25 Rap Songs to Get You Pumped Up


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Feeling down and out? Need help getting pumped up for a presentation? Just trying to shed a few pounds? Running from zombies? Whatever the occasion, these 25 songs will add the proverbial pep to your step.

Courtesy of Interscope

A face-melting Rick Rubin special meets Billy Squier riffs meets Beastie Boys-inspired ol’ skool rhyming meets boom bap meets ​the greatest white rapper of all time cartwheeling all over the damn playground.

Perfect for: Cardio

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Every rapper has a blackout moment when they basically go in and wild out on the beat just because. This was K. Dot’s blackout moment on his first major outing.

Perfect for: Jogging

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“Worst Behavior” is what happens when that kid who got teased in school finally knuckles up. WORST!

Perfect for: Mirror talk

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It starts with the beat. It’s sparse and steely, and by the time Pusha T’s voice comes on, you’re already hooked.

Perfect for: Pre-game pump up

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“Grindin'” dropped in my freshman year in college and it is still a certified banger today. With P and Chad’s bare-bones beat, hand claps and Clipse’s menacing vocals, a summer hit was born.

Perfect for: Pre-work run

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Judging by the no-expense-spared video for “Stronger,” the song is designed to suck you in and spit you out with a newly-chiseled body.

Perfect for: Running

Courtesy of Crunk Incorporated

Dumb enough to be ratchet. Cold enough to be scary. The haunting loop, the froggy voice telling you to “knuckle up if you buck wild,” the long white tees 10 times the size of the wearers make “Knuck” an all-time favorite in the ratchet-scary weight class.

Perfect for: Gettin’ turnt up on the treadmill

Courtesy ASAP Worldwide

“Work” is a raucous, ratchet, raging, throbbing, grimy ode to the streets. And when Fergie says “work,” he’s not talking binders and cubicles.

Perfect for: Cardio

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Tribe was typically known for their super mellow jazzed-out tunes, and they’re still going for that smooth vibe here. But speed up the beat, throw in a verse from Busta Rhymes and you’ve got a real kick-ass track.

Perfect for: Running from an ex

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The skit at the end is hilarious and almost as energy-inducing as the bassline backing the entire thing. This is Cypress Hill at their sh!t-talking finest.

Perfect for: Morning run

Courtesy of Atlantic

In which the Jay Z of the South brilliantly flips a Jay Z line from “What More Can I Say.” The bounce beat by Swizz Beatz adds to the hype.

Perfect for: Running

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If you’ve never seen this live, you haven’t fully lived. The crowd participation, Jigga’s energy and the thunderous beat make it a concert wonderment of epically epic proportions.

Perfect for: Pregame pump up

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Obvs. You can’t have a playlist about getting hyped up without including Onyx’s biggest hit.

Perfect for: Running

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In the summer of 94, Beastie Boys released a 7-song single to promote Ill Communications. There were the typical instrumental tracks, new tracks, remixes, and remixes of remixes. The focal point of the release, however, was “Sure Shot,” a chant-friendly trunk rattler sure to get any party started.

Perfect for: Pregame pump-up

Courtesy of Mad Decent

Pay a visit to any club in America and watch how this song throws every dancefloor into hysterical episodes of indecision. No one knows quite what to do with their body when “Turn Down for What” comes on.

Perfect for: Turning all the way up

Courtesy of MMG

Meek Mill yells his way through life. I sometimes visualize him yelling his order at a McDonald’s drive-thru.

Perfect for: Running on the sidewalk.

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Sometimes, I sit and wonder why the Internet exists. Then I see a Vine of a llama prancing merrily across the pasture to the tune of DMX’s “Party Up” and I’m whole again.

Perfect for: Scrapping

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It wasn’t just a gangsta rap anthem. It was also a vicious street classic that resonated with the frustrations of the young, Black and persecuted in L.A.

Perfect for: Running

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

For the young and unfamiliar, Kool G Rap is the godfather of a very special brand of hardcore hip-hop. He influenced the likes of Rakim and Black Thought and Nas and anyone else who has ever married gangsta-ism with lyricism. And on “Poison,” you can hear G Rap “making you feel the real deal.”

Perfect for: Running

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The first time I heard “Here I Come,” I was on the Roots’ tour bus listening to a rough version of Game Theory. And up to that point, the album had been a moderately quiet experience. Then “Here I Come” came on and I was bobbing my head like a convulsed lemur. Questlove described “Here I Come” as the sequel to “Boom.” The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon theme music is definitely a gym favorite.

Perfect for: Running

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If you ever find yourself low on confidence and need to reassure your inner self that you’re still as fabulous as ever, turn on this firecracker and do the “Warm it up, Kane” chant. For best results: Replace “Kane” with your first name.

Perfect for: Mirror talk

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Chuck D’s virulent rhymes and the Bomb Squad’s blustering production make “Fight the Power” one helluva of a protest.

Perfect for: Protests

Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Ah, the ring walk fave of every professional boxer in the 90s. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” is indeed the soundtrack to a punching session. Besides, seeing LL’s pecs will make anyone hit the gym for their own long overdue workout session. The sepia music video of a hooded up LL and a microphone in the boxing ring is a thing of beauty.

Perfect for: Ring walk

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A couple weeks back, I was trying to motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning, so I set my alarm to “Ante Up.” The next morning, as soon as the song went off, I jumped out of bed and proceeded to collide with the wall. Redefined the meaning of “rude awakening.”

Perfect for: Waking up

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If “B.O.B” doesn’t get you pumped up, you should press two fingers on your pulse point. The lead single off the classic Stankonia album is a sure enough gym-banger.

Perfect for: Hitting the trail

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