10 Famous Rap Lyrics

Hip-hop fans should know these 10 famous rap lyrics by heart. Quotable and iconic, these lyrics bring style and intelligence to the rap genre.

  1. “You wake up late for school, man you don’t wanna go / You ask your mom please, but she still says no” – Beastie Boys In their long career, Beastie Boys have had plenty of famous rap lyrics. Everyone knows this opening line from “Fight For Your Right” on 1986’s “License To Ill.”
  2. “Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the edge / I’m tryin’ not to lose my head” – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5 As the hook on 1982’s “The Message,” these famous rap lyrics helped break hip-hop into the mainstream. The lyrics have been sampled in many other rap songs by everyone from Puff Daddy to Ice Cube.
  3. “Knowin’ nothing in life but to be legit / Don’t quote me, boy, ‘cause I ain’t said sh*t” – Eazy-E As the driving force behind controversial rap group N.W.A., Eazy-E let his uncompromising agenda be known with these famous rap lyrics from 1987’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood.” Eazy would go on to found the gangsta rap genre with famous band members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre.
  4. “Alright stop / Collaborate and listen / Ice is back with a brand new invention” – Vanilla Ice As the cheesiest entry on the list of ten famous rap lyrics, these lines are sure to make you groan; 1990’s “Ice Ice Baby” and the accompanying album “To The Extreme” were major hits, though.
  5. “Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn / If your girl starts actin’ up, then you take her friend” – Sugar Hill Gang As classic as famous rap lyrics can get, these lines from 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” are iconic hip-hop lines. The song’s insightful lyrics and danceable beat helped popularize rap music.
  6. “I like big butts and I cannot lie / You other brothers can’t deny” – Sir Mix-A-Lot Of course we like big butts. That’s why these rap lyrics from 1992’s “Baby Got Back” are so famous. Featured on the album “Mack Daddy,” these lyrics are a touching ode to booty.
  7. “And I’m known as such / And this is a beat you can’t touch” – MC Hammer Squeaky-clean rapper MC Hammer had everyone dancing with the famous rap lyrics in his 1990 hit “U Can’t Touch This.” The album “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” sold over ten million copies because of it.
  8. “Thinkin’ of a master plan / Ain’t nothing but sweat inside my hand” – Eric B. And Rakim A gritty and honest look at street life, 1988’s “Paid In Full” was an instant classic. It featured famous rap lyrics that described the life of a hustler in graphic detail.
  9. “So to you other kids all across the land / Take it from me, parents just don’t understand” – DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince As the only entry on the list of ten famous rap lyrics to mention your mom and dad, these lyrics are all-around family fun. The 1988 song “Parents Just Don’t Understand” was a tongue-in-cheek ode to the frustration of being young.
  10. “Out on bail, fresh outta jail, California dreamin’ / Soon as I step on the scene I’m hearin’ hoochies screamin’” – 2pac After serving a prison sentence, Tupac Shakur recruited Dr. Dre for his 1995 comeback single “California Love.” It was the smartest thing he ever did. The pair’s famous rap lyrics brought life to the album “All Eyez On Me” and made Shakur relevant again.  
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