A year ago, I posted 10 great rap songs that most visitors to this site had probably never heard. Well, I figured it was about time to drop 10 more. I was in a rut a few months ago, and was convinced that hip-hop was dead. Not so, I just needed to look a little deeper. Here’s some songs that embody the spirit of all that hip-hop is. From lighthearted smack talk to the depths of the ghetto and even the horror of Vietnam, there’s a lot of great non-commercial hip-hop below (NSFW). Enjoy. If you like it, click like below to help spread the word.
1. Saigon-Invitation. Love this guy. He had a guest spot on the Roots last album. Possibly the best storyteller in hip-hop right now. Highly advise checking out his catalogue. Spent 7 years in prison after being a young thug and decided in the pen to turn his life around. “I represent the poor and profitless…” The Johnny Cash of hip-hop.
2. Reef the Lost Cauze-Commander in Chief. Running neck and neck with Meek Mills for best rapper in Philly, IMO. Not only is a phenomenal wordsmith, he’s also a damn nice guy, and even came to quizzo one night to battle rap me. So many great songs to choose from. This one shows Reef’s sense of humor. Some great one-liners in this song. Pick up his new album, Your Favorite MC on itunes. You’ll thank me for it, and you’ll be supporting a true Philly artist, and a damn cool dude.
3. Masta Ace-Take a Walk. Any time I post “Ten of the Greatest Rap Songs of All-Time,” Masta Ace will be on it. One of the greatest 5 MCs in hip-hop history in my opinion (along with Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Jay-Z, and Eminem.) And nobody in rap samples as much classic rock as this guy. He samples Spanky and Our Gang in this heartbreaking song about life in the ghetto.
4. Phonte-The Good Fight. A new song from one half of one of the greatest underground groups of all time, Little Brother. The pressure of living in a recession, trying not to sell out, and supporting a family. “What the f*** is selling out when ain’t nobody selling?”
5. Meek Mills and Beanie Sigel-Dreamchaser. You can never tell in rap, since the industry treats rappers as entirely disposable, but all indications are that this guy is getting ready to be huge. He does some of the same old boring stuff about money and hoes, but when he digs deep, he is as good as anybody in rap. This song is beyond heartbreaking. The first time I heard Beanie’s verse, I started to tear up.
6. Brother Ali-Fresh Air. I get chicken skin every time I hear this song. An incredible celebration of life. Reminds me of Notorious BIG’s Juicy, a song about a guy coming from nothing, and being eternally thankful for making to where he is now. Beautiful.
7. We Major Gang-In the Mix. Ok, so I’m a bit biased on this one. These are two guys I used to coach. But there is no denying that this song is a hell of a lot of fun. This reminds me of some late 80s hip hop, a dynamic duo that’s having a lot of fun. Plus they shot the video at LOVE park.
8. Cool Kids-Black Mags. These guys are ridiculously fun. While most boring mainstream rappers are bragging about cars they don’t really own and mansions they rented for a video shoot, these guys are rapping about their bicycles. And I doubt the bikes are rented.
9. Jay Electronica-Jazzmatazz. Born in one of New Orleans most notorious neighborhoods, he bounced from city to city as a teenager, crashing couches and performing on every mic he could find. He was booed off stage repeatedly. But he never stopped performing, never gave up belief in himself, even when everyone else did. People like this never cease to amaze me. Finally caught a break a few years ago, and in 2010 signed with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation.
10. Uncommon Valor-Jedi Mind Tricks feat. RA the Rugged Man. A song about Vietnam. Philly born Vinnie Paz delivers a terrific verse to open the song, then RA the Rugged Man delivers one of the most intense verses in hip-hop history. He tells the true story of his father, a decorated soldier in Vietnam, in horrifying fashion. Prepare to have your mind blown by this verse.
And let’s end with some good hip-hop news…Roots new album is being released in a few months, and the first song leaked off the album sounds great.