100 Greatest Rap Songs

Thomma Lyn Grindstaff
Public Enemy live in concert.
Public Enemy

Rap music encompasses a wide span of styles and sounds, and it's nearly impossible to compile a "best of" list that would make every fan happy. Still, there have been many songs throughout the history of rap that stand out as iconic for any number of reasons such as reaching high positions on music charts and making a lasting impression on the music industry and, more importantly, on fans.

The Best of Rap Music

In no particular order, here are 100 great rap tracks, chosen for their popularity, influence, and sometimes both. Each song, in its unique way, has significantly contributed to the hip hop genre.

  1. Fight the Power by Public Enemy - In 1989, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing introduced the world to what is arguably rap's most influential track: Public Enemy's Fight the Power. Coming at a time of civil unrest, it perfectly articulated the concerns and outrage of the African-American community and inspired a whole new generation of rap artists. As Chuck D says in the song, "Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps." The Village Voice named it the best single of 1989.
  2. The Message by Grandmaster Flash - Released in 1983, The Message was the first commercial rap record to tackle American inner city life. Since then, it has risen to such stature that Rolling Stone still rates it in the top five best hip hop tracks of all time. In his review of the song, rapper Questlove states, "The world (me included) absolutely froze in its tracks the week it debuted on radio in June of '82." He goes on to say, "The Message pulled a 180 and proved hip hop could be a tool of sociopolitical change."
  3. Nuthin' But a G Thang by Dr. Dre - This record deserves a place on this list for two reasons. First, it reached number two on the U.S. charts and second, it introduced the world to Snoop Doggy Dogg. His rapping on this record still rates among his best work. Rolling Stone voted it the sixth best hip hop track of all time.
  4. I Get Around by 2Pac - As one of rap's most revered solo artists, 2Pac's back catalog is full of gems. I Get Around demonstrates, as AllMusic states, how he could switch from "tough and sensitive" to "misogynistic boasting." His multifaceted nature is probably what makes him and his music so endlessly fascinating.
  5. Bonita Applebum by A Tribe Called Quest - On this track, A Tribe Called Quest moved from politics to something a little more sedate: the love of the intriguingly named Bonita Applebum. Q-tip, rapping by himself, asks her, "Do I love you? Do I lust for you? Am I a sinner 'cause I do the two? " Rolling Stone ranked it the 47th best hip hop track of all time.
  6. Children's Story by Slick Rick - Slick Rick is a fantastic storytelling rapper, and this track is a good example of his supreme talent. VH1 ranked Children's Story number 61 on its list of the 100 greatest songs of hip hop, and it cracked the top five of the Billboard R&B chart.
  7. C.R.E.A.M. by The Wu-Tang Clan - Standing for "Cash Rules Everything Around Me," this brutally honest song about the Wu-Tang Clan's love for money is good enough for Time Magazine to include it on their list of the 100 best songs ever.
  8. Wild Thing by Tone Loc - Wild Thing is one of early rap music's most successful tracks, selling over two million copies in 1988. Even today, its rocky riff and Tone Loc's laid-back yet authoritative voice can be heard on movie soundtracks such as Uncle Buck, Taxi, and Charlies's Angels, as well as radio stations that know a good tune.
  9. Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z - VH1 rated this track as the 11th best hip hop song ever. At the time, it was Jay Z's highest-charting solo single.
  10. Big Pimpin by Jay Z - Jay Z's lyrics in Big Pimpin' are so over-the-top macho and sexist that he's said to be ashamed of them. What puts it above other songs of its type, and also perhaps the reason why the best rappers get away with saying the things they do, is that Jay Z raps them with a ferocity that is hard to fathom. Rolling Stone ranked Big Pimpin' number sixteen on its list of the greatest 50 hip hop songs of all time.
  11. Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dogg - Regulate was a hugely successful song that reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy and an MTV award. The song continues to go strong. In 2017, Regulate was certified double-platinum, nearly twenty-three years after its release.
  12. You Got Me by The Roots - In this duet with Erykah Badu singing the chorus, Eve and Black Thought rap about learning to trust each other. The song won a Grammy in 1999 for best rap performance by a duo or group.
  13. Boyz N The Hood by Easy E - Boyz N the Hood was released by Easy E as his debut single. Keith Murphy at Vibe writes about how the song was a "bruising introduction" to Easy's music and praises his distinctive delivery and persona while portraying a grim picture of life on the streets.
