While it may feel like many of the top rap songs are filled with colorful language and overt sexual references, there have been many great tracks over the years that have kept it in the PG-rated range of tunes. You'll find plenty to make you jump about these songs that don't need "explicit content" warnings.
Clean Rap of the 1980s
The world of rap and hip hop first started to gain prominence in this decade with a variety of influential acts.
The title of this song by Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love says it all. Queen Latifah has been empowering her fellow women for years and this positive track truly epitomizes that message. The single sells for $1.29 on Amazon Music.
In a track that has since transcended its rap roots into such subcultures as skateboarding, Run DMC enters a meta analysis by rapping about how difficult it is to come up with a rap song, with just a couple suggestive references. The catchy beat will get you on your feet! Get it on iTunes for $1.29.
Bust a Move
The 1980s were filled with iconic rap songs with upbeat tempos, perfect for dancing. Young MC peaked at the number seven slot on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1989 by busting a move. There are a few suggestive lines. It's available now on Google Play Music for $0.99.
Somebody for Me
A common theme that you'll find across nearly all musical genres is love, particularly looking for love. In this song by Heavy D & The Boyz, the legendary MC raps about wanting "somebody who love me for me." Stream it for free on Spotify.
Clean Rap of the 1990s
Dubbed "the most pivotal era" in hip hop by Redman, the 1990s saw the emergence of several hugely popular rap stars.
Very few artists have been able to master the world of clean, family-friendly rap as Will Smith. Also known as the Fresh Prince, along with partner DJ Jazzy Jeff, Will Smith put out one of the greatest rap songs in 1991. It's fun, chill and positive. Buy the MP3 on Amazon for $1.29.
If you're looking for a song that'll get everyone hopping, it's got to be "Jump" by Kris Kross. Teenagers Chris Kelly (aka Mac Daddy) and Chris Smith (aka Daddy Mac) were known for wearing their baggy jeans and loose tops backwards. It does have mild language. Listen to "Jump" via your Spotify app.
U Can't Touch This
Perhaps known best for its legendary hip hop dance routine, the song itself is about having the most amazing dance moves. MC Hammer and his iconic parachute pants rattled across the stage like a typewriter in a track no one will ever forget. There is a slightly suggestive line towards the beginning. The individual song costs $1.29 on Google Play Music.
It's All About the Pentiums
Weird Al Yankovic has had a long and storied career with incredible song parodies, including this riff on Puff Daddy's "It's All About the Benjamins." Instead of money, "Weird Al" raps about computer parts and nerd culture. It's available for $1.29 on iTunes.
Clean Rap of the 2000s
With the arrival of the new millennium came fresh takes on the world of rap music.
Just Can't Get Enough
The Black Eyed Peas - consisting of Fergie, Will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap - are well known for producing some of the hottest club tracks of the 2000s and is all about how a couple enjoys spending time together, albeit with some suggestive content. Keep the dancing going and buy this song on Amazon for $1.29.
As a "conscious" rapper, Lupe Fiasco is not one to shy away from such controversial topics as politics and social commentary. With this track, though, it's much more about building up the self-confidence to be a superstar on the big stage. The single track costs $1.29 through Google Play Music.
Fort Minor was a side project of Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, taking on a different kind of sound than the rock band with Chester Bennington. "Believe Me" explores the complexities of a bad relationship. Buy this song from 7Digital for $1.49.
Clean Rap of the 2010s
The modern era of rap is just as vibrant as every before with new, talented artists emerging all the time.
I'll Find You
In artist Lecrae's own words, "I'll Find You" is a song of encouragement for anyone going through a difficult time, particularly as it relates to pain, life and death. The chorus with guest Tori Kelly provides an uplifting note. Pick it up on iTunes for 99 cents.
With a message of inclusion and tolerance, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis approach the sometimes difficult topic of same sex marriage. Gary Nunn of The Guardian said it may be "the most profound song" of pop and hip hop. It costs $1.49 on 7Digital.
Love is in the air with this song by Gym Class Heroes, featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5. The main character in the song declares his love by proclaiming he will be the stereo for the object of his affection, singing to her heart's delight. Pick this one up on Amazon Music for $1.29.
Rap artist B.o.B teams up with Rivers Cuomo of Weezer for this track talking about the magic of coming up with hit songs and great albums. "Every time I touch that track, it turns into gold," sings Cuomo. It's available from 7Digital for $1.49.
Hip Hop Hooray!
The rap genre may be greatly associated with influential artists like Tupac Shakur and concerned parents may be worried about the lyrics and content of such music. Look a little deeper, though, and you'll discover plenty of upbeat tracks and songs with positive messages.