The Other Playlist

Graphic by Martha Alejandra Espinoza

An introduction to introspective rap
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief

Since its inception, rap has long struggled to be considered a genre with any sort of lyrical worth. This may be due in part to the relatively poor lyrical content of mainstream and club rap combined with some listeners’ aversion to swear words. But, for listeners who were interested in the deeper and more thoughtful portions of the genre, there has long been a section that thrives on introspection and thoughtful observation.

This is a non-exhaustive list of rappers and their songs that put self-reflection and contemplation first. For some, this could be interesting as an introduction to rappers who aren’t club famous or mainstream; for others, the real joy of this list is the experience of a slower more reflective rap experience. Whether it’s the downbeat sense of loneliness that runs through “Days like this” and “Camo” to the more abstract and at times politically charged “Rainforest” and “Astronomy (8th Light),” here is an introduction to introspective rap.

Outkast- Elevators (Me & You)
Black Star- Astronomy (8th Light)
Mick Jenkins- Gwedolynn’s Apprehension
Saba- Ziplock
Noname- Rainforest
Goldlink- Days like this (feat. Khalid)
Kota the Friend- Camo (feat. Angel Haze)
J.Cole- Kevin’s Heart
Little Brother- Speed
Little Simz- Selfish
Oddisee- Own Appeal