 are Run-D.M.C.'s ''Walk This Way'' (No. 6) and Whitney Houston's ''I Will Always Love You'' (No. 8).
Judging by the list, which was compiled by VH1 execs, the '80s were the most fruitful time in recent pop history, with nearly half the entries (45) coming from that decade. (Just 36 are from the '90s.) Some 30 songs by women or female-fronted bands made the list, and only about 16 hip-hop tracks were deemed worthy. VH1 will count down the full list in a series of specials airing over five nights next week, or you can read the list at the channel's website.