Whether the lyrics are literal or hidden these are 5 good hip-hop songs for graduation. The hip-hop genre is often overlooked when it comes to graduation songs but these 5 were either written for the purpose or can be interpreted for any type of graduation. All the songs have hope and positive messages embedded in the lyrics and should not be overlooked come graduation.
- "This Night (Graduation Song)" by Expo. Hip-hop artist Expo created this song in 2006 and the lyrics mixed with mellow beats makes it the best hip-hop graduation song. Expo based the lyrics to "This Night (Graduation Song)" on his own personal experience of graduating from high school. The South Jersey hip-hop artist's lyrics ring true for graduation as he sings, "I look up in the mirror, memories take me back. Fixing up my tie, straighten up my cap, whoever thought that we ever would see this day."
- "I Can" by Nas. Released as a single off of Nas's 2002 album "God's Son" this hip-hop song reached number 12 on Billboard Top 100. Nas's mother asked him to write a song that can be inspirational for children and out came "I Can" an inspirational song for recent graduates. The lyrics, "You can be anything in the world, in God we trust. An architect, doctor, maybe an actress, but nothing comes easy it takes much practice," has realistic meaning that graduates can achieve anything by working hard towards their dreams.
- "Touch the Sky" by Kanye West. Controversial hip-hop artist Kanye West's song "Touch the Sky" is the second single from his album "Late Registration" and a good hip-hop graduation song. Written about overcoming struggles and wanting to be the best, this song can translate for graduates to always reach for their goals and never give up.
"Live Your Life" by T.I. featuring Rihanna. Hip-hop artist T.I. handpicked pop singer Rihanna to sing the hook for his song "Live Your Life" which is from his album "Paper Trails". The upbeat tempo paired with the chorus, "Ain't got no time for no haters, just live your life. No tellin' where it'll take ya, just live your life," makes it a good hip-hop graduation song. Rihanna's chorus brings a softer edge to the song about ignoring what negative people say and going for your dreams.
- "Big Dreams" by Bow Wow. From Bow Wow's fourth studio album "Wanted" the song "Big Dreams" may not have been a single but it is the perfect hip-hop graduation song. The chorus goes, "When you got big dreams don't listen to what nobody say and don't let nobody turn you away. When you got big dreams keep your eyes on the prize don't fall to the way side," and run true for recent graduates to never give up on dreams. The song has different stories of people trying to succeed but take the wrong paths of abusive relationships or drugs and forget about their dreams. The dreary content of the song can be flipped into a warning for recent graduates to not follow destructive paths and keep dreaming of success.