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My 20 Favorite Hip-Hop/Rap Songs of ALL Time

Top 20 Favorite Hip-Hop/Rap Songs

I was up the other night going through my Spotify playlists looking for Dr. Dre's The Chronic album. And much to my disappointment, I could not find it. I went to Google to find out why The Chronic wasn't on Spotify and I learned that Dr. Dre's deal with Beats By Dre had a clause that his music couldn't be on any streaming sites. 

After learning that, I got to thinking about my favorite rap songs of ALL time. Now keep in mind, I'm not saying these are the best hip-hop/rap songs. That conversation would NEVER come to a general consensus. These 20 songs are songs that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, these songs make me feel good. These songs take me to an audio heaven. The production, the lyrics, the time frame these songs were released, and the overall structure of these songs makes me LOVE these songs.

So without further delay, I introduce to you, my top 20 favorite songs:

Honorable Mention

  • Run DMC - Rock Box
  • N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton
  • LL Cool J - Boomin System
  • BONE - Thuggish Ruggish Bone
  • Above The Law - Murder Rap

20) Luniz - I Got Five On It (Remix)

The original I Got Five On It was DOPE. Luniz were the country's introduction to the Bay area (after Too Short of course). The samples used in this song were Club Nouveau's Why You Treat Me So Bad and Kool and the Gang's Jungle Boogie was classic. But the remix took this song to another level. Featuring Dru Downs, Spice One, E40, an underrated Richie Rich, and Shock G. was perfect.

 

19) Naughty By Nature - Uptown Anthem

I always felt that Naughty By Nature was under appreciated. Between Kay Gee's production and Treach's flow, these boys were the truth. All jokes to the side, that boy Treach is one of the best rappers from the 90's. I don't know why no one mentions him, but if you listen to any of his verses, you'll be pleasantly surprised. One of the best flows of all time. But Uptown Anthem was the off the movie Juice soundtrack. This song was just so grimy but so catchy. And like I said, Treach's flow was top notch on this song.

Oh yeah, just disregard Vinnie.

18) Warren G - This DJ

Warren G had a hit with this one. While his flow was basic as hell, his charisma and voice made this song. The scratches in the background add a whole other flava to the track. While Regulate is more popular, This DJ is a better song to me. I still remember when this song came out. That summer of 1994 was great. And this song was the soundtrack to it.

 

 

17) N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

This was everyone's introduction to the West Coast. Before N.W.A. came along, if you were listening to rap, you had to listen to New York artists. Straight Outta Compton was completely different from anything I had previously seen or heard. Ice Cube's verse is classic. This song was the first song for gangsta rap.

 

16) Juvenile - HA

I went to New Orleans the summer of 1998. And I kept hearing folks out in New Orleans talking bout Ha. I didn't know what the fuck they were talking about. I ended up hearing the song sometime in mid August and I was hooked. This shit was so different from everything I had ever heard up until that point. Plus all I knew about coming from New Orleans was Master P and the No Limit Crew. So to hear someone not in that camp was exciting for me. I got back to Savannah for school and was telling everybody about this song. This was pre-Internet so no one knew what I was talking about and really didn't care. But one day after school on Rap City, BET played the Ha video. I was blown away...and evidently everyone at school was too. This was all everyone talked about for a week or so. Mannie Fresh's dynamic production mixed with Juvenile's off kilter flow, was great.

 

 

15) Slick Rick - Children's Story

If someone was to tell me that they considered Slick Rick the best storyteller in rap, I wouldn't argue with them. Slick Rich had an awesome ability to vividly describing everything he rapped about. I remember the first time I heard Children's Story. I was blown away. The way that Slick Rick changed his voice in this song just blew my mind as a youngster listening to this. And if you don't think this beat is a classic, you're either a fool or deaf.

 

14) Jeezy - Go Crazy

I know that most people can name a couple of "better" songs from Jeezy than Go Crazy. But damn if this song isn't musical bliss to my ears.The Curtis Mayfield sample (I Want To Go Back) makes this song. Jeezy's adlibs, which was his signature back in 2005, highlighted this song perfectly. This song came out when Jeezy was just storming on the scene and his Thug Motivation debut album was the ONLY thing we were listening to that fall. This song was addictive as hell.