  14. Just a Friend by Biz Markie - Genuinely amusing, highly entertaining, and slightly weird, Just a Friend epitomizes everything Biz is about, including, as AllMusic rightly points out, just how far a little charm can take you: in Biz's case, all the way up to number nine on the Billboard Hot 100.
  15. Bring The Pain by Method Man - Considering Method Man is one of nine rappers in The Wu-Tang Clan, all of whom have released solo material, having his single named the 12th best Wu-Tang Clan-related track is no small achievement. The lyrics, though, aren't for the faint of heart: "I'll cut your eyelids off and feed you nothin' but sleeping pills." Approach with caution.
  16. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) by Digible Planets - Rebirth of Slick was the winner of a Grammy Award for best rap performance by a duo or group.
  17. Colors by Ice T - Released in conjunction with the 1988 Dennis Hopper film of the same name, AllMusic said Ice T's song "was stronger, both lyrically and musically, with more incisive lyrics, than anything he had previously released." VH1 rates it the 19th best hip hop track of all time.
  18. Crush on You by Lil Kim - Choosing Crush on You as his classic single of the day, Greg Street said Lil Kim was one of the biggest female rappers "to ever do it." One can guess he meant she was the first to go toe to toe with her male counterparts. The single was the lead single off her highly regarded album Hardcore.
  19. I Ain't No Joke by Eric B and Rakim - I Ain't No Joke is called "monumental" by AllMusic. The track, with its sampling of James Brown, "revolutionized hip hop."
  20. A Milli by Lil Wayne - A Milli has ranked high in a variety of polls. For example, Rolling Stone named it the 63rd best song of the decade.
  21. Tennessee by Arrested Development - When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists a song as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock, you know it's a good one. Tennessee is that rare beast in rap: a personal and introspective song that shows both regret and vulnerability.
  22. Rapper's Delight by Sugarhill Gang - This song only reached number 36 on the charts in 1979, but it was the first time a rap record had broken into the top 40. Until then, one could only hear true rap in the underground music scene. Rolling Stone ranked it as the second best hip hop song of all time.
  23. I Used To Love H.E.R. by Common - Tiffany Hamilton of AllHipHop states that I Used to Love H.E.R. established Common "as one of the pioneers in conscious hip hop."
  24. It Takes Two by Rob Base and D.J. EZ Rock - With It Takes Two, Rob Base and D.J. EZ Rock "had the party anthem of 1988." It wasn't politically astute like many other late 80s rap songs, but that wasn't the point. The rapping was solid, and the song was catchy.
  25. It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube - In It Was a Good Day, Ice Cube chronicles a good day in the life of one of rap's most notorious gangster rappers: himself. As he says in the song, no one he knows dies, he doesn't have to use his gun, and he gets a girl he has been after since high school. The song reached number seven on Billboard's chart for Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs.
  26. Cha Cha Cha by MC Lyte - Kiah Fields at The Source dubs MC Lyte as hip hop's matriarch. MC Lyte made her debut as a woman in rap in 1986, and Cha Cha Cha, her breakthrough song that was released in 1989, spent eighteen weeks in the top spot of Billboard's Hot Rap Singles Chart.
  27. Rock The Bells by LL Cool J - Rock the Bells was released in 1985, before hip hop became the mainstream success it is today. Like the other songs on his debut album, it has a skeletal production, but its edgy lyrics set the standard for future acts.
  28. Push It by Salt-N-Pepa - Salt-N-Pepa may not have been the first all-female rap group, but they quickly became one of the most successful. Push It only hit number 19 on the Billboard chart, but it was their breakthrough single, paving the way for their success thereafter.
  29. They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) by C.L. Smooth and Pete Rock - Ranked the 12th best hip hop song of all time by Rolling Stone, this song tells the story of the death of a young friend over a bass line by jazz musician Tom Scott. "When I found the record by Tom Scott, basically I just heard something incredible that touched me and made me cry," Pete Rock told The Village Voice in 2007.
  30. It's Like That by Run D.M.C. - Remixed and re-released fifteen years after its original release, this track was a phenomenal success the second time around, staying at number one in Britain for six weeks. New fans had the opportunity to rediscover one of hip hop's most influential groups.
