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The 50 Best Storytelling Rap Songs of All Time

It’s been an impressive journey from block parties and corner rap battles to mainstream multi-platinum hits, but hip-hop has always had a strong storytelling tradition at its core.

The best rappers of all time are more than just wordsmiths—they’re storytellers, and their songs sometimes take on the power of an epic novel or blockbuster action flick. Sometimes these stories are empowering narratives that motivate the listener to chase his dreams; other times they’re cautionary tales of how not to live your life if you want to succeed in the game.

Whether it was Nas pushing the boundaries of hip hop with his literary ambitions, Slick Rick penning warning tales to the youth or Kool G Rap pioneering the mafioso rap subgenre, the ability to craft stories is a sign of a great rapper.

From Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story” to Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” to Biggie’s “Warning”, here are the 50 best storytelling rap songs of all time.


Pusha T – “S.N.I.T.C.H.”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Mnimn

Released: October 7, 2013

Album: My Name Is My Name

Producer: Pharrell

Synopsis: The title says it all on this 2013 hit. Producer/co-writer Pharrell Williams came up with the clever acronym “S.N.I.T.C.H.” (sorry n*gga, I’m tryin’ to come home) and sings the bluesy phrase as a counterpoint to Pusha T’s narrative about a homie turned rat.

In an interview with NPR, Pusha described working on the song with Pharrell and then hearing the producer come up with the genius acronym for the first time.

Pusha T: He calls me two weeks later and I’m at SXSW on the street. He was like, “Sorry, N-word, I’m Tryna Come Home.” I was like, “What you mean?” He was like, “No, that’s the title of it.” I was like, “OK, OK. I like it, I like it.” He was like, “Nah, you don’t feel me.” He said, “It’s the acronym for ‘snitch’, man.” I was like, “Oh, yeah. You the G.O.A.T. You are the G.O.A.T.” He was like, “Am I the G.O.A.T.?” “You are the G.O.A.T.! You the G.O.A.T.!”

Pusha T On A Tribe Called Quest, His Frustrations And Pharrell (Part 2) | NPR

Immortal Technique – “Dance with the Devil”

Immortal Technique

Released: September 18, 2001

Album: Revolutionary Vol. 1

Producer: 44 Caliber

Synopsis: Set to a boom-bap beat and a sample of the Francis Lai’s ‘Theme from Love Story,’ Immortal Technique delivers a dark and reportedly true tale of young thug named Billy Jacobs who descends ever deeper into the abyss of drugs, rape and murder until he ultimately kills himself.

Mos Def – “Ms. Fat Booty”

100 Rappers Their Age Classic Album Mos Def

Released: August 2, 1999

Album: Black on Both Sides

Producer: Ayatollah

Synopsis: The first single from Mos’ debut album Black on Both Sides , “Ms. Fat Boot”‘ tells the tale of a months-long cat-and-mouse game. The title character flirts, teases and leads the rapper on. They eventually hook-up but then she ghosts him, hits the club and switches teams.

Snoop Dogg – “Lodi Dodi”

Every Single Hip Hop Billboard Number One Album Since 1986 Doggystyle

Released: November 23, 1993

Album: Doggystyle

Producer: Dr. Dre

Synopsis: Just a couple of years before the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry between Death Row and Bad Boy Records blew up, Long Beach superstar Snoop Dogg dropped “Lodi Dodi.” A sign of better days, the track is a cover of “La Di Da Di” by Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick , and a shout out to the two NYC legends.

DMX – “Crime Story”

Dmx Intro

Released: December 22, 1998

Album: It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot

Producer: Irv Gotti, Lil Rob

Synopsis: A chill 70’s bass and conga funk groove sets a gritty New York City scene for DMX’s spoken word tale of real life, small-time gang banger crime. His first person narrative goes hard until the end when the protagonist takes out the 116th precinct with a C4 suicide bomb.

Boogie Down Productions – “Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love)”


Released: July 5, 1990

Album: Edutainment

Producer: KRS-One

Synopsis: From the aptly titled 1990 album Edutainment, KRS-One delivers a cautionary tale to all the would-be gang-bangers. Kris tells a first-person narrative of a young man who pursues a life of crime, at first to feed his family. However greed becomes his downfall.

