Revisit 27 of rap music’s most unforgettable hooks

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Hip Hop hooks have the power to capture the essence of a song and turn it into a timeless anthem. These catchy choruses not only define the track, but also resonate deeply with listeners and create a lasting impact.

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One of the most iconic examples is from Soulja Boy's "Crank That," a song that created a dance still seen in clubs all over the globe. Another track, Playaz Circle’s “Duffle Bag Boy,” contained a hook from Lil Wayne that almost single-handedly elevated the song to classic status.

“Me and Wayne are like real peers. He liked my vibe from day one," explained Playaz Circle alum 2 Chainz about the collaboration to MTV. “I just remember being like, 'Dude, put me in a song.' So, when I got the 'Duffle Bag Boy' beat, I was like, 'I got an idea, I think I'ma put Wayne on this.'"

To celebrate the art of the hook, REVOLT compiled a list of songs where the chorus became the game-changing moment, whether it consisted of hard-hitting raps or an infectious melody. Check them out below.

1. C.R.E.A.M. by Wu-Tang Clan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBwAxmrE194

In an interview, Raekwon explained how the legendary collective developed the chorus for “C.R.E.A.M.,” which effectively created an iconic term within Hip Hop culture. “[Method Man] came up with the hook, but our dude named Raider Ruckus, this was like Meth’s homeboy back then, like they was real close, he came up with the phrase, ‘Cash rules everything around me,’” The Chef explained. The rest was history.

2. Just A Friend by Biz Markie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aofoBrFNdg

As Q-Tip explained in an interview with Hip Hop Confessions, Biz Markie was hesitant about using the now-famous hook due to its similarity to the song that he was sampling – Freddie Scott’s “(You) Got What I Need.” Thankfully, the A Tribe Called Quest frontman talked his late peer into moving forward with the song, which became a top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit and earned a platinum certification.

3. Hail Mary by Tupac Shakur, Prince Ital Joe, and Outlawz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw-O1JdXcXk

Under his Makaveli moniker, Tupac Shakur shook the earth with the posthumously released “Hail Mary,” taken from The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. The haunting hook, which references a traditional Roman Catholic prayer, further added to the song’s dark themes and subject matter. In an interview with XXL, the song’s producer, Hurt-M-Badd, likened the final product to “a Hip Hop funeral.”

4. In Da Club by 50 Cent

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qm8PH4xAss

50 Cent delivered a bomb with “In Da Club,” which many continue to utilize for birthday celebrations and dance floor jaunts around the globe. “I remember before my album came out, there was a big debate about what the first single should be,” the G-Unit head honcho told NME. “Jimmy Iovine thought it should be the one that Dr. Dre produced, ‘If I Can’t.’ But [Eminem] wanted it to be ‘In Da Club.’ I was staying out of it; I didn’t want to stir the pot. In the end though, they were deadlocked, and so they asked me, and I told them, real quiet, ‘In Da Club.’ And that was it.”

5. What You Know by T.I.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjrF1-Qjt14

While speaking to Genius, T.I. revealed how “What You Know” and other songs from his King album were created “in like a half an hour” because he “had so much to say.” The resulting lead single went on to peak at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned all parties behind the record a double-platinum plaque for their efforts.

6. Ms. Jackson by Outkast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYxAiK6VnXw

From a general standpoint, Outkast’s iconic “Ms. Jackson” single was about the breakdown of a relationship between lovers who share a child. Specifically, it served as André 3000’s open letter to his ex, Erykah Badu, as well as an apology to Badu’s mom, Kolleen Wright. The song’s recipient -- who later returned the favor with “Green Eyes” -- gave positive thoughts on the track and confirmed that her mother loved the song.

7. Started From The Bottom by Drake

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RubBzkZzpUA

Regarding the theme behind the Nothing Was The Same track, Drake explained how the chorus was a statement of his earlier struggles and grind to success – something that his critics didn’t believe.

“People like to build their own story about my life. I don’t know if it makes them feel better, or if it makes it okay for them to not like me, but the last thing I grew up as was rich,” he stated to Miss Info. Meanwhile, Future took credit for the song’s subject matter during a CRWN interview.