  31. Award Tour by A Tribe Called Quest - AllMusic writes that A Tribe Called Quest were "without question the most intelligent, artistic rap group during the 1990s" and names Award Tour as their most infectious single.
  32. Dirty South by The Goodie Mob - Dirty South is not only a great track, but it had enough influence to lend its title to the entire style of Southern rap music.
  33. Around The Way Girl by LL Cool J - In Around the Way Girl, LL Cool J is looking for a girl with hair extensions, bamboo earrings, "a Fendi bag and a bad attitude." The song reached number nine on the Billboard charts.
  34. Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy - On this track, voted the fourteenth best hip hop track of all time by Rolling Stone, Public Enemy experimented with innovations from every angle, from scratching to recording speed.
  35. Player's Ball by OutKast - One of the best ways to get yourself well-known is to release a killer debut single. Critics still consider OutKast's debut as among their best. Complex Magazine rates it the number one rap song that has come out of Atlanta.
  36. Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill - With violent, edgy rap tunes being fairly common, the slow, relaxed tone of this track makes for a refreshing change. Insane in the Brain was certified gold in 1993.
  37. Who Am I (What's My Name?) by Snoop Dogg - Snoop Dogg made such a big name for himself as a guest rapper on Dr. Dre's seminal Chronic album that when he released What's My Name?, his debut single, it reached number nine on the Billboard charts and stayed on the charts for seventeen weeks.
  38. Rubber Band Man by T.I. - Andy Kelman states the song has "a neck-winding beat" and "one of the stickiest choruses of early 2004."
  39. Express Yourself by N.W.A - As Craig Jenkins says, N.W.A and Dr. Dre in particular "got inspirational on Straight Outta Compton's third single Express Yourself." It was the only one of the three singles from that album that did not depict either sex or violence.
  40. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos by Public Enemy - AllMusic calls the song the best track on an album that took "not only hip hop but rock and roll and pop music in general into brand new territory." In Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos, Chuck D tells the fictional but hard-hitting tale of a black man imprisoned for refusing to enter the army.
  41. Pop Goes The Weasel by 3rd Bass - VH1 voted this track the 70th best hip hop track of all time, but its real interest lies in its lyrics. The song is a reaction against commercial records such as Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby that dominated the charts in the early 90s. The song hit number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart.
  42. The Choice Is Yours by Black Sheep - John Bush called Black Sheep's debut album Wolf Sheep Clothing "Playfully satirical, witty, and incredibly imaginative" and The Choice Is Yours "incredibly catchy" and "one of the best songs of its era."
  43. Paid in Full by Eric B and Rakim - The Rolling Stone review for this song is one long gush, calling it "arguably the best remix in hip hop." They ranked it the 10th best hip hop song of all time.
  44. The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground - Digital Underground made their name in rap circles as a true cult underground act, so it is quite surprising that this single, easily their most famous, rose to number eleven on the Billboard charts.
  45. Flava In Ya Ear by Craig Mack - Rolling Stone ranked this the 27th best hip hop song of all time, stating it is not only the presence of Craig Mack that makes it great but the presence of stars such as LL Cool J, Biggie Smalls, and Busta Rhymes. Now that's some guest list.
  46. Streets of New York by Kool G Rap and DJ Polo - AllMusic says this track is one of the most unique rap singles to be released, featuring a stark rhythm combined with piano runs. The lyrics give a vivid and unapologetically brutal image of day-to-day life on the streets of New York.
  47. Hey Ya by OutKast - Naming it the 12th best song of the 2000s, Pitchfork says the lyrics in OutKast's Hey Ya are so sharp that "nearly every line becomes a catchphrase."
  48. No Sleep Till Brooklyn by The Beastie Boys - With lyrics such as "Foot on the pedal, never ever false metal, engine running hotter than a boiling kettle," you could never accuse the Beasties of being great poets. Rather, the band and the song are both great examples of "a fantastic rock star rave-up."
  49. Bring the Noise by Public Enemy - Ranked the 76th best song of the 80s, Bring the Noise was an attack on the senses in the true sense of the expression. Chuck D's lyrics and Terminator X's screaming electronica certainly brought the noise. Public Enemy would later perform this song with the thrash metal band Anthrax.
