Gansta Rap has been around since the early 80’s. This genre of rap music has forever changed the world of music. It helped to keep old school music (music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) alive. It also brought in a new generation of music that was gritty, tough, hardcore and street. Gangsta rap had come to define a generation of American people during the 90’s and it impacted people from around the world.
NWA was the group that brought gansta rap to the spotlight but they did not start this music form. It evolved from the lifestyle that many young black males on the west coast lived in those days. Artists such as the D.O.C, King T, Ice T, DJ Pooh and Too Short were already establishing gangsta rap before NWA released their music. Here is a look at the top 10 best gangsta rap songs of all time.
List of Top 10 Best Gangsta Rap Songs of All Time until in 2017
Colors by Ice T was a powerful and nightmarish song about the reality of gang life in L.A. This song delves into the reality of gang life and exposes it for what it is. Ice T released this song in 1988 and featured in the movie Colors starring Sean Penn. Ice T was one of the first gangsta rap artists to sell gangsta rap records. He was affiliated with New York rappers but grew up in L.A. After he came back home he started to make gangsta rap records in the 80s. Colors was one of his best songs to date and many gangsta rap fans and gang members respected the song a great deal.
9. It was a Good Day
Ice Cube former NWA front man performed the song It Was A Good Day in 1992. This song was a huge hit during that year and it became an instant underground gangsta rap classic. People everywhere loved this song and though it never gained a lot of commercial success it was well received as one of the best gangsta rap songs. The song is about a temporary reprieve from the gangsta lifestyle and how a gun toting gangsta did not have to resort to violence or watch people on a given day.
Warren G and Nate Dogg were two West Coast rappers from Long Beach, California. They were affiliated with Snoop Dogg before he moved over to Death Row Records. When Warren G and Nate Dog released their first album they did a song called Regulate. It was a gangsta rap song that was a remake of Micheal McDonald’s song “I Keep Forgetting.” This song was hugely popular and it became a theme song for the movie Posse which was released in 1993. Regulate helped to establish Warren G and Nate Dogg as certified gangsta artists and it also helped to spread West Coast gangsta music even further into the world.
7. My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me
My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me by the Ghetto Boys is considered one of the greatest gangsta rap songs in history. This song is so good because it takes gangstas out of their normal element and show how afraid they can be. The song is basically about 3 different types of gangsta characters whose lifestyle is starting to catch up with them. They believe that people are coming to kill them and that ghost or monsters are haunting their steps. This song is ultimately about the bad things that gangstas do and the fear they have of being punished for their sins. This is a true gangsta rap song.
6. How Could I Just Kill A Man
How Could I Just Kill A Man was released in 1991 and it became a big gangsta hit. The song was performed by Cypress Hill and it connected with many people who were a part of the gangsta rap culture. How Could I Just Kill A Man was released on the group’s debut album and the video featured Ice Cube who made a special appearance. This song was played in heavy rotation on video stations all throughout the summer of 91 and in the following year. This song is Cypress Hill’s best piece to date.
5. The Ghetto
The Ghetto by Too Short was a gangsta rap song that portrayed life in the West Coast ghettos of Oakland, California. This song was released in 1990 and it was a big hit that many people enjoyed. Too Short was not a gangsta rap artist in the sense of the music he portrayed. Yes, he made some gangsta rap songs but he primarily focused on songs involving sex and pimping. The Ghetto was one of Too Shorts gangsta songs. While Too Short was not an all-out gangsta rap performer he had was well received by all gangsta rap artists. He was and still is one of the original founding members of the West Coast sound. His was making records before many of the major gangsta artist emerged onto the scene. This is one amongst the Top 10 Best Gangsta Rap Songs of All Time until 2017.
4. California Love
California Love was more of a party song for gangstas than an actual gangsta song in the truest sense of the phrase. California Love featured Dr. Dre and the rap grandmaster 2Pac Shukar. Both of these hip hop legends created this song as the first single for 2Pac’s comeback since he was in prison back in 1995. California Love was well received by “gangstas” everywhere and it was also a commercial success. It was played in various movies and played on many shows as well.
3. Nuthin But A G Thang
After Dr. Dre left NWA and went to Death Row he released Nuthing But A G Thang with Snoop Dogg on his Chronic album. This rap song has become an instant hit and is a legendary rap piece. Nuthing But A Thang helped to usher in the next phase of gangsta rap that emerged from Dr. Dre. Keep in mind that Dre is the West Coast leading producer. He formulated a legendary status because he could literally turn just about any song into a hit. Nuthing But A G Thang is also a song that proved that Dre no longer needed NWA to become a big name artist.
2. F the Police
F the Police is another gangsta rap song by NWA that broke the mode. It is a highly rated gangsta rap song because it gave a voice to black people and minorities that have been wrongfully treated by the police. Also, the criminal side of the gangsta element do not like the police, so making a song that puts the police down is something that many thugs and hustlers agree with doing. F the Police is a great song in terms of its raw portrayal of police harassment and brutality but it goes overboard in how it discredits the police and all that they stand for. Nevertheless, this song is truly a gangsta rap song masterpiece.
1. straight outta of Compton
Strait Out of Compton is the best gangsta rap song because it has the commercial success and street appeal that has come to define the gangsta sound and lifestyle. This song is the perfect representation of what gangsta rap should be. It portrays gang life, violent behavior, criminal activity and the thug mentality. Strait Out of Compton is an architectural gangsta song that other rappers modeled their music after. This rap hit has influenced generations of gangsta rap stars.
These above are the Top 10 Best Gangsta Rap Songs of All Time until 2017. Gangsta rap is on longer a mainstream music force. As with any passing music genre, many gangsta rap artists have faded away into history. While there are a few remaining gangsta rap artists, they no longer have the appeal like they did in the past.