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Last Updated: August 31st
Hip-hop is the best workout music, hands down. Whether you need to catch a steady rhythm for your cardio routine or a blast of confidence to push through that last rep of heavyweights, there is no genre better suited to provide exactly what you’re looking for to enhance your exercise experience.
As a genre, rap tends to traffic in swaggering boasts, which can help pump up your ego when you’re looking around a crowded gym and feeling deflated, and motivational lyrics to help you feel like you can do anything when you hit the wall during a training session. The driving beats, especially the more uptempo or anthemic ones, get your heart racing and help you keep pace, whether on the treadmill or on the trail. And let’s face it, occasionally you just need to drown out the noise of a packed fitness center, the distraction of a chatty workout partner, or just the ambient sounds of the clamorous world around you.
Below are some of the best workout mixes on Spotify that primarily focus on rap and hip-hop — and associated genres like UK Grime for variety. Some are long, some are short, some stick to old school, while others fully embrace the new, while still others blend both, and one is even all clean versions for those home workouts with little ones present. Check them all out, and may they help you reach your goals, whatever they may be.
Hip Hop Workout Bangers
Recently updated with hard-driving hits like YG’s “Big Bank” and Nicki Minaj’s “Majesty,” this list lives up to its title. It’s packed with high-energy, uptempo motivation music, from Migos’ “Stir Fry” to DMX’s “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” to get that heart rate racing.
Rap Workout by Spotify
The most obvious choice is sometimes the best. While it’d be easy to write off the Spotify-curated list as corporate canned hash, in fact, this playlist starts off about as strong as it gets, with BOB’s “Headband” featuring 2 Chainz. You simply can’t go wrong with a DJ Mustard beat; it gets the blood flowing right off the bat, hitting you with a burst of uptempo energy to give you the initial spark to get started. It also makes use of some hidden gems to give your brain an extra jolt of positivity — “I remember this one!” — to go with the endorphin rush that accompanies a good, long run or a few intervals of high-intensity training.
Basketball Warm-Ups by rod.simmons19
This one’s for the hoopers. Basketball players love J. Cole, whose Friday Night Lights and Sideline Story album titles and cover art directly referenced the sport, and ever since his debut, they’ve loved seeing him sit courtside at games and warming up to his music on their Beats headphones. It’s no surprise, then, that four songs from 2014 Forest Hills Drive appear right at the beginning of this mix, which is bolstered by further appearances from expert motivators like Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, and Russ. While the overall tempo remains pretty low key, sometimes that’s exactly what you want as you ramp up to higher energy workouts like the ones right after tipoff.
Rap Workout (Clean) by Charles Randall
Sometimes, working out in headphones just isn’t feasible. Or other times, you just need to let the music blast through your home gym. However, your taste in workout motivation might not be everyone’s cup of tea, or there might be young children present you don’t want repeating DMX and Snoop Dogg‘s dirty words. This mix is for you. The description recommends putting it on shuffle and letting it play, which is a great strategy for mixing up new and old school styles, but listeners of a certain generation may find themselves only running through the first 40 or so songs, which sit comfortably in that ’90s hip-hop head pocket — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But one day when you’re feeling ambitious, give that shuffle suggestion a try — you just might find you actually enjoy newer artists like YFN Lucci, OT Genasis, Lil Durk, and Moneybagg Yo. If not, there’s plenty of Jeezy and T.I. to get you through your workout.
Workout Rap by nuwaveselects
With a strong balance of newer trap anthems like “Bartier Cardi” from Cardi B and militant marches like Eminem‘s “Till I Collapse,” this mix is great for everything from heavy lifting to cross-training. It’s also oddly good for music discovery as well; while it does have a solid layer of hits from hip-hop performers as broad-ranging as Drake, 50 Cent, and Fort Minor, it also finds room for sprinklings of newer, lesser-known rappers like TAOG, Jew-buh, T. Stubbz, Jay Critch, and Jimmy Wopo (RIP).
Pump Up Rap by Michael Wolfe
Featuring an unusual blend of artists, tempos, and styles, this one lends itself well to a varied routine that can make use of low-key, mid-tempo bangers like Ty Dolla Sign’s “Clout” and Schoolboy Q‘s “Collard Greens,” as well as faster hits like Offset and Metro Boomin’s “Ric Flair Drip” and Big Sean‘s 2015 hit “I Don’t F*ck With You.” Swerving from 21 Savage to Xavier Wulf to Chief Keef and landing on Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” with Future and Rick Ross, this playlist lives up to its promise to get you pumped up for everything from big games to weekend turn-ups.
Rap Workout by Rap Nation
Rather than mixing up old and new, this playlist mines the fresher pool of talent coming up on Soundcloud and other streaming services to keep things underground and up-and-coming. Wifisfuneral, Lil Skies, Tekashi 69, Lil Pump, Jaden Smith, Playboi Carti, Smokepurpp, and JID feature prominently, meaning this list will likely appeal to the under-25 crowd. Of course, that won’t preclude the more adventurous ’70s and ’80s babies from enjoying the driving beats, unhinged energy, and unconventional flows from these young leaders of the new school.
Gymshark Old School Hip-Hop by Gymshark
This one starts with a dose of high-energy nostalgia, kicking things off with Dead Prez’s “Hip-Hop” before quickly stretching the definition of just what constitutes “old school” hip-hop. Songs here run the gamut from mid-’80s electro-hop from Whodini, to late-’90s radio smashes like Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” Along the way, gritty anthems from the likes of Nas, Onyx, and Wu-Tang Clan clash with classic Golden Era head-nodders from KRS-One, LL Cool J, Gang Starr, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Public Enemy, and A Tribe Called Quest. A few early-’00s rabble-rousers like Busta Rhymes’ “Break Ya Neck” and even J-Kwon’s lost gem “Hood Hop” sneak in, proving that age really ain’t nothing but a number, but a good exercise regimen can have you feeling like a kid again no matter what era of rap you grew up on.
Gymshark UK Grime & Rap by Gymshark
Although not technically hip-hop, at least according to many across the pond, Grime shares more than a passing resemblance to its American cousin, as well as common roots. The primary difference is in the beats; Grime tends to utilize skittish 2-step and garage soundscapes, sometimes even delving into dubstep and dancehall for its electro-accented, rave-ready headbangers. Incidentally, while these beats make rapping to them an enterprise better left to the unique delivery of UK-born MCs like Chip, Bugzy Malone, Skepta, Nines, Giggs, Krept & Konan, Stormzy, Lethal Bizzle, Dizee Rascal, Wiley, and Ghetts, they make absolute perfect high-voltage energizers for lifting, running, and aerobic exercise.
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