The 10 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

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Hip-hop is a music genre that is composed of two (2) distinct elements, namely, rapping and DJing or MCing. Its history goes back to the late 1970s in the Bronx area of New York where economic depression was prevalent at the time. To entertain themselves, the African American youth in the area went out to the street to rap, rhyme, dance, and paint graffiti on the wall. What seems to be a pastime for them eventually created a subculture that gave birth to the music genre that we now know today as hip-hop. The genre that originated from the African American youth in the Bronx became a phenomenal success as it is now being appreciated and embraced by many different people around the world. With its mélange of rhythms and rhymes, hip-hop is such a fun genre to listen to no matter what time of day. In this light, here are the 10 best hip-hop songs that you should definitely add to your playlist.

best hip-hop songs of all time blog post

The 10 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

1. “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

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Describing the struggle of inner-city poverty, “The Message” conveys a certain truth that most people can relate to and take inspiration from. With a slow groove musical background, the MC of the song cleverly narrated the current reality of the African Americans living in ghettos at the time. “The Message” is not only a true classic but it is deemed as one of the most important songs that it was even featured in “The Norton Anthology of African American Literature.” In Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time, “The Message” was listed number one (1) which is quite an achievement on its own. “The Message” was performed by an American hip-hop group called Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which was formed in the Bronx of New York City. It is composed of several members, namely, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Kidd Creole, Keef Cowboy, Scorpio, and Rahiem. Anyone who is a fan of hip-hop would definitely recognize Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as one of the greatest groups of all time.

2. “It Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube

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It Was a Good Day” was performed by O’Shea Jackson Sr. aka Ice Cube who is deemed as one of the greatest hip-hop icons of the 21st century. This song is a breath of fresh air as it simply describes the life of Ice Cube at the prime of his career. Although it seems like a straightforward happy song, “It Was a Good Day” features a rather chaotic and intriguing ending that displays the most familiar aspect of the hip-hop genre. The song ends with a commotion of police officers positioned in front of Ice Cube”™s home which sparked controversy among fans. As the song was supposed to be inspired by the real events that happened in Ice Cube’s life, seeing the commotion at the end of the video would leave the audience baffled if the event really happened in real life. Fortunately, the artist was able to explain that this was not the case. It”™s all good in the pond as the scene was purely fictional as well as most of the scenes depicted in the lyrics.

3. “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.

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The song chronicles the rags-to-riches story of its artist, Christopher George Latore Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G. It is supposed to pay homage to his early childhood living in poverty as well as celebrate the lavish lifestyle that he has attained as an artist. Wallace is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time and for some, “the savior of East Coast hip-hop”. “His song Juicy” has captured the hearts of its audience since it tells a kind of story that inspires on a deeper level. But according to Wallace”™s mother, he did not grow up poor at all and the song only depicts the alter ego that he needed to possess in order to be relatable as an artist.

4. “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang

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Rapper’s Delight” is one of the longest hip-hop songs ever but also one of the most successful songs in the hip-hop genre. In fact, it was the first hip-hop song to hit the Billboard charts which helped in extending the reach of the genre to a much wider audience. It was performed by The Sugarhill Gang, an American hip hop trio that’s composed of Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien, and Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright. Indeed, “Rapper’s Delight” is so delightful that it should be included in anyone’s hip-hop playlist.

5. “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” by Lovebug Starski

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Some songs just don’t get old, and “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” is an epitome of that classic hip-hop music that never gets old. It is a parody song inspired by the alleged supernatural activities at the popular horror house located in Amityville, Long Island, New York. Not only that it has a catchy title, but the song was also performed by Kevin Smith aka Lovebug Starski who is memorable for his claims to coin the term ‘hip-hop.’

6. “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force

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Planet Rock“ is a perfect example of a song that”™s so memorable that it will always leave a mark on every listener. On top of that, the song also sends an inspiring message to its audience to live life to the fullest and simply have fun. “Planet Rock” is a legendary song performed by the legendary artist Lance Taylor and his hip hop ensemble known as Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force. Taylor has been widely credited for the development of the hip-hop genre and this song is definitely his masterpiece.

7. “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg

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The unique vibe and energy that this song gives can make all the difference in filling the listener”™s life with passion. Now considered a classic, “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” is filled with clever lyrics, iconic lines, and masterful performance. The song was performed by Andre Romelle Young aka Dr. Dre and Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. aka Snoop Doggy Dogg. The term “g-thang” means “gangster thing” which also became a popular terminology right after the song was released. Without a doubt, “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” turned out to be a very influential song and it definitely earned its spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” list.

8. “Sucker M.C.’s” by Run-DMC

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The “Sucker M.C.’s“ is filled with clever lines matched with intense beats that can easily fill its listener with satisfaction every time. It was performed by an American hip-hop group called Run-D.M.C. which was formed in Queens, New York. Run-D.M.C. consists of the trio of Darryl McDaniels, Jason Mizell, and Joseph Simmons. In a time when the hip-hop genre was dominated by rappers from the Bronx, this trio emerged and garnered groundbreaking success as the non-Bronx rappers who have made it to the top.

9. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy

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Fight the Power” is an explosive song that took the hip-hop genre to a whole new level. Performed by the group Public Enemy, the song is credited for bringing the hip-hop genre to mainstream culture and media. One of the best praises that the song received was when Time Magazine described it as “a major social force” which is quite a compliment coming from a prominent publication. “Fight the Power” is a strong call for African Americans to fight against racism and it remains to be a major social force even up to this day.

10. “Dear Mama” by 2Pac

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When discussing the hip-hop genre, one of the artists that will definitely come to mind is Tupac Shakur. 2Pac is one of the biggest names not only in the hip-hop genre but in the entire music industry. One of the things that fans may not know about Shakur is that he was a certified mama”™s boy which isn”™t a bad thing at all. In the song “Dear Mama,” Shakur expressed his warm expression, approval, and admiration of his mother’s courage to raise a child through highs and lows. Although he was unfortunately murdered at the young age of 25, he was able to leave a beautiful remembrance to his mother who was definitely proud of his exceptional achievement in his life and career.

Final Words

Indeed, hip-hop music is such a fun genre to listen to and nothing beats listening to it at Listenonrepeat is the number #1 YouTube music looper that will not only allow the listeners to put the hip-hop music on repeat, but it also provides the option to build a personalized playlist with start/stop times. Take your music experience to a whole new level by listening to your music on the site and enjoy that unadulterated fun that has to offer.

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