 

13) BONE - Foe Tha Love of Money

I remember the first time I heard about BONE. A dude I knew from Cleveland moved to our neighborhood. This nigga dressed like BONE. Big ass afros and plaid flannel shirts. But this nigga let me hear Foe Tha Love of Money BEFORE I heard Thuggish Ruggish Bone. When I heard this song for the first time, I was an instant fan. Eazy-E's verse on this song was too dope. Too bad so many people copied BONE's style and ran it in the ground. But Foe Tha Love of Money is BONE's best song. Not even close.

 

12) The Notorious B.I.G. - Big Poppa

I've always been a fan of the Isley Brothers. It's something about their music that captivated me at a very young age. As I grew older, I started appreciating the Isley Brothers' production more and more. I always felt that Between The Sheets was always my favorite Isley Brothers' song, so to hear Biggie rap over this sample gave me chills the first time I heard it. Biggie always had a way with structuring his raps that were so smooth, that you couldn't help but to sing the song with him. This is also one of the best choruses ever might I add.

 

11) 2Pac - Ambitionz Az A Ridah

This is the first song on All Eyez On Me. Talk about a statement! This is quite possibly the best intro to an album EVER. Ambitionz Az A Ridah sets the entire tone for 2Pac's Deathrow Era. The menacing production with 2Pac's undeniable charisma and tough talk makes this song one of my favorites.

 

10) Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy

I've always been a fan of Mtume's Juicy Fruit. I was always fascinated with that track. So when Biggie came along and sampled it to make Juicy, I was mesmerized. I remember the first time hearing this song. I was in Atlanta on a field trip and the DJ on the radio station hyped the hell out of this song before he played it. By the time Biggie rapped "Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis..." I was on the Bad Boy bandwagon.

 

9) Snoop Dogg - What's My Name

At one point, N.W.A. was my favorite group. Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E could do no wrong in my young, impressionable eyes. Anything that came from the N.W.A. tree, was gonna get my listen. Hands down. I wasn't actually too impressed with Snoop Doggy Dogg, unlike most people at the time. But by the time Dre Day came out, I was a Snoop Dogg fan. When What's My Name officially dropped, the world was Snoop's for the taking. The entire hip-hop community was listening to Snoop Dogg. His first single off the classic Doggystyle, took the world by storm. Snoop was officially a superstar. And with Dr. Dre's production backing him, we see now that Snoop is the "ambassador" of hip-hop. You gotta respect that. And to think...it all started with this song.

 

 

8) Ice Cube - Today Was A Good Day

Ice Cube was already an established star from his work with N.W.A. and his first solo record. But Today Was A Good Day made Ice Cube a superstar. The Isley Brothers were sampled here again and Ice Cube made this beat his. This is one of those songs that ALWAYS puts me in a good mood. I don't care how I'm feeling, but when I hear this song, I'm guaranteed to feel better. The whole day described in this song is just awesome.

 

 

7) 2Pac - Pain

My first time hearing this song was at the beginning of the movie Above The Rim. This song was released right around the time that I was really getting into 2Pac as an artist. Me Against The World hadn't quite made a dent in my world yet and this was the song that steered me towards that album. Pain was the signature song off the Above The Rim movie but it wasn't actually on the soundtrack and it wasn't on Me Against The World either. This was the very first (and wouldn't be the last) song that I had to actually hunt down. I finally found it on some mixtape back in the day. And I literally played this song so much that the tape popped. While a lot of people say that they don't like Stretch on this song, I actually did. He balanced the song out in my opinion.

 

6) Dr. Dre - Nuthin But A G Thang

This was the song that changed my life! I was familiar with Dr. Dre from N.W.A. but this sound that he was creating, labeled as G Funk, just changed everything about rap at the time of its release. I remember this was released while I was in elementary school and all the older kids were singing this shit right before Christmas of 1992. The thing that automatically caught my attention was the fact that this style of rap drew heavily off George Clinton and P Funk. My mom LOVED them dudes. And while I didn't care for their music as a youngster, I knew their sound. And this was as close as it was gonna get. And like I previously said, EVERYONE knew Dre, but Snoop Dogg stole the show with this song. I didn't care for Snoop much at first, but goddamn, that nigga grew on me. This is just a classic song...whether it's for the summer or for Christmas. This song personifies greatness.

