35 Best Rap Karaoke Songs

Ready to get your karaoke on? Looking for just the right rap song to bring to the table? We’ve got your back…

But fair warning – we’ve got a bit of everything here – gangsta rap, danceable hip-hop, 90s R&B, and even a few whiteboy novelties you may have forgotten about (and are welcome to overlook again).

One thing’s for sure, though – these are the best rap karaoke songs.

Contents

“Gangsta's Paradise” by Coolio feat. L.V.

Song Year: 1995 

“Gangsta’s Paradise” came to typify the late and great Coolio, becoming his most recognizable, and easily his gangsta rap best.

“Weird Al” Yankovic even parodied the song (“Amish Paradise”), which helped propel the song to new levels of success. Due to miscommunication between the two parties, though, Coolio never seemed too fond of the idea.

“Jump Around” by House of Pain

Song Year: 1992

 “Jump Around” is easily House of Pain's most recognizable. And the trio created what can only be called the perfect rap song for karaoke, thanks to its gang vocals. Crank this one up, and you'll have a hard time stopping the crowd from jumping around.

“Gettin' Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith

Song Year: 1997 

Some people see it, some don't. But early in his career, Will Smith always walked the high road, refusing to curse in his rhymes, and avoiding the gangsta cliché like the plague.

The clean cut image polarized, but based on his success as an actor, it probably didn't hurt him any if at all.

His old school cred was never in question, at least not after his stint with the extraordinarily talented DJ Jazzy Jeff. But could the Fresh Prince still cut it in a very different, brave new world as a rapper?

“Gettin' Jiggy Wit It” quickly proved he could still write catchy rhymes, get people up and dancing, and remain just as relevant in the late 90s as he was in the early 90s.

This song saturated radio like few others in the late 90s, which probably didn't help its critical reception, which was mixed, despite it being a Grammy winner.

While I can't speak for anyone else, I can still recite every lyric in this jam.

“Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J

Song Year: 1990

The tone and the lyrics to LL Cool J's “Mama Said Knock You Out” were aggressive, especially for early 90s rap.

There was some growing tension between Kool Moe Dee and LL Cool J around the time this song was dropped. Kool Moe Dee thought of LL Cool J as nothing more than a bad ripoff, and not surprisingly, that didn't go over well with J.

The critics also didn't think LL Cool J didn't have much more in him and predicted his career plateauing in the 90s, and this was J's message to them. The critics were wrong, of course, as J had some significant hits well into the 2000s.

Turn up the dial and watch as the adrenaline pumps through the room.

“Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature

Song Year: 1992

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I say I miss the 90s. Not that there haven't been some fire beats and killer rhymes since then, but we were kind of spoiled when it came to energetic, danceable hits, like Naughty by Nature's “Hip Hop Hooray.”

I swear this song has got one of the funkiest, most infectious mellow electric piano grooves you've ever heard. You could put any rhymes you want to it. But I'm not diminishing Naughty by Nature. This trio nailed this one.

The chorus makes it an absolute shoo-in for karaoke night.

“Check the O.R.” by Organized Rhyme

Song Year: 1992 

Organized Rhyme may have begun as a bit of a joke, but with all things Tom Green, you're never too sure how seriously to take what he does. His antics in Freddie Got Fingered alone are appalling, and yet somehow befitting of the notorious Canadian comedian who does it all with a straight face.

Well, a pre-fame Green obviously took this gig seriously enough to record a full rap album in a Beastie Boys vein, and adopting the moniker MC Bones, he delivered some ridiculous but sublime rhymes that seem to capture the essence of the genre in its time.

It may not play well with certain crowds, but you're sure to put some smiles on faces with “Check the O.R.” in Canada.

And while you've may have forgotten, but the backing track in this tune is bling.

“U Can't Touch This” by MC Hammer

Song Year: 1990

MC Hammer has two contributions to society. The first? Parachute pants. The second? “U Can't Touch This,” featuring a sample from Rick James' impossibly funky guilty pleasure, “Super Freak.” You practically can't go wrong with such a strong groove.

