Story telling has been a staple in hip hop songs for a long time. Although it is not commonly done in many of today's radio hits, songs that tell a whole rounded story are always fun to listen to. Here are my picks for ten of the best rap storytelling songs.
The story in the song is about a “fancy girl” or a prostitute flagging down flashy cars. Focusing on the trauma inflicted on her on a daily basis by her usual clients, Kendrick never looks down on this girl for her work but instead recognizes her pain. In the second verse, he describes a scene with an undercover cop that she knows is wearing a wire, but doesn't care because jail may be a better place for her than the boulevard she spends her time.
The third verse switches the focus to a new girl, Keisha. Keisha is inspired by a real 17-year-old girl that Kendrick knew. After he saw her on a block selling her body, he went home and wrote this song. Kendrick takes his personal connection to this story even further by describing playing this song for his little sister.
One of the more lighthearted stories on this list is about a man who has become infatuated with a special girl who must be from his dreams. Constantly delving into crazy scenarios the speaker envisions about his new love, this song makes you worried for the mental health of the speaker and at times the safety of his love. He eventually musters up the courage to talk to her and asks her out to a concert, to which she respectfully declines, telling him that she has a boyfriend. But this does not stop his constant planning to win this girl over, and in the last verse, he describes one last plan to get rid of her boyfriend and console her.
Told from the perspective of a crazed fan through a series of letters and one tape recorder until switching to the perspective of Eminem for the last verse replying to the letters he received. Stan is a fan that takes every Eminem lyric to heart, which is something that even Eminem wishes wouldn't happen, saying “he was just clowning.” Whether it's just a sad story about a crazed fan or one with more meaning looking down on artists such as himself for condoning the graphic scenarios that are portrayed in music today, this is a truly compelling story to hear unfold.
This is one of the deeper songs on this list. Starting from the perspective of a depressed person battling suicidal thoughts and eventually taking their own life and then switching to the perspective of a close loved one grieving the loss. This song is an emotional roller coaster for those who have battled with suicidal thoughts or anyone who has lost someone to suicide.
In this song Ice Cube describes all the things that make up a good day in the city of Compton. Although I do think he may set the standard for a good day pretty low when he says no one one he knows died in south central LA today and he didn't even have to use his AK. Other than that, the song talks about a clear smog-less day in LA, where the Lakers beat the Supersonics, and Yo! MTV Raps was on air. If your curious the only day that all of this happened and Ice Cube had no prior filming commitments was January 20, 1992.
Probably the darkest song on this list comes from someone named for being quiet the opposite. Runaway Love tells the stories of several young girls growing up in broken homes, being abused, and the struggles that they face in impoverished areas. We hope that all of these stories are not based on true events, but unfortunately, they are not to far fetched to be fictional and as each story progresses there is never a break from the harsh reality that these girls are living in.
This is the story of your run of the mill sleazy guy at a club looking for a one night stand. The beginning tone of the song at first appears to be a love song with the chorus saying that when the woman left she took a part of him with her. This story is not for the faint of heart with a twist based on the chorus and very explicit descriptions of a sexual scene. Despite this Royce demonstrates a mastery of storytelling through the use of the medium, switching the flow to signify someone else is talking and using the ad libs as his responses. This song may be my personal favorite on this list if just for the execution of the song. “oh word”
Another song about a guy looking for action in a bar, Tone-Loc isn't getting any attention from the women there. He then asks this other guy how he gets so many girls and the guy replies Funky Cold Medina. In this song, Funky Cold Medina is used as a love potion that will make anyone who drinks it fall in love with him. He first tests this on his dog and then later on two potential dates. In the end, while all of the potential love interests do fall in love with him, each attempt at using the love potion ends poorly for Tone-Loc who then advises the audience not to use the Funk Cold Medina.
The intro to this song sets up a frame story of a child being read a bedtime story. The song then tells the story of two young boys who devise a plan to start robbing people in their neighborhood. The two are successful at first but then one is unable to stop robbing innocent people until one day this escalates into a police chase.
In this song, Lupe Fiasco uses the imagery of kicking pushing and coasting on a skateboard as a metaphor for a large amount of time passing. The story is about a boy who was given a skateboard at the age of six and from that moment the sport was the love of his life. As he grows up he becomes better at performing tricks on his skateboard and meets a girl who shares his passion.