We all have our reasons for falling in love with dubstep. The window-pane-rattling, deeper-than-deep bass, the temptingly danceable beats, the over-the-top synths. For all of us, though, the drop possesses a unique power. It's a marker for the precise moment in a huge tune when you can lose your head and be transported to a place where bundled energy and pure release meet.
The most memorable of these moments are assembled here -- a half-decade of dubstep distilled into our list of the ten greatest drops of all time, in no particular order:
1. Kill the Noise - 'Jump Ya Body (feat. Mercedes)'
The L.A.-based producer destroys it on this roots-flavored banger, producing one of the most creative and suspenseful drops (0:26) we've ever heard. The calm opening gives way to a dancehall-meets-house buildup before the integral command of "Let's Go Now," signifying the track's "go apesh*t" moment. Kill The Noise's dubstep cannon is in full effect throughout, leaving crowds unable to resist the urge to jump around.
2. Noisia -'Split the Atom (Bar9 remix)'
While Noisia's original is a classic unto itself, the sheer force of U.K. producer Bar9's remix could not be overlooked on this list. The haunting intro snaps and stutters until the rolling kicks prepare us for a drop (0:25) that packs power on a nuclear scale. From there, the original's synth line plays a call and response with Bar9's explosive bass as the track takes us on a mind-bending journey.
3. Nero - 'Must Be the Feeling (Flux Pavilion Remix)'
This list simply wouldn't be complete without Flux Pavilion. Possessing some of the filthiest sounds in the game, the main man at Circus Records doesn't disappoint on this remix of Nero's version. The opening synthscape lulls listeners into a sense of calm, then builds through a huge two-step groove. From there, we get our first taste at the raw energy contained within the track, before the epic catharsis of Flux' deep bass drop (1:22).
4. Excision and Datsik - 'Swagga'
Datsik and Excision are two of dubstep's biggest names, and for good reason: present through the genre's rise to fame, they've contributed some of the heaviest tunes to the growing scene. While each legendary in their own right, there's no denying that in this case, two heads are definitely better than one. Before #swag was ubiquitous in mainstream music, there was "Swagga." Here, the old school dubbed-out intro brings us to one of the signature screaming drops (0:53) in dubstep's short-but-sweet history, made all the richer by its unusual hesitation.
5. Minnesota - 'Tokyo'
One of the most inventive producers of bass music's recent past, Minnesota has injected a measure of melodic brilliance into dubstep. On "Tokyo," the California-based producer draws us in with swirling pads before easing into a deep groove, characterized by some masterful sub-bass. Snoop's dedication to "the gangstas all across the world" signals the unleashing of Minnesota's monster drop (1:15), peppered with driving bass patterns and glistening synths.
6. Rusko - 'Somebody to Love'
One of 2012's most anticipated releases, "Somebody to Love" represents Rusko at the height of his prowess. Following the sheer nastiness of his earlier hits, the English DJ shows a lot of growth in this track as he opens with a distinctively pop-y groove before crashing out and bringing the heat on a mind-blowing, wompy drop (0:39).
7. Emalkay - 'When I Look at You'
Emalkay's talents are on full display here in this hit from 2009. From the restrained power of the opening bars, through the introduction of the vocals and the military march-style style buildup, he sets listeners up for an earth-shattering moment (0:53). As the bass hits, it's easy to see why "When I Look at You" has earned consideration as one of the all-time dubstep greats.
8. Krewella - 'Killin It'
This is the track that first established the Chicago trio as a dubstep force. To be frank, there's nothing subtle about the drop (0:46) here. Yet, even though you know it's coming, it's still impossible not to be blown away by the sheer force of sound that bursts forth from this tune. Aggressive saw lines fill the void between sparse drum hits, and by the time the groove finally settles in, Krewella kicks it up and brings us back (1:49) along their insane ride, doubling up on the rhythm along the way.
9. Joker - 'Tron'
One of the mellower tracks on this list, "Tron" nonetheless packs a ferocious punch. The sparse beginnings and instantly recognizable synth line set up Joker's dirty baseline, which drops magnificently and with a nuanced touch. You can almost miss it if you're not paying attention, though it goes without saying that this track is as easy to ignore as an oncoming freight train.
10. 16bit - 'Chainsaw Calligraphy'
File this one under "Pure, Unadulterated Filth." London's 16bit brings an arsenal of chainsaws to the fight and stakes a claim for recognition as one of the craziest dubstep tunes around. We won't even attempt to point out the drop here -- give the track a listen to see why.