25 Best Rap Songs of the 90s (Timeless Classics)

Are you wondering Best Rap Songs of the 90s?

Rap music evolved at an incredible pace in the 90s, and it is still recognized as the “golden era” of the genre. 

The ’90s produced some of the most memorable and groundbreaking rap music of all time, with lyrical prowess, clever wordplay, and storytelling that still resonates with fans today. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the top 25 rap songs of the 90s, revisiting the classics that helped pave the way for the rap industry.

Best Rap Songs of the 90s

1. California Love – Tupac ft. Dr. Dre:

The West Coast’s definitive rap anthem, California Love, brought G-funk to the mainstream in a way that could not be ignored. The iconic guitar riff and Tupac’s infectious rhymes make this song an unforgettable classic.

2. Juicy – Notorious B.I.G.: 

Juicy is a classic rap song that tells Biggie’s story and rises to fame. The song has memorable lines, an infectious beat, and a sample of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit.”

3. Nuthin’ But A G Thang – Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg: 

Another West Coast anthem and G-Funk classic, “Nuthin But A G Thang,” showcases the chemistry between Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The song has memorable lyrics and a head-bobbing beat that still slaps.

4. Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down – Puff Daddy ft. Mase: 

Puff Daddy and Mase’s infectious comeback song, released after Biggie’s passing, is a perfect example of 90s “shiny suit” rap. The song is still as catchy and iconic as the day it was released.

5. Gin and Juice – Snoop Dogg: 

Another infectious West Coast classic, Gin and Juice has a laid-back flow, a catchy hook, and a memorable chorus. The song is one of the most recognizable tracks of the decade.

6. N.Y. State of Mind – Nas: 

N.Y. State of Mind is a lyrical masterpiece with Nas painting vivid life pictures in Queensbridge, New York. The song showcases Nas’ unique talent by taking the listener through his mind.

7. It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube: 

A feel-good classic, It Was A Good Day, gave listeners a glimpse of a perfect day in the life of Ice Cube. The song has a catchy beat, memorable lyrics, and a fantastic music video.

8. Protect Ya Neck – Wu-Tang Clan: 

Wu-Tang Clan’s debut single, “Protect Ya Neck,” put the East Coast on the map and introduced us to the legendary group. The song is an aggressive, raw track with excellent production and standout verses.

9. C.R.E.A.M. – Wu-Tang Clan: 

Speaking of Wu-Tang, C.R.E.A.M. is a song that needs no introduction. One of the most iconic songs from the 90s, C.R.E.A.M., talks about the ruthless hustle of making money in the streets.

10. Regulate – Warren G ft. Nate Dogg: 

Regulate features a classic G-Funk beat with snares so sharp that it pierces through your ear, all while Warren G and Nate Dogg’s smooth verses and a catchy chorus keep you locked in.

11. Tha Crossroads – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: 

The ultimate tribute to Eazy-E, Tha Crossroads is a beautiful eulogy featuring one of the most iconic rap choruses ever.

12. It Ain’t Hard to Tell – Nas: 

Another Nas classic, It Ain’t Hard to Tell features a beautiful instrumental and rhymes. It is widely regarded as one of the best rap tracks ever.

13. Shook One’s Pt. II – Mobb Deep: 

Shook One’s Pt is a haunting and raw classic. It was one of the best rap tracks ever out of Queens, NY. Mobb Deep’s dynamic duo Prodigy and Havoc produced a track that stands the test of time.

14. Ruff Ryders Anthem – D.M.X.: 

The song that put D.M.X. on the map, Ruff Ryders Anthem, has a crowd-pumping chorus and an iconic instrumental. This song remains a hip-hop classic, the ultimate tribute to the Ruff Ryders crew.

15. I Got 5 On It – Luniz: 

Luniz’s breakthrough hit, I Got 5 On It, had a catchy melody and relatable lyrics, making it an instant classic. It remains a staple at parties, clubs, and family gatherings.

