Throughout the history of hip-hop, there have been many anthems about the joys of kicking it with the homies. A lot of hip-hop is misunderstood and derisively judged, but many don’t realize that there are tons of great rap songs about friends. So let’s dive into fifteen of my favorite tracks.
The Best Rap Songs About Friends
1. “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie
This song is about friendship, but in a different sense. The late Biz Markie penned his most iconic track here with a song about falling in love with a friend. While this 1989 hit is a humorous track, it’s also relatable, which makes it funnier.
Unrequited love is a constant in the world of hip-hop. Many of us have been in a situation where we had feelings for a friend who was either not interested or was already taken, and this adds to the timeless nature of this iconic hit.
2. “Clique” by Kanye West, Jay Z, and Big Sean
The three starring collaborators on this track aren’t exactly known for their respective humility, and this track is no different. On the surface this track might seem like a fun boast track from three of hip-hop’s biggest stars, and that’s a fair take.
But the strong beats and overall message of strength in numbers gets me pumped up. Obviously, a track featuring three of hip-hop’s most bombastic and over-the-top stars is going to be a hit on the dance floor
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3. “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg
This is a classic we all probably know, but what is this song if not a powerful party anthem? This is the ultimate kickback track, and even though we’ve all played it to death over the years, the timeless G-funk beats make this one an enduring classic.
4. “Deep Fried Frenz” by MF Doom
Not all rap songs about friends are a celebration of hanging with your buds. The late oddball rapper MF Doom penned a unique track here the warns us to watch out for fake friends and brown-nosers.
Keeping in line with the 2004 Mm… Food album’s theme, this track also features a wacky reference to food. The song has a unique vibe and MF Doom was one of the most interesting rappers in the game.
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5. “Friends” by Whodini
This track takes us all the way back to 1984 for a slice of early hip-hop from some of the OGs of the genre. This song features much of the same themes as the MF Doom track on this list, demonstrating how all hip-hop artists borrow themes from one another while giving their own unique spin on it.
This song might have a stern warning, but musically the track has a fun feel to it that’s really brought out by the 80’s synthesizers and production of the time.
6. “Homeboyz” by 2Pac
This song analyzes the concept of friends in the form of “homeboys,” although 2Pac explores the subject matter through a darker lens full of gritty realism. This song isn’t about kicking it and partying, but instead dives deep into the realities of the street warfare that plagued 2Pac’s home life.
The song has a dark and sinister feel to it, and it gets me amped up. This one is worth checking out if you want more 2Pac.
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7. “What About Your Friends” by TLC
I know, I know, it’s not a rap–it’s R&B. But between this being such a classic, and Left-Eye being a rapper, I figured it was worth including. What’s interesting about this R&B-infused, dance-oriented hit from the early 90’s is that, while being a fun and lighthearted pop tune, it’s also got a serious message that echoes a lot of what other deeper hip-hop tracks on this list cover.
The song asks listeners to examine their inner circles and evaluate who their real friends are, and aside from that, it’s an infectiously catchy 90’s hip-hop hit that often gets overlooked.
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8. “Betrayal” by Gang Starr
Gang Starr are rare amongst their peers across the hip-hop landscape, as the iconic duo released arguably their finest album over a decade into their career.
1998’s Moment of Truth is full of dark, gritty, and socially conscious tracks, and “Betrayal” is no different. This song has a strong east coast rap vibe with some jazzy and experimental elements that make it memorable and effective.
9. “A Friend” by KRS-One
KRS-One is one of the older cats in the game, and he’s always been known for his introspective and socially conscious lyrics. This song has a laid back, mellow, and funky feel, evoking the feeling of old school funk and soul music.
KRS-One raps about the importance of friends from a more positive perspective on this track. His lyrics are uplifting and urging us to appreciate the friends we already have, instead of warning us to look for the bad in life.
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10. “Dead Homiez” by Ice Cube
Ice Cube got his career started with iconic rap group NWA. The infamous hip-hop group was no stranger to lyrics dealing with the struggles of gang warfare and the trials and tribulations of life on the streets. Ice Cube continued exploring these themes throughout his solo career in the 1990’s. This great song from his 1990 Kill at Will album is a dark, moody, and somber piece.
Cube raps with a cool and reflective demeanor, adding to the severity of the song’s subject matter and atmosphere. He discusses dealing with the reality of gang warfare in situations like attending the funeral of a slain friend. It’s a gritty and realistic track that’s worth checking out if you haven’t heard it.
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11. “I Miss My Dawgs” by Lil Wayne
When Lil Wayne dropped this track from Tha Carter way back in 2004, the young hip-hop star had not yet conquered the pop world like he would just a few years later. That being said, this era of the artist’s career is definitely worth checking out.
“I Miss My Dawgs” is one of the overlooked gems in Lil Wayne’s catalogue. This is a somber and reflective piece. Lil Wayne is often known for his party anthems and gangster-oriented lyrics, but on this one he displays a sensitivity and capacity for nostalgia that’s endearing and makes the song even more compelling.
12. “Pour Out a Little Liquor” by Thug Life
While I don’t like to repeat artists on these lists, I wanted to give a special shout out to this song by the hip-hop collective 2Pac was a member of. “Pour Out a Little Liquor” doesn’t get talked about much nowadays, as it’s a deeper cut in Thug Life’s catalogue, pulled from the soundtrack for the 1994 film Above the Rim.
The accompanying album won Soundtrack of the Year in 1995, and for me this is the best cut of the bunch. It’s another nostalgic song like the previous entry in the list, this song being a tribute to our friends who have left this world.
2Pac was always a master when it came to tackling such deep and personal human subject matter, and the accompaniment of his fellow Thug Life members only serves to elevate the track.
13. “How Ya Livin’” by AZ
When AZ is brought up in discussion among hip-hop fans, his association with the great rapper Nas tends to be brought up. The musical collaborations over the years between these two resulted in some of the greatest hip-hop of all time.
“How Ya Livin’” from AZ’s 1998 Pieces of a Man album is no different in this regard, released when both artists were fresh and creatively at the forefront of their genre. Musically, it’s a compelling and catchy track from a great album. The lyrics bring the piece to a whole other level, however.
AZ and Nas reflect on the fact that many of their friends and family back home are struggling while they are not, and the song serves as a reminder to show humility and understanding towards others.
14. “I Ain’t Cha Friend” by Three 6 Mafia
Three 6 Mafia are the pioneers of the infamous Memphis rap sound, noted for its heavy bass and its dark and apocalyptic atmosphere. Three 6 Mafia, especially early on in their career, were an absolutely menacing act, producing some of the heaviest and darkest hip-hop in history.
“I Ain’t Cha” Friend” fits right in with this theme. This song is an overt declaration of war against an individual who has dared to cross the Three 6 Mafia, and it’s a track that’s sure to get you pumped up.
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15. “Best Friend” by 50 Cent
Closing out this list with a song that shares a similar theme to the first entry, “Best Friend” was released in 2005, a point in time when it seemed as if 50 Cent could do no wrong. This song displays a comparatively sensitive side for the thug rapper.
The song is a catchy one featuring an infectious groove, and its lyrics deal with the concept of unrequited love in a smart and thoughtful manner. 50 raps as a protagonist who just wants to love and care for a woman who only sees him as a friend, and it’s interesting seeing 50 Cent be this vulnerable.
There you go, 15 rap songs about friends that are well worth a listen. If you’re a seasoned hip-hop veteran, I hope this list reminded you of some classics you might have forgotten, and if you’re new to the hip-hop game, I hope this list opens you up to some essential listening for all rap fans.
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This article was written by Avery and edited by Michael.