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list Jun 7 2024 Written by

Top 100 Hip Hop Songs Of The 1990s

Top 100 Hip Hop Songs Of The 1990s

Top 100 Hip Hop Songs Of The 1990s: Back in the 1970s, Hip Hop was just a whisper in the Bronx streets, a secret language for the lucky few who were there at the start. Then, the 80s saw it explode from NYC block party jams to a global movement, with albums dropping like hotcakes by the mid-decade. But the 90s? That’s where things got crazy. This was the first full decade where Hip Hop albums flooded the streets, year after year, dropping dozens of classics that still bump today.

We here at HHGA cooked up a list of what we think are the illest Hip Hop tracks of the 90s. Look, we know nobody’s going to agree 100% on the order (that’s the beauty of these lists, right?), but that’s what this is all about – sparking a fire discussion about the music that moves us.

So, peep the list, see if your favorites made the cut, and let us know in the comments! Did we miss any gems? What tracks deserve to be higher or lower? Let’s get this conversation going!

Also read: Top 100 Hip Hop Songs Of The 1980s, Top 150 Hip Hop Albums Of The 1990s & Greatest Hip Hop Albums 1980 – 2019

1. Pete Rock & CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) (1992)

Back in 1990, Pete Rock & CL Smooth lost a close friend, Troy Dixon (aka “Trouble” T. Roy from Heavy D & the Boyz). They poured the emotions this loss caused into a track called “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)”.

“T.R.O.Y.” was the lead single off their debut album, Mecca And The Soul Brother, and let’s just say it set the bar high. It was a heartfelt tribute, a powerful reflection on loss, friendship, and family. Pete Rock’s smooth beats and CL Smooth’s poetic flow weaved together perfectly, creating a masterpiece of a song. Fast forward to now, and “T.R.O.Y.” is considered one of the greatest Hip Hop songs ever. That’s some serious legacy for a song born out of loss.

2. Wu-Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M. (1993)

The Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was a game-changer. The final single off that record, “C.R.E.A.M.,” was a street gospel. This track laid down the harsh realities of life on the grind, a haunting lesson in how to get by.

Raekwon and Inspectah Deck dropped some seriously potent verses, spitting rhymes that painted a vivid picture of the struggle. But it’s Method Man who steals the show with his unforgettable hook, a relentless mantra that gets stuck in your head for days. “C.R.E.A.M.” is a Wu-Tang classic, a perfect blend of raw lyricism and a killer beat that reminds us why this crew became Hip Hop royalty.

3. Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me (1991)

This track is the crown jewel of the Geto Boys’ discography, and it’s widely considered one of the greatest Hip Hop songs ever written. “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” ventures into dark and personal territory, exploring themes of paranoia and the struggle for sanity. The raw lyricism paints a vivid picture, tackling complex issues head-on.

To gain the full backstory on this masterpiece, we recommend checking out Brian Coleman’s book “Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies“. However, even without that context, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” is sure to leave a lasting impression. This is a legendary track and a must-listen for any true Hip Hop fan.

4. Nas - N.Y. State Of Mind (1994)

Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, is brimming with gems, but “N.Y. State of Mind” stands out as the album’s crown jewel. Many consider it the quintessential Nas track, and for good reason. This gritty narrative throws you right into the heart of New York City’s streets, capturing the raw realities of life there. “N.Y. State of Mind” is a shining example of the magic Nas created when he linked up with DJ Premier, this track is a perfect blend of hard-hitting beats and Nas’ masterful storytelling.

5. 2Pac - Dear Mama (1995)

Tucked away on Tupac Shakur’s groundbreaking album Me Against The World is a gem titled “Dear Mama”, a letter straight from the heart. This powerful tribute to his mother, Afeni Shakur, is one of his most celebrated tracks. It’s raw, honest, and lays bare the complexities of their relationship against the backdrop of a tough upbringing. “Dear Mama” is a side of Tupac many fans don’t always see, but it’s a side that resonates deeply, making it a permanent fixture in the Hip Hop hall of Fame.

6. LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)

LL Cool J wasn’t messing around at 22 years old. He was already a Hip Hop heavyweight, but some critics thought his previous album, Walking With A Panther, wasn’t his best work. So, LL came back swinging with the title track of his fourth album, Mama Said Knock You Out.

This Marley Marl-produced banger was a knockout punch to his doubters. Marl laced the track with a sick sample stew, blending James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” the Chicago Gangsters’ “Gangster Boogie,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Trip to Your Heart,” the iconic break from Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance,” and even a sprinkle of LL’s own “Rock the Bells.”

“Mama Said Knock You Out” is LL in top form, proving he wasn’t going anywhere. It’s a classic example of why he’s a Hip Hop legend.

7. A Tribe Called Quest - Check The Rhime (1991)

“Check The Rhime”, a single from Tribe’s sophomore LP The Low End Theory, it’s a Hip Hop cornerstone. This legendary track features Phife Dawg and Q-Tip at their absolute best, dropping rhymes with an effortless flow that’s impossible to ignore. Their back-and-forth is like a perfectly choreographed dance, each verse building on the one before.

Is it the ultimate A Tribe Called Quest track? That’s a debate for the die-hard fans. But there’s no doubt that “Check The Rhime” is a shining example of what makes them so special. It’s a masterclass in wordplay, laced with smooth beats that create an irresistible energy.

8. The Pharcyde - Passin' Me By (1992)

Back in the day, gangsta rap was king on the West Coast. But The Pharcyde weren’t afraid to march to the beat of their own drum. They weren’t into the tough-guy posturing, they were all about dropping clever rhymes and showing their goofy sides. “Passin’ Me By” is a prime example – this track from their legendary debut album Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde is a certified Hip Hop classic.

This song isn’t about violence or bravado, it’s about the relatable sting of rejection. The Pharcyde weave humor and vulnerability into their rhymes. “Passin’ Me By” is a breath of fresh air in a genre obsessed with hardness, a testament to the group’s unique voice.

9. Ice Cube - "It Was A Good Day" (1992)

Ice Cube dropped a diamond in 1992 with “It Was A Good Day.” This isn’t your average brag track, it’s a celebration of pure, unadulterated good fortune. Everything clicks for Cube – the Lakers win, the weather’s fine, and there’s not a single cop in sight. It’s that feeling of waking up on the right side of the bed, where everything falls into place, just for once. This track isn’t about flexing wealth or muscles, it’s about appreciating the simple pleasures – a perfect day in the life of Ice Cube. It’s a vibe so infectious, it’ll have you wishing you were cruisin’ down the L.A. streets with the windows down, just like Cube.

Is it his best song ever? That’s for you to decide, but there’s no denying it’s a Hip Hop legend. So crank it up, let the good vibes flow, and maybe you’ll manifest your own perfect day.

10. Mobb Deep - Shook Ones Pt 2 (1995)

Havoc, the mastermind behind Mobb Deep’s signature sound, lays down a sinister beat that sets the perfect stage for the lyrical onslaught to come. The rhymes themselves are pure, raw Mobb Deep – sharp, unforgiving, and laced with streetwise wisdom that’s equal parts chilling and captivating.

“Shook Ones, Pt. II”, the undisputed centerpiece of their legendary album The Infamous is a contender for the greatest Hip Hop song ever written. This track was a key player in the East Coast renaissance, reminding everyone of the raw power of New York rap. It’s a dark masterpiece that cemented Prodigy and Havoc’s prominent place in Hip Hop history.