16. Children’s Story – Slick Rick: 

A certified classic, Children’s story paints an intricate picture with each line. Slick Rick’s outstanding storytelling abilities, funky beat, and memorable hook make this song unforgettable.

17. Hey Ya – OutKast: 

OutKast fused the sound of southern rap with funk, rock, and soul to create something entirely original. One of the most memorable vocal hooks in the hip-hop genre makes Hey Ya an enduring classic.

18. I’ll Be – Foxy Brown ft. Jay-Z: 

Foxy Brown’s smooth, sultry rhymes over a classic golden-age beat, featuring Jay-Z’s guest verse, create a timeless sound. The song remains one of Foxy Brown’s most beloved tracks.

19. U.N.I.T.Y. – Queen Latifah: 

Queen Latifah’s U.N.I.T.Y. has a proclamation of self-respect and positive affirmations for women. The song’s infectious chorus is a powerful message of empowerment, respect, and unity.

20. How I Could Just Kill A Man – Cypress Hill: 

A classic from the West Coast, Cypress Hill’s How I Could Just Kill A Man introduced hip hop to new levels of anger and violence. The song features militant drums, roaring guitars, and a gritty delivery from the emcees.

21. I Used To Love H.E.R. – Common: 

A tribute to hip hop music, Common’s haunting “I Used to Love H.E.R.” explores how the culture has changed over the years—a genre classic with a great instrumental and straightforward melody that remains relevant today.

22. Hip Hop Hooray – Naughty By Nature: 

Naughty By Nature’s Hip Hop Hooray is a feel-good anthem of positivity that reminds listeners why we all love hip-hop music. The song’s infectious chorus and upbeat vibe make it a timeless classic.

23. Electric Relaxation – A Tribe Called Quest: 

A Tribe Called Quest’s classic single Electric Relaxation features silky rhymes, a catchy ensemble, and a punch-drunk horn transposing us to another world entirely – one filled with beauty, peace, and love.

Nothin’ But Love – Heavy D & The Boyz: 

Heavy D’s feel-good anthem, Nothin’ But Love, shows off his signature upbeat style, including funky instruments and verses that praise love and positivity.

24. Runaway – Kanye West ft. Pusha T: 

A great way to end the list. Named one of the greatest songs ever made by Kanye West has a carefree chorus, outstanding instrumental, and verses from Ghostface Killah and Pusha T.

Conclusion: Best Rap Songs of the 90s

The 90s were a groundbreaking era for hip-hop music, defined by storytelling, introspective rhymes, and infectious beats. 

These 25 rap songs represent the best of the decade, bringing together classic tracks that still get heads bobbing today. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to the genre, these timeless classics are must-haves for any rap music collection.

Frequently Ask Questions

What was the #1 90s rap song?

The answer depends on who you ask and what chart you look at, but some of the most popular 90s rap songs include D.M.X.’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story,” OutKast’s “Hey Ya,” Foxy Brown ft. Jay-Z’s “I’ll Be,” Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.,” Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” Naughty By Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray,” A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” and Kanye West ft. Pusha T’s “Runaway.”

Who are some of the best 90s rappers?

Some of the best 90s rappers include Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, Nas, Ice Cube, L.L. Cool J, Dr. Dre, OutKast, Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z, and Eminem. 

These rappers helped define the sound of hip-hop in the 90s with their distinct styles, lyrical content, and production. Each had a unique approach to rap music that continued to influence the genre for years.

What is considered Old School Rap?

Old School Rap refers to the earliest hip-hop music of the 1980s and early 1990s. It typically features heavy sampling, turntablism, and a gritty style that introduced rap music to the mainstream. 

Old school rap includes classic songs such as Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way,” and The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” This rap style was the foundation for the genre and still resonates with listeners today.

What are some iconic songs from the 90s?

Some of the most iconic songs from the 90s include Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” T.L.C.’s “Waterfalls,” 2Pac’s “California Love,” Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg’s “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” These songs have become timeless classics and are still popular today.

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