Sometimes, it feels like every rap song that airs on the radio is about butts, guns, money, and drugs. While that’s true for a lot of songs, that stereotype does give the genre a bad rap (yes, pun intended.) There are plenty of great rap songs out there that inspire greatness, spark conversations, push for change and helps in time of depression.
Here are 10 great rap lyrics, from past and present, for you to not only enjoy, but think about their thought-provoking messages.
1. “Changes” by Tupac
As one of the most prolific MC’s that has ever graced the earth, Tupac left the world tragically and far too soon, but not before he dropped some serious knowledge on the public about a variety of social issues.”Changes” is one of Tupac’s most famous and (in my opinion) best songs.
Given how relevant the song is to what people are facing today, the lyrics still truly resonate 15 years after its release, reminding all of us that there are still many changes that need to be made in our choices, and, most importantly, in our hearts. Clickhere to download on iTune
2. “When I’m Gone” by Eminem
One things about Eminem that has never wavered is the love that he has for his daughter. He writes many songs about her, but I find that “When I’m Gone” shows his real, raw feelings about the impact his music career has had on his daughter and their relationship.
This is the perfect example of Marshall’s ability to self-reflect. I think everything about this song is admirable, from the fact that he recognizes the paradox of his rappingto his willingness to admit it to the world. For a man who has made as many mistakes as he has made hit songs, his ability to not only acknowledge his wrongs, but to also apologize for them, will always continue to impress. Clickhere to download on iTune
3. “Only One” byKanye West ft.Paul McCartney
In “Only One” ft. Paul McCartney, Kanye does more singing than rapping, but hip hop is hip hop, even if it’s a ballad. I think the lyrics to this song can resonate with everyone. We have all loved and lost, we have all felt shame from our mistakes, and we’ve all had moments in life where we have doubted. This song, as well as “Hey Mama,” are clearly incredibly personal to Kanye. Clickhere to download on iTune
4. “The Show Goes On” By Lupe Fiasco
I think anyone can relate to this song, hip hop fans or not. Who doesn’t wantto follow a dream and be able to pay back all of those that helped them? The message of this song is the exact opposite to what we’re used to hearing: celebrate your successes with the people you love, treat others with kindness, and show people of similar circumstance that things can be different with hard work and change. Click here to download on iTune
5. “Keep Ya Head Up,” by Tupac
The beautifully calming “Keep Ya Head Up” is perfect for those down and out days. Tupac just understands, man. “Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure And if you fall, stand tall and come back for more” Clickhere to download on iTune
6. “One Man Can Change the World,” by Big Sean
The song in honor of Sean Don’s late grandma is nothing but uplifting. It makes us believe that, in fact, as the positive affirmation goes, yes we can! (Shoutout to Obama real quick.) We ourselves and nobody else can get through disappointment and in actual fact change the world. Clickhere to download on iTune
7. “Alright,” by Kendrick Lamar
We need to stay hopeful after disappointment, and what better way to feel hopeful, than plugging in your headphones to the multi Grammy-nominated song engineered for hope by Kendrick and Pharrell? “WE GON’ BE ALRIGHT!” Clickhere to download on iTune
8. “Best Day Ever,” Mac Miller
You know how we sometimes take a nap to run away from it all because naps are magical for curing disappointments? Afterward, wake up to this perfect, I’m-gonna-have-an-amazing-day song by MrMcCormick. Clickhere to download on iTune