11. Wu Tang Clan - Triumph (1997)

Wu-Tang Clan dropped “Triumph” in 1997, a monster track featuring every single original member – all nine, plus Cappadonna! This isn’t your typical radio jam. It’s a lyrical gauntlet thrown down, no chorus needed. Inspectah Deck sets the bar on fire with the opening verse – we’re calling it one of the greatest Hip Hop intros ever: “I bomb atomically…”

Wu-Tang Clan in their prime – that’s “Triumph”, a lyrical ten-headed beast reminding everyone why they’re legends. Each member steps up, bringing their own flavor to the track. This is a victory lap for the Wu-Tang legacy.

12. Common - I Used To Love H.E.R. (1994)

Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.” might sound like a dude reminiscing about a lost love, but dig a little deeper. This song is actually Common’s love letter to Hip Hop itself.

See, Common cleverly uses a relationship break-up to describe his ever-changing relationship with the genre. He talks about how Hip Hop used to be this underground movement, raw and real. But as it grew bigger, things started to change. Maybe it wasn’t the same for him anymore, but that doesn’t mean the love wasn’t there.

“I Used to Love H.E.R.” is a landmark recording, a true classic. It dropped in 1994, which many consider THE golden year for Hip Hop. This song is the heart and soul of Common’s album Resurrection, another heavyweight in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame. So next time you hear it, remember there’s more to the story. It’s about the complex and ever-changing bond between an artist and his art. That’s Hip Hop poetry at its finest.

13. Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy (1994)

Biggie Smalls dropped “Juicy” in 1994, the first single off his game-changing debut album Ready To Die. It was a critical and commercial explosion that put Biggie on the map. But “Juicy” goes way deeper than just record sales.

This track is pure Brooklyn sunshine. Biggie takes you from the streets he used to hustle on to the top of the rap game, all with a smile on his face. It’s a story about overcoming the struggle, chasing your dreams, and grabbing hold of success. The positive vibes are undeniable, making “Juicy” a jam for everyone.

This song’s a classic for a reason. It’s more than just catchy lyrics and a smooth beat. It’s a reminder that no matter where you come from, you can achieve anything. It’s about chasing your dreams and celebrating the good life, Biggie style.

14. Souls Of Mischief - 93 'Til Infinity (1993)

“93 ’til Infinity,” the opening track that blasts off Souls of Mischief’s legendary 1993 debut album of the same name, a straight-up Hip Hop anthem that deserves a place on Mount Rushmore. Souls of Mischief’s emcees come out swinging from the very first beat. The rhymes are butter-smooth, the California production is funky fresh, and the overall vibe is pure, unadulterated West Coast gold. This track throws you right back to that golden era.

15. Gang Starr - Mass Appeal (1994)

Gang Starr built their reputation on uncompromising authenticity, and this track from their 1994 album Hard To Earn is pure, unadulterated Gang Starr.

Gang Starr takes aim at artists who sacrifice their identity for chart success. They reject that whole approach – they’ll stick to their guns and deliver raw, unfiltered Hip Hop, even if it means staying underground. This track is the embodiment of Gang Starr’s core values: authenticity, hard-hitting beats, and lyrics that sting with truth.

“Mass Appeal” is the quintessential Gang Starr experience. It’s a must-listen for any Hip Hop fan who respects the art form and appreciates artists who stay true to themselves, no matter industry pressures. Turn it up, let DJ Premier’s beat lay down the foundation, and listen to Guru drop knowledge bombs about keeping it real in the rap game.

16. A Tribe Called Quest - Electric Relaxation (1993)

“Electric Relaxation” throbs with a smooth, infectious energy. It’s the perfect soundtrack for cruising with the windows down, tipping your hat to the queens who keep the world moving. This track is a celebration of positivity, respect, and of course, female awesomeness. Originally a B-side, “Electric Relaxation” exploded in popularity, becoming synonymous with A Tribe Called Quest and the golden age of Hip Hop. It’s a timeless tune that perfectly captures the group’s signature style – smooth, witty, and always respectful. So crank it up, let the positive vibes flow, and celebrate the power of women with A Tribe Called Quest.