J. Cole – “4 Your Eyez Only”

Ranking J Cole First Week Album Sales 4 Your Eyez

Released: December 9, 2016

Album: 4 Your Eyez Only

Producer: BLVK, J. Cole, Elite, Childish Major

Synopsis: “4 Your Eyez Only” is the title track from J. Cole’s 2016 album dedicated to his late friend James McMillian Jr. The two grew up together, but James’ life took a very different path than Jermaine’s. The song is presented as a posthumous letter to McMillian’s daughter, read from his perspective.

Eazy-E – “Boyz-n-the Hood”

Rappers With The Most Platinum Albums Of All Time Eazy E

Released: March 3, 1987

Album: N.W.A. and the Posse

Producer: Dr. Dre

Synopsis: Eazy-E’s debut solo single takes listeners through a day in hood life. For over five minutes, E narrates the scenes and situations he encounters as he travels the streets of Compton. Penned by Ice Cube, the story opens with a morning buzz and ends with a courtroom shootout.

Warren G ft. Nate Dogg – “Regulate”

100 Rappers Their Age Classic Album Warren G

Released: April 28, 1994

Album: Regulate… G Funk Era

Producer: Warren G

Synopsis: In this crossover 1994 hit, Warren G and Nate Dogg rap and sing over a chilled funk groove. In the story, they’re cruising the streets of Long Beach, CA with some female companions. However their night is temporarily disrupted by rivals, and the 213 must regulate.

Jay-Z – “You Must Love Me”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Vol 1

Released: November 4, 1997

Album: In My Lifetime, Vol. 1

Producer: Nashiem Myrick

Synopsis: On the closing track of his sophomore album, Jay-Z makes amends for his past mistakes. From disrespecting his mother to employing his girlfriend as a drug mule, and even shooting his own brother at 12 years-old . The track is built on the soulful O’Jays classic “What I’m Waiting For.”

Boogie Down Productions – “9mm Goes Bang”

Best 3 Song Run On Classic Rap Albums Boogie

Released: March 3, 1987

Album: Criminal Minded

Producer: DJ Scott La Rock, KRS-One, Partner Lee Smith

Synopsis: A year before notorious West Coast rap group N.W.A. introduced gangsta rap to suburbia’s darlings, NYC’s Boogie Down Productions dropped their ode to KRS-One’s favorite handgun and the damage it could inflict. In a tragic example of life imitating art, BDP’s Scott La Rock was killed by gunfire a few months after their album Criminal Minded dropped.

Jedi Mind Tricks ft. R.A. the Rugged Man – “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story”

Jedi Mind Tricks

Released: September 19, 2006

Album: Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell

Producer: Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind

Synopsis: “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story” is a hard rap about a dark time in history, told from the first person perspective of two different soldiers. The first is a scared draftee who opposes the war. The second is the true and tragic tale of R.A. the Rugged Man’s own family. This is one of the most harrowing tales ever committed to wax and absolutely one of the best storytelling rap songs of all time.

Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah – “Gihad”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Ii

Released: September 8, 2009

Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II

Producer: Necro

Synopsis: The seventh song from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II goes hard, even by Wu-Tang standards. Raekwon and Ghostface Killah drop a string of hood anecdotes. Rae tells of life on the streets before Ghost steps to the mic with a twisted tale of hooking up with his son’s girlfriend. The Supreme Clientele has always been one of hip hop’s most gifted storytellers and this track is just one of many fine examples.

Lupe Fiasco – “Hip Hop Saved My Life”

Greatest Sophomore Rap Albums Of All Time Lupe

Released: December 18, 2007

Album: Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool

Producer: Soundtrakk

Synopsis: “Hip Hop Saved My Life” is Lupe Fiasco’s love letter to the music that got him off the streets and gave him the motivation to rise above. The song is also a heartfelt shoutout to his heroes, Southern rap legends Bun B and Slim.

Nas – “Undying Love”

Ranking Nas First Week Album Sales Nas I Am

Released: April 6, 1999

Album: I Am…

Producer: L.E.S.