  50. Gold Digger by Kanye West - Kanye West's best song, and one of the best songs of all time according to Time Magazine, isn't about drugs, hustling, or womanizing. It is about him and others like him being played by a woman, all told in his usual lighthearted, humorous style.
  51. B.O.B by OutKast - Pitchfork Magazine named this the best song of the 2000s and with very good reason. "Even if that song showed up at the top of every list ever, I still wouldn't think it was overpraised," says Entertainment Weekly's Simon Vozick-Levinson.
  52. Dwyck by Gang Starr - Dwyck was named by Source Magazine as one of the greatest hip hop songs of all time, and RapReviews claims it "remains one of the truly great party starters from the early nineties."
  53. Lose Yourself by Eminem - At the height of his fame, Eminem starred in a well-received film called 8 Mile. Lose Yourself was the lead single from the soundtrack and won an Oscar for best original song.
  54. Slow Down by Brand Nubian - Complex Magazine ranked the song number 87 on its list of the 100 greatest hip hop beats of all time. Like all Brand Nubian songs, Slow Down has a social conscience. It examines women addicted to crack cocaine, bemoaning "You used to walk with a swagger, now you simply stagger."
  55. Me, Myself and I by De La Soul - After the political force of such bands as Public Enemy, De La Soul's Me, Myself and I introduced something new to rap: flower power hip hop. It was named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock music.
  56. You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party by The Beastie Boys - In the late 80s, The Beastie Boys were well-known, and this single was their most popular song, peaking at number seven on the Billboard charts and staying in the top 100 for eighteen weeks.
  57. Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G. - Critics and fans alike regard the late Notorious B.I.G. as the genre's greatest rapper. Hypnotize reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 only months after his tragic death.
  58. Whatta Man by Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue - Whatta Man was a huge hit in 1993, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying on the chart for 29 weeks.
  59. Stan by Eminem - Literature critic Giles Foden was so impressed with this song's lyrics that he compared Eminem to the Victorian poet Robert Browning. His claim was not as strange as it might sound. Telling the story of an obsessed fan, Stan shares the drama, scope, and humanity of great British and American literature.
  60. Keep Ya Head Up by 2Pac - In Keep Ya Head Up, 2Pac puts aside the sexual posturing to tell women "I know they like to beat ya down a lot" but "if he can't learn to love you, you should leave him." Reaching number 12 on the Billboard charts, Keep Ya Head Up was one of 2Pac's biggest selling singles.
  61. Gin and Juice by Snoop Doggy Dogg - Gin and Juice is without a doubt one of Snoop Dogg's greatest tracks. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Best Solo Rap Performance Grammy award.
  62. I'm Still #1 by Boogie Down Productions - After the death of group member Scott le Roc, many people thought Boogie Down Productions' KRS-One would lose his edge. They needn't have worried. He would certainly change direction, taking a more moralistic tone, but as AllMusic states, I'm Still #1 reminded the world that "KRS-One was still the best rapper in the business."
  63. Dear Mama by 2Pac - Dear Mama is perhaps the greatest song from one of rap music's greatest talents and probably its most tragic loss. The lines '"Even as a crack fiend, Mama, you always was a black queen, Mama" shed light on a complex and sensitive character. In 2010, Dear Mama was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry to honor its cultural and artistic impact.
  64. Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaata - The record's producer Rick Rubin claimed Planet Rock "changed the world." Maybe it wasn't quite that far reaching, but it was certainly good enough to deserve its position as Rolling Stone's third greatest rap track of all time.
  65. Definition by Mos Def and Talib Kweli - AllMusic calls Definition a "flawless" track which hints that Black Star, the album it is from, "is only the first of many brilliantly executed positive statements."
  66. Can't Tell Me Nothing by Kanye West - Rating it number five on its list of the 100 best songs of the complex decade, Complex Magazine stated it "resonated with hip hop purists, college dropouts, and trap stars alike." A rare feat indeed.
  67. F**k tha Police by N.W.A - Has there ever been a more infamous rap song than F**k tha Police? The lyrics highlighted the rarely reported tension between the LAPD and the inner city black community - tensions that would come to a head a few years later in the L.A. riots. The song was ranked number 417 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
  68. Juicy by Notorious B.I.G. - Another song on Time Magazine's list of the 100 best songs ever, Juicy is the story of Biggie Smalls' life, dedicated "to all the teachers that told me I'd never amount to nothin'."
