It’s hard to decipher how many streams a song has received these days, with so many music platforms and so many versions and releases of the same song on each of these platforms. Stream numbers are even more difficult to calculate because songs are constantly being uploaded and deleted, making stream counting almost obsolete in a technological age where creative permanence has been erased.
However, the most popular songs and the most popular song uploads still get the most views on YouTube. Thus, the top YouTube streams provide some quantifiable, if imperfect, data on how audiences have received some of the best rap songs today.
10 ‘Fight The Power’, Do the Right Thing, by Public Enemy (1.4 million views)
By Spike Lee Do the right thing It has become one of the most important movies ever created. The film featured a soundtrack by the political hip-hop group Public Enemy. “Fight The Power” was released in 1989, a year after NWA’s “F * ck Tha Police,” during a period that saw black protests against police brutality. Hip-hop quickly became a cultural force against political oppression during the 1980s.
Furthermore, “Fight The Power” would become emblematic of the genre due to its use of sampling, including samples of activists speaking. I like Do the right thing, the song is also about black rabies in America.
9 ‘Afro Puffs’, Over the Edge, from The Lady of Wrath (2.5 million views)
During the 1980s and 1990s, female rappers topped the charts, shaping the heavily politicized era of hip-hop and injecting feminism into the genre. “Afro Puffs” It was the first single from The Lady of Rage, featuring Snoop Dogg. It was released as part of the soundtrack to the 1994 film, Above the rim, a sports movie with Tupac Shakur, Duane Martin, Marlon Wayans and Wood Harris.
Though its lyrics are not political, “Afro Puffs” is thematically political, channeling The Lady of Wrath’s political and gender rage as a black woman. Her afro puffs represent the energy of her anger and her strength to remain as feminine and black as possible without reservation despite what American culture dictated at the time. The Lady of Rage would go on to star The Steve Harvey Show during the 90s.
8 ‘Paradise’, Deliver Us From Eva, by LL Cool J Ft. Amerie (17 million views)
LL Cool J is a prolific rapper who released many rap soundtracks. Appeared in the Space jam soundtrack, “Hit ‘Em High (The Monstars Anthem)” featuring B-Real, Coolio, Method Man and Busta Rhymes.
“Paradise” appeared on the film’s soundtrack. Deliver us from Eva, where LL Cool J starred alongside Gabrielle Union. Union also appeared as the love interest in the film, while Amerie, at the height of her career, provided the chorus for the song. The film co-starred Kenya Moore, Meagan Good, and Duane Martin.
7 ‘Love of my life (an ode to hip-hop)’, Brown Sugar, by Erykah Badu Ft. Común (28 million views)
“Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)” was part of the soundtrack for the 2002 film. Brown sugar. The soundtrack includes singles from hip-hop, R&B and soul legends like Jill Scott, Mos Def, Mary J. Blige, and Angie Stone.
The film focused on two childhood best friends whose love of hip-hop kept them close. They fall in love with hip-hop and they fall in love with each other. The film was an ode to hip-hop, as its title suggests, with cameos from Queen Latifah, Method Man, Fabolous, Jermaine Dupri, and Slick Rick.
6 ‘Men in Black’, Men in Black, by Will Smith (91 million views)
One of the most recognizable hip-hop songs produced for the popular movie franchise of the same name, Men in black it is still a classic of cinema and hip-hop. The song was the lead single from the film’s soundtrack and Will Smith’s debut solo album Big Willie style.
Singer Coko of the R&B girl group SWV sang the background vocals for the song that reached number one in many countries around the world. The song sampled another popular song “Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen.
5 ‘King’s Dead’, Black Panther by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar & Future (126 million views)
Black Panther, a part of the MCU, was released to great anticipation in 2018. Kendrick Lamar was the perfect choice for the single due to its musical history showing political rage through hip-hop. The single appeared on both the Black Panther soundtrack and on Jay Rock’s album, making it Jay Rock’s first single to appear on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance and was nominated for Best Rap Song.
“King’s Dead” also features English singer James Blake, which surprised fans as he is not known for producing hip-hop songs. The collaboration between rap artists and English singers, however, shares a long history, including Estelle’s “American Boy” with Kanye West.
4 ‘Regulate’, Above The Rim, by Nate Dogg and Warren G (230 million views)
Def Jam’s biggest single, Regular reached number two on the Billboard 100. “Regular” was the first single from the 1994 film soundtrack, Above the rim. The soundtrack also included the song “Afro Puffs” by The Lady of Rage and Snoop Dogg. In addition, it included the singles “Pain” and “Pour Out A Little Liquor”. by Tupac, who starred in the movie. Also, Snoop Dogg would release his own single, “Pump Pump”, for the soundtrack, with Naughty By Nature and Beastie Boys doing the same.
The 1990s and 2000s saw an explosion of black films, popularizing many hip-hop and R&B artists, during Hollywood’s golden age of film noir.
3 ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, Dangerous Minds, by Coolio Ft. LV (542 million views)
Considered one of the best songs of all time, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is the soundtrack to the 1995 film Dangerous minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The music video also featured Pfeiffer, while the song featured samples of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise.”
Despite the lack of representation of hip-hop around the world at the time, “Gangster’s paradise” it was a success. It reached number one in nineteen countries and was the best-selling single in 1995 worldwide. “Gangsta’s Paradise” would break record barriers for hip-hop, making the genre more commercially successful around the world.
2 ‘Still DRE’, Training Day, by Dr. Dre Ft. Snoop Dogg (854 million views)
“Still DRE” was a rap song for the movie Training Day, although it was not included in the official soundtrack. Instead, the song was released as the lead single from Dr. Dre’s second studio album, titled 2001. The album went double platinum for the popular single “Still DRE.”
Released in the early 2000s, the song lacked the political passion of the rap songs of the 80s and 90s. During the 2000s, black movies and music became less political as music companies Film and music production focused more on commercial success than political messages.
one Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, 8 Mile (1 billion views)
Eminem’s first number one Billboard Hot 100 single, “Lose Yourself,” is an autobiographical song about the rapper’s struggle when he rose to hip-hop fame in Detroit, Michigan. The film depicts the pain of Eminem’s early life as a boy born into very dismal working-class conditions where he was abused by his mother.
The emotion in “Lose Yourself” has been credited as the reason it is Eminem’s best song. The Oscar-winning song also touches on Eminem’s struggles as a white man trying to get into the rap game.
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