Synopsis: “Undying Love” is one of Nas’ more underrated cuts in his catalogue, which makes sense because it’s the last track off the forever underrated I Am… Nas closes the album with a first person account of a dark and depressing tale. The protagonist returns from a trip to Vegas with an engagement ring in his hand, hoping to surprise his fiance. He finds her in bed with another man. A grotesque murder-suicide follows.

Slick Rick – “The Moment I Feared”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Great Adventures Slick Rick

Released: November 1, 1988

Album: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick

Producer: The Bomb Squad

Synopsis: Storytelling is Slick Rick’s whole vibe. He even has an album titled The Art of Storytelling . On the fourth track of his classic debut album , The Great Adventures of Slick Rick , the legendary English-American East Coast rapper tells an ill fated tale of sex, murder and prison rape.

Kendrick Lamar – “DUCKWORTH”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Damn

Released: April 14, 2017

Album: DAMN.

Producer: 9th Wonder, Bekon

Synopsis: Set to a choppy beat and an assortment of classic soul samples courtesy of the underrated 9th Wonder, Kendrick drops some personal family history on “Duckworth.” He tells the story of his father (the title character), his future label boss Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and the remarkable coincidence that saved both their lives and made Kendrick’s success possible.

Raekwon – “Knowledge God”

Ready To Die Vs Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2 1024X1024

Released: August 1, 1995

Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…

Producer: RZA

Synopsis: Riding a mafioso-inspired production, Raekwon steps to the mic with the story of Mike Lavogna, a mafia man who dealt coke out of his storefront in the hood. The song’s title is slang for a kilogram (kg) of cocaine. Throughout the track, the drug is referenced as a symbol of money and power.

Tyler, The Creator – “WILSHIRE”

Biggest Hip Hop Album First Week Sales Of 2021 Tyler Creator

Released: June 25, 2021

Album: Call Me If You Get Lost

Producer: Tyler, the Creator

Synopsis: “Wilshire” clocks in at over eight minutes and was recorded in a single take. Over an old-school breakbeat and some electric piano slow jam vibes, Tyler the Creator tells a tale of an illicit love affair he has with a friend’s woman. We follow the relationship as it progresses from flirtation to clandestine meetings and ultimately to the inevitable breakup.

Eminem – “Kim”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Marshall Mathers Lp

Released: May 23, 2000

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

Producer: Bass Brothers

Synopsis: Em and Kim’s marriage is the stuff of hip-hop legend, and this track from the Detroit rapper’s sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP laid the foundation. For six minutes he screams a psychotic narrative of murder and revenge. Producer Dr. Dre called the song, “over the top,” and provided the haunting soundscape for Em to spin his unforgettable story.

The Notorious B.I.G. – “I Got a Story to Tell”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Album: Life After Death

Producer: Nashiem Myrick, Carlos “July Six” Broady, Sean “Puffy” Combs

Synopsis: From Biggie’s sophomore album Life After Death , “I Got a Story to Tell” is the amazing true tale of an adulterous one-night stand that ends with the rapper faking a violent home invasion and stealing a bag of cash from New York Knick, Anthony Mason.

2Pac – “Brenda’s Got a Baby”

Ranking Tupac Shakur Best Selling Albums Of All Time 2Pacalypse Now

Released: October 20, 1991

Album: 2Pacalypse Now

Producer: Big D the Impossible

Synopsis: Tupac tackles multiple societal issues head-on in a story the rapper said was inspired by a newspaper report of a real 12 year-old girl who was impregnated by her cousin and then threw the baby away. Poverty, rape, incest and child abuse ultimately lead to infanticide and prostitution in this dark parable.

The Roots ft. Erykah Badu – “You Got Me”

50 Rappers Best Selling Albums Of All Time The Roots

Released: January 22, 1999

Album: Things Fall Apart

Producer: The Grand Wizzards, Scott Storch

Synopsis: Erykah Badu plays the reassuring female to a jealous and insecure man in this call and reponse hip-hop conversation. The track was originally written with Jill Scott who the label replaced with Badu. Scott eventually recorded her own version with The Roots on their live album.