I jest, a little. While Hammer omnipresence was undeniable for a short while, he did end up being a bit of a one-hit wonder, and his considerable fortunate was lost in less than five years. We do feel bad about that, but we think things turned out okay for him.

And with a fair degree of accuracy, we can predict that “U Can't Touch This” will get the crowd up on their feet to do the Hammer dance, because the beat is legit.

“Fight For Your Right” by Beastie Boys

Song Year: 1986

If there's any tune that would solidify Beastie Boys as out of control party goers, it would be this, “Fight For Your Right.” They would later go onto shake off the drunken frat boy image, opting for a more artistic approach to their careers, but we still remember how they got their start, and this unforgettable hit was a big part of that.

The album on which this track can be found, Licensed to Ill, came with its share of AC/DC inspired guitar hooks, something you don't often hear in the genre, and this song is no exception.

The album spawned an incredible seven singles, and “Fight For Your Right” was the fourth, and arguably the most remembered.

Either way, there's nothing quite like a song about fighting for your right to party to inspire fist pumps at the local pub. Crank it up, and shout it loud with confidence.

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem 

Song Year: 2002

Like David Bowie, Eminem‘s music was often peppered with a sprinkle of instability and a pinch of madness. That is, perhaps, what made his music so popular. His sense of humor, his masterful delivery, and his willingness to expose his disturbing thoughts to the world.

Demonstrating the rare serious side of Slim Shady, “Lose Yourself” should induce 8 Mile flashbacks for everyone in the room, who will cheer you on, even if you’re the worst rapper since Lil B (and we don’t say that to raise ire – Google “worst rapper” and you will see this name come up again and again).

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

Song Year: 2003

“99 Problems” effectively became the anthem of all hustlers and is sure to get a reaction at the karaoke bar.

“Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A.

Song Year:  1988

Drug dealing, police brutality and gang violence sets the stage for what would become one of hip-hop’s most notorious tracks. “Straight Outta Compton” follows N.W.A’s Eazy-E as he narrowly escapes a crack house in a police raid.

“Mo Money Mo Problems” by The Notorious B.I.G

Song Year: 1997

1997 was a huge year for music, and hip-hop's cream of the crop was surely this, The Notorious B.I.G.'s “Mo Money Mo Problems.”

East coast hip-hop obviously wasn't everyone's thing, but if you were even a little bit into Diddy, Mase, B.I.G., or any of the above, you couldn't help but get caught up in this pop-friendly power wave (well, I'm not sure how friendly the lyrics are, but they crossed that bridge by censoring the bad parts).

The song also spawned an over-the-top video, one that's often copied and parodied due to its cultural impact (e.g., “Weird Al” Yankovic and Drew Carey).

With a sample and interpolation of Diana Ross’ infectious “I’m Coming Out,” this song was destined for massive success. I’m a fan myself, though I’m far too white to ever pull it off at karaoke.

“Drop It Like It's Hot” by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell

Song year: 2004

Dropping it like it’s hot is exactly what the crowd is going to do the moment they hear the opening sub-bass hits in this pimping classic.

Thanks to its repetitive nature, anyone can get into this tune, and it's sure to be a crowd pleaser too.

“Waterfalls” by TLC

Song Year: 1995

As a song that came to epitomize the 90s, “Waterfalls” is sure to draw some attention at the karaoke bar, especially if you perform it as a trio. It’s more R&B than rap, sure, but it’s still got a rap in it, and to that extent, it’s fair game for any takers, especially women.

The mellowed-out alt R&B tune addresses issues like violence connected to illegal drug trade, and the HIV / AIDS epidemic, though that message seems to have stuck retroactively, because I seem to remember it being about guys chasing girls who are “too good” for them.

No matter. The jam is legit.

“The Real Slim Shady” by Eminem

Song Year: 1999

Eminem made such a big impact with his smash hit, “My Name Is,” that his record label begged him to create an introductory number for his followup. Thus, “The Real Slim Shady” was born.

He was under the gun to get the tune done, but Marshall Mathers seems to pull it off without even breaking a sweat.

This tune should get plenty of real Slim Shadys standing up.

