The Art of Storytelling - Best Rap Songs That Tell a Story
A good rapper can make a string of words into a few rhymes, but a great one can make whole songs that tell a story that will maintain the attention of the listener throughout the whole song. So, here is a list of the top ten best rap songs that tell a story, there are many more rap songs and even better ones, this is just our opinion.
10. Warren G "Regulate" (1994)
This is a great classic and a defining record for West Coast hip-hop. Produced by Warren G himself and with Nate Dogg's vocals pairing his signature singing and dirty lyrics they tell a story where Warren gets caught up with some gangsters and they end up robbing him. Nate gets distracted by a few beautiful women on his night drive, but luckily he later shows up and saves the day. "Regulate" was Warren G's biggest and first hit, it got to the Billboard top ten everywhere across the world.
9. Kendrick Lamar "The Art of Peer Pressure" (2012)
Kendrick's album "good kid, m.A.A.d city" is a concept album about a good kid in a mad city. The kid grows up in the world of gang violence and that may or may not lead to his own spiraling downfall. This track is the moment on the album where things go sideways for the first time. Kendrick is out with a few friends on a night drive and they're smoking weed that later turns out that it's mixed with angel dust(PCP). They get the bright idea to do a home invasion, however the residents are home and they call the cops. They manage to get a way with just dumb luck.
8. Ice Cube "It Was A Good Day" (1993)
The day that Ice Cube talks about on DJ Pooh's beat on "It Was a Good Day" was exactly that. On that day Ice Cube doesn't have any problems with rivals, he wins a big game of craps, parties hard and doesn't puke, he gets laid and a bunch of other awesome things. The day that he talks about, ends up to be: January 20th, 1992.
7. The Notorious B.I.G. "Warning" (1994)
B.I.G. Is one of the best lyricists who could write songs that tell a story. "Warning" is a track from Biggie's "Ready to Die" and it's a classic. It's a compelling narrative about an intercepted stick-up plot. It's a showcase of Big's deft lyricism and unconventional songwriting. It's a phone conversation between Biggie and his friend who informs him of a plan to stick him up. The plan unfolds before Biggie can get off the phone.
6. Eminem f/ Dido "Stan" (2000)
Eminem has legendary skills on the technical front, however he's a notable and inventive songwriter as shown in one of his best concept songs "Stan". A fans obsession grows for his favorite artist while his own life starts falling apart. He writes letters to Eminem that are stalkery and creepy. When Em gets to answer Stan's letters he pieces together that Stan is the guy who both sent him the creepy letters and killed himself in his car.
5. Snoop Dogg "Murder Was The Case" (1994)
This track on Snoop's debut album "Doggystyle" tells the story in which Snoop Dogg gets caught up in a drive-by shooting, and has a miraculous recovery from mortal wounds. He escapes his death by selling his soul to the devil. The deal does have a price, and later in the song, Snoop is serving a life sentence for murder. At the time Snoop was mixed up in a real life homicide investigation, luckily he beat the case three years later.
4. Jay-Z "Friend or Foe" (1996)
Jay Z plays the role of a hotshot dealer in "Friend or Foe" on his debut album "Reasonable Doubt". He checks a meddling strange with the line "Friend or foe, state your biz." It goes down as Jay sees that this stranger is from a rival crew and is in unfamiliar territories. He offers him a deal, give up his drugs and guns and leave him be, or try some slick shit and end up with holes like Swiss cheese. The outcome was revealed in "In My Lifetime, Vol 1's" "Friend or Foe '98."
3. Wu-Tang Clan f/ Tekitha "Impossible" (1997)
This track premiered on sophomore group album "Wu- Tang Forever" and RZA and U-God kick knowledge, however it's the vivid third verse of Ghostface Killah that lifts "Impossible" to the breathtaking heights. It tells the story of gun violence and a shooting that leaves a friend and a father of young children dead. RZA has referred to this verse as the greatest Wu verse ever, and it has been awarded Verse of the Year by The Source.
2. Slick Rick "Children's Story" (1989)
The debut album of Slick Rick "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick" has a master class in gutter humor and songs that tell a story. "Children's Story" is one of the most memorable tracks on the album. Rick tells a couple of kids a bedtime story, however this isn't your average everyday bedtime story. It's about a young boy who follows another young boy into the life of crime. A domino effect is caused in a chain of events when the boy tries to rob an undercover detective and ends up dead on the street at the age of seventeen.
1. Common "I Used To Love H.E.R. " (1994)
"I Used to Love H.E.R." is a breakthrough single for Common and it's kinda like a rap game "The Sixth Sense." You think that you're listening to Common while he's reminiscing about a girl from his past. How she was underground and original at first and then her morals got more and more compromised as her life went on. At the end of the song we find out that Common is actually talking about hip-hop itself.