Happy Rap

Hip hop is influential because it takes a widespread struggle and codifies it into a common narrative to be drawn upon, a handbook for weathering the injustice, the poverty, and the paranoia that troubles the areas that this music grows out of. There is naturally is a place within hip-hop’s story for sagas of gang violence (and police violence), financial hardship, drug use, etc. But there is an equally hallowed place for the brand of rap that paints hardships and attempts to face and solve them with optimism - as Chance the Rapper quips, "balancing on sporadicity and [explicit, shhh] pure joy." Here’s our "Happy Rap" lineup.

While we (Austin and Nate) might not personally be a part of the communities and cultures that are referenced and lauded in these songs, there are very relatable patterns in rap music that we, as humans, can connect and resonate with.

We'd also like to briefly point out a second theme that showed itself in this collection - the idea of music as a purpose. In many of these songs, the artist christens his or her musical ability as a saving grace that keeps them moving forward and away from negative pressure. See songs: "You'z A Ganxta," "What A Job," "I Can," "At the Helm," "Work," "Now Or Never." 

P.S. We accidentally had comments disabled on our last post. Comments are now open for both lists!

Art by Daniel Carr

Art by Daniel Carr

  1. I Can - Nas
  2. You’z a Ganxta - DJ Quik
  3. What a Job - Devin The Dude ft. Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000
  4. Get By - Talib Kweli
  5. Hey Mama - Kanye West ft. Mary J. Blige
  6. Now Or Never - Kendrick Lamar
  7. Angels - Chance the Rapper ft. Saba
  8. BKNY - Fat Tony ft. Old Money
  9. Can I Kick It? - A Tribe Called Quest
  10. Get Dis Money - Slum Village
  11. At the Helm - Hieroglyphics
  12. Work - Gang Starr
  13. '93 'Til Infinity - Souls of Mischief
  14. Party - Beyoncé ft. Andre 3000
  15. Sunday Candy - Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment