Music has many powers. It can bring us feelings of joy and happiness, or tap into sadness and despair. It can get us pumped up, or it can calm us down. But when it comes to deep lyrics, one of the most powerful things about music is its capacity to help us reflect. And what type of music has the most lyrics? Rap! What type of grammatical tool is most effective at causing us to reflect? Questions!
So to help us all get into a reflective state, I decided to compile a new playlist! I give you: Reflective Rap: 10 Rap Songs That Ask Questions
1) Black Eyed Peas – “Where is the Love?”
The first major hit of American pop/hip hop group, Black Eyed Peas, asks a deeply fundamental question at the heart of many of the world’s current social issues: “where is the love?” Featuring American singer/songwriter, Justin Timberlake, the song is not only reflective, but incredibly catchy, helping it reach 26th on the Billboard charts in 2003.
2) Dee-1 – “Why Do The Righteous Suffer”
New Orleans based rapper, Dee-1, gets personal in this track, reflecting on the suffering he has personally faced, as well as the suffering of his grandfather and one of his childhood friends. Laying out his pain on the track, each verse begins with a question we all have asked God at some point before: “why do the righteous have to suffer so much?”
3) Lecrae ft Derek Minor & Crystal Nicole – “Was It Worth It”
American rapper, music producer, and founder of the record label Reach Records, Lecrae, teams up with fellow rapper Derek Minor to compose a deeply honest song based on the question “was it worth it?”, posed to their fathers who were not their to raise them during childhood. A song that will certainly tug on your emotions.
4) Andy Mineo – “What’s It’s All About”
American rapper, music producer, and video director, Andy Mineo takes a deep dive into life’s big spiritual questions in his 2014 track “What It’s All About”. Pondering questions like “What’s it all about? Why are we here? If there’s no reason, why do I care? God are you really there?”, Andy shares his personal conversation with God with his listeners.
5) Michael Franti – “Is Love Enough?”
Always socially conscious rapper and musician, Michael Franti, gives us a chilled out track that is sure to cause some personal reflection with his song “Is Love Enough?” Starting the song off with several profound observations about the depressing state of the world, Franti then asks the listener the questions, “Is your love enough? Or can you love some more?”
6) Jadakiss ft. Anthony Hamilton – “Why”
Renowned East coast rapper, Jadakiss, taps into one of the most powerful words that can lead to further inquiry with his song “Why”, featuring singer/songwriter Anthony Hamilton. Jadakiss asks a variety of questions, ranging from the socially conscious: “why is the industry designed to keep artists in debt?” to the braggadocious: “Why is Jadakiss as hard as it gets?”. Either way, the song is sure to activate your reflective mind.
7) Supaman – “Why”
In the same vein as the previous track, Apsáalooke rapper, Supaman, gives us a deeply thoughtful and reflective rap in his track “Why”. Asking many of the deep questions of life that simply don’t seem fair, like “why is there innocent people locked up?” and “why don’t teachers make as much as professional athletes”, Supaman’s questions leave us yearning to do better as a human race.
8) 2pac / Mos Def – “Can U C the Pride in the Panther”
Legendary rapper, Mos Def, honors the late legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur, in his performance of “Can U C Pride in the Panther”. 2Pac, who was tragically killed in 1996, left behind a large collection of unpublished and unrecorded rhymes upon his death. One such poem, “Can U C Pride in the Panther” was posthumously set to music and performed by Mos Def. A child of parents who were active members of the revolutionary Black Panther Party, Tupac writes reflective words of poetry about those involved in the movement, while Mos Def adds multiple rhetorical questions that he immediately answers emphatically, such as “Who am I? A panther!” and “What I got? I got soul!”. Certainly not the most commercially successful track by either of these two prolific artists, but surely one of the most profound and reflective.
9) Karim Rushdy (ft. JC, Tallisman, Bigg Zee & José María Fierro) – “Where Did We Go Wrong”
Teaming up with a collection of artists, Baha’i-inspired rapper Karim Rushdy produces a profoundly socially conscious song by asking humanity the question, “where did we go wrong?”. Calling out materialism, immorality, ignorance, sloth, violence, and a variety of other social ills, Karim and team help us reflect on the state of the world, while examining the spiritual connection to these problems.
10) Colby Jeffers – “What If”
My personal contribution to the list, “What If” asks a series of important questions that open up the mind of imagination to new possibilities. A lyrical remix of Troye Sivan’s song “YOUTH”, this track is aimed at the young people of the world to reflect on their true purpose and think about the contribution they can make to humanity.
If you enjoyed “What If”, you can get a free copy of my entire lyrical remix album, “LIT” (plus bonus content) HERE.
So what did you think of the playlist? Did it put you in a state of reflection? Were there any songs with questions that I missed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 👇