  69. Sound of da Police by KRS-One - In this song KRS-One compares the police to overseers on a slave plantation. Quite a statement, and quite odd that this tune is rarely included in top hip hop song lists. Rap Artists calls it "a catchy-yet-hardcore track."
  70. N.Y. State of Mind by Nas - RapReviews praises N.Y. State of Mind for its innovative style, commenting that the song was expressly designed to knock people off their feet with its intricate rapping style and "fat beats." "I never sleep," Nas raps, "'cause sleep is the cousin of death."
  71. Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest - "Can I kick it? Yes I can!" has to be one of the most recognizable rap choruses of all time, but the song's lyrics are largely devoid of meaning. Even the video shows the band simply kicking the word "it." Complex Magazine voted A Tribe Called Quest's sampling of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side as the 4th best use of a rock sample in rap history.
  72. La Di Da Di by Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew - In their review of the song, Rolling Stone states that La Di Da Di, a Mrs. Robinson style tale, is so influential that it has been paraphrased, copied, and generally worshipped by rappers as great as Biggie Smalls and Snoop Dogg. Released in 1985, it has had a long time to make its impact.
  73. Bad Girls by M.I.A. - Released in 2013, this song shows the power of rap as a political tool. M.I.A. is not an African-American from the hood. She's Sri Lankan, and Bad Girls examines her part of the world. The video, while controversial for apparently propagating Arab stereotypes, has won major awards including an MTV Video Music Award and three UK Music Video Awards.
  74. My Philosophy by Boogie Down Productions - After experimenting with gangster rap for their previous album, Boogie Down Productions returned a year later, minus one murdered member, with an album that AllMusic calls a landmark in political rap. Rapper KRS-One was still angry, but as he stated in the opening song's lyrics, he was no longer going to reinforce stereotypes "because it's about time one of you hears it first hand from the intelligent brown man."
  75. The Breaks by Kurtis Blow - One of rap's first hits in 1980, VH1 still deems it a good enough track to be their 10th best hip hop song of all time. The Breaks was the first rap single to be certified gold.
  76. I Seen a Man Die by Scarface - Also known as Never Seen a Man Cry, Source Magazine voted this one of the best hip hop records of all time. It tells the story of a man that had no choice but to enter a life of crime. Hip Hop Golden Age ranks I Seen a Man Die number two on its list of the top 15 Scarface songs.
  77. Walk This Way by Run DMC and Aerosmith - In the 80s a sub-genre emerged called rap rock, which was a collaboration between a rock group and a rap group. Walk this Way was originally recorded by Aerosmith in 1975, but in 1986, Run DMC sampled the song and eventually got together with Aerosmith to record a new version which won an award for Best Rap Single from Soul Train.
  78. Summertime by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince - Before he became one of Hollywood's biggest film stars, Will Smith was the star of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and member of the rap duo D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. This was one of the duo's most successful singles, winning a Grammy in 1991 for best rap performance by a duo or group.
  79. Eric B. Is President by Eric B and Rakim - Eric B. is President, their debut single, wasn't commercially successful. As an ode to Eric B's D.J. skills, though, it was, as Allhiphop.com states, "a turning point in rap."
  80. My Name Is by Eminem - When Eminem released My Name Is, the first single from the hugely successful Slim Shady album, he became an instant star. Finally, a white rapper who could actually rap. The single won a Grammy for best rap solo performance.
  81. Triumph by The Wu-Tang Clan - Triumph is a fascinating track that features a different rapper on each of its nine verses, plus an intro and interlude by Ol' Dirty Bastard. If you look at the lyrics, the object of the song seems to be for each member to compete for the title of the best rapper. Pop Matters writes that Wu-Tang's verse on the song has become nothing short of legendary, and rapper GZA said it was a tough act to follow.
  82. In Da Club by 50 Cent - Music critics seem to love rap music in the 2000s. This may have to do with lyrics that often express hard and extreme lifestyles and with the "snaking chorus of singles like In da Club" which, in his review, Alex Petridis calls "irresistible."
  83. Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliott - Another song on Time Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songs, Village Voice reviewer Greg Tate said "Get Your Freak On just oughta be christened the battle cry of the bling-bling republic."