 

5) Scarface ft. 2Pac - Smile

The debate of who's the best rapper will always be up for a debate. And everyone has their arguments for certain rappers and against other rappers. But Smile put the two best rappers (in MY opinion) on one song together. Scarface had already made an impression on me from his days in Geto Boys. To me, Scarface was that dude! The video for Smile came out right after Biggie died. The whole rap culture was still in complete shock...losing Biggie six months after losing Pac was crushing. And here came Scarface telling us to smile. This song was one of the last verses that Pac recorded allegedly. The sentimental value of this song really puts this in my top 5. Additional points for the prayer that Scarface said at the end of the verse for Pac (and on the radio edit, Biggie too).

 

4) TRU - I'm Bout It, Bout It

This song came out the summer before I went to 8th grade. This was my introduction to New Orleans music. I bought my first car in July of 1995 and I'm Bout It, Bout It was the very first song that I played in that blue Mazda 323. The synthesizer on this track was hypnotizing. Master P always had a strong mic presence and Mia X absolutely MURDERS this track. And an extra nod to KLC (one of the best producers of all time) for creating this track.

 

3) Outkast - B.O.B.

Outkast is the greatest rap group of all time. That's not debatable. And in my opinon, B.O.B. is the greatest rap song of all time. My first time hearing this song, I just couldn't believe that anyone was even able to rap over this track. The production on this song was so dynamic. There is so many sounds and other shit going on with this track. But they all fit so perfectly with Andre 3000 and Big Boi's vocals. The breakdown in the middle of this song is another song in itself. If you're from the south and you're familiar with church on Sunday mornings, you'll know exactly what I mean.

 

2) Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me

My favorite Isaac Hayes song is Hung Up On My Baby. Which is the same sample used by the Geto Boys on Mind Playing Tricks On Me. The first time I heard this song, I was in my mom's car on my way home from summer camp. Me and my mom thought that the radio was playing the Isaac Hayes version. I didn't know what the hell I was listening to, but I knew I needed to hear more. I was also intrigued cause I knew these cats weren't from New York. A couple of weeks would go by before I heard the song again. But I still didn't know the name of the song. And since it had no chorus, I didn't know who to ask about the song. Well lucky for me, my summer camp's last field trip of the year was to a radio station. And just so happened that the station was playing this song while we were on the tour. I asked my camp leader who was this and he told me Geto Boys. I sat by the radio for damn near a week until the radio played this again...just to record it on a cassette tape. Mind Playing Tricks On Me introduced to me southern rap. It introduced me to Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill. And it also introduced me to my fascination with rap music. This song made me want to write music. The chorus of the first song I wrote came from Mind Playing Tricks On Me: "My momma stressing I ain't living right....but I ain't going down without a fight".

 

1) UGK ft. Outkast - International Players Anthem

And finally, we've made it to my ALL TIME FAVORITE SONG. International Players Anthem took 2 of my top 5 rap groups and put them on a song together. This actually isn't the first song that UGK and Outkast had together, but this song was perfect. It was true to UGK fans and Outkast fans as well. Yet it was so catchy, it ended up being a big hit commercially as well. Juicy J and DJ Paul (top 5 producers in my book) made the perfect beat. And Bun B, Pimp C, Big Boi and Andre 3000 had the perfect verses. From Andre 3000's soliloquy to Pimp C being Pimp C to Bun B's game spittin to Big Boi's wisdom...this song is great. The Willie Hutch sample (I Choose You) is so funky and soulful that you can't help but nod your head to the beat. The first time I heard this song was also the first time I saw the video. And this video is one of the best videos of all time. Yes, ALL TIME. This was also the last video that Pimp C was in. This is my favorite rap song of all time.

 

I appreciate y'all taking time out your day to read this. Leave some comments and let me know what you think of the list. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know. If you got any other requests or suggestions, let me know.

Thanks!

Comments

July 06, 2015 @12:31 am
by — Earl B

I didn't know our taste in music was that simular B.O.B by outkast is the best rap song in history

July 05, 2015 @03:50 pm
by — jiggaman

pain is one of 2 pac worse songs

July 03, 2015 @08:48 am
by — 2ag2aki

mind playing tricks is classic. should do a top scarface songs.

June 29, 2015 @10:49 pm
by — sezari lik

like every song except uptown anthem

June 28, 2015 @10:29 pm
by — 912 Trap Gawd

Your top 3 tuff

June 28, 2015 @02:45 pm
by — Bob big

Dope listing

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