Top 10 Storytelling Hip-hop/Rap Songs You Must Hear
You can’t be a great rapper if you don’t have the ability to tell a story within rap song. All great Emcees in the realm of Hip-hop have that natural gift to paint a picture and tell a story by only using words to great effect. Storytelling rap songs are the best type of rap songs due to how the rapper allows or rather lets the listener listen and experience what the rapper has gone through or is going through. This list compiles in our opinion on what 808sandblues think are the Top 10 Storytelling Hip-hop/Rap Songs of all time.
10. Immortal Technique – Dance With The Devil
Artist: Immortal Technique
Album: Revolutionary Vol. 1
Song: Dance With The Devil
Producer: 44 Caliber
Samples: Think (About It)” by Lyn Collins, “Survival of the Fittest” by Mobb Deep, and “(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” by Francis Lai.
Dance With The Devil commences our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list. Any list without Immortal Technique’s Dance With The Devil track is immediately void. This fucked up track should always be in this discussion when it comes to lists like these. It is arguably one of the most messed up tracks in the history of Hip-Hop, backed by a melodic piano sample and later on hard hitting drums, this song is haunting, bleak, dark and downright depressing. It tells the story of a young kid who desperately wants to join a gang and he is forced to prove himself. The following events happen, unprovoked violence, theft, drug abuse, peer pressure, grief, gang rape, guns, suicide, murder and an Oldboy (2003) movie twist (if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about). Immortal Technique paints a powerful picture as he flows effortlessly throughout the song, but the message is clear don’t be tempted by the devil and no matter what the devil offers you or wants you to do, have the will to reject him and trust in the Lord. Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, this is cinematic hip hop at its finest. This song deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
Everyone tryin’ to be trife never face the consequences
You probably only did a month for minor offenses
Ask a nigga doin’ life if he had another chance
But then again there’s always the wicked that knew in advance
Dance forever with the Devil on a cold cell block
But that’s what happens when you rape, murder, and sell rock
Devils used to be God’s angels that fell from the top
There’s no diversity, because we’re burning in the melting pot
9. Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day
Artist: Ice Cube
Album: The Predator
Song: It Was A Good Day
Producer: DJ Pooh
Sample: Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark”
The most chill rap song of all time? absolutely. Ice Cube’s It Was A Good Day is classic till the end of time. Wanna smoke a blunt? Make sure you smoke it to this track. Wanna fuck a girl and cant figure out what track to play while you get it on? motherfucker play this track. Wanna get drunk? Bruh, just play this shit. Got a house party coming up at your place and you in live in California and you can’t figure out what song to play first? Man, just hit play on this jam. For years no one actually knew what Cube was talking about until recently in 2012 Cube stated in an interview that “It’s a fictional song, It’s basically my interpretation of what a great day would be. Do you know what I’m saying? So, you know, it’s a little of this and a little of that. I don’t think you can pinpoint the day.” In It Was a Good Day, Cube talks about his future wife having the ability to f*ck all night, none of his friends getting killed and getting paid. Shit, these events happened to me too I’d definitely consider it a good day. It Was a Good Day deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
Drove to the pad and hit the showers
Didn’t even get no static from the cowards
‘Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me
Saw the police and they rolled right past me
No flexin’, didn’t even look in a nigga’s direction
As I ran the intersection
Went to Short Dog’s house, they was watching Yo! MTV Raps
What’s the haps on the craps?
Shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em up, shake ’em
Roll ’em in a circle of niggas
And watch me break ’em with the 7, 7-11, 7-11
7, even back door Lil Joe
I picked up the cash flow
Then we played bones, and I’m yelling, “Domino!”
