People often ask me why I don't like rap. False. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just dislike any form of music where content and substance takes a back seat to imaging and materialism. And it's not even that I don't like all songs like that, there is a place for fun, light-hearted party songs, but those are already being constantly thrust into the public's eye. There are many rap artists making important and intellegent lyrics that don't get the recognition that their peers do. Here are 10 Great Rap Songs.
1. "Sea Lion" - Sage Francis
I've talked about this one before, but it would be a sin not include it on a list about Rap. Sage Francis is from Providence, RI and has won many emcee battles and regularly participates in spoken word competitions. His skill is evident in "Sea Lion", I use this song to convert many "Rap is Crap" activists. You can't help but pay attention when Francis lights this one up
2. "The Waitress" - Atmosphere
Atmosphere is a duo from Minnesota. Ant and Slug. They've been getting alot of attention lately with their 2011 release The Family Sign. One of my favourites from Atmosphere is a song called "The Waitress" about the strange relationship between a homeless man who frequents a downtown diner and the waitress that works there. It juxtaposes their lives in a way that makes it obvious that although their always butting heads, they need each other. It's quite brilliant actually.
3. "Fire" - Joe Buddens w/ Busta Rymes
This is a great song, a double-edged sword if you will. It's a perfect party song, because let's face it...life is too long to take it 100% seriously all the time. Also underneath the infectious beats are some incredibly clever lyrics...especially the final verse which blasts other so-called artists who are merely a cardboard cut out with someone else doing all the work.
4. "We Don't Play" - GRITS
Going another direction here, GRITS is actually a Christian Rap group with their name being an acronym for Grammatical Revolution In The Spirit. Whether the message of the content reaches you or not, this song is impossible to ignore. I feel it would make a great background song for a basketball video of thunderous jams and amazing plays. Did I mention i'm a basketball fan? Of course rap and hoops go hand in hand.
5. "Triumph" - Wu-Tang Clan
Perhaps one of the most influential and important groups in the world of hip-hop was the Wu-Tang Clan. Originally featuring only 3 members it quickly rose to 9 with members including Method Man, Ol' Dirty Bastard, RZA, GZA, U-God, Inspecta Deck, Masta Killa, Raekwon and The Ghostface Killah. "Triumph" came from their second album in 1997 Wu-Tang Forever. It's a perfect introduction to the group as each member gets to showcase their unique styles. The song itself doesn't even feature any hooks, just words spit at you methodically and precisely.
6. "Let's Push Things Forward" - The Streets
The Streets are a rap/beats group from Birmingham, England. Mike Skinner is at the center of it all with various other musicians coming and going. The music is usually intriguingly simple while the lyrics can range from such topics as romance, the politics of drinking vs smoking and even the stagnation of the music industry. Which is where "Let's Push Things Forward" falls.
7. "December 4th" - Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse is one half of Gnarls Barkley, the other half being Cee-Lo Green. The Grey Album was a mash up album of Jay-Z's (that's zee not zed....i'm Jay-Z...zed) Black Album and The Beatle's White Album.
It actually turned out well...this track was my favourite mixing "December 4th" with "Mother Nature's Son".
8. "Northern Touch" - The Rascalz
The Rascalz were one of Canada's foremost hip-hop groups consisting of Red One and Misfit. They gained even more recognition in 1998 when they won the Juno (Canada's Grammy) award for their album Cash Crop. They declined the award based on it not being presented during the televised portion of the show and even suggested that maybe racism was a factor. Since then the award for best hip-hop group has been moved to the main ceremony and Canadian rap got the respect many felt it deserved. "Northern Touch" is a who's who of Canadian Hip-Hop featuring names like Kardinall Offishall, Choclair, Thrust and Checkmate all close friends of The Rascalz.
9. "You Got Me" - The Roots & Eykah Badu
The Roots are a great hip-hop group and they actually play all the instruments on their records and live performances which is refreshing. "You Got Me" showcases vocalist's Black Logic's sheer talent in word play even when it comes to a subject so universal as dating. He makes it seem brand new...like no one ever wrote a love song before. Erykah Badu's addition to the song is perfect as well...the perfect female voice to go back and forth with. Sadly The Roots have been relegated to Jimmy Fallon's studio band on his lackluster talk show. Great video here too.
10. "Fett's Vette" - MC Chris
Hailing from Illinois MC Chris is known for rapping, being an improv comedian, voice actor, writer and evidently a Star Wars fan. "Fett's Vette" is a fun song about one of the saga's most cult characters Boba Fett.
After this song was used in Kevin Smith's flick 'Zack and Miri Make A Porno' a friendship was developed between the filmmakers and Chris and he has since gone on to other projects with them.
Thanks for reading! Go out and rap today!
And comment! and request!