Rap Movies: The 10 Best Hip-Hop Films of all Time (2023)

  • 1. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
  • 2. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • 3. 8 Mile (2002)
  • 4. All Eyez on Me (2017)
  • 5. Boyz N the Hood (1991)
  • 6. Notorious B.I.G. (2009)
  • 7. Friday (1995)
  • 8. Office Space (1999)
  • 9. Menace II Society (1993)
  • 10. Brown Sugar (2002)

New school, old school, gangsta, east coast or west coast – hip-hop and rap have been an indispensable expression of African-American urban life since the 1970s and at the latest since the 80s.

And even beyond that, hip-hop and rap have now entered the mainstream. Hardly a contemporary film in which some hip-hop track is not on the soundtrack.

(Video) Top 10 – Best Rap Movies of All Time

Hip-hop films that deal explicitly with the musical style or have a designated hip-hop soundtrack, on the other hand, are fewer in number, yet Rap films aren’t as rare as you might think: they’ve enjoyed steady popularity since the late 1980s and early 1990s, and filmmakers like F. Gary Gray or Spike Lee would be unimaginable without hip-hop.

The following list introduces you to some of these films from the last thirty years. Among them are hip-hop films like “All Eyez on Me” from 2017, which have rap itself as a theme, as well as so-called hood films like 1989 classic “Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee, which deals with the urban lifestyle and racist attitudes of the 1980s and has a very hip-hip soundtrack.

1. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Gary Gray’s film about the origins of the hip-hop group N.W.A. from 2015 is definitely worth watching – not only for rap fans.

Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of the hip-hop legends Eazy-E, Dr. The, and Ice Cube and how they got together in the 1980s in Compton, California with the group N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) and the label Ruthless Records wrote music history. Straight Outta Compton was also the title of the group’s first album.

The hip-hip film was nominated for an Oscar in 2016 in the Best Original Screenplay category.

2. Do the Right Thing (1989)

On a hot summer day, underlying racial tensions in a New York City neighborhood lead to disaster: Spike Lee’s now near-iconic film about life in Brooklyn in the late 1980s may not be in the repertoire of classic rap films, but the soundtrack, with tracks like Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” alone justifies its entry on this list. Spike Lee, who was just 32 when he made Do the Right Thing, not only wrote and directed the film but also plays one of the leads in it.

“Do the Right Thing” was nominated for a Palme d’Or in the Best Picture category at Cannes, four Golden Globes, and an Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category, among others.

(Video) TOP 5: Rap Movies

3. 8 Mile (2002)

For many, 8 Mile is the hip-hop movie of all time: director Curtis Hanson’s drama about the life of a young white rapper in the automobile city of Detroit, starring Eminem, Kim Basinger, and Brittany Murphy, remains one of the most successful rap films of all time. The rap film follows the fate of young white Jimmy as he tries to carve out a place for himself as a rapper in the predominantly African-American subculture.

The film won an Oscar in 2003 for Eminem’s autobiographical title track Lose Yourself – one of the most successful hip-hop tracks in history. 8 Mile grossed over $240 million worldwide.

4. All Eyez on Me (2017)

He was one of the greats of American Hip-Hip: Tupac Shakur, who was shot dead in the street in 1996 at just 25 years old.

Both as an actor and as a subject, he has appeared in many rap films – he himself has appeared as an actor in films such as “Poetic Justice” (1993) and the 1997 comedy “Gridlock,” while documentaries such as 2003’s “Tupac Resurrection” follow the life of the young rapper.

Benny Boom’s “All Eyez on Me” is thus just the latest in a slew of hip-hip films dealing with the life, work, and death of Tupac Shakur. “All Eyez on Me” explores Tupac’s childhood in the 1970s, his early musical successes, and big break, as well as his legal troubles and the East Coast versus West Coast conflict that may have cost him his life.

The film grossed over $55 million worldwide.

5. Boyz N the Hood (1991)

John Singleton’s “Boyz N the Hood” is now a classic rap film. The hip-hop film follows the story of three young friends, Tré, Ricky, and Doughboy, who grow up in an urban Los Angeles ghetto and end up going down very different paths. Yet Boyz N the Hood paints an unusually realistic picture of gang violence and life in the hood much sung about in hip-hop – so director John Singleton insisted on shooting exclusively on original locations.

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This, coupled with the phenomenal ensemble cast of Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube and Angela Bassett made this film a highly acclaimed movie event. “Boyz N the Hood” was nominated in the Best Screenplay and Best Director categories at the Oscars. The soundtrack features tracks like “How To Survive In South Central” by Ice Cube.

6. Notorious B.I.G. (2009)

The rap film covers the biography of the rapper Notorious Big, also known as Biggie, who was murdered in Los Angeles in 1997.

