Favorite Rap Songs
I am not the biggest fan of rap music. I find most of the lyrics to be really nasty and even a bit degrading. The messages for the longest time have been the same to me: fuck bitches, get money. I don’t live by that lifestyle, so why should I listen to songs that promote it? Anyway, there have been those songs that do get to me, especially rap songs. Here is my list of the Greatest Rap Songs (in my opinion, of course). There’s no specific order because I can’t really pick which one is the greatest.
No Love by Eminem ft. Lil Wayne – 2010 was the year Eminem came back and boy was it a comeback. I enjoyed his song “The Real Slim Shady” when it first hit the airwaves ten years ago, and he did fairly well in the couple of years that followed. What happened between now and then? I don’t know. What I do know is this: Recovery proved to be just that, a recovery. He released two songs in 2010: “Love the Way You Lie” and “Not Afraid”; both became hits. “Love the Way You Lie” proved to be the bigger of the two. The song that makes this list, however, was released after these two. This collaboration with Lil’ Wayne (not the greatest rapper BTW) is just intense. The message of “I have become better despite what you say” is just powerful. Combine it with an actually well-made sample of “What is Love” by Haddaway, and the song just becomes intense. Add Slim’s speed rapping to the mix to complement Wayne’s slow steady rap, and it proves to be awesome. Is there cursing? Yes. Is there sexual references? Yes. Does it have a good message? Yes. “No Love” proves to be a rap song that I actually do love.
The Way I Are by Timbaland ft. Keri Wilson – Has there ever been a song that you really, really like and would really, really love if not for one little thing? Well, this song is mine. I really do enjoy this song. The beat is really catchy. The lyrics aren’t profane at all (unless you’re offended by the word “strip). Keri’s singing really makes the hook really catchy. The best part is the message: I love you for who you are not what you have. Here’s a message to counter the thug ideal of “fuck bitches, get money” we heard these so many years. Hell, Timbaland even comes across as dirt poor in the song. Timbaland has proven to be a good producer and can be a good musician occasionally. This song is definitely one of his best. So what is that one characteristic that holds me from loving this song? It’s simple: it’s called “The Way I Are”. Really? “The Way I ARE”? You don’t have to be an English major to know that it’s grammatically incorrect. It doesn’t even sound right. Oh well, grammar aside, it’s a good song.
Nothin’ on You by B.o.B. ft. Bruno Mars – I actually sat down and listened to some of B.o.B.’s songs, and I have to admit that they’re not bad. Some say he’s a carbon copy of Andre 3000, and they may be right. Maybe it’s a Georgia thing. I don’t know. Sure, “Airplanes” may have been overplayed, but check out “Don’t Let Me Fall” when you get the chance. If I had to pick his best song, it would be his first. I keep hearing that rappers are trying to clean up their image, and I find it harder to believe. I still hear the same messages over and over (and even grosser than ever). When I actually listened to this song, I started to get a sense of hope. It has the same characteristics as “The Way I Are” besides issues on grammar: catchy hook, catchy rapping, no profanity, and (gasp) it has a message that contradicts the rap culture. In a world where trying to get as many hot girls as you can symbolizes your status in life, B.o.B. says “I only want one”. It’s the sign of fidelity that makes him stand out to me as a rapper. Kudos to you, B.o.B. You definitely got the magic.
Young Forever by Jay-Z ft. Mr Hudson – I read somewhere that “California Gurls” by Katy Perry was the anthem of summer 2010. That’s a statement on which I couldn’t disagree more. I hate that song so much. It’s annoying and God-awfully cute. The lyrics are vapid. The subject has been SUNG ABOUT TO NO EXTENT FOR THE PAST FORTY YEARS. Also, it bears similarity to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”. Don’t believe me? Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2dPA2dCRNY for proof. Why I disagree with this decision is that Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” is a much more worthy candidate of the term “summer anthem of 2010”. It represents everything having to do with summer: enjoying today, living in the moment, wishing you could be forever young. The synthesizer in the background just paints the image of a sunrise over a beach. I listen to this song, and immediately I feel like I’m in summer. It does have a lot of profanity and a couple of drug references, but the message still rings clear.
My Chick Bad by Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj – Nicki Minaj scares me. When she does her freaky character, it just becomes really creepy. She has very animated eyes and teeth that can turn her into an evil doll. Her costumes are very extravagant and out there. She is the Lady GaGa of rap. And yet the freakier she is, the better she is. When she’s sweet and all “cute”, that’s when she starts to lose her luster. Give me more of that “Freaky Nicki”, like she did in Ludacris’ “My Chick Bad”. I always found Ludacris to be somewhat clever in his lyrics (even though he can be really nasty when it comes to politics, see “Politics as Usual”), and “My Chick Bad” is no exception. Even though it uses that strange concept of dropping the “like” in comparisons (“I fill her up, balloons”? “It’s going down, basement”? Using “like” or “as” doesn’t make you look bad. In fact, NOT using them makes you look stupid), it’s still catchy and has the elements from both rappers that I like. It’s profane and sexual; however, Ol’ Luda is using it to describe his girlfriend.
City by Hollywood Undead – I have a confession to make: I may enjoy angry rap songs more than not angry. I’m not mad at the world; it’s just that the anger makes the song more intense and even catchier. It may be why I enjoy Eminem so much. If you haven’t heard of this group, it’s not your fault. Hollywood Undead is a Myspace band: They’re not really big yet, but they still have somewhat of a following. They have this shtick of wearing masks to hide their identity. Why? I don’t know. They had some decent songs off their first album Swan Songs such as “Everywhere I Go” and “Undead”, but the one song that I just love is “City”. It’s this idea of fearing the end of the world because of what it’s doing to us that makes this song powerful, even scary. I don’t approve of its nihilist message (“This city looks so pretty. Do you wanna burn it with me?”), but “City’s” intensity and power is what gets me hooked to this song.
Coming Home by Ditty-Dirty Money – I know I said rap music doesn’t speak to me, but I finally found a rap song that actually does. Ditty sings about all the times he has messed up in the past and how going back to his roots will make him feel better. He lists all of the things that went wrong in his life, including personal matters. When he talks about his divorce, he hits me hard because I understand what he is saying and how he felt. I’m not going into details as to how I understand, so let’s just leave it at that. He starts off every verse with a reference to another song, saying why he hates or loves it. Each verse is very personal, and Ditty’s lyrical structure makes it easier to say with good rhythm and rhymes. The song gets better as it goes on as the third verse gives the listener a sense of hope. It gives Ditty hope that he can go back and fix his mistakes. There’s a powerful message if there ever was one.