25 Rap Songs to Get You Pumped Up

Drake performs onstage at Madison Square Garden

local office / Getty Images 

Feeling down and out? Need help getting pumped up for a presentation? Just trying to shed a few pounds? Running from zombies? Whatever the occasion, these 25 songs will add the proverbial pep to your step.

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Eminem "Berzerk" album cover.
Courtesy of Interscope

A face-melting Rick Rubin special meets Billy Squier riffs meets Beastie Boys-inspired ol' skool rhyming meets boom bap meets ​the greatest white rapper of all time cartwheeling all over the damn playground.

Perfect for: Cardio

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Kendrick Lamar—"Backseat Freestyle"

Kendrick Lamar on stage with microphone.

Kevin Mazur / Global Citizen / Getty Images

Every rapper has a blackout moment when they basically go in and wild out on the beat just because. This was K. Dot's blackout moment on his first major outing.

Perfect for: Jogging

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Drake—"Worst Behavior"

Drake on stage with microphone.
Harmony Gerber / Getty Images

"Worst Behavior" is what happens when that kid who got teased in school finally knuckles up. WORST!

Perfect for: Mirror talk

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Pusha T—"Numbers on the Board"

Pusha T
Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images

It starts with the beat. It's sparse and steely, and by the time Pusha T's voice comes on, you're already hooked.

Perfect for: Pre-game pump up

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Clipse in chair pointing at camera.
Hannah Maule-Ffinch / Photoshot / Getty Images

"Grindin'" dropped in my freshman year in college and it is still a certified banger today. With P and Chad's bare-bones beat, hand claps and Clipse's menacing vocals, a summer hit was born.

Perfect for: Pre-work run

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Kanye West—"Stronger"

Kanye West with microphone.
Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Judging by the no-expense-spared video for "Stronger," the song is designed to suck you in and spit you out with a newly-chiseled body.

Perfect for: Running

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Crime Mob—"Knuck if You Buck"

Crime Mob album cover.

Courtesy of Crunk Incorporated

Dumb enough to be ratchet. Cold enough to be scary. The haunting loop, the froggy voice telling you to "knuckle up if you buck wild," the long white tees 10 times the size of the wearers make "Knuck" an all-time favorite in the ratchet-scary weight class.

Perfect for: Gettin' turnt up on the treadmill

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A$AP Ferg—"Work" Remix

A$AP FERG album cover.
Courtesy ASAP Worldwide

"Work" is a raucous, ratchet, raging, throbbing, grimy ode to the streets. And when Fergie says "work," he's not talking binders and cubicles.

Perfect for: Cardio

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A Tribe Called Quest—"Scenario" Remix

A Tribe Called Quest posing on a stoop.
Al Pereira / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Tribe was typically known for their super mellow jazzed-out tunes, and they're still going for that smooth vibe here. But speed up the beat, throw in a verse from Busta Rhymes and you’ve got a real kick-ass track.

Perfect for: Running from an ex

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Cypress Hill—"I Ain't Goin' Out Like That"

Cypress Hill posing in a recording room.
Robert Knight Archive / Redferns / Getty Images

The skit at the end is hilarious and almost as energy-inducing as the bassline backing the entire thing. This is Cypress Hill at their sh!t-talking finest.

Perfect for: Morning run

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T.I.—"Bring 'Em Out"

T.I. album cover

Courtesy of Atlantic

In which the Jay Z of the South brilliantly flips a Jay Z line from "What More Can I Say." The bounce beat by Swizz Beatz adds to the hype.

Perfect for: Running

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Jay Z - "99 Problems"

Jay Z standing with hand over mouth.
Jon Super / Redferns / Getty Images

If you've never seen this live, you haven't fully lived. The crowd participation, Jigga's energy and the thunderous beat make it a concert wonderment of epically epic proportions.

Perfect for: Pregame pump up

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Onyx posing together at a bar table.
Al Pereira / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Obvs. You can't have a playlist about getting hyped up without including Onyx's biggest hit.

