The 20 Best Rap Beats Ever

by Patria
Mobb Deep

Rap music, a genre characterized by its rhythmic and rhyming speech, has evolved dramatically since its inception. Central to this evolution is the rap beat, the instrumental backbone that shapes the song’s mood and supports the rapper’s flow. This article delves into the 20 best rap beats ever, showcasing the creativity, innovation, and cultural impact that these instrumentals have had on the genre.

The 20 Best Rap Beats Ever

1. “Shook Ones Part II” by Mobb Deep

The dark, eerie beat of “Shook Ones Part II” is a masterpiece of minimalist production. Produced by Havoc, the haunting piano loop and grimy bassline perfectly complement the gritty lyrics. This beat has become synonymous with hardcore East Coast rap and remains a staple in hip-hop culture.

2. “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg

Dr. Dre’s production on “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang” epitomizes the smooth, laid-back vibe of West Coast rap. The funky bassline, crisp drums, and infectious melody make this beat a timeless classic. It not only defined the G-funk era but also solidified Dr. Dre’s status as a legendary producer.

3. “C.R.E.A.M.” by Wu-Tang Clan

The beat for “C.R.E.A.M.” (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), produced by RZA, is an example of masterful sampling. The soulful piano loop, taken from The Charmels’ “As Long as I’ve Got You,” creates a melancholic atmosphere that perfectly complements the song’s introspective lyrics about street life and financial struggle.

4. “Grinding” by Clipse

The beat for “Grinding,” produced by The Neptunes, is a minimalist masterpiece. The stark, hard-hitting drum pattern and sparse use of instrumentation allow the lyrics to shine. This beat was revolutionary in its simplicity and remains a favorite among fans and artists alike.

5. “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

As one of the earliest examples of socially conscious rap, “The Message” features a beat that is as iconic as its lyrics. The relentless bassline, combined with electronic elements, creates a soundscape that underscores the urgent, reflective tone of the song.

6. “Still D.R.E.” by Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg

Another Dr. Dre classic, “Still D.R.E.” is built around a hypnotic piano riff that instantly grabs the listener’s attention. The precision in the production, with its clean, punchy drums and atmospheric elements, showcases Dre’s meticulous approach to beat-making.

7. “Runnin'” by The Pharcyde

Produced by J Dilla, the beat for “Runnin'” is a testament to his innovative sampling techniques. The smooth guitar riff and jazzy undertones create a laid-back yet engaging backdrop for The Pharcyde’s reflective lyrics. J Dilla’s ability to blend genres and create unique soundscapes is on full display here.

8. “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.

The beat for “Juicy,” produced by Poke of Trackmasters and Sean “Puffy” Combs, is built around a sample of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit.” The warm, soulful groove, combined with the song’s nostalgic lyrics, creates a timeless anthem that celebrates Biggie’s rise to success.

9. “Passin’ Me By” by The Pharcyde

Produced by J-Swift, the beat for “Passin’ Me By” features a dreamy, hypnotic sample from Quincy Jones’ “Summer in the City.” The mellow, introspective vibe of the beat perfectly complements the song’s themes of unrequited love and longing.

10. “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas

Produced by DJ Premier, the beat for “N.Y. State of Mind” is a gritty, hard-hitting masterpiece. The haunting piano loop and crisp drums create a dark, immersive atmosphere that captures the essence of New York City street life. Premier’s ability to create beats that match the lyrical content so perfectly is on full display here.

11. “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G.

The beat for “Hypnotize,” produced by P. Diddy and D-Dot, is built around a sample of Herb Alpert’s “Rise.” The infectious groove, combined with Biggie’s charismatic flow, makes this track an undeniable classic. The beat’s polished, radio-friendly sound helped cement Biggie’s place in mainstream hip-hop.

12. “Big Pimpin'” by Jay-Z

Produced by Timbaland, the beat for “Big Pimpin'” features a sample from the Egyptian song “Khosara” by Abdel Halim Hafez. The fusion of Middle Eastern melodies with hip-hop rhythms creates a unique, exotic sound that stands out in Jay-Z’s discography.

13. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent

Produced by Dr. Dre and Mike Elizondo, the beat for “In Da Club” is instantly recognizable. The pounding drums, syncopated strings, and eerie synths create a party anthem that became an instant hit. The beat’s infectious energy helped launch 50 Cent’s career into the stratosphere.

14. “93 ’til Infinity” by Souls of Mischief

Produced by A-Plus, the beat for “93 ’til Infinity” is a jazzy, laid-back masterpiece. The smooth, melodic sample from Billy Cobham’s “Heather” creates a nostalgic, feel-good vibe that perfectly complements the group’s lyrical content.

15. “Mass Appeal” by Gang Starr

Produced by DJ Premier, the beat for “Mass Appeal” features a simple yet effective loop from Vic Juris’ “Horizon Drive.” The gritty, head-nodding groove and precise drum patterns showcase Premier’s skill in creating timeless hip-hop beats.

16. “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott

Produced by Timbaland, the beat for “Get Ur Freak On” is a boundary-pushing masterpiece. The fusion of Indian instrumentation, heavy bass, and off-kilter rhythms creates a unique, futuristic sound that was ahead of its time. Missy Elliott’s innovative approach to music is perfectly complemented by Timbaland’s production.

17. “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest

Produced by Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the beat for “Electric Relaxation” is built around a smooth, jazzy sample from Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew.” The laid-back groove and intricate bassline create a relaxing, soulful vibe that epitomizes A Tribe Called Quest’s sound.

18. “Dead Presidents II” by Jay-Z

Produced by Ski, the beat for “Dead Presidents II” features a haunting piano loop and a sample from Nas’ “The World Is Yours.” The dark, moody atmosphere of the beat perfectly complements Jay-Z’s introspective lyrics about the pursuit of wealth and success.

19. “Protect Ya Neck” by Wu-Tang Clan

Produced by RZA, the beat for “Protect Ya Neck” is a raw, gritty masterpiece. The hard-hitting drums, eerie samples, and chaotic energy create a perfect backdrop for the Wu-Tang Clan’s aggressive, in-your-face lyrics. RZA’s production on this track helped define the group’s signature sound.

20. “B.O.B.” by OutKast

Produced by Earthtone III (Andre 3000, Big Boi, and Mr. DJ), the beat for “B.O.B.” (Bombs Over Baghdad) is an explosive fusion of hip-hop, electronic, and rock elements. The frenetic pace, pounding drums, and electrifying guitar riffs create a high-energy anthem that pushes the boundaries of traditional rap music.

See Also: 10 Hot Rap Songs Right Now!


The beats featured in this list represent the pinnacle of rap production, showcasing the creativity and innovation that have shaped the genre. From the minimalist genius of “Grinding” to the complex, genre-blending sound of “B.O.B.,” these instrumentals have not only defined the careers of the artists who performed over them but also left an indelible mark on hip-hop culture. As rap music continues to evolve, these beats serve as a testament to the power of exceptional production in creating timeless, influential music.

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