George Tillman’s film begins shortly before Biggie’s murder in March 1997 and shows important stages of his life in flashbacks. This follows Notorious B.I.G. Biggie’s beginnings as a hardworking student and drug dealer through his early success as a rapper to his breakthrough and friendship and enmity with rapper Tupac.

The actor from Notorious B.I.G., Jamal Woolard, reprised the role in 2017 in the hip-hop film “All Eyes on Me,” about Tupac Shakur. The soundtrack is mainly composed of tracks by Biggie himself, in addition, there are guest contributions from rappers Jay Z or Mary J. Blige to listen to.

7. Friday (1995)

F. Gary Gray’s 1995 comedy now has cult status among fans of rap films.

Craig Jones, who has just been fired, and his buddy Smokey, a small-time dealer who prefers to smoke his own weed rather than sell it, hang out at Jones’ place on Friday night – but problems with Smokey’s dealer Big Worm and various girl trouble complicate the relaxed weekend. The energetic performances of rapper Ice Cube and a young Chris Tucker are at the heart of this rap film, which incidentally is the origin of the Internet meme “Bye Felicia”.

8. Office Space (1999)

A film about office workers and programmers with Jennifer Aniston in a leading role on a list of hip-hop films, is that supposed to be a joke? Not at all – because Mike Judge’s iconic and likable comedy about the everyday madness of the office not only features the hip-hip-loving character of Michael Bolton, who loves to sing along to gangsta rap on his morning commute to work but shuts the door when an African-American flower vendor walks by, but also one of the best hip-hop soundtracks ever, whose passion and fire brilliantly comment on and set the scene for the boring office routine of the film’s action.

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9. Menace II Society (1993)

Allen and Albert Hughes’ directorial debut, “Menace II Society,” is one of the grittiest hip-hop films ever made, garnering much praise for its unforgiving depiction of everyday gang life and urban violence in 1990s metropolitan America.

This rap film shows a few days in the life of teenager Caine Lawson, who is stuck with his friends in a hopeless cycle of violence, drugs, and poverty.

The movie with Jada Pinkett Smith and Samuel L. Jackson in supporting roles was nominated for a Golden Camera at Cannes in 1993. By the way, Tupac Shakur was supposed to be in “Menace II Society”, but after a dispute with one of the directors, he was canceled.

10. Brown Sugar (2002)

Director Rick Famuyiwa’s “Brown Sugar” combines two of the most popular film genres of the turn of the millennium, rap movies and romantic comedy, in this warm-hearted hip-hop film. The young woman Sidney is the editor of a hip-hop magazine and has been friends since childhood with Dre, who works for a record company. While the two are united by their shared love of hip-hop, their love and personal lives are initially neatly complicated by some misunderstandings. In the end, however, love for each other and rap win out!

Not only does the saccharine rap film star Queen Latifah, but the comedy is bursting with cameos from bigger and smaller names in the hip-hop scene.

Whether you’re a die-hard hip-hop fan, want to learn more about this very specific U.S. lifestyle, or are simply looking for new movies to watch, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for among these ten hip-hop films.

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No. Song Artist
1. I Used to Love H.E.R. Common
2. “Rapper’s Delight” The Sugarhill Gang
3. “The Message” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
4. “Dear Mama” 2Pac

62 more rows What was the first hip hop movie ever made? ›

“Wild Style”/“Style Wars” (1983)

Consistently recognized as first hip hop film, 1983’s “Wild Style” portrayed the cultural holy trinity of the genre: rap, breakdancing, and graffiti.

Which hit movies brought popular attention to the American public in hip hop? ›

Brought to the mainstream in movies such as Beat Street (1984) and Breakin’ (1984), break dancing captivated the attention of the American public and helped introduce hip-hop culture to a world outside the African American community.

Who is the top 5 rappers? ›

  1. 2Pac. Tupac Amaru Shakur also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper. …
  2. Eminem. …
  3. The Notorious B.I.G. …
  4. Jay-Z. …
  5. Nas. …
  6. Rakim. …
  7. Kendrick Lamar. …
  8. Lil Wayne.

Who is the top 5 best rappers of all time? › 51 Best Rappers Of All Time

  • The Notorious B.I.G. The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy (Official Video) [4K] …
  • Nas. Nas – Nas Is Like (Official Video) …
  • Jay-Z. JAY-Z – Excuse Me Miss ft. …
  • 2Pac. 2Pac – Dear Mama. …
  • André 3000. Outkast – Hey Ya! ( …
  • Eminem. Eminem – The Real Slim Shady (Official Video – Clean Version) …
  • Rakim. …
  • Kendrick Lamar.

