10 Good Old School Rap Songs

Every once in awhile you just need to turn the bass up and blast some of these 10 good old school rap songs. The old days of rap, ones where the scene was more unpredictable and edgy, are long over. But that doesn’t mean you can’t relive them. Check out the following songs to rekindle your lost love for good old school rap.

  1. “Fight The Power” – Public Enemy. This song, to put it simply, hits harder than any party song or gangster rap. Its epic intro and fantastic lyrics, coupled with an intense sample, capture the spirit of unrest and defiance perfectly.
  2. “It’s Like That” – Run D.M.C. “It’s Like That” was a club banger before club bangers even existed. The quick tempo and classic switch-off style Run D.M.C. uses in the song guarantee that it blew out quite a few speakers in its day.  
  3. “Keep Ya Head Up” – Tupac. Undoubtedly from Tupac’s more sentimental catalog, “Keep Ya Head Up” is a shout out in support of African American women everywhere. It’s no party song, but it has a good message, a great sample and Tupac’s unmistakable style.
  4. “Award Tour” – A Tribe Called Quest. A Tribe Called Quest’s penchant for jazz samples mashed up with rap rhythm makes for a match made in heaven. Their clever lyrics and smooth delivery reach a silky peak in “Award Tour”.
  5. “O.P.P.” – Naughty By Nature. With questionable subject matter over a classic Jackson 5 sample, “O.P.P.” is great in its irreverence. Its exuberance about cheating is hilarious. In short, it makes infidelity fun.
  6. “Big Poppa” – The Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Smalls’ rapping style is legendary for its flow. “Big Poppa,” one of his biggest hits, is a great example of it. His slick verses meld right into the classic chorus, and you feel like a “true playa’” yourself when it comes on.
  7. “Rapper’s Delight” – The Sugarhill Gang. This song is about as old school as rap gets. In fact, it is credited as being one of the first rap songs ever recorded. By virtue of innovative, instant classic status, it deserves a spot the list.
  8. “Straight Outta Compton” – N.W.A. Led by Ice Cube’s downright angry first verse, “Straight Outta Compton” is completely politically incorrect. But that’s what makes it great. It was edgy, even for old school rap. But, it’s also N.W.A.’s most well known track.
  9. “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” – Dr. Dre. With the indomitable combo of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin But a G Thang” is a staple on any old school rap compilation. It's more chilled out, West Coast style added a whole new dimension to the rap scene at the time, and helped launch Dre and Snoop into super stardom.
  10.  “The Message” – Grandmaster Flash. Old school rap and hip hop often had simple samples and production. Grandmaster Flash, an innovative DJ, was the exception. The lyrics to “The Message” may not be the deepest ever, but Flash’s beat makes it a must-listen.
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