Remember when you experienced your first breakup? How about the time you got the job you always wanted? Or finally graduating after either acing grades or struggling, but you finally made it? Chances are, each of those moments are coupled with a song that reminds you of the occasion. Music can stir a wide range of emotions about a particular time in your life for better or for worse. Through the years, hip-hop songs have often become the soundtrack of life.
Some songs will resonate with people and make them laugh while others are a reminder to reflect on the pivotal moments in their life—both good and bad. It's all an experience and learning lesson. Take Method Man's classic 1994 rap ballad "All I Need," for example. The song is the perfect ode to represent marrying the love of your life. Or Jay Rock's 2018 banger "Win" can be the anthem to represent a major victory in overcoming a life obstacle.
Rap tracks can represent milestones into adulthood, too. DJ Khaled’s 2016 song “I Got the Keys” featuring Jay-Z and Future can serve as the celebration point for picking up the keys to your new apartment. Or Dougie F’s 2015 celebratory track “Birthday” is perfect to reflect on turning 21 and officially becoming an adult.
Then there's other songs that represent how nothing is ever perfect. Juice Wrld's 2019 song "Hear Me Calling" is a reminder that when you call or send a text message to that crush, you might get put on read. Biz Markie's comical 1989 traqck "Just a Friend" is a painful reminder that guys hate to get put in the friend zone.
And with the current affairs going on in our country, the fight against police brutality is real and Black Lives Matter are being shouted by protestors in honor of George Floyd, who was killed by a White police officer kneeling on his neck while in custody. Dead Prez's "Police State" is the protest anthem to shout when hitting the streets.
So with that in mind, here's XXL's Hip-Hop Songs to Soundtrack Every Pivotal Moment in Your Life. Listen and reflect on your own personal memories.
Fighting Against Police Brutality
Police brutality should never happen. If you join the fight to let the world know Black Lives Matter, attending a protest is an experience for you and will likely be among the more pivotal moments in your life. Dead Prez's 2000 song "Police State" tackles the issue head on. Chant the lyrics, "I'll take a slug for the cause like Huey P./While all you fake niggas try to copy Master P/I want to be free to live, able to have what I need to live/Bring the power back to the street, where the people live," right along with stic.man and M-1.
Scoring a Promotion at Work
Several years on the job and the boss sees you as a valuable employee to the company. So in appreciation of your hard work, you get a big promotion and a pay raise. Drake and Trey Songz’s track “Successful” is the perfect anthem as you ascend in your employment.
Quarantining During the Coronavirus Pandemic
You can’t believe it. The coronavirus pandemic has you and your family stuck at home and social distancing. Like Lupe Fiasco raps on his prophetic song “Streets on Fire," your dreams have been quarantined and every connection is sealed off. From this point on, it seems like nothing will ever be the same again. Nevertheless, be strong and be safe.
Graduating From School With Any Kind of GPA
After either acing grades or struggling to keep them up, you're finally graduating with your senior class. Now that the cap and gown is in place, you can blast XXXTentacion’s boisterous track “Look At Me” at ear-blistering levels at the principal or dean of your school.
Sending a Text and Getting Left on Read
No matter who it is, sending a text message and getting left on "read" is frustrating. Juice Wrld's "Hear Me Calling" is a reminder that when you hit up that special someone, they may be hearing and seeing that call or text, but they're moving on to the next one.
Squaring Up for That First Fight
You're tired of being picked on by an annoying bully. Although this is your first fight, Ski Mask The Slump God’s “Catch Me Outside" is the perfect soundtrack to confront your bully and let them catch the fade. Good luck.
Marrying the Love of Your Life
Nervous but excited. Emotional but happy. Today is the big day, you're marrying the love of your life. Method Man’s classic rap ballad “All I Need” featuring Mary J. Blige is the perfect song to help you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with your significant other.
Shooting a Shot in the DMs and Scoring
You've been following your favorite Instagram model for months and you just want to say “Hi” to her. The courage to shoot your shot by sliding in her DMs comes, and you're praying that she won’t delete your sincere message of affection. Surprisingly, she replies and wants to chat. Yo Gotti was right. It goes “Down in the DM.”
Celebrating Your 21st Birthday
This is not your typical birthday. We all know what it means when you turn 21 years old—you're now able to legally drink. It's another sign, you're officially an adult. Dougie F’s celebratory song “Birthday” is the perfect anthem for your special day. Now that you are an adult, have fun and drink responsibly.
Getting Dumped for the First Time
Nothing is more embarrassing than getting dumped by your first love. Big Sean’s track "I Don't Fuck With You" is a reminder of that emptiness you sometimes feel after a relationship ends. But don’t spend time wondering what you did wrong. Instead, think about how great you are without that person in your life.
Landing the Job You Always Wanted
After months of being unemployed or working a gig that you hate, you finally nabbed the dream job you always wanted. So when you're walking down the street and someone asks, “What are you gonna do today?" Just say, “Hey, I wanna get paid, ’ery day, ’ery day, payday,” while humming Slum Village's soulful tune “Get Dis Money.”
The Birth of Your First Child
Today is the most joyous day of your life. You have welcomed your first child into the world. Having a baby comes with lots of emotions as Jay-Z can attest in “Glory,” his beautiful ode to his first child Blue Ivy. The happiness and love that your first born will bring into your life will be beyond your wildest imagination. Glory
Entering the friend zone can be one of the most painful emotional experiences of your life. Biz Markie's classic song "Just a Friend" is the perfect song to help you get over the rejection. Don't feel negative about it. Protect your heart and just know that there's someone out there who would make an awesome girlfriend or boyfriend.
Realizing You Spent the Last Money You Had
You just received your IRS tax refund and it's a huge windfall. After cashing the check, you spend all the money on bills, some new clothes and eating out. You're feeling like Rick Ross on his anthemic track "Blowin Money Fast." You scream, "I think I'm Big Meech, Larry Hoover/Whippin' work, hallelujah/One nation, under God/Real niggas gettin' money from the fuckin' start."
Understanding That You're Mom Really Does Know It All
You can't fool your mother; she really does know everything. Despite nagging, moms just want what’s best for their kids. Plus, she always gives the best advice no matter if you've already talked it over a thousand times before. Like Goodie Mob sings on “Guess Who?” there will never be another that will love you like your mother.
Passing Your Driver's Test
After many hours of paid driving lessons, and two failed attempts, you finally pass your driver’s test. You are now legal to drive a vehicle. It’s a total “Win” like that song from Jay Rock. Now comes the fun part—looking for your first car.
Moving Into a Brand New Apartment
You did it. You got the keys to your brand new apartment and are going through a range of emotions. Everything about the new crib is amazing. You can't wait to have dinner parties and binge on Netflix in your very own living room. DJ Khaled’s song “I Got the Keys” represents the new keys to unlock the front door to your future. Congratulations!