The best hip-hop songs of all time are the songs that touch our souls. They make us smile, laugh, cry, think, and shake what our mama or papa gave us. Covering more than four decades, here are the greatest rap songs of all time:. It was musical irrigation to our souls the first time it washed over the summer airwaves. Biggie's crew took a striking leap into the spotlight with this street anthem. A surefire jam, the song later found its way onto an episode of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In return, rappers have rewarded the borough with numerous tributes. A menacing track by one of the best to ever breathe on a mic.
Hip-hop's origin as the soundtrack of New York City block parties is well known, but no one could have predicted where the genre would go in just 40 years. In , it became America's most popular genre in total consumption , according to Nielsen, and it has grown globally , too, dominating the streaming era and molding the rest of pop music in its image. At the core of rap is the Black American experience, something that these musicians have been painstakingly documenting for years. From the gritty streets of Compton that birthed N. Whether you're looking for fuel for a workout playlist, old school throwbacks to dance to, or songs that help deepen your understanding of the world around you, hip-hop has all the bases covered. It's impossible to capture the full creative breadth and cultural importance of this music, but this list of some of the best hip-hop songs of all time will get you off to a strong start. While his rags-to-riches story ended in tragedy after a fatal shooting, Biggie's star burned bright enough that he's still topping all-time lists well into the s. Bonus points are owed for the absolutely off-the-walls sci-fi music video. The single was perhaps the purest nexus of Cube's razor sharp political mind and his mainstream charisma.
Then the song started moving units in the millions and climbed its way up the US Billboard charts, peaking at number 36 in , and at number three on the UK Singles Chart. Hip-hop is pop culture now. Hip-hop has become a dominant cultural force, driving conversations about music, literature, and entertainment forward. Cardi B and Common are movie stars. Young Thug has created a wake of imitators that span genres and sounds. And it has become a truly global phenomenon, crossing ethnic, linguistic, and geographical boundaries. We asked critics, artists, tastemakers, producers, and photographers from 15 different countries to name their personal top five hip-hop tracks of all time. You can read more on the dearth of female MCs in our list here. One more thing to add: The purpose of polls like these should be to generate debate as well as encourage discovery. And look out for more features on the global impact of hip-hop in the weeks to come.
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