3 years ago

Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time

For at least 25 years of my life, I’ve been curating music.

From milk crates of rare 7 inch vinyl, to hard drives full of endless Napster treasures, to my most recent catalog of iTunes, BeatPort and Spotify music… If you know me, you know I love collecting music.

There are a lot of hip hop playlists on Spotify that have a ton of followers, but honestly, most of them suck.

They are full of mainstream crap from the last 15 years with some Tupac, Biggie and Jay-Z mixed in.

The people putting these lists together don’t know any better.

Oldschool to them is 1996. How can we be mad though? If we don’t teach them the history, they will never know, right?

They will never know about the bonus track on Midnight Marauders, or what we mean when we talk about the Purple Tape. These kids need to know.

The purpose in curating a list of the best hip hop songs of all time in one, condensed, well organized Spotify playlist was pretty simple:

  • Let’s make sure the good stuff gets just as much love
  • This is a great medium to spread the history and message to kids born in the 90s (who happen to use Spotify a lot).
  • I just like making lists.

Back In The Day

In another life, I use to DJ professionally believe it or not.

I managed to actually pay my rent off of local gigs and I lived decent for some years off the craft. It all started with curating and programming playlists of good music.

It really feels like another life (or dimension) I briefly existed in compared to what I do these days, but wouldn’t change it for the world. It was an awesome experience getting paid to play music.

The skills I got in negotiating contracts with venues and the foundations of field marketing and promotions online laid the groundwork for everything I would do after that.

Many years behind me now, but the need to dig and curate music has never left me.

At the end of 2014, I was ecstatic to hear of the rise of new record store hubs like Josey Records – located here in Dallas, TX very close to where I use to skate at Whip and Dip and Jeff Phillips Skatepark when I was a kid.

The Best Hip Hop Songs of All TimeThat whole time period and part of town brings back some of the best memories of my youth.

No responsibilities. No worries, well… other than who’s couch you were going to crash on.

Back when skating, listening to music, drawing, doing art and your typical adolescent debauchery activities was the only thing you really had to do.

This was the soundtrack of my youth.

A Time Capsule For Different Stages of Your Life

I associate a lot of the music in this playlist inspired by, or directly from that little patch of my younger years.

The memories and creative energy from that chapter in my life gave birth to everything good I’ve done in my career.

Not everything on this playlist is from the late 80s and early 90s mind you, but mostly. There are a handful of gems from the early to mid 2000s as well, sprinkled in for good measure.

If it captured the essence of that vibe, I threw it in the mix – but those are far few and between.

This playlist was inspired by much of the music and the people I knew from that era of my life from around 1990 to 1998.

It's funny how music can be a time capsule for your life.Click To Tweet

Enough Nostalgia, Here’s The Goods

Like all good playlists, I made sure to spread out a timeline and progression of artists, and not just to repeat songs from the same artist / same album right after another. It was made with a lot of love and attention to detail.

The Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time


At over 17 hours of music and 248 songs, this is one of those lists that pairs well while you’re working with your headphones on – or a list you can put in rotation at a house party.

Do you have a hip hop Spotify list (or mix on Soundcloud) you think is the jam? Post it with your comments below and let me know the thinking behind it.

NOTE: If you just post a link to your own music with some marble mouth illegible BS, I will mark your comment as spam. Put some thought into what you post, and use your real name!

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Written by Steve Floyd

Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

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