Plus nobody I know got killed in South Central L.A
Today was a good day
8. Lupe Fiasco – The Cool
Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Album: Food & Liquor
Song: The Cool
Producer: Kanye West
Sample: Dexter Wansel – Life on Mars
The most incredible beat Kanye has ever produced for another artist? possibly. One of Lupe’s best lyrical performances? no doubt. The Cool tells the story of a hustler who is shot to death but miraculously comes back to life. He lives through crime and the gangster life style until it all catches up with him, think Scarface but just more grim. This is a track where you really have to immerse yourself into the song to understand what Lupe is rapping about because the beat by Kanye West steals the show here. It’s not the type of beat Kanye West at the time was known for but it ranks up there as one of his best. The Cool deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
This life goes passing you by
It might go fast if you lie
You born, you lived, and you die
If life goes passing you by
If you’re breaking the rules
Making your moves
Paying your dues
Chasing the cool
7. Snoop Dogg – Murder Was The Case
Artist: Snoop Dogg
Song: Murder Was The Case
Producer: Dr. Dre
Sample: Santana – Fried Neckbones
Think back to the mid 2000s, when the Illuminati rumours gained full steam. Many rap artists were named as being in some sort of secret society that deal with demons and demonic spirits. One name what kept frequently popping up was Snoop Dogg and this was fuelled due to a song of his called Murder Was The Case which he released in the 1990s. I remember when I was a kid and just not understanding what Snoop was talking about on here. I was just mesmerised by the G-Funk beat after I discovered The Chronic by Dr Dre. Later I revisited this classic when I was much older and mature and came to find out that Snoop was basically rapping about dying and then being resurrected from the dead after he makes a deal with the devil. However Snoop explains in the video below that it wasn’t the case of him making a deal with the devil, but was about a gangsta who was saved by God and instead of doing the right thing, the gangsta does the wrong thing and pays for it. Do not sell your soul and integrity to the devil guys. Murder Was The Case deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
As I look up at the sky
My mind starts tripping
A tear drops my eye
My body temperature falls
I’m shaking and they breaking trying to save the Dogg
Pumping on my chest and I’m screaming
I stop breathing, damn I see demons
Dear God, I wonder can you save me
I can’t die my boo boo’s bout to have my baby
6. Outkast – Da Art of Storytellin Part 1
Song: Da Art of Storytellin
If I hear one of you fake ass ignorant rap fans who only started listening to rap in 2012 and who keep saying Outkast stole this beat from J Coles – Land of The Snakes, I’ll literally slap y’all silly. Just kidding, but seriously stop with that dumb shit. This song is the only song on this list without a sample. Mr. DJ created a slow catchy beat that has not aged a single bit and would effortlessly fit into any Hip-Hop era. Both Big Boy and Andre 3000 are incredible over this beat but as much as we respect and acknowledge 3 stacks as one of the best ever, Big Boy steals the show here with his catchy lyrics and impeccable flow. Big Boi raps about leaving mother of his child to have sex with a chick called Suzy Screw a prostitute. Andre 3000 raps about growing up with a friend of Suzy named Sasha who he met at a slumber party and they talk about what they want to be when they grow up. Later both part ways, Andre 3000 finds out that she overdosed on drugs two months into a pregnancy in the back of a school. Da Art of Storytellin Part 1 deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
It’s like that now, you better go on and get the hump up out your back now
It’s about four or five cats off in my ‘Llac now
We just shoot game in the form of story rap now
It’s like that now, it’s like that now
5. Kendrick Lamar – How Much a Dollar Cost
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Album: To Pimp a Butterfly
Song: How Much a Dollar Cost
Sample: Esbjörn Svensson Trio – Serenade for the Renegade
The first out of two Kendrick Lamar storytelling rap songs that make our top 10 best storytelling rap songs list. How Much a Dollar Cost is not just a rap song but its an experience that we’ve all gone through before. We’ve all walked passed an homeless person asking for small change, but refused to give that person anything due to our greed and selfishness. How Much of a Dollar Cost is about that. Kendrick tells the story of when he runs into a homeless man at a gas station in South Africa, who asks Kendrick for 10 Rand but Kendrick refuses to give him nothing, suspecting the homeless man of being a crack addict. Kendrick later finds out that the homeless man is actually God and that he was testing Kendrick. Kendrick fails the test and loses his spot in heaven. This is a powerful track and teaches us all a lesson. The piano loop in the beat just makes the track even more stunning. How Much a Dollar Cost deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
He’s starin’ at me in disbelief
My temper is buildin’, he’s starin’ at me, I grab my key
He’s starin’ at me, I started the car, then I tried to leave
And somethin’ told me to keep it in park until I could see
The reason why he was mad at a stranger
Like I was supposed to save him
Like I’m the reason he’s homeless and askin’ me for a favor
He’s starin’ at me, his eyes followed me with no laser
He’s starin’ at me, I notice that his stare is contagious
‘Cause now I’m starin’ back at him, feelin’ some type of disrespect
4. Nas – Memory Lane
Song: Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)
Producer: DJ Premier
Sample: Reuben Wilson – We’re in Love
Coming in at number 4 on our top 10 best storytelling rap songs list is Memory Lame. The greatest rapper of all time was always going to make this list. Nas has so many classic storytelling rap songs that it was nearly impossible to pick one. However Memory Lane stands out valiantly from the crowd. The oohhh ohhhhhh in the background of the beat is astonishingly beautiful, melancholic and makes the song. Despite how incredible the beat is it doesn’t take anything away from Nas’s superb lyrical performance. Nas rides the beat very well as he tells the story of him dropping out of school, reminisces about his gangbanging days and all the events that took place at the area he grew up in, Queensbridge. Nas should be proud of the man he is today, the GOAT and a successful business man. Memory Lane deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
I rap for listeners, bluntheads, fly ladies, and prisoners
Henessey-holders and old-school niggas
Then I be dissing a unofficial that smoke Woolie Thai
I dropped out of Cooley High
Gassed up by a cokehead cutie pie
Jungle survivor, fuck who’s the live-er
My man put the battery in my back
A difference from Energizer
Sentence begins indented with formality
My duration’s infinite, moneywise or physiology
Poetry, that’s a part of me, retardedly bop
I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop straight off the block
I reminisce on park jams
3. Eminem – Stan
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP
Producer: The 45 King
Sample: Dido – Thank you
Eminem’s greatest song shows us how much of a talented writer he is. You ever go on these online rap blogs/forums/comment sections and people keep saying, Drake stans, Kendrick Stans etc, well the word stan comes from this legendary song. Stan is as influential as any other great hip hop track. This track excellently samples a Dido Hook from the song Thank You and adds a raw bassline. Stan tells the story of an obsessed fan who becomes even more obsessed as the song drags on. Stanley, oh wait Stan as he hates being called Stanley at the end of the track kills himself, his girlfriend and their unborn child because Eminem couldn’t write back to his letters. Stan was such an influential song that the term is now recognised in the Oxford Dictionary. Stan deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
Dear Stan, I meant to write you sooner, but I just been busy
You said your girlfriend’s pregnant now—how far along is she?
