Posts Tagged ‘conscious hip hop artists’

Immortal TechniqueRap music is often stereotyped as being egotistical, sexist, violent, and materialistic. While it’s absolutely true that many popular rap songs do fall within one or more of these categories, there is an abundance of rap songs that break the mold. Many rappers chose to focus their lyrics on a variety of social issues in order to educate and raise the awareness of their listeners. Many fans of Hip Hop often refer to these types of songs as “conscious.” Others think labeling certain rap songs as conscious is problematic. So what exactly is “conscious rap” and what are some examples? Below we look at some definitions, history, and popular “conscious” rappers and songs.

Webster’s Dictionary offers a few definitions for the word “conscious“, such as: awake and able to understand what is happening around you; aware of something (such as a fact or feeling); knowing that something exists or is happening. It seems the definitions centers around awareness and understanding. defines “conscious rap” as a “sub-genre of hip-hop that focuses on creating awareness and imparting knowledge”. Wikipedia offers the following definition: “Conscious hip hop or socially conscious hip-hop…challenges the dominant cultural, political, philosophical, and economic consensus.” So it seems that in order for rap to be considered “conscious” it must be intending to educate and raise awareness on important issues, and at the same time often challenges the status quo.

According to Wikipedia, conscious rap emerged in the 1980’s, with the mainstream explosion of Hip Hop in general. The conscious rap movement has had many influences from alternative ideologies such as black nationalism, socialism, anarchism, marxism, libertarianism, and a variety of other ideas and philosophies.

Example Artists:
Some of the most well known conscious rappers include: KRS-One, Common, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Mos Def, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Vinnie Paz, Lupe Fiasco, Dead Prez, Akala, Lowkey, Public Enemy, Immortal Technique, and many more.

Conscious Hip Hop Playlist:

We hope this article helps you understand a bit more clearly what the Hip Hop world defines as “conscious”. To continue your learning, look up these artists, listen to their music and compare it to what you hear on the radio, or from other artists that identify with other subgenres of rap.

Have any thoughts to share? Any songs or artists that you feel we missed? Leave a comment below!

And if you like songs that are conscious and shed light on important social issues, you’ll definitely enjoy listening to this playlist: Songs About Human Rights: 10 Tracks for the Baha’is in Iran. CLICK HERE to check it out!