Home > Editorials, Hip-Hop, Lists > My 10 Favorite Storytelling Hip-Hop Records Part. I

My 10 Favorite Storytelling Hip-Hop Records Part. I

A good story can be told by the least literate amongst us. Stories range from films, great plays, novels, and everyday conversations. From the very beginning of Hip-Hop’s creation “the story” has played an important part of any MC’s resume. In the industries current ringtone, bubblegum, thoughtless days of rap, storytelling has been forced to the lost & found bin. After scrummaging through my favorite albums I created what I would consider the best storytelling records counting down from 10-1. Most you’ve heard, but if you haven’t look them up. “Wrote a song about it.. like to hear it, hear go…”

10. Eminem – “Guilty Conscience” from The Slim Shady LP Video/Listen

Logic: On Marshall Mathers debut album him and Dr. Dre play out 3 stories (a convenience store robbery, a rave party, and an act of adultery), told in a way only Eminem can pull off. Over Dre’s production the good and bad conscience of each protagonist go back and forth. The lyrical difficulty may not be up there with some of the other records on this list, but the delivery and creativity are hard to match.

Quotable: “[Dr. Dre] Alright stop! now before you walk in the store of this liquor store and try to get money out the drawer/you better think of the consequence (But who are you?)/ I’m your motherf**kin conscience/[Eminem] That’s nonsense!/Go in and gaffle the money and run to one of your aunt’s cribs/And borrow a damn dress, and one of her blonde wigs/Tell her you need a place to stay/You’ll be safe for days if you shave your legs with Renee’s razor blade”

9. A Tribe Called Quest – “8 Million Stories” from Midnight Marauders Video/Listen

Logic: ATCQ is hands down one of the greatest groups to ever bless the game. On this track, Q-Tip is absent and Phife Dawg tells us a “day in the life” story. It was one of those days where things just don’t go your way. Almost anyone can relate to this classic. My favorite thing about this song is how simple and true to life it is. This won’t be the only record that takes us through the day… unfortunatly for Phife, his day wasn’t as good as another MC on this list..lol.

Quotable: “Tonight I’m taking Sherry out/I don’t have jack to wear/You know I’ve got to look dipped in the fresh gear/Cool I found something so I ironed it/I think I caught up on the phone/Oh shit I’m FRYING it…”

8. NaS – “Rewind” from Stillmatic Video/Listen

Logic: Nas may have some of the best storytelling songs out of any MC, but this is by far his most creative and memorable. On his classic album Stillmatic he tells us a story BACKWARDS! This isn’t one of those tracks that you catch everything on the first listen. He even goes as far as to spit some of the lyrics backwards (I told her “no, hell” she talking bout “me Kiss”). Other notable stories by Nas are “I Gave You Power” from It Was Written & “Who Killed It” from Hip-Hop is Dead.

Quotable: “Listen up gangsters and honeys with your hair done/Pull up a chair hun and put it in the air son/Dog whatever they call you God just listen/I tell a story backwards, it starts at the ending…”

7. The Notorious B.I.G. – “I Got A Story To Tell” from Life After Death [Disc. 1] Video/Listen

Logic: Biggie is still one of the most versatile rappers I’ve ever heard. I could go on for days on how this album was a blueprint for many that came after but we’ll save that for another day. On “I Got A Story To Tell”, he tells a tale of him creepin’ with the girl of a New York Knicks player. When her man gets home he’s forced to figure out an escape. For those who haven’t heard the song I won’t spoil the ending. Another notable storytelling record from the Notorious is “Warning” from Ready to Die.

Quotable: “….Grab the keys to the 5/Call my nigga’s on the cell/Bring some weed I gotta story to tell”

6. Ice Cube – “It Was a Good Day” from Predator Video/Listen

Logic: Over a sample of the Isley Brothers “Footsteps in the Dark”, Ice Cube takes us on a trip through his day from morning until about 2 a.m. This is probably one of the first songs most people think of when it comes to classic storytelling. As the only west coast artist to make the list, Ice Cube holds his own.

Quotable: “Drove to the pad and hit the showers/Didn’t even get no static from the cowards/Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me/Saw the police and they drove right past me….”

Part II. Coming 02/17

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