“Milkshake” by Kelis

Song Year: 2003

While it might also induce a few cringes and eyerolls (you've got to take some chances, right?), by and large, shaking it to the repetitive “Milkshake” should bring the crowd to the yard, especially if you’ve got your sexy on.

Don’t forget that there’s a bit of singing to this tune too, though, and Kelis is no slouch, so be sure to practice up if you’re not confident about your vocals.

“Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice

Song Year: 1990

While it may have been a one-hit wonder, if not for this tune, the world would not know the name Vanilla Ice. And can you really imagine a world without “Ninja Rap?” I can't.

Vanilla Ice effectively killed his career through over-saturation, but he's picked up a few bit roles in movies through the years, including That's My Boy, so we're sure he's doing alright.

Crank up this jam, and you should hear the crowd rapping along from start to finish.

“It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy feat. Ricardo Ducent

Song Year: 2000

It probably wouldn't be a hyperbole to say “It Wasn't Me” is one of Shaggy's most recognizable. The premise of the song is built on the idea that the narrator is being accused of scandalous, unspeakable things. Thus, “it wasn't me.”

But in terms of difficulty, this one is certainly up there, especially since Shaggy’s style is heavily Jamaican accented rap-singing, versus straight spitting.

You might also want to divide and conquer this one with a friend who can really sing to take over Ricardo Ducent's part. Or, if it doesn't go over, you can play it off by saying, “it wasn't me.”

“No Diggity” by Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen 

Song Year: 1996

“No Diggity”, this is one of 1996's finest and most intense. The song opens with Dr. Dre's verse, which is masterfully performed. The same can certainly be said for Queen Pen's verse, which occurs later in the song.

This is essentially an R&B tune, though, and its chorus still echoes through the chambers of musical history today.

This is another good song to tackle with friends, given how many voices are ultimately in the song. If you can't sing, though, this one is not a good choice for karaoke night.

Hip-hop songs to learn

“Push It!” by Salt-N-Pepa  

Song Year: 1987

The 80s was one of music's most creative eras. Experimentation was the name of the game, and while not all gambles paid off, it was always a lot of fun to watch from the outside looking in.

“Push it!” is no doubt a product of its time, but it was also pushing the limits lyrically and thematically, becoming quite controversial while rising through the ranks.

But if it’s time for a sweaty, sexy, and breathy singalong, it might be a good time to push this tune.

“Gimme the Loot” by The Notorious B.I.G.

Song Year: 1994

In “Gimme the Loot,” The Notorious B.I.G. showed us exactly what he was made of. His flow? Often emulated, but never duplicated. The jazzy backing track contrasts with his full-throttle intensity, which is at its most furious.

This may well be one of 1994's most obscene, and it probably won't play well in every room. But that could well be why it's so popular too.

“Regulate” by Warren G ft. Nate Dogg

Song Year: 1994

I didn't think there were too many rap / hip-hop hits from the 90s that I was unfamiliar with, but at the risk of being slapped, in this case, I must admit my ignorance. I hadn't even heard of “Regulate” until recently.

I love the electric piano oriented funk groove and the back and forth between rapping and singing. This is a fire tune for a skilled duo at karaoke night.

“Without Me” by Eminem

Song Year: 2002

Why “Without Me” wasn't the opening tune on The Eminem Show is still a mystery. It very much follows the formula he established with “My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.”

Busting this one out at karaoke night ought to remind people why it feels so empty without.

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by Beastie Boys

Song Year: 1986

As noted earlier, some songs off of Licensed to Ill featured AC/DC style guitar riffs. “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” was one such track.

But this one needed something a little extra. At the time, Rick Rubin was also working with Slayer guitarist Kerry King. Since the Beasties were on the same label, they managed to score a guitar solo from the master himself.

Kerry rips it up, delivering a frantic if “all over the map” performance. But hey, all is fair in the name of rock and roll.

Thanks to the gang vocals, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” should prove a shoo-in for karaoke night.

“In Da Club” by 50 Cent

Song Year: 2003

50 Cent may not be considered one of the all time best rappers, but it wouldn’t be in bad form to bring one of his hits out on karaoke night. Do it up like it’s your birthday.

