2023 marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. The genre which started out in a park in the South Bronx is now a global phenomenon that has birthed international superstars. Rappers nowadays are everything from hit-makers to media moguls to billionaires to Emmy Award winners and so much more. So much has happened over the course of the first five decades of hip-hop, including the release of countless must-hear songs. There are so many classic rap songs to sort through, especially for those listeners who are just being introduced to hip-hop. Being one of the many new hip hop fans can surely be a challenge in this day and age.Think about it: us humans are constantly flooded with new music, while at the same time there are plenty of timeless records from yesteryear to get hip to as well.
If you're dipping your toes into the dynamic and diverse world of hip-hop for the first time, you might find the sheer volume of music out there a bit daunting. But don’t worry, because we've got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of 20 essential hip-hop tracks that you absolutely have to know. These songs not only define the genre but have also left distinguishable marks on the culture. Let's dive in, shall we? Check out 20 essential hip-hop tracks new hip hop fans need to know.