Lil Wayne ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Mona Lisa”

Every Single Hip Hop Billboard Number One Album Since 1986 Tha Carter V

Released: September 28, 2018

Album: Tha Carter V

Producer: Infamous, Onhel

Synopsis: “Mona Lisa” tells the story of a femme fatale who colludes with gangsters to rob the men she pretends to be in love with. The song is rumored to be about famous video vixen, Karrine Steffans (aka Superhead).

Common – “I Used To Love H.E.R.”

Greatest Sophomore Rap Albums Of All Time Common

Released: September 27, 1994

Album: Resurrection

Producer: No I.D.

Synopsis: Common’s story of a childhood crush who grows into a beautiful woman. She eventually loses her way. The song is actually an allegory about the evolution of hip-hop, which the rapper felt had taken some unfortunate turns when he dropped this classic track in 1994. It also resulted in the infamous beef between Common and Ice Cube, which was caught up in the larger East Coast-West Coast rivalry.

Public Enemy – “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”

25 Greatest Years In Hip Hop History Public Enemy It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

Released: June 28, 1988

Album: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Producer: The Bomb Squad

Synopsis: The final single from PE’s masterpiece second album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back , on the surface “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” is a prison break fantasy. It is that, but in the hands of Chuck D it is also a harsh commentary about institutional racism.

Ghostface Killah ft. Raekwon, Method Man & Joi Starr – “Yolanda’s House”

Big Doe Rehab

Released: December 4, 2007

Album: The Big Doe Rehab

Producer: Anthony “Ant-Live” Singleton

Synopsis: Ghost reunites with his Wu-Tang brothers for a wild tale of a neighborhood hottie. Running from the law, he ends up at Yolanda’s house and they proceed to hook up. However, when the cops come knocking he hides in a closet only to find Method there. Apparently his homie was also making time with Yolanda.

Redman – “A Day of Sooperman Lover”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Whut Thee Album

Released: September 22, 1992

Album: Whut? Thee Album

Producer: Erick Sermon, Reggie Noble

Synopsis: Over a chill R&B groove, Redman drops a weird and funny superhero tale. After saving a lady’s cat from a tree, the Sooperman Lover is rewarded with weed and booty. The track was written as a tribute to EPMD’s “Jane” trilogy.

Organized Konfusion – “Stray Bullet”

Organized Konfusion

Released: August 16, 1994

Album: Stress: The Extinction Agenda

Producer: Organized Konfusion

Synopsis: Organized Konfusion’s “Stray Bullet” is a hard, dark and poetic story told from the first person perspective of a gangster’s bullet. Through a series of scenarios the Queens rappers follow the path of stray projectiles as they pass through and destroy the lives of both the guilty and innocent.

Scarface – “I Seen A Man Die”

50 Greatest Third Albums In Hip Hop History Scarface

Released: September 27, 1994

Album: The Diary

Producer: N.O. Joe, Scarface, Mike Dean

Synopsis: In his signature chill tone and a laid-back Southern flow, the former Geto Boy delivers a deadly serious series of murder anecdotes. On the epic track, Scarface drops social and spiritual commentary as he rhymes alternately from the perspective of both killer and victim.

Black Star – “Children’s Story”

50 Greatest Hip Hop Debut Albums Of All Time Black Star

Released: September 29, 1998

Album: Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star

Producer: Shawn J. Period

Synopsis: The fifth track from this iconic Mos Def and Talib Kweli collab, “Children’s Story” is a loose cover of Slick Rick’s track of the same name. However, in his version Mos turns the tale of an ill-fated gangbanger into a commentary on the state of the music business. As the story goes, Puffy (the antagonist in this story) saw this song performed live by Mos one time and got seriously pissed off.

Mobb Deep – “Trife Life”

Q Tip Mobb Deep The Infamous Production 1024X1024

Released: April 25, 1995

Album: The Infamous

Producer: Mobb Deep

Synopsis: The smooth R&B keys of Norman Connors’ “You Are My Starship” introduce “Trife Life” before the beat drops on a downtempo old-school groove. Prodigy and Havoc step to the mic and deliver a string of graphic and real scenarios of hood life in the Queensbridge projects. P’s lines about jetting through Marcy would later play a pivotal role in his beef with Jay-Z later on .