17. Dr Dre - Nuthin' But A G Thang ft Snoop Doggy Dogg (1992)

Dr. Dre dropped a monster track in 1992 with “Nuthin’ But A G Thang”. The song was the lead single on Dre’s revolutionary debut solo album, The Chronic. “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” shifted the power balance in rap, putting the West Coast on top. Plus, it launched the career of a young Snoop Dogg, who became Dre’s right-hand man on the mic. This track is a timeless classic that’s still bumpin’ today.

18. Black Star - Definition (1998)

Back in 1998, Hip Hop was drowning in bling and brainless beats and bars. That’s when Black Star, the duo of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, dropped “Definition,” the first single from their self-titled album. This track was a giant middle finger to all that. Mos Def and Talib Kweli brought the focus back to what truly mattered: intelligent rhymes, positivity, and a healthy dose of consciousness. It was a wake-up call for the whole genre, a reminder of Hip Hop’s power at its core.

19. KRS One - MCs Act Like They Don't Know (1995)

KRS-One and DJ Premier: a match made in Hip Hop heaven. This collab is pure perfection. Premo lays down a beat that’s a masterpiece in itself, sampling Kurtis Blow’s legendary “The Breaks.” And then KRS-One steps up to the mic, schooling all the other rappers on what it really means to be an MC. He’s dropping knowledge bombs, reminding everyone that if you can’t rock a crowd, you’re not the real deal. And who better to deliver that message than one of the greatest live performers Hip Hop has ever seen?

20. Bone Thugs N Harmony - Tha Crossroads (1996)

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads” might be their biggest hit, but it wasn’t even on their original album! This 1996 single was a remake of an earlier track, “Crossroads,” and it exploded, it even won them a Grammy. The reason for the remake? The tragic death of their mentor, Eazy-E. This new version became a powerful dedication to loved ones we’ve lost, making the lyrics about missing those who’ve passed all the more emotional.

21. A Tribe Called Quest - Bonita Applebum (1990)

“Bonita Applebum”, the second single from their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm is ATCQ’s ode to all things beautiful, and beautiful women take center stage. It’s playful, a touch cheeky even, like they’re trying to impress a girl with their rhymes. But hey, it works! The beat is smooth, the lyrics are catchy, and there’s that undeniable Tribe charm that makes you want to sing along. “Bonita Applebum” is a celebration of female beauty, a love song delivered with a playful Hip Hop swagger.

22. Ghostface Killah - All That I Got Is You (1996)

Ghostface Killah gets real personal on “All That I Got Is You.” This heartbreaking and beautiful song is basically his life story. He raps about his rough childhood, growing up poor in a tiny apartment without his dad, who left when he was just six. Things were tough – Ghostface mentions things like having to “pluck roaches out the cereal box.” The song features Mary J. Blige on the album version, adding a soulful touch to Ghostface’s raw rhymes. There’s also a video version with Tekitha, a frequent Wu-Tang collaborator. “All That I Got Is You” is a powerful track that shows a different side of Ghostface, and it’s a true classic.

23. Mos Def - Mathematics (1999)

Remember that feeling of pure Hip Hop magic on Mos Def’s debut album, Black On Both Sides? Well, “Mathematics” is exactly that, but bottled into a single track. DJ Premier lays down a beat so good, it’s no wonder it’s one of his personal favorites. Mos Def attacks it with rhymes so sharp they feel like equations – complex, clever, and undeniably satisfying. This is what Mos Def and DJ Premier do best: raw talent meeting raw beats to create pure fire. “Mathematics” is a masterclass in Hip Hop, leaving you wanting to rewind and dissect every bar Mos Def throws down.

