17 Intelligent Rap Songs to Have You Dropping Beats and Deep Thoughts ...


17 Intelligent  Rap Songs to Have You Dropping Beats and Deep Thoughts ...
17 Intelligent  Rap Songs to Have You Dropping Beats and Deep Thoughts ...

If you know me, you know I love rap and hip hop – really smart, intelligent rap, especially. That's not the only kind I like, but it's my favorite because I think smart, truly on point and poetic rap can send a great message. These are the songs that make me think – and yeah, there'll probably be a lot of Eminem on here, just to let you know. Some of them are lyrically clever and some of them come with a deep message. Share your favorite songs, too!

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“Lose Yourself” – Eminem

Of course I'm starting with my boy! “Lose Yourself” is smart for its message, its rhyme structure, and its perspective. Marshall knows how to twist a word like nobody's business and he knows how to bring gritty realism that you wouldn't guess from all his popular, funny radio edits.


Eminem's 2002 single "Lose Yourself" is one of the most successful rap songs of all time, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified Diamond by the RIAA, making it one of the best-selling rap singles of all time. The song has been featured in numerous films and television shows, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time.


“Moment of Clarity” – Jay-Z

Jay-Z is absolutely a smart rapper and a smart writer. The way he channels his ideas is often brilliant, and he really does have this clarity that almost lets him see the future.


In addition to his successful music career, Jay-Z has also made a name for himself as a savvy businessman and entrepreneur. He has been praised for his strategic thinking and ability to foresee trends in the music industry. With his lyrics, he often delves into thought-provoking topics such as race, politics, and social issues, showcasing his intelligence and thoughtfulness. Jay-Z's "Moment of Clarity" is a prime example of his ability to combine clever wordplay with insightful commentary. This song, along with many others in his discography, solidifies Jay-Z's reputation as not only a talented rapper, but also a highly intelligent and perceptive artist.

Frequently asked questions

A rap song becomes poetic when it features creative wordplay, storytelling, vivid imagery, and layered meanings in the lyrics, much like poetry. This kind of rap often resonates on an emotional level as well.

Yes, rap music can be very deep and thought-provoking. Many rappers use their songs as a way to express their insights, tell stories with powerful messages, or discuss important issues, which can give listeners a lot to think about.

Definitely! Many rap songs with deep meaning discuss real-life experiences and challenges, offering wisdom and life lessons. They can motivate and teach listeners about resilience, empathy, and self-awareness.

Intelligent rap songs are tracks that have thoughtful, complex lyrics. They often explore deep topics like life, society, and personal struggles, making you think hard while you enjoy the beats.

Rap songs about being smart often focus on the artist's intelligence, their clever lyricism, and their understanding of complex issues. These songs can inspire listeners to learn and think critically about the world around them.


“N.Y. State of Mind” – Nas

Nas channels Homer in this beat. It's both lyrically clever and just smart, plus it's emotionally deep. Triple threat!


“Poetic Justice” – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is brilliant. I love him for the same reason I love Eminem: the poetry in his lyrics. He also knows how to bring a message and how to uplift with his music. I mean, listen to these lyrics.



Kendrick Lamar is a highly acclaimed rapper known for his thought-provoking lyrics and socially conscious messages. His song "Poetic Justice" is a perfect example of this, as he skillfully weaves together poetic verses with a powerful message. The song, featuring Drake, explores themes of love, relationships, and the struggles faced by African Americans in society. It has been praised for its clever wordplay and meaningful storytelling, solidifying Lamar's reputation as a talented and intelligent artist. With his music, Lamar continues to inspire listeners and spark important conversations about social issues.


“Superstar” – Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco may be one of the most intelligent voices in rap. He's got a ton of songs that will make you think, but this one's my absolute favorite.


“Same Love” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Say what you will about Macklemore, but he tries, kind of. This song's special to me, though, for obvious reasons.


“Alibi” – Dessa

Listen to this. If you don't know Dessa, you need to. I love the story in this song – it'll give you chills!


Dessa's masterful blend of sophisticated lyrics with compelling rhythms is on full display with "Alibi." This track showcases her unique gift for storytelling and intellectual depth, weaving a narrative that's both personal and profound. It's the kind of music that does more than just make you nod your head; it makes you ponder the complexities of life and the human experience. And with Dessa's razor-sharp wit, each verse cuts deeper than the last, serving thought-provoking content on a silver platter of slick production. Don't just bob your head; let your mind dance along too.


“No Tears” – Scarface

If you've watched Office Space, you've heard this. Well, you've heard part of it. You need to hear all of it.


Scarface's "No Tears" is an evocative track that delves into the hard-hitting realities and emotional struggles of life in the hood, transcending the usual rap tropes to offer listeners a raw and authentic narrative. The song is more than just a soundtrack for a comedic film; it is a poignant reflection of resilience in the face of adversity. With its gripping lyrics and Scarface's powerful delivery, it invites a deeper contemplation of societal issues, making it a perfect addition to any playlist seeking substance as well as rhythm.