A Tribe Called Quest – “8 Million Stories”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Midnight Marauders

Released: November 9, 1993

Album: Midnight Marauders

Producer: Skeff Anselm

Synopsis: In the early 60’s the police drama ‘Naked City’ introduced the now ubiquitous phrase, “There are 8 million stories in the naked city.” Rappers from Kurtis Blow to Run DMC have found inspiration in the phrase. On this classic track, MC Phife takes a personal approach and relays the events of his own bad day.

Snoop Dogg – “Murder Was The Case”

Every Single Hip Hop Billboard Number One Album Since 1986 Doggystyle

Released: November 23, 1993

Album: Doggystyle

Producer: Dr. Dre

Synopsis: This early Death Row hit was actually the soundtrack to a short film of the same name directed by Dr. Dre and hip-hop forefather Fab Five Freddy. On the track, Snoop tells the fictional dark fantasy of his own death and subsequent resurrection at the hands of the devil.

Nas – “Rewind”

Ranking Nas First Week Album Sales Stillmatic

Released: December 18, 2001

Album: Stillmatic

Producer: Large Professor

Synopsis: The immeasurably influential Queensbridge legend flexes his literary skills in this murder drama, told completely in reverse. We follow the bullet back into the gun as the story gradually works its way to the beginning, as Nas and his crew plan the crime.

Kendrick Lamar – “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Good Kid

Released: October 22, 2012

Album: Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

Producer: Like, Skhye Hutch, Sounwave

Synopsis: Kendrick’s epic 12 minute “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” is a two-part commentary on street life and the pursuit of false idols. He delivers two first person narratives; one of a gang member and the other of a teen prostitute. Then through the second act, Lamar drops a slam-poetry-style rap about his own rise out of the trap.

The Notorious B.I.G. – “Somebody’s Gotta Die”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Album: Life After Death

Producer: Nashiem Myrick, Carlos “July Six” Broady, Sean “Puffy” Combs

Synopsis: Coming at the height of the infamous East Coast-West Coast rivalry, many assumed that Biggie’s revenge murder fantasy “Somebody’s Got to Die” was a threat against his LA rivals. A cheeky poke at Snoop in the first verse only added to the speculation. However, years later Puffy denied there was any connection.

Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew – “La Di Da Di”

Most Sampled Hip Hop Tracks Of All Time La Di Da Di

Released: August 13, 1985

Album: N/A

Producer: Dennis Bell & Ollie Cotton for City Slicker Productions

Synopsis: “La-Di-Da-Di” is one of the most referenced, covered and sampled hip-hop tracks of all time . Snoop Dogg famously covered the track on his 1993 debut album. On the original, Doug E Fresh beatboxes and Slick Rick rhymes about his romantic troubles as these two old-school New York Hip-hop legends drop a classic streetcorner freestyle.

The Notorious B.I.G. – “Ni**as Bleed”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Album: Life After Death

Producer: Nashiem Myrick, Carlos Broady, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Stevie J.

Synopsis: Known for cinematic storytelling, the Notorious B.I.G. paints a vivid scene of revenge and murder as he and crew move against a foe. The final verse provides a graphic play-by-play of the action. The song is the ninth track on Biggie’s sophomore album, released just 16 days after his death.

Ice Cube – “My Summer Vacation”

Death Certificate

Released: October 31, 1991

Album: Death Certificate

Producer: Boogiemen, Ice Cube

Synopsis: Ice Cube was at his hardest and most notorious when his second solo album dropped, and he was at the top of his lyrical game. On the record’s third track, the famously poetic gangbanger tells a complex tale of a deal gone wrong and the protagonist’s subsequent forced vacation upstate.

Jay-Z – “Friend or Foe”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Reasonable Doubt

Released: June 25, 1996

Album: Reasonable Doubt

Producer: DJ Premier

Synopsis: From Jay-Z’s 1993 debut album Reasonable Doubt , “Friend or Foe” is short gangster fantasy. Over a cinematic head-nodder, courtesy of Premo, Jay is intentionally dismissive and patronizing when talking to rivals. Hov dropped the sequel on his sophomore album, revisiting the crime scene on “Friend or Foe ’98.”

Wu-Tang Clan – “Impossible”

Greatest Rap Album Opening Lines Of All Time Wu Tang Forever

Released: June 3, 1997

Album: Wu-Tang Forever

Producer: 4th Disciple, The RZA (co.)

