Responsible Rappers With (Mostly) Clean Lyrics That We Love
In a world full of Lil Waynes, Chief Keefs and Nicki Minajs, it’s not often we hear rap music that isn’t laced with expletives and sexually charged, violent lyrics. So those rappers who make it a point to produce clean music are like a breath of fresh air. Which artists fall in this category? Click on to find out.
Back when Will Smith was The Fresh Prince, he secured his place in music history by releasing songs with PG lyrics and wholesome themes. Though other artists have adopted a similar strategy, Will Smith has always been considered one of the cleanest overall.
Common has proven himself to be an expert rhymespitter without all the cuss words and exploitative lyrics. Instead, he focuses on soulful hip-hop that’s political, conscious and lyrically witty.
After performing his hit “Ridin” to an audience of white kids and hearing them rap the n-word right along with him, Chamillionaire decided (rightly) that he would no longer employ the controversial term in his songs. (His music was already relatively PG-13 otherwise). He released “Ultimate Victory” afterward – a landmark album for its total lack of profanity as well as the “Parental Advisory” sticker so common on hip hop albums of today.
Lupe Fiasco’s lyrics are notably socially conscious – focusing on important things like religion and politics, and lacking in violence and misogyny.
As poor as MC Hammer’s financial management may have been, we must respect him for putting out music that you, your mama, and even your kids can listen to. And did you know that before making it big in those Hammer pants, he was part of the Christian rap group Holy Ghost Boys?
New York rapper Lil’ Mama has always been vocal about her desire to make clean music that little girls could relate to. Though she hasn’t been a huge musical success with that, she is one of the few female rappers who at least acknowledge how important it is to be a good role model.
A Tribe Called Quest
Their songs have been called “upliftingly dope,” “sweet,” and “lyrical;” they’ve been credited with pioneering alternative hip hop and they’re widely considered one of the best hip hop groups ever – and they’ve done it all by producing music that isn’t offensive, disgraceful or inappropriate. Kudos.
As arguably wack as most of his joints are, at least Nick Cannon’s lyrics are PG. In fact, his debut song was featured on the Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius soundtrack.
Who you callin’ a b**ch? Not Queen Latifah. And she’s certainly not calling you one either. The former rapper specialized in getting her point across without all the extra curse words and filthy language so prominent in other female rappers’ songs.
With songs like “Gin and Juice” and “Sexual Eruption”, Snoop Dogg would’ve never made this list. But now that he’s become Snoop Lion and changed his tune (literally), his song lyrics have become noticeably cleaner. Most notable is his single “No Guns Allowed,” an anti-violence-themed track that features vocals from his 13-year old daughter Cori B.
Kid ‘n Play
Unlike the gangsta rap of the 90’s, Kid ‘n Play kept it relatively clean with teen-friendly hits that focused largely on positivity and fun times as opposed to negativity and violence.
After returning to rap in 2004, Mase released an album that better reflected his religious devotion. “Welcome Back” included PG singles like “Welcome Back” and “Breathe, Stretch, Shake” that were pretty much squeaky clean in comparison to his Harlem World days.
Somali born rapper K’Naan reserves his lyrics for bringing awareness to the standards of living in Africa and other important messages like anti-violence. He admits that “gangsterism isn’t to brag about” and remains philanthropic in his personal and artistic ventures.
Master lyricist Talib Kweli takes pride in his lyrics. Instead of rapping about material things like money and cars, he rhymes about deeper societal issues, having always been inspired by conscious rappers like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.
As one of the very first rap groups ever, Run DMC stood out amongst the rest by producing positive hip hop music that lacked profanity, disrespect to women, and glorification of drugs and violence.