Hip-hop has completely taken over the world, but let’s not forget its birthplace: the United States. From the streets of New York in the seventies, to the golden age of the eighties, this genre has undergone several transformations and now there’s hip hop for every type of person. If you really feel like you don’t know much about hip-hop and you would like to dive in it, you have to listen to these songs, which range in topics such as social protests, racial issues, and classic hip-hop. Little by little this genre has become the preferred music style of millions and it’s just a matter of submerging ourselves in the diverse world of hip hop to never wish to get out of it.
“King Kunta”- Kendrick Lamar
“King Kunta” became many people’s favorite song of 2015. This rapper met up with Obama to discuss what could be done with the marginalized neighborhoods in the United States and he just put out a song with Kanye West. 2015 was definitely the year of Lamar and it is with “King Kunta” that he shows classic hip-hop is still very much alive in the 21st century.
“Hollywood Niggaz”- Tyga
Hip-hop lyrics can speak about anything and there are now artists that talk about what fame has taken away from them. Take Kanye West’s “Monster” or “to Pimp a Butterfly” album, for example. Like them, Tyga’s song is about someone reaching his zenith whose challenge now is to stay at the top no matter what anyone thinks.
“Big Rings”- Drake ft. Future
Drake and Future are two of the major hip-hop exponents right now. Their collaboration can only imply a great song and, naturally, this song would talk about teamwork and what it means to be on top. Maybe some things haven’t changed all that much, but the difference between 2016 and 1996 hip-hop is abysmal.
“Move That Dope”- Future ft. Pharrell, Pusha T, Casino
Many rappers came out of marginalized neighborhoods in the United States, so they obviously use their songs to talk about their upbringing. The most famous of these rappers is Jay-Z, who went from drug dealer to a millionaire entrepreneur. Future does this as well, reminiscing his past and the conditions that dictated a certain lifestyle in the streets.
“I Don’t Fuck With You” – Big Sean ft. E-40
Lovesickness is a pretty common topic explored in hip-hop, and this is one of the best examples out there.
“Fuck tha Police” – N.W.A
One of the classics. This song will never go out of fashion because, sadly, racism and police brutality seem to have no end. Three words, one message. The movie Straight Outta Compton reflects everything N.W.A represented and its importance still echoes in 2019.
“Genocide”- Dr. Dre ft. Kendrick Lamar, Justus
Dr. Dre is an institution and together with Kendrick Lamar they have a fast-paced song that shows Lamar’s talent at rapping. Of course, the music video is a great ad for Beats by Dre but it also show how both artists have made one of the best songs in recent years.
“Love Me”- Lil Wayne ft. Drake, Future
Lil’ Wayne has been on a rollercoaster with regard to his public image. Sometimes he’s loved, sometimes he’s hated. Sometimes his music is considered a masterpiece, sometimes it seems like he’s just babbling around. But this collaboration with Drake and Future is one of the reasons why he went back to being loved by the world of hip hop and maybe even beyond that.
“Life’s a Bitch”- Nas ft. A.Z.
Another classic song shows the depth of hip-hop, an urban sound that reflects thoughts shared by many. Starting from the bottom and fighting their way to the top, some don’t make it, some get there and fall quite fast. You have to do it, do it right and always remember that “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.”
“No Church in the Wild”- Kanye West and Jay-Z
Two of the greatest artists right now. Some might hate them, some might say they are not what they used to be, but you can’t deny both artists know both business and hip-hop. Considered the most expensive album in history (due to copyrights from the many collaborations), Watch the Throne is a highlight in these rappers’ careers and “No church in the Wild” is perhaps one of the best songs of this decade.
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