24. Boogie Down Productions - Love's Gonna Getcha (Material Love) (1990)

In 1990, Boogie Down Productions released a song that was like a mini-movie in your ears: “Love’s Gonna Getcha (Material Love)”. KRS-One raps about the dangers of materialism with such clarity, that you can practically feel the struggle he describes – the desire for a better life but the warning that chasing money can leave you empty. The music video? It perfectly complements the song, driving home the message in a way that makes you think twice about what you’re chasing. This is a thought-provoking anthem, a must-listen for anyone who’s ever gotten caught up in the ‘gotta have it all’ mentality.

25. Warren G - Regulate ft Nate Dogg (1994)

Warren G and Nate Dogg delivered the soundtrack of the 1994 summer season with “Regulate”. Originally created for the movie “Above the Rim,” “Regulate” became so massive it landed a starring role on Warren G’s album “Regulate…G Funk Era.” The song’s got that undeniable summer feel, a laid-back groove that makes you want to cruise with the windows down. And it’s one of those classics that transcends time – you hear it today and it still feels fresh.

26. Public Enemy - Burn Hollywood Burn (1990)

“Burn Hollywood Burn” from Public Enemy’s genre-defining album, Fear of a Black Planet isn’t holding back any punches. Chuck D takes center stage, blasting Hollywood for its history of racist stereotypes and cheap portrayals of Black people. He’s not alone on this mission. Hip Hop legends Ice Cube and Big Daddy Kane join the firestorm, spitting rhymes that expose these tired clichés.

27. KRS One - Step Into A World (1997)

KRS-One dropped a party starter in 1997 with “Step Into A World” (Rapture’s Delight). KRS-One throws down rhymes that energize fans and leave competitors intimidated and schooled. The beat’s fire, the lyrics are sharper than a diamond, and the whole thing is the undisputed highlight of his album I Got Next, which some might say is a mixed bag. This song is one of KRS-One’s best, a true diamond in the rough. And by the way, that line – “I’m not saying I’m number 1, oh I’m sorry I lied – I’m number 1, 2, 3, 4 plus 5”? Classic KRS-One confidence, delivered with a wink.

28. 2Pac - I Ain't Mad At Cha (1996)

2Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha” is a heartfelt and surprisingly tender track from his iconic album, All Eyez On Me. Released just two days after his passing, the song is a melancholic look at lost friendships and connections. The piano sample sets a reflective mood as 2Pac reminisces about old friends, girlfriends, and past rivals. Despite the hardships and conflicts, the lyrics convey a sense of acceptance and understanding. There’s no anger, just a genuine longing for the times they shared. The soulful vocals of Danny Boy on the hook add another layer of emotion to the track.

29. Eric B & Rakim - Know The Ledge (1992)

“Know the Ledge” by Eric B. & Rakim is a track from their fourth and last album, Don’t Sweat the Technique, and it’s the iconic theme song for the movie “Juice.” Remember that movie with a young Tupac? This dark and gritty song perfectly captures the struggle of a young man trying to survive on the rough streets. Rakim’s lyrics are sharp as ever, painting a picture of desperation and the harsh realities of street life. The beat? Hard-hitting and relentless, just like the world this character inhabits.

30. Nas - If I Ruled The World (1996)

Nas’s song “If I Ruled the World” is a standout track from his second album, It Was Written. It’s a smooth and catchy collaboration with Lauryn Hill and recreates the same-titled classic track by Kurtis Blow. In the song, Nas uses his lyrical skills to paint a vivid picture of his ideal world, a utopia far removed from the harsh realities he often raps about.

31. Camp Lo - Luchini (1997)

Camp Lo dropped their underrated debut album, Uptown Saturday Night, back in 1997. The lead single, “Luchini (This Is It),” is a total gem. It’s got a fantastic upbeat vibe and the song itself is just straight-up awesome.

32. De La Soul - Stakes Is High (1996)

De La Soul dropped a track that was like a verbal flamethrower aimed at what they saw as a slow-motion trainwreck: Hip Hop losing its soul. Even though it came out almost 30 years ago, this song feels just as true, maybe even more so, today. It called out the decline of Hip Hop culture with scary accuracy and became a cornerstone of De La Soul’s work.

