Rap music really took a foothold in the 1980’s and has evolved with each passing year to be one of the forerunning genres in music today. From early Run DMC to Wiz Khalifa, the rap genre is comprised of every manner of emotion. From the angry retaliatory tracks to the songs of triumph over their lives living in the ghetto coming up, this Top 10 list will list the tracks deemed the greatest rap songs of all time.
List of Top 10 Best Rap Songs of All Time until in 2017
10. “Regulate” – Warren G (featuring Nate Dogg)
This story track details essentially a day in the life of those living in the 213 area code. The song is written from the eyes of both Warren G and Nate Dogg, seeing the same situation from two different perspectives. The lyrics detail a robbery attempt against Warren G. When Nate Dogg happens across the scene looking for Warren, he is forced to take care of the situation the street way. Once that is settled, the two go looking for some companionship in the form of some women in distress whose car broke down. They decide to give them a ride to the East Side Motel with them. This was a track that catapulted Warren G into being a household name, and made Nate Dogg more than just an alluring voice to use for the hook of the song.
9. “It Was A Good Day” – Ice Cube
Ice Cube was one of the founding members of NWA (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) and was a large part of their success. As the writer for nearly all of the songs that NWA would later consider hits, it was no surprise when he later decided that he might be better suited going at it alone. While he ended up with several popular singles, Cube’s most memorable and greatest of these was “It Was A Good Day” from the album Predator. The song features a day in the life of Ice Cube in South Central. The song focuses on nothing going wrong seemingly for once. No one is trying to jack his car, no cops are out looking for a murderer, women are blowing up his pager and “he didn’t even need to use his AK”.
8. “Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” – Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre was the mastermind behind the beats and mixes that would give NWA their competitive sound. He also did a fair share of rapping in the group, and this became more natural sounding as the groups popularity grew. This would ultimately lead to him branching off as the power rap group fell apart to make his own tracks as a solo artist. While he had many singles that really could make an argument to be on this list, his most popular came from his first solo album was The Chronic and featured this homage to the gangster lifestyle that a Compton upbringing had molded Dre into.
7. “Hypnotize” – Biggie Smalls
Always considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, Biggie Smalls hails from the East side style of rappers popular in the 1990’s. With much of his notoriety centered around a coast to coast beef with 2Pac, Biggie would be instrumental in the evolution of East Coast rappers to this day. While he had many hit singles in his own right, one of the tracks that featured his abilities as a rapper as well as encompasses the unique style of rappers on the East Coast, was ”Hypnotize” from Life After Death.
6. “Lose Yourself” – Eminem
Eminem, or Marshall Mathers, was a standout star in his own right. Given his opportunity to pursue his passion by rap juggernaut Dr. Dre, Eminem was a multi-platinum selling artist long before the movie 8 Mile (which was loosely based on the rapper’s upbringing) was created. The song written for the film’s soundtrack, “Lose Yourself”, would later become one of the biggest singles ever for the artist. It encompassed his creativity with lyrics, fast delivery, and featured an addictive driving beat and guitar arrangement.
5. “Gin and Juice” – Snoop Dogg
Being one of the rappers coming up when Dre first saw his success from his album, The Chronic, Snoop Dogg needed a hit song that would put him out among the best of the rappers at that time. The 1990’s would see all manner of rappers, but Snoop Dogg seemed from his singles to be focused on three things: women, weed and being a gangsta. Gin and Juice encompassed all of these elements, and had a hook that rings out over 20 years later as addictive as ever. This is one of the Top 10 Best Rap Songs of All Time until 2017.
4. “Hit Em Up” – 2Pac
Tupac Shakur was one of the most recognized and popular rappers of all time. His street cred mixed with his insightful lyrics made him an artist that was dearly missed when his beef with Biggie Smalls caught up with him in 1996. This beef would produce what is deemed possibly the greatest retaliatory song in the history of rap. This is also a good look at the fast paced witty rapping that made 2Pac the legend that he had become at this point. After this track was released, everyone in Biggie’s corner of the fight knew they had a target on their heads.
3. “N.Y. State of Mind” – NAS
NAS is one of those rappers that will always be remembered for his hard nosed lyrics and real insight into the hard life of coming from nothing and rising to the top of the late 90s rap scene along with fellow New Yorker Jay-Z. The two would end up having quite a beef of their own, noting that New York was really only big enough for one of these rap giants. It never escalated as fatally as 2Pac and Biggie, but with a track like “N.Y. State of Mind”, it is no doubt how NAS was deemed one of the greatest artists in the history of rap.
2. “99 Problems” – Jay-Z
Jay-Z was a household name in the late 1990s, but more than that, he’s still one of the most known rappers in the world right now. This kind of lasting power means that there is a clear skill and drive pushing Jay-Z to always be among the best. While he has had many songs reach the top of the rap charts and Billboard Top 40, one of the greatest written songs about his feelings about his struggles in life, his struggles with interpersonal relationships and with law enforcement are all on display in this iconic track.
1. “Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A.
The 1980s was comprised of a lot of feel good rapping and never really brushed on the struggles blacks were having in their own communities to just exist without prejudice. The album Straight Outta Compton would focus the efforts of many of legendary rappers to shine a light that rap needed to be a real voice for oppressed blacks. It wasn’t going to ever just be bouncy playful rap music ever again. The title track from this album would showcase the rapping of Easy-E, Ice Cube and MC Ren.
So, these above are the Top 10 Best Rap Songs of All Time until 2017.