“It Was A Good Day” by Ice Cube

Song Year: 1992

As the third single off of The Predator, “It Was A Good Day” could be considered a hip-hop rarity. Where most tunes tend to focus on girls, money, disputes, rivalries, and gangs, in this mellow banger, Ice Cube recounts an experience from a hotel room where he was feeling positively euphoric.

In 1992, Ice Cube was on top of the world. All his dreams had become reality. And he thought to himself, “I always write about gangsta stuff. Why don't I write about the good days too?”

Why don't you, indeed, sir.

For a bit of a mood setter, or a mood changer, “It Was A Good Day” should have the crowd reminiscing on the good times they've had, too.

“It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC

Song Year: 1987 

Run-DMC is to rap what Johnny Cash is to roots. Their three-pronged attack was most certainly an inspiration to the Beastie Boys, who found them amazing. There's no way the Beasties could have ever measured up to Run-DMC, but they did find their own groove to fall into.

In “It's Tricky,” Run-DMC shows us why they were the best. Their three voices are beyond tight, a feat the best of friends, brothers, or sisters would find tricky. They're right. It's not easy. It's tricky.

“Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg

Song Year: 1993

Now it wouldn't be a night at the karaoke bar without the appearance of this early 90s essential, would it?

Back when Snoop Dogg was still Snoop Doggy Dogg, “Nuthin' but a ‘G' Thang” was the definitive “G thang,” thanks to the collaboration between two of rap's most iconic stars.

“All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled feat. Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain & Snoop Dogg

Song Year: 2010

DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” is notorious, but perhaps not for all the right reasons – the “DJ Khaled” stamp at the top of the song is practically a meme, and T-Pain’s auto-tuned chorus is cheesier than three-cheese pizza.

But you know what? Ludacris’ verse is still fire, and the winning attitude is infectious. There's a lot to be had with this one at karaoke night, that's for sure.

“Touch the Sky” by Kanye West ft. Lupe Fiasco

Song Year: 2005

You can’t go wrong with Curtis Mayfield samples. West’s rhymes are as smooth as butter over such a fire beat. Did you expect any less?

“Can I Get A…” by Jay-Z feat. Ja Rule & Amil

Song Year: 1998

Now here’s a tune you can bounce to!

“California Love” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre

Song Year: 1995

One of the most influential rappers of all time, 2Pac brings the heat with one of the tunes he is remember well for – “California Love.” People sometimes forget, but the song opens with Dr. Dre’s verse, which is still fire.

“Bust A Move” by Young MC

Song Year: 1989

Know it or not, rap and hip-hop went through more of an innocuous phase, where it was all about the beat, rhythmic rhymes, catchy hooks, and as this song has it, “busting a move.” It may be a product of its time, but if it gets the crowd up on the dancefloor, it makes no difference.

“Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang

Song Year: 1980

The Sugarhill Gang immortalized one of rap’s most important songs ever to be recorded – “Rapper’s Delight.” The original disco-tinged hip-hop tune is still everything you remember it to be, and over 40 years after its release, it hasn’t lost its spark. Def Squad’s modern version has only helped keeping it real.

“It Takes Two” by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock

Song Year: 1988

Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock were torn a new one by the likes of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, but “It Takes Two” is cool like Rickrolling is cool, and it’s oddly satisfying to spit those first two lines “I wanna rock right now / I’m Rob Base and I came to get down.”

I suppose you could replace “Rob Base” with your own name, if you wanted to be a rebel.

“The Bad Touch” by Bloodhound Gang

Song Year: 1999

Another one hit wonder that pops it off at the karaoke bar. Everyone knows the chorus to “The Bad Touch”; nobody knows the band. 

It may seem like an odd pick, but you’ll be hard pressed to find another song with so many sexual euphemisms wrapped around a very singable melody and a rhyming scheme anyone can master (but maybe not without doing a spit take).

Top Rap Karaoke Songs, Final Thoughts

We hoped you enjoyed this guide, found all your favorite rap tunes, and maybe a few unconventional picks to add to your repertoire.

The only thing to do now is work on the tunes you want to perfect so when you hit the stage you pull it off like it was second nature.

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