33. Outkast - Elevators (Me & You) (1996)

OutKast took us straight to another planet with “Elevators (Me & You)”. This banger from their classic album ATLiens was cooked up by the wizards at Organized Noize. The bassline is like sonic butter, and André 3000 and Big Boi trade verses like they’re telepathic. Their flows twist and turn, defying the beat but somehow landing perfectly every time. The hook is as catchy as a UFO sighting, making it a mainstream hit that never sold out.

34. Luniz - I Got 5 On It (1995)

Back in 1995, Oakland duo Luniz unleashed a party anthem for the ages with “I Got 5 On It.” The song blew up instantly, becoming a worldwide smash that somehow never gets old. The song weaved together bits of funky classics like Club Nouveau’s “Why You Treat Me So Bad” (1987), Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” (1973), and Audio Two’s “Top Billin'” (1987) to create something totally new and irresistible. This song is a party starter for a reason, and it’s guaranteed to get you grooving no matter what year it is.

35. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Gin & Juice (1993)

Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle, was massively hyped thanks to his killer features on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Expectations were through the roof, but Snoop (alongside Dre, of course) absolutely crushed it. “Gin and Juice,” the second single, became one of Snoop’s signature tracks.

36. Method Man - I'll Be There for You / You're All I Need to Get By ft Mary J Blige (1995)

Remember that smooth track “All I Need” from Method Man’s debut album, Tical (1994)? Well, in 1995, he flipped it into a whole new masterpiece called “I’ll Be There for You / You’re All I Need to Get By.” This brilliant remix wasn’t just his own work. It paid homage to a classic love song, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need To Get By” (1968), weaving the two together seamlessly. And adding the Queen of Hip Hop Soul Mary J Blige to the track didn’t hurt either. The result? A beautiful blend of modern Hip Hop and soulful vibes.

37. Ol' Dirty Bastard - Shimmy Shimmy Ya (1995)

Ol’ Dirty Bastard wasn’t exactly known for playing it safe. In fact, his wild creativity was a huge part of his charm. That energy is on full display in “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” the second single from his solo debut, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. Produced by his Wu-Tang brother RZA, the song became ODB’s biggest hit and a perfect example of his unique genius. It’s a head-scratching, hilarious, and undeniably catchy track that cemented ODB’s legacy as a one-of-a-kind rapper.

38. OutKast - Rosa Parks (1998)

OutKast is famous for their killer choruses, and this particular hit single boasts one of the most unforgettable hooks in their entire catalog. It’s a true standout on the masterful album Aquemini, a genre-bending album packed with incredible tracks.

39. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime (1991)

Sunshine, good vibes, and an irresistible beat – that’s what DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince cooked up with “Summertime.” This song became their biggest hit, and for good reason. It’s the ultimate summer anthem, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get you groovin’ no matter the weather.

40. KRS One - Sound Of The Police (1993)

KRS-One’s debut solo album wasn’t short on powerful tracks, and this one’s a prime example. “Sound Of The Police” tackles police brutality against Black people head-on, drawing a chilling connection between the horrors of slavery and the realities of modern policing. The song’s message is just as potent today as it was over three decades ago, a sad truth that underscores its enduring power.

41. Wu-Tang Clan - Protect Ya Neck (1993)

The Wu-Tang Clan exploded onto the scene with their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Their first single, “Protect Ya Neck,” was a game-changing masterpiece. Forget a typical lead singer, this track throws eight razor-sharp verses at you, each showcasing the distinct flow and ferocity of a different Wu-Tang member. It was a force to be reckoned with, a statement of intent that announced their arrival and forever changed the face of Hip Hop.

42. Pharaohe Monch - Simon Says (1999)

Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” is a certified club banger. If you were ever in the club back in the day, there’s no way you couldn’t move your body when this track came on. It’s pure party fuel – infectious energy, killer rhymes, and that iconic hook that just gets stuck in your head.

