Good Hip Hop Songs
Rap may have been born in New York City, but there are plenty of good hip hop songs representing the styles of rap scenes in various parts of the country. From the laid-back G-funk of South Central Los Angeles to the slamming crunk of the Dirty South, good hip hop songs are born all over the United States, regional scenes dropping some of the best rap of the past twenty years. Here are just a few examples of good hip hop songs from all over, showing that while the child may have been born in NYC, it's definitely done some traveling.
- "Regulate" by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg. It may not have been the first, but "Regulate" may be the epitome of the G-funk sound, sampling Michael McDonald's smooth "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" and turning it into menacing funk, with Warren G's spitfire rhymes and Nate's sung hooks combining for a classic among good hip hop songs from the West Side. This Los Angeles G-funk hit first appeared on the soundtrack to the film "Above the Rim," a soundtrack laden with good hip hop songs from Los Angeles and the Death Row scene.
- "B.O.B." by OutKast. OutKast, the seminal duo from Atlanta, have created a number of good hip hop songs, but this one (the title is short for "Bombs Over Baghdad") takes the cake, marrying the quick, skittering beats of intelligent dance music to rapid fire rhymes from Big Boi and Andre 3000. This song shows the adventurousness of Atlanta's Dungeon Family scene, also including Cee-Lo and Sleepy Brown, with its willingness to go outside of rap circles for new influences and expanding the sound of good hip hop songs in the process.
- "Thuggish Ruggish Bone" by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Cleveland's Bone Thugs also differed from normal good hip hop songs by adding harmony, creating a sound almost like a gangsta doo-wop group sing-rapping over G-funk beats. This song was a huge underground smash and brought Bone Thugs to the attention of the national scene in a way few Midwestern rap groups had before.
- "Country Grammar" by Nelly. St. Louis' own Nelly continued that melodic, sing-rapping Midwest style on 2000's massive summer jam "Country Grammar," combining street-level lyrics with hooks the girls can dance to. Nelly repped a pop-friendly St. Louis scene geared toward making good hip hop songs for the club, steering clear of the hard-edged persona a lot of rappers tried to cultivate, and the result was a radio-ready staple.
- "Bia Bia" by Lil Jon & Tha East Side Boyz. "Bia Bia" is another kind of club hit. This final example of good hip hop songs not from the New York scene too comes from Atlanta, but from a different scene than the more Prince-influenced, forward-leaning OutKast. Instead, this is about the hardest beats and the loudest, toughest choruses, meant to get clubs crunk. It's like the punk-rock of rap, fist-pumping mosh music for an urban audience. Many good hip hop songs from other southern rappers have followed his lead.
There are many more good hip hop songs from artists outside the New York scene; the above a just a few. Flip on rap radio to hear more; if you're not, you're missing out.