Synopsis: Ghostface Killah was one of the best rappers of the 1990s , and it’s partly due to his incredible ability to weave vivid stories together on a track. “Impossible” is a public service announcement delivered from the real-life street perspective of the Wu-Tang Clan. On the track U-God, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah state their case against gun violence. Ghost’s graphic verse about a friend’s death by gunshot took home the Verse of the Year 1997 in The Source magazine and was declared by RZA to be the greatest Wu-Tang verse of all time .

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – “On The Run”

Kool G Rap And Dj Polo On The Run

Released: November 24, 1992

Album: Live and Let Die

Producer: Sir Jinx, Kool G Rap

Synopsis: In this tale of drugs, money and murder Kool G Rap decides to upgrade his status from drug mule to drug boss. Through the course of the cinematic story the rapper takes out a crew of mafia goons as he and his family make their escape. G Rap is the godfather of mafioso rap and the clear influence to future crime storytelling greats like Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.

Ice T – “6 ‘N the Mornin’”

Ice T 6 In The Mornin Inspired By Schoolly D Psk

Released: 1986

Album: Rhyme Pays

Producer: The Unknown DJ

Synopsis: Ice T’s ‘6 ‘N the Mornin’ relays a series of run-ins with the law, some less successful than others. Released in 1986, the track is notable as one of the first gangsta rap songs, though Ice-T rightly credits Schoolly D’s “P.S.K. What Does It Mean?” as being the originator .

OutKast – “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)”

Best Hip Hop Album Every Year Since 1986 Aquemini

Released: September 29, 1998

Album: Aquemini

Producer: Mr. DJ

Synopsis: The ninth track from the 1998 Outkast masterpiece Aquemini , “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1)” finds the ATL duo swapping verses on two very different stories. Big Boi tells of a romantic encounter with his baby mama while Andre drops a dark tale of a tragic teen death.

Eminem – “Stan”

50 Greatest Hip Hop Singles Of All Time Eminem Stan

Released: May 23, 2000

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

Producer: The 45 King, Eminem

Synopsis: On this massive crossover hit, Em teams up with Pop singer Dido to create the quintessential obsessive fan/stalker story. The song has become so ubiquitous in popular culture that the title character’s name is now a universal term for an overzealous fan.

Nas – “I Gave You Power”

Ranking Nas First Week Album Sales It Was Written

Released: July 2, 1996

Album: It Was Written

Producer: DJ Premier

Synopsis: Told from the perspective of a handgun, “I Gave You Power” is a dark parable about gang violence and the bloody cost of the quest for money and power. With phrases like, “How you like me now? I go blaow” Nas makes reference to Hip-hop culture’s glorification of guns.

Slick Rick – “Children’s Story”

Slick Rick Childrens Story

Released: November 1, 1988

Album: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick

Producer: Slick Rick

Synopsis: Slick Rick “Children’s Story” opens on one of Hip-hop’s most recognizable beats before the master storyteller steps to the mic with a classic cautionary tale. Two kids grow up to be gangbangers, one doesn’t survive. The track sets the theme for a thousand songs to follow.

Ice Cube – “It Was a Good Day”

50 Greatest Hip Hop Singles Of All Time Ice Cube Good Day

Released: November 17, 1992

Album: The Predator

Producer: DJ Pooh

Synopsis: In 1992 Ice Cube released his biggest hit. Although he was known at the time as the lyrical mastermind behind the world’s biggest gangsta rap group, there isn’t a glock in sight on “It Was a Good Day.” The fact that a drama-free day in Compton is so unusual is what makes the song so powerful. The greatest West Coast rapper of all time is also its most vivid storyteller.

The Notorious B.I.G. – “Warning”

Best 3 Song Run On Classic Rap Albums Ready To Die

Released: September 13, 1994

Album: Ready to Die

Producer: Easy Mo Bee

Synopsis: On “Warning,” Biggie drops a twist on a braggadocio rap. His homie Pop calls in the middle of the night to warn the rapper about a plot against him. His foes want to kill and rob the rapper because he is so successful. Big takes the opportunity to run through an inventory of his opulence before detailing his revenge.

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