If you’re a hip hop fan, you probably have heard the words “drugs” and “sh**.” But what are some intelligent hip hop songs? It might surprise you to know that there are plenty of songs on the market that are not made by drug dealers. There are some smart rappers who combine satire and social commentary to make for a good song. TI is one of them. On “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 1),” the rap group details the struggles of drug addict Sasha Thumper. It’s a cautionary tale, and showcases the power of wordplay in songwriting. The average rapper writes songs at a third grade reading level, and is not aware of the wit hidden in seemingly simple words.
“Cops Shot The Kid” by Nas is a good example. Produced by Kanye West, this song addresses police brutality and racism dating back to Emmett Till. The song also samples a song by Slick Rick called “Children’s Story.” The theme of this song is particularly relevant today, as it highlights the difficulties of minority communities and the consequences of injustice. Moreover, it makes use of a minimal beat to make its point.
“No Scrubs” by TLC is another example. The song was a hit, not only because of its catchy tune, but also because it shared sentiments with listeners about dating “scrubs.” Not only was this song an important song of the time, but its subject matter was revolutionary. Most hip hop songs of the time were laden with misogynistic lyrics, and this song reversed that and reverted standards for women. It was a number one hit for four weeks, and its lyrics made a big impact on pop culture.