Life Lessons Told Through Song Lyrics

Rap and hip-hop is known for being an innovative and transformative genre. It is also known for common questioning of how seriously it can be taken. The language includes all of the words we were taught to never speak. But what if some of the most important and relevant life lessons we could ever learn, are present within the genre? Would your perspective of the style change? Luckily, there are plenty of life lessons packed into the beats.

Rap and hip-hop is stereotyped and comes with many false claims. The stereotype of it not actually being music, since it is a style based more on “speaking” rather than “singing” is one I hear often. Many recent artists, those established as well as up and coming, have proved a shrinking space between rap and singing. This causes diversity and versatility.

Another false claim, based on the use of strong language, is that it is nothing more than one sexist song after another, full of trashy lines, and dirty subject matter. While some lyrics boast about women and the party life, it would be inaccurate to label the majority of rap based on those themes.

It is impossible to hide the fact that rap and hip-hop is the most vocal genre that shines light upon the struggles the average person faces. From living with little to no money, being of a darker complexion, being hated, misunderstood, lost in life, and more. The genre taps into human emotion more accurately and in-depth than another style may.

There is proof of these themes within the lyrics, which can be discovered through light listening, not even needing to complete a deep dive analysis.

Here are some rap and hip-hop songs that feature some of the best life lessons and/or represented the accurate behaviors, mindsets, and lifestyles of people.

Let the list begin!

Drake / Emotionless / Scorpion

I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
‘Cause all that mattered was impressin’ everybody she’s known
I know another girl that’s cryin’ out for help
But her latest caption is “Leave me alone”
I know a girl happily married ’til she puts down her phone
I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown

Drake described the truth behind the “social-media era” in which we are deep within. We are obsessed with posting life updates, whether through short captions or tweets and uploading images that match with the happiness we want others to believe we are. The world is in rather deep of trying to prove our online life worthy to others we care about and those we don’t.

The life lesson here is that a photo on Instagram doesn’t represent the entire true self of the poster. It is who that person is once their phone is put down that truly matters and presents a more accurate depiction of their character. Drake acknowledges all of this as an everyday person, but also as a celebrity.

Big Sean / One Man Can Change The World / Dark Sky Paradise

And when you get it all just remember one thing
Remember one thing
That one man could change the world

Big Sean speaks about his journey in reaching success and shares an inspiring message his grandmother once told him. It it having the ambition, devotion, determination to change the world. Sean repeats this phrase throughout the song, encouraging his fans to change the world for the better. This song can’t help but to cause listeners to reflect upon their own life and act as a motivator for changes to be made.

G-Eazy / Me, Myself & I / When It’s Dark Out

Oh, it’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
‘Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don’t need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

I don’t need anything to get me through the night
Except the beat that’s in my heart
Yeah, it’s keeping me alive
(Keeps me alive)
I don’t need anything to make me satisfied (You know)
‘Cause the music fills me good and it gets me every time

G-Eazy teamed up with Bebe Rexha who sings the verses above. The song was meant to illustrate the loneliness that comes with fame, even beneath the lights and in front of countless crowds. The lyrics above hold a meaning to anyone’s life, both famous or not. It is the person who you are that matters the most. With the current discussion about self-love, this song features ties to the theme.

J. Cole / Love Yourz / 2014 Forest Hills Drive

But you ain’t never gon’ be happy till you love yours
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours
(Love yourz)
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours No such thing, no such thing

J. Cole is known for the relatable content and this is just another example of an incredible song. J. Cole raps about the struggles and the success. He acknowledges the challenges people face, but also discusses the idea of everyone’s story holding importance to who they are. No matter what a person deals with, Cole wants them to acknowledge their worth and realize how precious their life is.

Miguel / what’s normal anyway / Wildheart

What’s normal anyway? What’s normal anyway?
I mean what’s normal anyway? What’s normal anyway?
What’s normal anyway?
Be in a crowd and not feel alone, I look around and not feel alone
I never feel like I belong, I wanna feel like I belong
Somewhere, somewhere, somewhere
Be in a crowd and not feel alone, I look around and not feel alone
I never feel like I belong, I wanna feel like I belong, somewhere

Don’t let them change you, just be who you are, who you are
Don’t let them change you, you can’t please them all, them all

This song doesn’t fall under the rap category and Miguel isn’t necessarily a rapper either, though, this song is too special to skip in a playlist or this blog post. Like the song title suggests, Miguel searches for what is normal and confesses to feeling alone and unsure where to fit in life. All of these emotions are common amongst everybody. Miguel also makes sure his message comes most clear when he expresses not allowing anyone to change who you are. Just be you. Originality is the main message in this tune.

Mac Miller / Self Care / Swimming

I got all the time in the world
So for now, I’m just chillin’
Plus, I know it’s a, it’s a beautiful feeling
In oblivion, yeah, yeah

This song was from Mac’s last (and final) album before his unfortunate death. This song explores what many rap and hip-hop song have been exploring, which is the idea of positive mental health, while also conveying the struggles. Mac knew self-care was important and was a message he liked to offer to his fans.

*All images were found on Google Images, I own no rights.

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