Did we just say best rap songs of the 90s? Yesssss! The 90s was definitely the golden era for hip-hop music. It produced the best rappers of all time, as well as most of the best rap songs of all time, and even though the 90s wasn’t the foundation of rap music, it was definitely where today’s rap music has its soul.
Let us reminisce on back in the days when we all always had our mixtape cassettes and argued who was better: Tupac or Biggy, the East coast or West coast, Bad Boy or Death Row. The years we were continually blown away by the thoughtful verses spat out by lyrical geniuses such as Nas, Scarface, Rahkim, Dr Dre, Lauryn Hill, and a whole lot more and then also, we lost and mourned Tupac, Biggy and Freaky Tah, Big L, and Bugz…
Let’s nostalgically walk down memory lane and pay tribute to the best rap songs of the 90s.
O.P.P. - Naughty by Nature (1991)
O.P.P was the lead single from Naughty by Nature’s self-titled album and is based on the Jackson 5’s song ’ABC’. The group, made up of members Treach, Vin Rock, and DJ Kay Gee was discovered by Queen Latifah. There is no doubt that O.P.P is notably one of the top 90s rap songs ever.
Nuthin' But A G Thang - Dr Dre (1992)
“It’s like this and like that and like this and uh
It’s like that and like this and like that and uh
It’s like this…”
This is another Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg classic 90s rap song that is not going away.
Jump - Kris Kross (1992)
Who can ever forget the 12 and 13-year-old boys who wore their clothes backwards and made ‘Jump’ an anthem? This rap song was a single from their album ‘Totally crossed out’ and was the third best selling song in the US the same year it was released. Fun fact: Kris Kross were discovered in 1999 by Jermaine Dupri at a mall in Atlanta. Jermain Dupri was just 19 years old when he discovered the dynamic duo.
Gin and juice - Snoop Dogg (1993)
Still reigning as one of the best rap songs of all time, Snoop Dogg’s Gin and juice is a timeless classic till date and is the second single from his album called Doggystyle. This epic rap song was produced by Dr Dre.
Afro Puffs - Lady of Rage (1994)
The Lady of Rage’s first single is found on ‘Above the Rim: The Soundtrack’ and samples Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Love That Will Not Die”. ‘Afro puffs’ is also featured on the Grand theft Auto V, and is about her still being tough irrespective of her hairstyle.
Regulate - Warren G (1994)
Regulate was performed by the perfect combo of Warren G and Nate Dogg and is from the soundtrack of ‘Above the rim’ as well as ‘Warren G’s album ‘Regulate…G Funk Era’. Regulate turned out to be the biggest single from Def Jam records.
Juicy- The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)
“It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up! Magazine
Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine…”
Juicy is Biggy’s first single from his debut album ‘Ready to Die’ and is considered one of the best rap songs of all time.
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio (1995)
Coolio sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “pastime paradise” and made it one of the best selling singles of all time!!! Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” was also the soundtrack for Dangerous Minds, the cult movie released in 1995 starring Michelle Pfeiffer.
1st of Tha Month - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (1995)
Anyone who loved rap in the 90s was definitely a fan of Bone Thugs’ first single “1st of Tha Month”. The group was made up of rappers Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone and were popular all over the world
Keep Their Heads Ringin' - Dr Dre (1995)
Dr Dre is, without doubt, one of the best rappers of all time and his rap anthem ‘Keep their heads ringin’” was the only single that was released from the Friday soundtrack as well as topping the Hot Rap Tracks chart and peaking at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100
Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz - Lost Boyz (1995)
“Shout out to the jeeps,
It’s the lex coups, bimas and the benz(and the benz)
To all my ladies and my men(my men)
To all my peoples in the pen(in the pen)
Keep your head up
And to the hoods(the hood)
East coast, west coast and world wide(world wide)
Ain’t nuttin’ wrong with puffin’ on lai(on lai)
And if you’re with me let me hear you say “ri-ght””
California love -Tupac (1995)
Being one of the best rappers of all time, it is no surprise Tupac’s California love, featuring Dr Dre is still one of the best rap songs of all time. It was ‘Pac’s comeback song after he got released from prison in 2015 and it became his most successful song. If you are looking for the best Tupac songs, this is one of them.
Cold Rock A Party - MC Lyte (1996)
Mc Lyte and Missy Elliot KILLED this song!!!! Their musical chemistry shot Cold rock a party to be one of the top 90s rap songs. Cold rock a party was MC Lyte’s second highest-charting single in the US and was produced by Puff Daddy.
What They Do - The Roots (1996)
What they do is from The Root’s third album: Illadelph Halflife. Known for their eloquent, poetic versed that made you question things about life, ‘What they do’ is definitely one of the 90s rap songs that stood out.
ATLiens - OutKast (1996)
OutKast is an American rap group made up of André 3000 and Big Boi, and in 2016 they released ATLiens, one of the top 90s rap songs, in 2016 from their second album with the same name.
Stressed out - A tribe called quest (1996)
Faith Evans did magic to the chorus of a tribe called quest’s song: Stressed out. As one of the best 90s rap songs, it is also one of A tribe called quest’s most memorable songs and the second single from their fourth album: Beats, Rhymes and Life.
Party ain't a party - Queen Pen (1997)
Queen Pen’s Party ain’t a party features Mr Cheeks from the Lost Boys, Markel Riley and Nutta Butta, and in the 90s, a party wasn’t a party without this jam.
Money, Power & Respect - The Lox (1998)
Bad Boy Records group, The Lox, features Lil’ Kim and DMX on this song from their same name album. Money, Power & Respect is the group’s most successful rap song single.
Ruff Ryders' Anthem – DMX (1998)
Dmx is one of the best rappers of all time and when he released Ruff Ryders’ Anthem from his album titled It’s Dark and hell is hot, it was no surprise it quickly became an anthem all over the world.
Da goodness – Redman (1998)
Redman’s ‘Da goodness’ is another one of the best rap songs of all time. He was quite underrated, but he was a fantastic lyricist with excellent skills and mad flow. Da goodness can be found on Redman’s fourth studio album Doc’s Da Name 2000.