No matter how many MCs submit music to the masses on the regular, certain skills can separate the masters from the morsels in an instant. One of the more clearly defined of those traits is the ability to recite words with both speed and precision. For a little over two decades, the double-time flow has taken the old school Kurtis Blow rhyming to new heights with added syllabic excellence and is now a clear indicator of who can turn it up a notch and who can’t. In honor of those poets who’ve chosen enriched rhyme-patterns instead of your everyday average delivery, here are 33 rapid-fire rap songs that will appease your attention deficit and give your brain the mental workout its desperately been in need of.
Remember, speed is not a necessity to greatness…it just makes you that much more impressive.
1. Shawnna Feat. Ludacris & Twista – “RPM”
When Shawnna was still Disturbing Tha Peace with Luda, many thought she was one of the more promising young female MCs out. The attention came from her impeccable fast flow, which is in full effect on this archaic track with Twista from her 2004 debut, Worth Tha Weght.
2. Tech N9ne – “Stamina”
If you’ve ever been to a Tech show, you’d know this snapshot of ridiculousness is a staple of the Kansas City, MO monster’s amplified set and probably one of his most popular songs, even its only a mere thirty-some seconds.
3. The Game – “Red Bandana”
On the outset of his ordeal with Curtis’ crew, The Game laid it all on the line with this version of Juelz Santana’s red-rag anthem. After ripping two verses of relentless, uptempo flows directed at his G-Unit foes, Blood took the 2Pac route and declared them “dead as a staff, record label and a mother*cking group.”
4. OutKast – “Bombs Over Baghdad”
Pitchfork named this colorful concoction from Dre and Big’s Stankonia the best song of the decade, yet surprisingly the track never even broke Billboard’s Top 40. Probably because, as a listener, keeping up is quite the task.
5. Bizzy Bone – “Thugz Cry”
The first single from a solo Bone member, Bizzy’s re-imaging of Prince’s huge hit is much more twisted. Somehow both undecipherable and perfectly-delivered, the verses on Bizzy’s most popular song can tend to sound like The Flash running sprints past you.
6. Twista – “Mr. Tung Twista”
Before Twista properly positioned his thug, he rocked Afrocentric garb, a nose-ring and delivered this unheralded single for his debut, Runnin' Off At Da Mouth. Oh and he also held the Guinness World Record for fastest rapper and ended up setting the standard for this list.
7. E-40 - “Smoke N Drank”
Sometimes E-40 raps slow. Sometimes E-40 raps fast. Typically, both occur within the same song. However, on this funky enabler from his 1995 album In A Major Way, the Bay Area ballatician’ keeps it strictly spitfire.
8. The Notorious B.I.G. Feat. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – “Notorious Thugs”
Go to any live rap show and watch how many people (attempt to) rap every single word to Bone & Biggie’s cherished collabo during the obligatory tribute section. If you don’t know at least Frank White’s part, you should go back to Hip-Hop 101 and brush up on your history.
9. Busta Rhymes Feat Twista – “Break Ya Neck (Remix)”
Almost two years after Dr. Dre and Scott Storch wrapped up their 2001 masterpiece, the odd pairing of production powers reignited their chemistry for this emergency-surgery-inducing single from Busta’s Genesis album, “Break Ya Neck.” A legit hit with an even doper remix.
10. DJ Quik Feat. AMG – “Speed”
Yup, David Blake is Quik in more ways than one. After hanging up his red flannels and evolving his sound when a close friend was gunned down, the multi-faceted West Coast veteran dabbled in 1998’s in-flow for this uptempo alliance with AMG off Rhythmalism.
11. Jaz-O Feat. Jay-Z – “The Originators”
Many people claim this classic, Jazz-infused, preview of greatness to be the introduction of the fast flow. Others claim it to be their favorite rapper’s rookie card.
12. Big Daddy Kane – “Wrath Of Kane”
One of the main reason’s BDK is so respected amongst your favorite rappers is because most of them swiped at least a smidgen of their style from this legendary Brooklyn resident. See if you can catch up.
13. Naughty By Nature – “It’s On”
The fact that more than a few of the tracks on this list happen to be disses shouldn’t really be surprising. After Treach talks about putting chicks into a “poonanie panic,” Sir Mix-A-Lot gets some venom from the Jersey boys in their prime.
14. Chris Brown Feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – “Look At Me Now”
This song is less than 500k clicks away from having one-hundred-million YouTube plays. You might have heard of it. If not, Busta’s high octane feature is a verse of the year candidate.
15. Crucial Conflict Feat. R. Kelly – “Ghetto Queen”
It doesn’t matter if you think Kels is the most downright, dirty pervert R&B has ever produced; if you hear this Chi-Town collabo, the chances are you’re nodding your head and pretending like you still know all the words.
16. OutKast & Mystikal – “Neck Uv Da Woods”
“Quit rhymin’ in double-timin’/what are you saying, G?” Despite requests to do otherwise, Mystikal and ‘Kast stayed ahead of the pack with this lead single from The Wood OST.
