Hip-hop is the most popular genre of music in the world. With that being said, there are still, incredibly, a great number of people who are not familiar with the genre, its players, its rules, its, canon, its milieu, and its profound effects on its listeners, even forty years after its inception.
Maybe they have misconceptions or preconceived biases due to its negative portrayals in mainstream media, or perhaps they feel that they won’t find anything to relate to in it, due to its reputation for fierce, rugged content centered on poverty and social injustice or for vulgarity and profanity that may turn off more sensitive listeners. Some think that they won’t find anything musically worthy, since many rappers — but not all — don’t play any instruments. So, how do we introduce hip-hop to neophytes who might be curious, or change the minds of detractors who’ve so far refused to give it a chance? Here are nine songs — by no means a comprehensive or complete list, but a reasonable primer — that might persuade a reticent first-time listener into in an enthusiastic long-term fan. Feel free to add on in those comments.