Hustle & Flow: 15 Hip-Hop Songs That Spark Hustling Spirit
Hip-hop is 50 years old. Since the beginning of hip-hop culture, rap artists’ lyrics have always touched on making something out of nothing, making a dollar out of 15 cents, and manifesting—often by any means necessary—for a better life and lifestyle than the one they’ve known.
The desire for financial wealth is something many people can relate to. The want for financial stability and the ambition to achieve it is a common narrative across many businesses and industries, including hip-hop. BLACK ENTERPRISE has selected 15 hip-hop songs that ignite the hustle spirit and serve as motivation to make many of us “get up, get out, and get something.”
1) Dollar And A Dream 3 | J – Cole
In 2011, Jermaine Cole—better known by his stage name J. Cole—had “a dollar and a dream.” In the song that became a classic, Cole rapped about being in a place where your back is against the wall and striving toward success. The North Carolina rapper gave a pep talk to listeners who could relate to the ebb and flow of chasing one’s dream.
2) Juicy | Notorious B. I. G.
This debut single was made by the late great Christopher Wallace, also known as Biggie Smalls and better known as Notorious B. I. G. The Brooklyn-bred rapper raps about his upbringing and passion for hip-hop. This rags-to-riches tale highlights his ascension and success through hustling his lyricism: “Now I’m in the limelight ’cause I rhyme tight,” Biggie rapped. He emphasized satisfaction with the outcome of his grind, “Damn right I like the life I live ’cause I went from negative to positive.”
3) Hustler Musik | Lil Wayne
Hustler Musik by Dwayne Carter Jr., professionally known as Lil’ Wayne, embodies the hip-hop hustler vibe and spirit of the mid-2000s when Wayne was grinding to become the megastar he is today:
“Money is the motivation, facing the avenue, back touching the wall” describes the pressure to make money metaphorically and literally.
4) I Get Money | 50 Cent
South Jamaica Queens’ very own Curtis Jackson, known as 50 Cent, lyrically spotlights his savvy hip-hop hustle moves on this track: “I took quarter-water sold it in bottles for 2 bucks. Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions what the f—k?”
50 Cent also raps about how his hustle provided his lavish lifestyle. The infectious hook borrowed from Milk D, “I get money- money I got” is quite motivating.
5) F—k Up Some Commas | Future
F*ck Up Some Commas made by Atlanta’s Nayvadius Wilburn, better known as Future. The title alone motivates hustle, as he raps about stacking that money: “40 thou’ to 100 thou’ 100 thou’ another 100 thou’ 300 thou’ to 500 thou’ a million lets have a money shower.” The bass and the hook make you want to boss up STAT.
6) C. R. E. A. M. | Wu Tang Clan
C. R. E. A. M. is a legendary track by the legendary hip-hop rap group the Wu-Tang Clan. Raekwon and Inspectah Deck give listeners an introspective view on struggling and getting into hustle mode:
“I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side stayin’ alive was no jive,” Raekwon spits.
Similarly, Inspectah Deck raps, “It’s been 22 long, hard years, i’m still struggling, survival got me buggin.” Method man is on the song’s chorus encouraging hustlers’ ambition: “Cash rules everything around me—C. R. E. A. M.—get the money dollar dollar bill y’all.”
7) Hustlin’ | Rick Ross
Is there even a better anthem than William “Rick Ross” Roberts’s break-out song? This joint encourages entrepreneurs to get that bag daily with its straight-to-the-point chorus, “Everyday I’m hustlin.’”
8) 1st Of The Month | Bone Thugs N Harmony
Ohio’s Bone Thugs N Harmony created the perfect song to spark that hustling initiative. The first of the month is known nationally as bill day. Bone Thugs N Harmony harmonizes on the chorus encouraging folks to “Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up (it’s the first of the month). So get up, get up, get up, get up, get up (so cash your checks and come up).” This hit makes folks want to get money to take care of their responsibilities.
9) Rubber Band Man | T. I.
Rubber band Man, made by Atlanta’s self-proclaimed king, Clifford Harris Jr., affectionately known as T. I. or Tip, raps about keeping money in his pocket and about his dedication to his hip-hop hustle, “Got the mind and the muscle stay down on his grind put the crown on the hustle/ Hey, I could show ya how to juggle anything and make it double.”
10) Can’t Knock The Hustle| Jay-Z
Can’t Knock The Hustle by the icon Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Beyoncé’s other half celebrates his hustle spirit as he chronicles his success with full flex, “Yo, I’m making short-term goals, when the weather folds, just put away the leathers and put ice on the gold.”
11) And Then What| Young Jeezy
“And Then What” by Jay Wayne Jenkins, better known as Young Jeezy, is a hip-hop call-and-response bop between the Georgia-born rapper and New Orleans producer Mannie Fresh: “First I’m gone stack my flo,’ then I’m gone stack some mo.” Jeezy drops morning mirror motivation to get your money and stack it.
12) Duffle Bag Boy| Playaz Circle
Duffle Bag Boy includes Playaz Circle and Lil’ Wayne on a track that still sparks the hustler’s spirit today. Lil’ Wayne motivates on the song’s hook by rapping, “If i don’t do nothing I’mma ball, i’m countin’ all day like a clock on the wall, now go and get your money little duffle bag boy.” Tity Boi, now 2Chainz, flexes and raps about the spoils of hustling: “Walk into the Gucci store, honey i’m home.” while Dolla Boy raps about being a boss in his hip-hop hustle, “Ain’t nothing to a boss, we balling when they see us.”
13) Money Trees| Kendrick Lamar
“Money Trees” by Compton’s Kendrick Lamar is a relatable and inspiring song that details his upbringing while showing the reality and correlation between gangbanging, crime, and poverty. Lamar understands money can change his life. The West Coast hip-hop artist raps, “And I been hustling all day, this-a-way, that-a-way. Through canals and alleyways, just to say Money trees is the perfect place for shade and that’s just how I feel.”
14) It’s All About The Benjamins | Puff Daddy
The iconic line that triggers this money-making turn-up is prompted by Puff’s questions “What you wanna do? Wanna be ballers? Shot callers?” It’s All About The Benjamins features Notorious B. I. G., The Lox, and Lil Kim. Puff lays down lyrics about the lavish life and ultimately tells us why he hustles so hard and why we should too.
15) Major | Young Dolph
“Major” by the late Adolph Thornton Jr., better known as Young Dolph, is another hustler’s anthem. Young Dolph motivates people that come from the bottom, rapping, “Millions on the table, that’s major, I turned dirt into diamonds, that’s major.”
Digging these tracks? Download BLACK ENTERPRISE Hustle & Flow Playlist
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