Wondering what the 10 best gansta rap songs of the '90s are? Gangsta rap just ain't what it used to be. Despite the name, and allusions to violence and desperate times in poverty stricken inner-city America, much of this was a misunderstanding. In the 90's gangsta rap was full of cautionary tales, lessons learned, and finding the silver lining in hard times.
- “Juicy”– Notorious B.I. G. Notorious B.I.G. Takes the listener on a personal journey from small-time drug dealer, to rap royalty. One of the best gangsta rap songs of the 90s, this gangsta redemption song features a sample from funk band Mtume.
- “C.R.E.A.M.”– Wu-Tang Clan. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of gangsta rap never actually glorified life on the streets. On the second single of Wu-Tang Clan's debut classic, Raekwon and Inspectah Deck team up to give their own chilling accounts of being teenagers in survival mode on the streets of New York City.
- “California Love”– 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Roger Troutman. Upon his release from jail in late '95, 2Pac teamed up with Dr. Dre and funk legend Roger Troutman to send love to all his supporters.
- “It Ain't Hard to Tell”– Nas. Even back in '91 it wasn't hard to tell that Nas's rap bravado would take him places far beyond his Queensbridge neighborhood.
- “1st Of Tha Month”– Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. This Grammy nominated single from their debut album became the anthem for folks who bought a little weed with their government-assisted discretionary cash.
- “Gin and Juice” – Snoop Dogg. There was a lot going on in Snoop Dogg's Long Beach neighborhood; drugs, violence, and gangs. But a cup of Seagram's gin and a laid-back attitude gave him the focus he needed to create this Hip Hop classic. That's pretty gangsta.
- “It Was a Good Day” – Ice Cube. Even among the crime-riddled streets of South Central Los Angeles, there were good days. Ice Cube gives his own account from sun up to sun down.
- “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” – Nas, Lauryn Hill. A world ruled by a gangsta rapper actually wouldn't be that bad. On this Grammy-nominated single, Nas takes over and imagines a world free of drugs, guns, and police brutality.
- “You Can't Play with My Yo Yo”– Yo Yo, Ice Cube. There was once a time when female emcees got on stage fully dressed and express themselves boldly enough to ooze sexuality without actually having to say so. Back behind the hardcore stylings of Ice Cube, Yo Yo was no exception.
- “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” – The Geto Boys. As the only number-one single ever released by the Geto Boys, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” solidified their place in Hip-Hop history. Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill tell heart-felt stories of paranoia and delusions as a result of their criminal enterprising habits.
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