8. Duffle Bag Boy by Playaz Circle and Lil Wayne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBx-M2oRBLg

Even 2 Chainz, one-half of Playaz Circle, will tell you just how important Lil Wayne’s chorus was regarding the success of “Duffle Bag Boy.” As one of the most memorable hooks ever, it helped to make the collaboration a top 20 Billboard Hot 100 hit and score it a platinum certification.

9. 1st Of Tha Month by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_cOsgRY7w

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's ode to a new month and the financial opportunities that it brings – specifically, welfare checks -- remains one of the most indelible tracks in Hip Hop. It would eventually go gold and earn a Grammy nomination, further cementing its classic status. As far as the song’s creation is concerned, you can watch group member Layzie Bone speak on that here.

10. Panda by Desiigner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5ONTXHS2mM

The idea for Desiigner’s biggest hit came from a Grand Theft Auto V video game session and his love for a white-on-black BMW X6. “When I was making it, I was thinking about The Fast and The Furious, and about breaking cars, and going crazy,” he added in an interview with Billboard. “It’s a whole bunch of action. When I make songs, I think about movies, like my own movies in my head,” he said.

11. Flashing Lights by Kanye West, Dwele, and Connie Mitchell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ila-hAUXR5U

Sometimes, it’s the simple, minimal hooks that become the catchiest. The refrain on “Flashing Lights” came courtesy of Australian singer Connie Mitchell, who repeated the title throughout, and Dwele, whose harmonic lines provide a perspective of Kanye’s feelings for a former flame. The top 40 Billboard hot 100 hit eventually crossed the six-times platinum mark.

12. Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi and MGMT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xzU9Qqdqww

For his debut LP, Man On The Moon: The End of Day, Kid Cudi teamed up with MGMT and Ratatat to create the genre-bending “Pursuit of Happiness,” a song about dealing with the pressures of fame and loss (and, in Cudi’s case, relying on vices as a coping mechanism). Ratatat’s Evan Peter Mast – also known as E.VAX – explained the creation of the diamond-certified offering here.

13. Birthday Song by 2 Chainz and Kanye West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y34jC4I1m70

The chorus on 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” speaks for itself. The celebratory number appeared on the Atlanta veteran’s debut solo LP, Based on a T.R.U. Story, and quickly became the perfect anthem for birthday parties worldwide. 2 Chainz spoke on how he and Ye came up with the infectious cut – which scored a double-platinum plaque – in an interview with Vlad TV.

14. Crank That (Soulja Boy) by Soulja Boy Tell’em

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UFIYGkROII

One of the most polarizing songs of all time continues to get bodies moving at parties the second a DJ presses play. The hook, which instructs the listener on how to properly dance to the track, helped to make rapper and producer Soulja Boy the recipient of a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1. In an interview with “Kids Take Over,” the Chicago-born, Atlanta and Mississippi-raised talent claimed that “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” would have been even more successful if it were released during the TikTok era.

15. Bad and Boujee by Migos and Lil Uzi Vert

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-sJp1FfG7Q

While they created hits before this song was released, the Metro Boomin-produced “Bad and Boujee” effectively solidified Migos as Hip Hop frontrunners – even without a verse from the late Takeoff. Thanks to Offset’s unforgettable chorus and opening verse, the ode to women with expensive tastes skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and led the way for the group’s well-received sophomore album, Culture.

16. Hypnotize by The Notorious B.I.G.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glEiPXAYE-U

The chorus of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Hypnotize" is based on the melody and phrasing of a section from Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di.” Contrary to rumors at the time of its release, the chorus was sung by Pamela Long of the group Total, not Lil’ Kim. Fun fact: Snoop Dogg put his own spin on the classic lines prior to B.I.G.’s successful attempt.

17. Alright by Kendrick Lamar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-48u_uWMHY

Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly standout arrived at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement was in full swing, and protests were taking place across the country in response to several senseless deaths at the hands of law enforcement. As such, the chorus to “Alright” helped to make the song an anthem for the resistance and a message of hope for a better and more equal America.