17. YelaWolf – “Pop The Trunk”
"Pop The Trunk" was the song that sold a lot of people on Yeller. Aside from just the gas-petal-flow, this single from Trunk Muzik provided picturesque storytelling and a haunting ride down the back roads of ‘Bama. It also provided one of the few Willow references in Hip-Hop history.
18. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – “Flowmotion”
Obviously, just about any song by the Bone boys could fit onto this list. However, of all their solo tracks, this lead cut from their seventh album Strength & Loyalty is specifically built for these purveyors of the pesto flow to go for broke., hence the title of the article.
19. Z-Ro – “Look What You Did To Me”
Considering Z-Ro The Crooked came from a click with Screwed Up and slowed down origins, the likelihood of this H-Town MC opting for a speedy delivery seems odd. Yet, intricate morsels of remorse like this intro to his 1998 debut of the same name prove the choice was a good one.
20. Slaughterhouse – “Sound Off”
Another trend amongst this short list of long-winded individuals is many of these speed-raps are intros. To kick off their official entry to the Hip-Hop lineage with a bang, each Slaughterhouse member gradually builds their bar-butchering verses over the course of this anthem-like lift-off.
21. Tech N9ne Featuring YelaWolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Ceza, JL B.Hood, Uso, D-Loc & Twisted Insane - “Worldwide Choppers”
When the tracklist dropped for Tech’s 6s & 7s, this exclamation point of acceleration stood out like red hair and clown face paint. When the album dropped, the highlight remained the same.
22. Rittz – “High Five”
After making his presence felt on Yela’s acclaimed Trunk Muzik, White Jesus set his hair-trigger bars quite high on this celebratory single from his Slumerican debut.
23. Travis Barker Feat. Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes & Lil Jon – “Let’s Go”
A newer addition to the list, this forward-thinking slice of Travis Barker’s well-received rap compilation/album reaffirms money can buy exactly what you want. This inked-up Blink 182 drummer obviously just wanted to show off his innate talent and have all the fastest rappers go retarded over the top of his liveliness…so he did. And that is awesome.
24. Lil Wayne – “F*ck With Me Now”
While he may be the son of a Big Tymer, Weezy isn’t much of a double-timer. However, amidst the emergence of Lil Tunechi’s growth as both an artist and human being, the future CEO dared naysayers with a quick-tongue on his second studio effort, Lights Out. From his nasal tone alone, it’s hard to believe this is the same person we’ve become so accustomed to.
25. Eminem & Royce Da 5'9" – “Welcome To Hell”
After a decade-long hiatus, this impressive offering from two of Detroit’s finest blew the lid off their recent Bad Meets Evil EP. Then, as the album progressed, we began to wish they’d slow it down a tad.
26. Cory Gunz – “Stay Fly (Freestyle)”
The freshest face amongst the featured MCs, this young gunner demolishes this Triple Six hit for his renowned Apprentice Vol. 3 mixtape and proves his bars are worth every penny Weezy paid for his full-time services. Gunz at his gulliest.
27. Twista – “Victory Or Death”
Any smart competitor pays attention to the moves of their opponent. That said, each of the many MCs vaguely addressed in Twista’s explosive intro track from the first Legit Ballers compilation had to be extremely intimidated. His diction is so unparalleled on this scorcher, the Micro Machines guy would be impressed.
28. Lupe Fiasco – “Go Go Gadget Flow”
Coming from the city in the Midwest where rapid flows are more familiar than not, Lupe delivering a track as fast as The Cool’s ode to Inspector Gadget was inevitable. Oh and, idiom or not, he definitely carries the torch.
29. T.I. Feat. Busta Rhymes & Alfamega – “Hurt”
Since TI vs. TIP’s replay value was nil, many may have forgotten about this cut from The King’s much-hyped 2007 album. The only thing more menacing than their flows is the music video.
30. DJ Khaled Feat. Kanye West & T-Pain – “Hard”
A lot of you probably will probably say Yeezy doesn’t spit quickly enough for a spot on the list. What you should really be concerned about is that Kanye has song where he prominently says he’s gonna’ make us “eat them turds” and we still scarf it down. And, you’re wrong, he goes in.
31. Memphis Bleek Feat. Missy Elliott & Jay-Z – “Is That Your Chick (The Lost Verses)”
Bleek doesn’t always go double-time, but then again, he doesn’t always make hit songs either. On this one specifically, Hova’s hombre does both. Well.
32. Big Pun Feat. Fat Joe – “Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98)”
Probably one of the best back and forth raps tracks of all time (another list for another time), these two Terror Squad superiors resurrected Dr. Dre’s striking instrumental in grand fashion and cemented the fact Pun had one of the filthiest flows of his era.
33. Jay-Z Feat Jaz-O – “Jigga What (Originators 99)”
Before beef between the former mentor and protégé emerged, the supersonic rhymes found on this Timbo-produced Vol. 2 single seemed as if they were meant to remind all rapid-rhymers of who the real founders were.