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Rap music truly made an indistinctible switch from being really hardcore and raw to be quite party, females, and emotions centered but gangster rap still has many fans. It’s the sub-genre that basically made rap a mainstream genre, and the main credit for that goes to these classic gangsta rap songs, the anthems of the music that had its peak in the 1990s. So turn the safety off, put your bulletproof vest on and keep your eyes open as we’re entering dangerous territory.
Best Gangster Rap Songs
Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise (1995)
Painting a big picture of the society in which gangster rap flourished amongst other things, Gangsta’s Paradise truly has technical elements of an anthem with the choir singing based instrumental. Singer L.V. usually gets looked over in regards to this dark masterpiece as Coolio’s presence and vocal truly grip the listener, yet without him, the song wouldn’t have the complexity needed for it to stand the test of time. Which it did.
Not only one of the best gangster rap songs, but also one of the best diss tracks ever recorded as Eazy-E goes hard on his former friend and an N.W.A. member Dr. Dre. Other songs may be more gangster lyrically but none has a more gangster West coast beat with the signature squealing rolling instrumental. The obscure featuring artist deliver on the level of hip hop legends, and the gangsta rap icon Eazy-E efortlessly takes command of the vicious beat with his savage bars.
Contrary to popular belief, especially in the ’90s, gangsta rap isn’t all about violence, anger, and death threats, Nothin’ But A G Thang is one of the most chilled songs of any genre. It’s was a pivotal song to establish the genre as a legitimate music style and also one of the perfect examples of that famed, distinctive West Coast beat. We truly all knew we were in trouble as soon as Long Beach and Compton came together with this Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s iconic track.
The most real, grittiest gangster rap track, showing the other side of the life that is mostly glorified in these tracks. Despite the beat being very chill, almost summer-song like, Geto Boys manage to transform the atmosphere due to the relatable, honest lyrics, and the sublime picture painting verses. Paranoia and the struggle with one’s own mind made an even more specific sub-genre of horrorcore, as you do manage to feel the fear the rappers were experiencing.
Eazy-E – Boyz In Da Hood (1987)
If one song was to be chosen to be the anthem of the gangster rap sub-genre it would be Eazy-E’s Boyz In Da Hood, as there is not gangsta rap without these boyz in the hood. The dirty instrumental sets up the theme from the get-go, and despite Eazy’s slow flow rapping the track goes really hard. Depicting the life of a regular G, the storytelling aspect of the song is why we miss the old school rap amongst other things like the importance of the message and relatability to a big number of people.