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Conscious Rap

From Biggie’s fun-frenzied “Tits and bras, menage-a-tois, sex in expensive cars” to Tupac’s conscious rap “Cops give damn about a Negro, pull a trigger kill a nigga and he’s a hero”, rap music has managed to permeate cultural boundaries to evolve into flavors for each taste. Gaining fast popularity in the 80’s and the 90’s, rap music has managed to stay relevant even in the present times, and even the “most voted” rapper is white. But the genre has always been lambasted for its supposed vanity and has been criticised for its brusque lyrics and personal jibes, something that has even been acknowledged by rappers like Eminem in his song Sing For The Moment.

In spite of its supposed lack of conscience, rap and hip-hop have always managed to strike a chord with the teenagers and even the adults. At a time when rap is rife with drugs, money, and hoes, we at bring you a list of conscious rap songs that haven’t managed to garner their share of attention.

 Renegade – Jay Z ft. Eminem

It’s not every day that one gets to witness a collaboration between Eminem and Jay Z, but the conscience that this rap song delivers is rarer still, it certainly is the epitome of conscious rap.

“Got dropped roasters, from botched robberies niggas crotched over
Mommy’s knocked up cause she wasn’t watched over
Knocked down by some clown when child support knocked”

Jay Z tries to bring an “average black life” to the fore, one that is supposedly littered with premature pregnancies (mommies knocked up), armed teenagers, botched robberies, hunger and poverty (stomach rumblings). He ends his verse “No lie, just know I chose my own fate, I drove by the fork in the road and went straight” on a very hopeful note.

Also Read – The death of Soul

“See I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day Shakespeare
Jesus Christ the King of these Latter Day Saints here
To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me
As a monger of hate and Satan a scatter-brained atheist”

Eminem’s verse is just as politically charged (quite like his latest Trump invective) also purveys social commentaries packed in rhymes so dense that had Nas and Snoop Dogg iterate ” Em murdered Jay on his own shit”. Regardless, their verses managed to complement each other very well, as Jay Z passed to baton to Eminem and Eminem back to Jay.

Mathematics – Mos Def

Mos Def conscious rap
Mos Def #stufflsitings

This is business, no faces just lines and statistics
From your phone, your zip code, to S-S-I digits
The system break man child and women into figures
Two columns for who is, and who ain’t niggaz”

An incredible way to refer to the discrimination prevalent in the American legal system, this masterpiece remains relevant even today. Staying true to its theme, the rapper throws numbers to highlight the true tenets of America “Sixty-nine billion in the last twenty years, Spent on national defense but folks still live in fear like”, and doesn’t restrict himself to just sincerity to poke fun “Young bloods can’t spell but they could rock you in PlayStation”. Whether one likes rap or not, it is hard to remain indifferent to this masterpiece.

Guns Are Drawn – The Roots

Conscious rap
The Roots #stufflistings

“A lot of people here for us one could be you
It’s outrageous and they just ain’t nothing
But save us an ocean of brown fists in various flavors
A favor for a favor man, this is the majors”

The song leaves multitudes of questions hanging, delving deep into social norms, riveting with its wordplay and has an equally catchy beat. More lyrics. Lyrics like “They only wanna see us occupying a coffin, Mothers crying too often from they lost child leaving” continue to drive thoughts, staring down from the barrel of the 21st century, teenagers shot dead isn’t an uncommon sight, whether it be racial profiling or gun-toting gangs.

So what do you think of this conscious rap list? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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Conscious Rap


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