One of the best aspects of hip-hop is the way that different rappers use their own flow and style to create stories for their audience. Telling a story that provides the listener with great imagery and unforgettable lyrics is no easy feat.
Below is a compilation of the top hip-hop storytellers.
Is there really anything this guy can’t do? Immortal has plenty of music; he uses his skill to tell an awesome story in his song “Dance with the Devil“—a hardcore story of a kid who grew up with the wrong attitude in life and who wanted to be nothing but a gangster. Going through life trying to earn the respect of evil men, this kid found himself doing crazy things to gain their approval. “Dance With the Devil” is nothing short of a masterpiece, with the toughest ending to a story that digs deep at your emotions.
Notable lyrics from “Dance With the Devil“
I knew a n*gga whose real name was William
His primary concern, was making a million
Being the illest hustler, that the world had ever seen
He used to fuck movie stars and sniff coke in his dreams
A corrupted young mind, at the age of thirteen
N*gga never had a father and his mom was a fiend
She put the pipe down, but every year she was sober
Her sons heart simultaneously grew colder
Big Lis a voice for the streets. His song “Casualties of a Dice Game” goes through a normal day of a man living on the streets. With a great flow, he raps this story in a way that will keep you hanging on to every line.
This is a story you really will want to hear.
Notable lyrics from “Casualties of a Dice Game“
Me and my man was cruisin’ through the streets
And everything was flowin’ nice the corner’s crowded
N*ggaz must be rollin’ dice I parked the ride
So my n*gga Iroc can crash the Iye spot and I’ma gamble
Until he come back, why not? Click-clack, cock the gat back
Gotta be strapped this game was mad packed
Mat cats pockets was fat
They playin’ cee-lo, my dick get hard when I see dough
Slick Rick built his rap career on being a storyteller. His song “Children’s Story” is an all-time classic for most hip-hop fans and tells of a child who turns into a criminal. Slick’s style is perfect, and with the addition of a very funky beat, this song is fantastic.
The best lines from the best storyteller—definitely a must if you’re looking for a sick song.
Notable lyrics from “Children’s Story“
Once upon a time, not long ago
Where people wore pajamas and lived life slow
Where laws were stern and justice stood
And people were behavin’ like they ought to good
There lived a boy who was misled
By another little boy and this is what he said
Me and you Tike, we’re gonna make some cash
Robbin’ old folks and makin’ the dash
B.I.G.could do anything in rap—adding storytelling to his resume with “I Got a Story to Tell“. This is a song about what happens when he hooks up with a girl who already has a man. Her man comes home and B.I.G.’s story unfolds from there. Adding the great sensory abilities of B.I.G., this song is a great listen for anyone.
Notable lyrics from “I Got a Story to Tell“
I kick flows for ya, kick down doors for ya
Even left all my motherf*ckin hoes for ya
N*ggaz think Frankie p*ssy whipped, n*gga picture that
With a Kodak, Insta-ma-tak
We don’t get down like that, lay my game down quite flat
Sweetness, where you parked at?
A legend in the rap industry, NaS is also a multi-talented storyteller. The song entitled “Rewind” is a song that displays the rap skills he possesses. He decides to not only tell a ridiculously lyrical story, but to do it backwards—that’s right, he tells and raps a story completely backwards. Listen and learn.
Notable lyrics from “Rewind“
Listen up gangstas and honeys with ya hair done
Pull up a chair hon’ and put it in the air son
Dog, whatever they call you son, god, just listen
I spit a story backwards, it starts at the ending
The bullet goes back in the gun
The bullet hole’s closin’ this chest of a n*gga
Now he comes back to square one, screamin’, “Shoot don’t please”
I put my fifth back on my hip, it’s like a VCR rewindin’ a hit
Mos Def raps about more positive materials than most hip-hop artists do. His song “Ms. Fat Booty” is a story about a girl he sees one day and that he wishes he could talk to. He proceeds to entice her, and ends up getting asked to dance. He eventually wants to commit to her, but she leaves instead. A great story from a side you won’t normally see from a rapper.
Notable lyrics from “Ms. Fat Booty“
Yo, in she came with the same type game
The type of girl givin’ out the fake cell phone an’ name
Big game, she like cats with big thangs
Jewels chip, money clip, phone flip, the six range
I seen her on the ave, spotted her more than once
Ass so fat that you could see it from the front
She spot me like paparazzi, shot me a glance
In that Catwoman stance with the fat booty pants
Another love song, Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.” is a hip-hop classic about a girl Common fell in love with. The story begins when he was younger and first met her, follows her until she matures into a beautiful girl, and finally tells of how she falls to the low point in her life.
Notable lyrics from “I Used to Love H.E.R.“
I met this girl, when I was ten years old
And what I loved most, she had so much soul
She was old school, when I was just a shorty
Never knew throughout my life she would be there for me
On the regular, not a church girl, she was secular
Not about the money, no studs was mic checking her
But I respected her, she hit me in the heart
A few New York n*ggaz had did her in the park
Ghostface Killah’s song “All That I Got is You” is another emotional song. After listening to this, you will feel the pain, the sadness, and ultimately, the joy as Ghostface ends up with money, and can now take care of his family. This song lets you into his feelings so much that you will feel everything he has to say.
Notable lyrics from “All That I Got is You“
Yo, dwellin’ in the past, flashbacks when I was young
Whoever thought I’d have a baby girl and three sons
I’m goin’ through this difficult stage, I find it hard to believe
Why my old Earth had so many seeds
But she’s an old woman and due to me I respect that
I saw life for what it’s really worth and took a step back
Family ain’t family no more, we used to play ball
Eggs after school, eat grits ’cause we was poor
Eminem uses his incredible skill and wordplay in “25 To Life“ to tell a story about someone who he has a tumultuous relationship with. At the end of the song, he reveals something that will surprise you. Listen to it and you will know what I mean. Eminem is a rap genius.
Notable lyrics from “25 To Life“
I don’t think she understands the sacrifices that I made
Maybe if this bitch had acted right I would have stayed
But I’ve already wasted over half of my life I would have laid
Down and died for you I no longer cry for you
No more pain
B*tch, you took me for granted, took my heart
And ran it straight into the planet
Into the dirt I can no longer stand it
Now my respect I demand it
I’mma take control of this relationship
Command it and I’mma be the boss of you, g*ddammit