43. OutKast - Player's Ball (1993)

OutKast’s debut single, “Player’s Ball,” was the opening fanfare for a decade of Hip Hop brilliance. Released in 1993, it blazed the trail for their iconic debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. This pimped-out classic introduced the world to the fresh sounds and styles of André 3000 and Big Boi, instantly launching them onto the Hip Hop stratosphere.

44. Naughty By Nature - O.P.P. (1991)

Before they were Naughty By Nature, they were The New Style – a name that didn’t quite capture their fire. But a name change and a whole lot of attitude later, NBN exploded onto the scene. Their hit “O.P.P.” became their signature song, launching a long string of successes.

45. Gang Starr - Above The Clouds (1998)

Gang Starr’s “Above The Clouds” is built on an iconic DJ Premier beat, arguably one of the best he ever crafted. Guru’s rhymes flow like silk, weaving vivid pictures with his poetic touch. But the brilliance doesn’t stop there. Inspectah Deck, the Wu-Tang’s lyrical maestro, unleashes a verse so sharp it could pierce the heavens. His wordplay is unparalleled, delivered with razor-sharp precision. This is a lyrical summit meeting, a collaboration that shattered boundaries and cemented Gang Starr’s legacy.

46. O.C. - Time's Up (1994)

O.C.’s 1994 debut album, Word…Life, was slept on by many, but one track stood out: “Time’s Up.” It was a verbal assault aimed straight at the fake gangsters and wannabe thugs flooding the Hip Hop scene in the early 1990s. O.C. tore them to shreds with his lyrics, a scathing attack that left no room for doubt about who he felt was holding rap music back.

47. Eminem - My Name Is (1999)

“My Name Is” was the sonic boom that launched Eminem into the stratosphere, it was the ignition switch for a legendary career. Suddenly, Eminem wasn’t just some rapper from Detroit – he was a global phenomenon, spitting fire with a fury that the music world had never heard before. “My Name Is” was the spark that ignited a Hip Hop firestorm, and made Eminem one of the best-selling artists of all time.

48. Nas - The World Is Yours (1994)

Nas’ debut, Illmatic, was a coronation. Tracks like “The World Is Yours” (a clever spin on T La Rock’s “It’s Yours”) showcased why Nas would become Hip Hop royalty. Pete Rock cooked up a beat that was the perfect canvas for Nas to unleash his scorching verses. His rhymes are razor-sharp, leaving no doubt about his lyrical dominance. Illmatic might have just nine tracks, but each one is a contender for best-in-class.

49. Lost Boyz - Renee (1996)

Straight outta Queensbridge, the four-man crew of Lost Boyz (Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah – rest in peace –, Spigg Nice, and Pretty Lou) dropped a near-classic with their debut album, Legal Drug Money. Mr. Cheeks led the lyrical charge, his rhymes spitting fire over dope East Coast beats. The album flowed seamlessly, keeping you hooked from start to finish. The crown jewel of the album was “Renee.” This emotional rollercoaster of a track is a tragic love story that tugs at your heartstrings.

50. Big L - Ebonics (1999)

In 1999, “Ebonics” dropped on Big L’s own Flamboyant Entertainment label. This came after Columbia Records dropped him due to disappointing sales of his debut album. “Ebonics” was a defiant response, a celebration of street language turned into an unforgettable anthem. Big L playfully dissected slang, making it both catchy and quotable. Tragically, Big L’s life was cut short early in that year, but “Ebonics” posthumously cemented his legacy as a master of wordplay.

