It’s a debate that has permeated pop culture, and today we finally put that debate to rest. What is the greatest generic rap beat in YouTube history?
I have spent the past eight months reviewing thousands of data points and listening to hundreds of hours of hip-hop beats, and I’ve compiled all of my research below and narrowed down the list to a neat 10.
Before we get started, though, I must note the creation of this list is based on the following criteria:
- INFLUENCE. Did the beat spawn a subgenre and/or a legion of copycats?
- CULTURAL IMPACT. How much did this beat shape the cultural zeitgeist? Do we still talk about it?
- OVERALL MUSICAL VALUE. Does this beat slap?
Without further ado, here it finally is. The 10 Greatest Generic YouTube Rap Beats In History.
10. “UPBEAT AND HAPPY BACKGROUND MUSIC”
Rumored to be a leftover from the Yeezus sessions, "Upbeat And Happy Background Music" is audio Zoloft. Are you miserable? This beat will help. Let's say your ex just burned your house down, kidnapped your cat, and murdered all four of your grandparents with a metal baseball bat. If you listen to this beat, you’ll cheer up immediately. Thank you, Mr. West.
9. “10 HOURS OF SAD CELLO”
Easily one of the top five beats Dr. Dre has ever produced. It’s a mystery why Dre left “10 Hours of Sad Cello” on the cutting room floor of The Chronic sessions. Snoop’s verse would have been legendary… But I guess we’ll never know. At least we got this incredible G-funk beat to ride to. A golden moment for the West Coast.
8. “RELAXING HAWAIIAN MUSIC”
This timeless bop is perfect for the baller on a budget. Wanna visit Hawaii but you don't have any cash to throw around? Just hit play on “Relaxing Hawaiian Music,” close your eyes, and imagine you're in paradise. Sip a margarita, wear a lei, say culturally insensitive things. You're on vacation! Man, No I.D. really went all out.
7. “LOVE MAKING MUSIC”
I know only ‘90s R&B groups and serial killers refer to sex as “lovemaking,” but this classic still holds up. The beat, a mellow and sensual creation of the RZA, was deemed too sexy for The Wu-Tang Clan to fuck with, which ultimately led to it being dumped on YouTube, but if you were born after 2005—and I hate to be the guy who breaks this news to you—there’s a 110 percent chance this beat soundtracked your conception.
6. “STUDY MUSIC”
“Study Music” is far too short, but it’s still a banger. There’s a reason The Source gave this five mics back in ‘02, and why every SoundCloud rapper in the country has tried to spit over it. It’s also perfect for productivity. If I discovered this track in 2015, I probably wouldn't have flunked out of college.
5. “BEATS TO SMOKE TO”
Need some tunes to smoke to? Ask and you shall receive. The best part? The title never specifies what you should be smoking. It could be weed; it could be crack. Whether you’re looking to just chill with a blunt or straight up ruin your life with a crack pipe, congrats, you’ve found your soundtrack.
4. “EASY FREESTYLE BEAT”
You want to spit a freestyle but avoid the shackles of conforming to lame shit like a “flow” and “rhythm.” Allow me to recommend this musical masterpiece. Remember, if all else fails just rhyme “bomb” with “Vietnam.” No one has done that yet.
3. “BEST WORKOUT MUSIC”
Working out without music is like hitting on a girl without alcohol in your system. Sure, it’s possible, but anyone who does it is a psychopath. What should you work out to? Catchy ‘80s tunes? Death metal? A four-hour Joe Rogan podcast where he talks about how DMT helped him realize that Martians built the Eiffel Tower? My advice: skip the middleman and let YouTube decide for you. That’s what makes "Best Workout Music" such a timeless classic.
2. “DRAKE- TYPE” BEAT
This is a fun choose-your-own-adventure activity for a rainy Sunday afternoon. While listening to “Drake-type Beat,” I recommend creating your own Drake song. The possibilities are endless. Will it be a cocky song or a self-pitying song? Will Drizzy be ballin’ or bawlin’? It’s up to you. I prefer a mixture of the two, something confident yet vulnerable like: “I've been fuckin bitches every hour of the day / But what’s the point of pussy when you’re always feeling lonely anyway?” Sure, it's a lazy lyric, but that's my prerogative.
1. “CELESTIAL WHITE NOISE”
BOOM! This is it. The Holy Grail of YouTube beats; a tastefully artistic, minimalistic masterpiece that requires dozens of listens to digest how nuanced and emotionally layered it is; a work so iconic even the most casual of hip-hop fans know it by heart. To say this beat goes hard would be the understatement of the century. Legendary.