  84. Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill's previous group The Fugees were so popular and Lauryn Hill's vocals such a major part of their success that this single went straight to number one on the Billboard charts.
  85. U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y. was one of Queen Latifah's biggest selling hits and also her most critically successful, winning a Grammy for best rap solo performance.
  86. Gangster's Paradise by Coolio - Gangster's Paradise won a Grammy for best rap solo performance and was nominated for best song. The track also won an MTV award and reached number one on the Billboard charts. Overall, it is the 79th best-selling record of all time.
  87. Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J - This song won a Grammy for best rap solo performance in 1991 and was included on the soundtrack for the film Hard Way.
  88. Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A - Few albums have made the impact that N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton made upon its release in 1988. People were either outraged at the violence of its lyrics or impressed at their realism. This opening track is ranked the sixth best hip hop track of all time by VH1. Steve Huey of AllMusic calls the song "amazing" and the album "one of hip hop's greatest."
  89. Come Clean by Jeru The Damaga - AllMusic calls Come Clean "an underground sensation." Complex Magazine gives a nod to the track, saying that Come Clean is Jeru the Damaga's most significant accomplishment in rap music.
  90. How I Could Just Kill a Man by Cypress Hill - Over their signature slow beats, Cypress Hill tells its huge fan base, "There is something you don't understand. How I could just kill a man?" While the track didn't enjoy high sales figures, it was the lead single of a debut album that Steve Huey claims "revolutionized hip hop."
  91. Cell Therapy by Goodie Mob - After years of critics dismissing Southern rap as too commercial, the Goodie Mob lent it credibility with their seminal release Soul Food. Described by AllMusic as "eerie," Cell Therapy was one of the album's biggest singles, hitting number one on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart.
  92. Ima Read by Zebra Katz - One of the many rappers rising from the New York queer rap scene, the Metro calls Zebra Katz's single Ima Read "menacing" and "intoxicating." The Guardian dubs the song "queer rap's crossover hit."
  93. I Got It Made by Special Ed - This track has been labeled a "masterpiece" and "Ed's claim to hip hop immortality." Since Special Ed was only sixteen years old upon its release, he peaked too early, and subsequent releases proved disappointing.
  94. Killing Me Softly by The Fugees - Killing Me Softly is the UK's 43rd best selling single of all time. In the song, Wyclef Jean raps in between Lauren Hill's soulful rendition of the classic Roberta Flack tune of the same name.
  95. Hip Hop by Dead Prez - On the website One Song a Day, they state that Dead Prez's Hip Hop overshadows everything the group had done before and after. As hip hop fans generally rate this duo very highly, it can only mean it is a great track.
  96. Superstar by Lupe Fiasco - Superstar is catchy enough to be a club favorite for decades to come. With its gospel influence and sharp criticism of celebrity culture, the track is called a "memorable single" by Digital Spy.
  97. You Can't Touch This by M.C. Hammer - While rap fans might scoff at M.C. Hammer's inclusion on this list, the fact remains that he was the man who brought rap to the masses. People like Eminem and Snoop Dogg have a lot to thank him for. In 1990, You Can't Touch This, M.C. Hammer's most successful single, reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammy awards.
  98. Five Minutes of Funk by Whodini - Pop Matters cites Five Minutes of Funk as a highly influential track and a source of inspiration to critically acclaimed rappers like LL Cool J and Dr. Dre. Quentin Huff praises the song's futuristic vibe and tight, pulled-together feel.
  99. Ebonics (Criminal Slang) by Big L - Big L, shot dead at the tender age of 24, had, in the words of the Boston Globe, an "intuitive grasp of poetry." Ebonics (Criminal Slang), his best and most well-known song, gives his followers a lesson in street slang.
  100. I Got 5 On It by The Luniz - I Got 5 On It was a hugely successful single, reaching number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was certified platinum in 1995.

Rapping Throughout the Years

Rap music has seen a good deal of change over the decades: the underground scene in the 1970s, the disco scene in the early 80s, the political scene in the mid to late 80s and early 90s, and the gangster scene in the mid to late 90s. Rap, or hip hop as most people now call it, has presented itself in numerous forms by a great many gifted artists. Each new development in hip hop picks up a whole new generation of followers and creates a new breed of talented musicians to keep fans entertained.

100 Greatest Rap Songs