Playlist for the week of 8/12/19:
So for this week I was inspired by Chance the Rapper’s list of his favorite songs. I kept the genre to rap only (rock/alternative music will follow next week). This list contains tracks that I loved immediately as well as tracks that have stood the test of time for me personally. This is by no means a “best of” list; merely a snapshot into the rap songs that formed and changed the way I listened to the genre. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have over the years. Feel free to drop your own list in the comments as well.
- Rabbit Run by Eminem: Definitely the least popular of Eminem’s songs from the 8 Mile Soundtrack but it’s a song that has stuck with me through the years. To me, this song is inspirational and scathing and it’s one of the first tracks I memorized by heart. I can still rap the whole thing acapella 17 years later. It’s one of Eminem’s best and most underrated tracks.
- Family Business by Kanye West: Listening to College Dropout was an experience. I could have chosen “Through the Wire” or “All Falls Down” but nothing gives me the emotional reaction that this song gives me. From start to finish, Kanye perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to live in a big family: “And act like everything fine and if it isn’t// We ain’t letting everybody in our family business”
- LIGHTWORKS by MF DOOM and J Dilla: Listening to a J Dilla beat for the first time changes you. The soul that resides in each of his beats is very real and you can feel it deep inside you. This track is also the moment I fell in love with MF DOOM and his off-brand style of rapping.
- Like Me by Joey Bada$$ f/ BJ the Chiacago Kid: I’ve only been living with this song since 2015 but Joey is a rapper who struck me instantly with his timeless delivery and old soul feel. No matter his age, Joey always drops knowledge and I think that’s what hit me hardest about this track. Lines like “and every breath I get closer to the death of me// I’m just trying to carry out my own legacy” hit you right in the gut and the realness with which Joey raps is contagious.
- Breakfast by Curren$y: I’m not sure why my love for Curren$y has lasted all these years. He can rap his ass off, but he’s not the best; his subject matter is limited but he sticks to what he knows. What Curren$y does best is he makes you feel part of. As you listen to this track, you feel like you’re right there with him, smoking a joint on the beach, perfectly at ease.
- Respiration by Black Star f/ Common: Black Star is where my love for Mos Def started. His wordplay, the way he raps, his singing; everything about him sounded new and fresh. It’s this song when I really discovered how cool words could be and how you could mold them to fit any story.
- Hate It or Love It by The Game f/ 50 Cent: This song just straight up makes you feel great. It’s The Game and Fitty at the height of their powers being intensely vulnerable as they trade bars throughout the song (giving little indication of the dysfunction within their group, G-Unit). Who would have thought gangsta rap could be so inspirational and positive?