What song was #1 the longest? ›

Old Town Road” holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What is the 1 best song of all time? › Top 10 Best Songs of All Time

  • 1 Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen. …
  • 2 Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin. …
  • 3 Imagine – John Lennon. …
  • 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana. …
  • 5 One – Metallica. …
  • 6 Hotel California – Eagles. …
  • 7 Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd. …
  • 8 Hey Jude – The Beatles.

What is the #1 most popular song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Who made rap first? ›

DJ Kool Herc is widely credited with kicking off the genre. His back-to-school parties in the 1970s were the incubator of his burgeoning idea, where he used his two record turntables to create loops, playing the same beat over again, and extending the instrumental portion of a song.

Who made the 1st rap song? ›

The Sugar Hill Gang’s 12-inch single “Rapper’s Delight” – released in 1979 – became the first rap song to be played on the radio.

Who made hip-hop first? ›

Who invented hip-hop? The birth of hip hop is believed to date back to Aug. 11, 1973, where DJ Kool Herc, real name Clive Campbell, and his friend hosted a back-to-school party in Bronx, New York. Eighteen-year-old Campbell and his friend Coke La Rock are often referred to as the fathers of hip-hop.

Why is it called rap? ›

As early as 1956, deejays were toasting (an African tradition of “rapped out” tales of heroism) over dubbed Jamaican beats. It was called “rap”, expanding the word’s earlier meaning in the African-American community—”to discuss or debate informally.”

Who is the most sampled man in hip-hop? › According to whosampled.com, the most influential artists in hip hop are:

  • James Brown “” Sampled 7,451 times.
  • Public Enemy “” Sampled 2,912 times.
  • Beside “” Sampled 2,329 times.
  • Run-DMC “” Sampled 2,046 times.
  • The Notorious B.I.G “” Sampled 1,718 times.
  • Kool & The Gang “” Sampled 1,564 times.
  • Jay Z “” Sampled 1,484 times.

Where Is rap the most popular? ›

Unsurprisingly, the biggest global audience for hip-hop music is found in the United States.

Who is Number 1 in the rap? › This is the table for the top 10 best rappers in the World….

Top 10 Best Rappers of All Time.

Position Rapper Top Strength
1 Eminem Charisma
2 Tech N9ne Flow
3 Chali 2na Multisyllabic Rhymes
4 Jay-Z Authenticity

6 more rows Who is the #1 famous rapper? ›

1. Drake – Best Rappers In The World.

Who is the king of rappers? ›

King Of Rap is a highly honorable title that is hard to associate with only one hip-hop artist as there are countless hip-hop artists and enthusiasts today. However, there is one name that is respected and appreciated by almost all different branches of hip-hop; Eminem.

Who were the first 10 rappers? › Hip Hop Firsts: 10 Rappers That Made History

  • Kurtis Blow. He became the first rapper to sign a major label record deal (Mercury) and the first rapper to appear on national television (Soul Train).
  • MC Happer. Hammer is the first rapper to have an album go Diamond.
  • The SugarHill Gang. …
  • Outkast. …
  • Three 6 Mafia.

What is the most played song of all time? ›

It was never a hit single and got almost no play on Top 40 radio. There’s even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It’s a Small World,” also known as “It’s a Small, Small World” and “It’s a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.

What song has made the most money? ›

In 1893, the Hill sisters needed a song for their kindergarten class to sing on birthdays. Fast forward 120 years and “Happy Birthday” is by far the richest and most profitable song of all time. The Ownership of “Happy Birthday” has changed hands a few times in the last 100 years.

What is the number 1 song? ›

The number one song on iTunes right now is Genocide (Losing My Mind) by Timcast. Related Charts: Apple Music Top Streaming Songs, iTunes Top 200 Songs, Top New Songs November 2022, Top 100 Albums, and Top 40 Music Videos.

What are the 5 most famous songs? › The Top 50 most iconic songs of all time

  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana.
  • Imagine – John Lennon.
  • One – U2.
  • Billie Jean – Michael Jackson.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen.
  • Hey Jude – The Beatles.
  • Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan.
  • I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – Rolling Stones.

Who is the most famous singer of all time? › Top 10 Best Singers of All Time

Rank Singer Genre
1 Michael Jackson Pop, Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Disco, & Dance
2 Stevie Wonder Soul, Pop, R&B, Funk, & Jazz
3 Marvin Gaye Soul, R&B, Funk, Pop, & Jazz
4 Freddie Mercury Hard Rock, Music Hall, Glitter, & Prog Rock

6 more rows What is the best song about life? ›

  1. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. Christina Aguilera Beautiful. …
  2. Beautiful Day by U2. …
  3. Born Free by Matt Munro. …
  4. Country Roads, Take Me Home by John Denver. …
  5. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. …
  6. Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. …
  7. Dream On by Aerosmith. …
  8. Dust in the Wind by Kansas.