Perfect for: Running

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Beastie Boys—"Sure Shot"

Beastie Boys posing in front of a brick wall with signs.
Martyn Goodacre / Getty Images

In the summer of 94, Beastie Boys released a 7-song single to promote Ill Communications. There were the typical instrumental tracks, new tracks, remixes, and remixes of remixes. The focal point of the release, however, was "Sure Shot," a chant-friendly trunk rattler sure to get any party started.

Perfect for: Pregame pump-up

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DJ Snake & Lil Jon—"Turn Down for What"

DJ Snake album cover.
Courtesy of Mad Decent

Pay a visit to any club in America and watch how this song throws every dancefloor into hysterical episodes of indecision. No one knows quite what to do with their body when "Turn Down for What" comes on.

Perfect for: Turning all the way up

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Meek Mill—"Ima Boss"

Meek Mill posing with necklace held up to camera.

Courtesy of MMG

Meek Mill yells his way through life. I sometimes visualize him yelling his order at a McDonald's drive-thru.

Perfect for: Running on the sidewalk.

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DMX—"Party Up"

DMX on stage with microphone.
Scott Gries / Getty Images

Sometimes, I sit and wonder why the Internet exists. Then I see a Vine of a llama prancing merrily across the pasture to the tune of DMX's "Party Up" and I'm whole again.

Perfect for: Scrapping

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N.W.A.—"Straight outta Compton"

N.W.A. posing in front of white wall.
Lynn Goldsmith / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images

It wasn't just a gangsta rap anthem. It was also a vicious street classic that resonated with the frustrations of the young, Black and persecuted in L.A.

Perfect for: Running

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Kool G Rap & DJ Polo—"Poison"

Kool G Rap album cover.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

For the young and unfamiliar, Kool G Rap is the godfather of a very special brand of hardcore hip-hop. He influenced the likes of Rakim and Black Thought and Nas and anyone else who has ever married gangsta-ism with lyricism. And on "Poison," you can hear G Rap "making you feel the real deal."

Perfect for: Running

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The Roots—"Here I Come"

The Roots posing in front of Bacardi ad.
Amy Tierney / WireImage

The first time I heard "Here I Come," I was on the Roots' tour bus listening to a rough version of Game Theory. And up to that point, the album had been a moderately quiet experience. Then "Here I Come" came on and I was bobbing my head like a convulsed lemur. Questlove described "Here I Come" as the sequel to "Boom." The Late Night with Jimmy Fallon theme music is definitely a gym favorite.

Perfect for: Running

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Big Daddy Kane—"Warm It Up, Kane"

Big Daddy Kane with microphone.
Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

If you ever find yourself low on confidence and need to reassure your inner self that you're still as fabulous as ever, turn on this firecracker and do the "Warm it up, Kane" chant. For best results: Replace "Kane" with your first name.

Perfect for: Mirror talk

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Public Enemy—"Fight the Power"

Public Enemy performing on Fight the Power stage.
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Chuck D's virulent rhymes and the Bomb Squad's blustering production make "Fight the Power" one helluva of a protest.

Perfect for: Protests

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LL Cool J—"Mama Said Knock You Out"

LL Cool J album cover.
Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings

Ah, the ring walk fave of every professional boxer in the 90s. Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" is indeed the soundtrack to a punching session. Besides, seeing LL's pecs will make anyone hit the gym for their own long overdue workout session. The sepia music video of a hooded up LL and a microphone in the boxing ring is a thing of beauty.

Perfect for: Ring walk

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M.O.P.—"Ante Up"

M.O.P. performing on stage in front of excited crowd.
Scott Gries / ImageDirect / Getty Images

A couple weeks back, I was trying to motivate myself to get out of bed in the morning, so I set my alarm to "Ante Up." The next morning, as soon as the song went off, I jumped out of bed and proceeded to collide with the wall. Redefined the meaning of "rude awakening."

Perfect for: Waking up

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Outkast posing in a red hallway.
Rick Diamond / WireImage / Getty Images

If "B.O.B" doesn’t get you pumped up, you should press two fingers on your pulse point. The lead single off the classic Stankonia album is a sure enough gym-banger.

Perfect for: Hitting the trail