Look, I’m really flattered you would call your daughter that
And here’s an autograph
For your brother, I wrote it on a Starter cap
I’m sorry I didn’t see you at the show, I must’ve missed you
Don’t think I did that shit intentionally just to diss you
But what’s this shit you said about you like to cut your wrists too? I say that shit just clownin’
Dawg, come on, how fucked up is you?
You got some issues, Stan, I think you need some counselin’
2. Kendrick Lamar – Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Album: Good Kid Maad City
Song: Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirt
Producers: Like, Skhye Hutch and Sounwave
Sample: Bill Withers – Use Me and Grant Green – Maybe Tomorrow
Hip-hops rightfully self-proclaimed saviour appears on the second time on this list. Kendrick Lamar before the age of 30 has dropped so many classic songs that he is set to become one of the greatest rappers of all time or quite simply the number one greatest rapper of all time. Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst is the centrepiece of his second classic album. The first verse, Kendrick raps in the perspective of Dave’s brother after Dave’s death. Dave’s brother argues that Kendrick is at fault as they were retaliating based on an incident that happened to Kendrick. But he appreciates Kendrick for being there for Dave and holding him in his arms when he was dying.
The second verse, is from the perspective of Keisha’s sister, a woman who was mentioned in Section.80. Keisha is now a prostitute after years of being molested and she is now dead. Keisha’s sister condemns Kendrick for putting Keisha on blast, without knowing her that well. She now follows her sisters path of prostitution in order to survive.
The third verse, is from Kendricks own perspective as he raps about his infatuation with death. Kendrick also reflects on the previous verses and ends his verse by asking his listeners if he has put enough work into his music to be worth singing about. This song is not for the weak-willed and faint hearted as once you immerse yourself into the song tears will fall. And yes Kendrick, you are worth it. Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst deserves to be on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
Sometimes I look in a mirror and ask myself:
Am I really scared of passing away? If it’s today, I hope I hear a
Cry out from heaven so loud it can water down a demon
With the holy ghost ’til it drown in the blood of Jesus
I wrote some raps that make sure that my lifeline
Reeking the scent of a reaper, ensuring that my allegiance
With the other side may come soon, and if I’m doomed
1. The Notorious B.I.G. – I Got a Story to Tell
Artist: The Notorious B.I.G.
Album: Life after Death
Song: I Got a Story To Tell
Producers: Buckwild, Chucky Thompson and Sean Combs
Sample: Al Green – I’m Glad You’re Mine
Who else did you think number one spot was going to? After all the classic tracks we went through it is only right that the number one spot absolutely deserves to go to Biggies iconic classic song I Got a Story to Tell. One of most brutal rap record to date, Biggie tells the story of a New York Knicks player possibly Anthony Mason if we want to go by Fat Joe’s statement. Biggie details a sexual encounter he supposedly had with a woman who was romantically linked to a player on the Knicks team. Biggie raps about Mason coming back home early to find him in his bed with his girlfriend. Naturally, the late rapper pulled out a gun on him to avoid any further conflict — but not before he also grabbed a thousand dollars from the NBA player. The songs ends with Biggie gathering his homies and telling them the story while they clown Anthony Davis. The menacing guitar in the background just makes the track even more legendary. This song comes out on our Top 10 Storytelling hip-hop/Rap Songs list.
We fucked in his bed, quite dangerous
I’m in his ass while he playin’ ‘gainst the Utah Jazz
My 112, CD blast, I was past
She came twice I came last, roll the grass
She giggle, sayin’ “I’m smokin’ on home-grown”
Then I heard the moan, “honey I’m home!”
Conclusion: Thank for reading, this concludes our Top 10 Storytelling Hip-hop/Rap Songs of all time. Do you agree with our list? tell us what you think and write your own list in the comment section below. Top 10 Storytelling Hip-hop/Rap Songs of all time
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