51. Black Star – Respiration ft Common (1998)

52. Notorious B.I.G. – Sky’s The Limit (1997)

53. Ice T – Original Gangster (1991)

54. Rakim – When I B On Tha Mic (1999)

55. The Roots – What They Do (1996)

56. Fat Joe – John Blaze ft Nas, Big Pun, Jadakiss & Raekwon (1998)

57. GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)

58. Crooklyn Dodgers – Crooklyn (1994)

59. Gang Starr – Take It Personal (1992)

60. Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours (1991)

61. Keith Murray – The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World (1994)

62. Cypress Hill – How I Could Just Kill A Man (1991)

63. 2Pac – Keep Ya Head Up (1993)

64. Jurassic 5 – Concrete Schoolyard (1998)

65. A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario ft Leaders Of The New School (1991)

66. Biggie Smalls – Party & Bullshit (1993)

67. Beastie Boys – Intergalactic (1998)

68. Scarface – A Minute To Pray And A Second To Die (1990)

69. A Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour (1993)

70. The Fugees – Ready Or Not (1996)

71. Big Pun ft Fat Joe – Twinz (Deep Cover 98) (1998)

72. Scarface – Now I Feel Ya (1993)

73. The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (1995)

74. Dr Dre – Still D.R.E. (1999)

75. Beastie Boys – Pass The Mic (1992)

76. Raekwon – Ice Cream ft Method Man, Ghostface Killah & Cappadonna (1995)

77. Ice Cube – Jackin’ For Beats (1990)

78. Dr Dre – Keep Their Heads Ringing (1995)

79. Poor Righteous Teachers – Rock Dis Funky Joint (1990)

80. 2Pac – So Many Tears (1995)

81. Nas – Nas Is Like (1999)

82. Eric B & Rakim – Let The Rhythm Hit Em (1990)

83. Ras Kass – Nature Of The Threat (1996)

84. Brand Nubian – Slow Down (1990)

85. Gang Starr – Full Clip (1999)

86. Jay Z – Brooklyn’s Finest ft Notorious B.I.G. (1996)

87. The Roots – The Next Movement (1999)

88. House Of Pain – Jump Around (1992)

89. Raekwon – Verbal Intercourse ft Nas & Ghostface Killah (1995)

90. Wu-Tang Clan – Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’ (1993)

91. dead prez – It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop (1999)

92. Common – Retrospect For Life ft Lauryn Hill (1997)

93. De La Soul – Ego Trippin Pt 2 (1993)

94. Digable Planets – Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) (1992)

95. Main Source – Live At The BBQ ft Nas, Akinyele & Joe Fatal (1991)

96. Run DMC – Down With The King ft Pete Rock & CL Smooth (1993)

97. The High & Mighty – B-Boy Document ’99 ft Mos Def & Skillz (1999)

98. Jeru The Damaja – Come Clean (1993)

99. Xzibit – Paparazzi (1996)

100. Jay Z – Hard Knock Life (1998)

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6 responses to “Top 100 Hip Hop Songs Of The 1990s”

  1. Richie says:

    Good list, personally I’d have Redman Tonight’s da night and guru loungin in there but some absolute classics

  2. Jason Cordova says:

    Another Horrible list

  3. K Douglas says:

    90’s is tough there is a plethora of great hip hop albums and songs. But my list of top 100 would be incomplete without the folloiwng:

    DJ Quik – Tonite
    LL Cool J – I Shot Ya (remix)
    EPMD feat. LL Cool J – Rampage
    Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.
    Das EFX – They Want EFX
    Mobb Deep – Quiet Storm
    DMX – Ruff Ryders Anthem
    Compton’s Most Wanted – Growin Up in the Hood
    Eric B. & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique or Let the Rhythm Hit Em
    Goodie Mob – Soul Food
    UGK feat. OutKast – International Players Anthem
    Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Ill Street Blues

  4. Ashley Webb says:

    Making best of lists isn’t easy, but you guys made it look even harder here!!
    A list of the top 100 90s hop hop songs without ‘Flava in Ya Ear’ by Craig Mack just isn’t even close to credible. Also, Cypress’ How I Could Just Kill a Man’ being so low also does this list no favours. Just sayin.

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