Who was the first female rapper? ›

Sharon Green (born 1962), considered the “first female rapper” or emcee, known by the rap moniker MC Sha-Rock. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, she grew up in the South Bronx, New York City during the earliest years of hip hop culture.

Who was the first black rapper? ›

Born Kurtis Walker in 1959, Blow, who turns 60 on Aug. 9, was the first rapper to sign with a major label and the first to become a mainstream star.

Who was the first white rapper? ›

1989: Queens duo MC Serch and Pete Nice debut as 3rd Bass, the first white rap act for whom whiteness is not at least in part an uproarious crossover gimmick.

Who was the first rapper to sing? ›

Coke La Rock is known for being the first rapper to ever spit rhymes after teaming up with DJ Kool Herc in 1973 and both are recognized as the original founding fathers of Hip Hop. Rap music was originally underground.

Who made rap popular? ›

DJ Kool Herc is widely credited with kicking off the genre. His back-to-school parties in the 1970s were the incubator of his idea, where he used his two record turntables to create loops, playing the same beat over again, and extending the instrumental portion of a song.

Who was the first ever singer? ›

Explanation: The first and oldest surviving recording of the human voice is made by Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville as an unidentified vocalist performs “Au Claire De La Lune.”

Who named hip-hop? ›

The creation of the term hip hop is often credited to Keef Cowboy, rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. However, Lovebug Starski, Keef Cowboy, and DJ Hollywood used the term when the music was still known as disco rap.

What does rap stand for? ›

Rap stands as an acronym for Rhythm And Poetry. The word ‘rap’ actually means striking a hard surface with a series of rapid audible blows to get attention. While Rhythm And Poetry is a good description, the word comes from “rapping,” of quick, loud blows.

Who is the best hip-hop dancer in the world? ›

1. Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is highly regarded as the King of Pop, however, a lot of his dance moves find their origin in hip-hop dance. He married hip-hop dance styles with funk, soul and electric boogaloo to create a unique blend of pop, and hip-hop worthy dance.

Why is rap so popular? ›

Rap is popular because it’s available to everyone. Even if you didn’t live a life of poetry, there’s sure to be some lyric that speaks to you. Its mix of different cultures also makes it unique. It allows rap to transform and for different styles to come out of it.

How did rap start? ›

Rap as a genre began at block parties in New York City in the early 1970s, when DJs began isolating the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs and extending them. MCs tasked with introducing the DJs and keeping the crowd energized would talk between songs, joking and generally interacting with the audience.

Where did hip-hop start? ›

The elements of Hip Hop came together in the Bronx borough of New York City. It was the early 1970s and times were tougher than usual for the poorer parts of urban America. From a whole lot of nothing—and a whole lot of imagination—Hip Hop took form.

Who is the most successful male rapper? ›

1. Eminem. Eminem is the best-selling rapper in history. With over 200 million records sold, he is also the 6th best-selling solo music artist of all time.

What is the most famous sample? ›

Now known as the ‘Amen Break‘, the six seconds of drums at the 01:26 mark of the 1969 B-side is the most sampled piece of music of all time.

What rapper samples most? ›

Feel free to use that one at your next rap nerd trivia content. So there you have it rap nerds, the most sampled voices in hip-hop history belong to Chuck D and Flava Flav.

Which city is the king of rap? ›

It’s hard to be king, but in a sport as competitive as rap, everyone seems to want to be the crown holder. Especially in the birthplace of hip-hop, New York City.

Which city has best rappers? ›

1 New York City The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Can’t believe Houston and Atlanta are top.

Where is the capital of rap? ›

Atlanta, Georgia: Hip Hop Capital.

Who is the king of rap of all time? ›

King Of Rap is a highly honorable title that is hard to associate with only one hip-hop artist as there are countless hip-hop artists and enthusiasts today. However, there is one name that is respected and appreciated by almost all different branches of hip-hop; Eminem.

Who has the most #1 songs rap? ›


Drake has tallied 11 No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 in his career, the most among rappers.

Who is the queen of rap of all time? ›

What is this? Often cited as “the queen of rap,” one of the most famous names in rap music today is Nicky Minaj. As one of the best-selling music artists with more than 100 million records sold worldwide, Nicki Minaj is one of the most influential rappers of all time.

Who is the Queen of Rap 2022? ›

Nicki Minaj: Queen of Rap (2022) – IMDb.

Who has the most fans in the world rapper? ›

Eminem. It should come as no surprise that one of the most successful recording artists of all time is also one of the most followed rappers on Instagram.

Which rapper has the most Top 10 hits? ›

Throughout his career, Drake has now charted 54 top 10 hits, by far the most among all artists.

Who has the most platinum records in rap? ›

Eminem is making history! The 49-year-old rapper has had a successful career in the music industry, and he is now officially the highest rated singles artist in the Recording Industry Association of America’s history, breaking records for most gold and platinum singles.


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