“Contrails” – Astronautalis

My love of Tegan & Sara and of Tegan Quin led me to this song. I beg you to give it a listen.


Astronautalis, with his unique blend of indie rock and hip hop, crafts lyrics that often overshadow even the most lauded poets. The track "Contrails" is no exception. It's a cerebral voyage with Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara lending her haunting vocals, adding an ethereal element that contrasts with the grounded, gritty verses. This fusion creates a soundscape that beckons introspection and musings on the ephemeral nature of life, much like the transient vapor trails the title alludes to. Don't just bob your head to the rhythm; let the words sink in and watch your thoughts soar high into the sky.


“Reagan” – Killer Mike

Although it's technically about Reagan, I think this song is pretty on point about today's politicians, too. Get it, Mike.


“Renegade” – Jay-Z and Eminem

Eminem has a gift for telling the future, too, as well as for skewering the versions of himself created by the public. I really would love to hear more collaborations with Em and Jay-Z.


“Changes” – 2Pac

Tupac was such a smart rapper. His rhythms, his lyrical twists, and his stories were seething, sizzling, and so deeply cutting. This is a great song to listen to when you need to cool your pride.


Changes by 2Pac stands out as a profound commentary on the harsh realities of society, especially pertaining to racial inequality and poverty. Tupac weaves complex narratives through his verses that not only showcase his poetic prowess but also evoke a deep sense of reflection. The track is laced with a blend of hope and resignation, highlighting the vicious cycle of violence and systemic issues that seem to persist through generations. Changes urges listeners to confront uncomfortable truths, while offering a glimmer of optimism in the possibility of a better future. The song remains relevant, reminding us that the issues it addresses are still very much present in today's society.


“the World is (below the Heavens)” – Blu & Exile

Blu just … this isn't just music. This is pure poetry.


Blu, as an artist, seamlessly blends complex lyricism with an introspective narrative that compels you to pause and reflect. In “the World is (below the Heavens)” there's a discernable quest for understanding life's meaning beneath the celestial sphere. Exile's soulful beats give depth to Blu's musings, creating a soundscape that’s as thought-provoking as it is smooth. Together, they craft a track that's not only a feast for the ears but also for the mind, inviting listeners to contemplate the profound layers of our existence.


“a Bird in the Hand” – Ice Cube

You'd be surprised how many rappers tackle political topics in their music. This is one of my favorites, however, because the word play is just so clever!


“I Feel like Dying” – Lil Wayne

Don't pass Wayne off as a joke. Listen. He does surrealism like no rapper I've ever heard before. Listen to “Drop the World” with Eminem for another example.


Lil Wayne is a highly acclaimed American rapper, singer, and songwriter from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is one of the most successful and influential hip-hop artists of all time, having sold over 120 million records worldwide. His discography includes 12 studio albums, four collaborative albums, and dozens of mixtapes.

One of his most popular songs is "I Feel like Dying," released in 2007. The song is a melancholy reflection on the struggles of life and the despair that can come with it. The song's production is a mix of soulful samples and hard-hitting drums. The lyrics are introspective and thought-provoking, with Wayne's signature flow making the song a powerful listen.

The song has become a cult classic in the hip-hop world, and has been covered by numerous other artists. It has been sampled by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J. Cole. It has also been featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto V and the movie The Hangover Part II.


“Retrospect for Life” – Common

This song features Lauryn Hill, who helps make it what it is. It's powerful beyond belief. I mean, this will give you chills.


The track dives deep into the weighty topic of abortion and the value of life, prompting listeners to reflect on personal responsibility and the consequences of our choices. Common’s introspective lyrics, combined with Lauryn Hill's soulful chorus, deliver a thought-provoking message that resonates with listeners long after the song ends. Amidst the beats, the song serves as an emotional reminder of the importance of cherishing life, making it a unique and profound addition to any playlist that seeks to blend rhythm with meaningful commentary.


“the Way I Am” – Eminem

Ending with my boy, too! Come on, you've gotta love an artist who knows exactly why he's hated, who can pinpoint exactly why people loathe him, and still comes out swinging.

Now seriously, share your favorite beats! What's the smartest rap song you've ever heard?

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Hopsin- Ill mind, 4 is my personal favorite.

Can't hold us. Obviously.

OMG!!! Eminem!!! YYAAAAAAAAAASSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

@Jessica Nielsen ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Bliss n Eso is an amazing Australian rap trio that speak a lot of truth especially in their song Addicted and The Sea is Rising

I agree with some of the other people on this list. Hopsin has a lot of great songs that really make you think. I'm a fan of "Ill mind of hopsin 7". It is all about the contemplation of God and Hopsins own personal struggle with faith.

Dear TV by: Tablo

NY state of the of mind might be one of the greatest songs ever written

These are all good. However I have one more to add...... Vice Versa by Pastor Troy 😊

Eminem will ALWAYS be a lyrical genius,his music just touches home for me,his songs actually mean something,I miss his music

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