18. Bugatti by Ace Hood, Future and Rick Ross

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djE-BLrdDDc

Future’s classic bridge and hook were major factors in making “Bugatti,” Ace Hood’s biggest hit record. Taken from Trials & Tribulations, the J-Bo and Mike WiLL Made-It-produced offering peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard hot 100 and crossed the platinum mark. Video game fans could also hear the booming cut on Grand Theft Auto V and an earlier version of NBA 2K. Listen to Ace Hood speak on the record here.

19. Drip Too Hard by Lil Baby and Gunna

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YzD9KW82sk

"Drip Too Hard" was the lead single from Lil Baby and Gunna’s collaborative mixtape, Drip Harder. The title of both the song and the album paid tribute to Lil Baby's Hard series and Gunna's Drip series. The bass-heavy cut was produced by Turbo, a frequent collaborator with both artists and Drip Harder’s executive producer.

20. I Don’t Like by Chief Keef and Lil Reese

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WcRXJ4piHg

For many, the infectious hook on “I Don’t Like” marked a formal introduction to Chief Keef and what’s now known as drill. The simple-yet-effective chorus became viral to the point where it caught the attention of Kanye West, who then brought forth a remix with Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss. The original version has since gone double platinum.

21. My Name Is by Eminem

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDj8kkVwisY

After delivering his Aftermath debut, “Just Don’t Give A F**k,” Eminem diverted into comedic rap territory with “My Name Is,” a song that contained one of the most simple, stuck-in-your-head hooks of all time. The Dr. Dre-produced offering effectively solidified the Detroit star as a bonafide pop act, and he’s remained at the top of the commercial realm ever since.

22. Mask Off by Future

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvZqHgFz51I

“Percocets, molly, percocets,” Future rapped on his self-titled album standout, “Mask Off,” which peaked within the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 and crossed the platinum mark nine times over. A remix of the hedonistic track later arrived with some additional firepower from Kendrick Lamar.

23. rockstar by Post Malone and 21 Savage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UceaB4D0jpo

In an interview with Billboard, Post Malone spoke on how the above No. 1 single, which was taken from Beerbongs & Bentleys, came together with 21 Savage and a rap peer from Brooklyn who earned a co-writing credit. "[Tank God] played the beat and it was incredible,” he explained. “So, we did that, and Joey Badass was in there. We were just vibing on it and the melody was sick. We just cut like a little scratch vocal and we took it back to LA. I finished my part and sent it off to [21 Savage] -- and there it is.”

24. Bank Account by 21 Savage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1KBHFXm2Bg

Surprisingly, 21 Savage wasn’t well-educated on the banking process prior to coming up with the above single and its iconic hook. “While my No. 1 song was called ‘Bank Account,’ growing up, I knew almost nothing about bank accounts,” REVOLT previously reported him stating.

“As I have gotten smarter about financial management, I realize how empowering it is to control your money rather than be controlled by it,” he said. The Atlanta-based star even kickstarted a program that has helped the youth with understanding how to earn and save money.

25. Mo Bamba by Sheck Wes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWoIpDVkOH0

At one point, this song and its boastful chorus were inescapable. While not technically an actual part of the hook, Wes’ expletive-laden line that immediately followed could be heard all over the planet. As it turned out, it was the rapper’s natural reaction to the beat freezing during the song’s recording session.

26. Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtUVQei3nX4

Taken from R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was a tried-and-true summer anthem that continues to get plenty of spins no matter where you are. The call-and-response hook elevated the infectious cut to both No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and double platinum status.

27. My Way by Fetty Wap and Monty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS-5oD2Y4Wk

Following the massive success of “Trap Queen,” fans and critics wondered if Fetty Wap would be able to deliver another hit. Soon, the New Jersey native proved his worth with “679,” a collaboration with the Remy Boyz, and “My Way,” a Monte-assisted effort that immediately struck all chords via its amazing chorus. “My Way” was even big enough to obtain a Drake stimulus package, which added to its longevity.

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