Old School Hip Hop Songs
When it comes to rapping, old school hip-hop songs are the best. Old school hip-hop is the earliest recorded "rap" music that lasted throughout the 1980s and (by some definitions) the early 199's. Prominent old school hip-hop artists include Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, the Furious Five and (of course) The Sugarhill Gang. Below we've assembled a list of some of the most well-respected old school hip-hop songs of all time, so go ahead and take a look.
- "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang Although not the first song to feature rap, "Rapper's Delight" is a 1979 single by The Sugarhill Gang that is widely regarded as the first track to popularize hip-hop. The track also features a noticeable influence from disco music as well.
- "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five Also recorded by Sugar Hill Records, this song should be on every old school hip-hop playlist. "The Message" was the first track to launch the problems of inner city life onto the mainstream; this was achieved by slowing the beats down to showcase the vocals and Grandmaster's lyrics.
- "Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" by the Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys are an old school hi- hop group that is characterized by their long tenure (since 1979). "Fight for Your Right" reached No. 7 on the Billboard 100, later becoming one of the most well-known hip hop tracks. It is part of the "Right to Ill" album.
- "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa Introducing the genre of electro, Afrika Bambaataa's experimental take on hip-hop made for a legendary song called "Planet Rock." The track would go on to influence many hip-hop artists with songs such as Common's "Universal Mind Control."
- "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot Our list of old school hip-hop songs wouldn't be complete without mentioning Mix-a-Lot's famous number one single of 1992. "Baby Got Back" got everyone dancing, no matter who they were, to Sir Mix-a-Lot's hilarious lyricism and funky beats.
- "You Must Learn" by KRS-One Kris Parker knows one thing and it's that "You Must Learn." Rapped with a funky break beat in the back, "You Must Learn" is an interesting take on the ethnocentrism that surrounds our educational system today.
- "Gangsta Gangsta" by N.W.A. Eazy-E, Ice Cube and their posse rip up this track with their West coast, feel-good beats and vocals. This is a song for crusin' down the street, getting ready to do your gangster business. "Gangsta Gangsta" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 Rap Tracks in 1988.
- "Children's Story" by Slick Rick Copied by many and reiterated by millions, "Children's Story" is a widely acclaimed single from British-American rapper Slick Rick. The song is tragic in nature, condemning violence, greed, police corruption and thievery. It shows a cycle of addiction only characterized by that of the repeat crime.
- "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer The arrival of the world famous "Hammer Time" characterized MC Hammer's 1990 single "U Can't Touch This." The song is largely swingbeat, hip-hop and pop in its performance, attracting audiences from all over and inviting them to dance.
- "Fight the Power" by Public Enemy Public Enemy's political hip-hop is best exemplified through their signature anthem "Fight the Power." The song focuses on the abuse of power and why it is important for the everyday citizen to stand up to such corruption.
Old school hip-hop is a genre characterized by relatively less complex techniques, which oftentimes make it very profound. Artists like Big Daddy Kane (although not mentioned), Slick Rick, KRS-One, Rakim (not mentioned as well) and Public Enemy are some of the founding fathers of what would become old school hip-hop. The end of old school hip hop songs marks the beginning of the East-West feud that would ensue the early-middle 1990s, climaxing with the death of Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace (The Notorious B.I.G.) These two periods encompass what many critics now refer to as the Golden Age of Hip-Hop.