C.I.T.Y.'s Top 6 Geographically-Based Rap Songs
The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -- lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good -- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of C.I.T.Y.
This Week's Rapper: C.I.T.Y.
This Week's Prompt: Okay, since you're "C.I.T.Y." and all,. list the six best rap songs that have a city in the song title. If you want, states can count too (i.e. "I'm From Texas," would be okay). Ready? Go.
C.I.T.Y.: My six:
6. NWA, "Straight Outta Compton"
C: This song is the best example of rebellion at its finest. It opened the door for a generation to express themselves in the truest form. It gives you the rawest vision of Compton, letting the listeners experience the mentality of Compton's youth at the time.
When everything was sugar-coated, NWA brought the light to the dark and altered not only West Coast hip-hop but hip-hop entirely.
5. OutKast, " Bombs Over Baghdad"
C: This track is truly unforgettable. I remember my first time hearing this; when the beat drops you got to move. The creativity that Outkast puts into their music is like no other and "Bombs Over Baghdad" really displays that.
4. Tupac Shakur feat. Dr. Dre, "California Love"
C: This is the song I remember always hearing at every family function. It always amazed me that even though my people were far from the West Coast they still would all be on the dance floor two-stepping in the height of their drunkenness.
This track would always come on right after Maze or Rebirth brass band -- now, how that mix came into play we will never know. That shows the greatness of this song. It's timeless, meaning no matter your age, race, or beliefs you will feel it. R.I.P. Tupac Shakur.
3. Eminem , "Amityville"
C: This was the Eminem we all loved, the Eminem who wasn't scared to say whatever he wanted. "Amityville" is off of his Marshall Mathers LP. I don't know how many people are familiar with the story behind the Amityville horror, but when I first heard it as a young'n I could not sleep for a week.
Eminem took to this track with a psychotic approach, lyrically slaughtering everything in his path, metaphorically twisting the Amityville myth into a reference about his hometown of Detroit. Songs like this showed Eminem's uniqueness and made me respect and love his work a thousand times more.
2. Lupe Fiasco, "Paris, Tokyo"
C: When The Cool was released in 2007, this song became a sort of release therapy for me. I could not deny the laid-back jazzy feel fused with a unique hip-hop satire.
Lupe's delivery and lyrics make it that much better, describing the grind of an artist picking up everything and having to leave his love behind while praying that she understands the joy he receives by doing what he loves to do.
Plus Paris, Tokyo, France, etc are cities that I dream to visit myself one day so this song caught my attention very easily.
1. Nas, "N.Y. State Of Mind"
C: This song off of Nas' legendary Illmatic album took the art of storytelling to the next level while distributing a lyrical holocaust. Just like "Straight Outta Compton," it brings you into the mentality of New York's inner-city youth showing you what creates the hunger that forces one to rob, kill, and steal.
This track also gave the world a quotable line that will never disappear: "I never sleep 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." This song is one of my all time favorites, right along with the Illmatic album.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.