Rap is an art form that can be applied to just about any topic you put your mind to. Of course, hip hop and rap as a whole can be defined by some common themes and tropes that come up quite often in the genre, but recent years and subcultures have shown it can branch out even further than anyone ever expected.
In this article, we’ll go over 65 different things to rap about, from common themes to fresh topics that might not have crossed your mind yet.
Money is a theme in all of rap music, but it’s an overarching one. You could rap about the money you have, the lack of money in your past, or the money you want. All of it’s up for grabs. A lot of the most popular rap songs tackle this topic by diving into material possessions, some of which we’ll get into as we go further into this article.
Speaking of possessions that let you flaunt your wealth, cars—and jewelry—are some of the most common things brought up in rap music today. You can of course talk about the expensive cars you own or want to own, but the topic as a whole has a lot of potential. Heck, you could even write some bars about how to fix a car and post it as a tutorial online.
If you need another topic that’s inseparable from the rap game, look no further than laying down bars about women. It doesn’t matter if it’s a special someone in your life or the women at the club, there’s always plenty to say on this particular topic.
Downing some drinks on a night out or at the crib is almost as synonymous with rap music as women and money are. But any kind of party can be the subject of your next rap compilation, so don’t be afraid if you’ve only been to smaller or more tame gatherings.
5. The Grind
It’s not enough to just talk about the wealth you’ve accumulated. For many, telling the story of all the hard work put in to gain it is just as important. Working hard and grinding is one of the biggest themes in the rap game today, showing just how much of a point of pride it has become over the last few years.
Telling others exactly who you are can be a positive thing. It allows fans to relate to the rapper while also serving as a cathartic and thought-provoking experience for the artist. Identity is another one of the biggest themes in rap, from the place you came from to what you stand for, it’s always something rappers tend to place a high priority on in their lyrics.
Any kind of relationship will do, from the brotherhood—or sisterhood—of friends to a romantic relationship, be it casual or serious. You can talk about your family and the people who matter to you, or even pour your heart out to the person you fell in love with; it’s all up for grabs here.
Power is a massive topic in the rap game, especially for people who grew up without any. Rapping about power can be done in a number of different ways too, giving you plenty of room to explore the topic. Gaining power or notoriety, the things you would do if you had it, or talking about the people in power are all solid topics.
Revenge can be a tricky topic to cover in a tasteful way. You don’t want to just be a hater, but approaching it from the heroic side will do away with a lot of those thoughts. Getting revenge on an ex who did you wrong or the person who hurt one of your friends can garner a lot of sympathy as people will be able to relate to it and live vicariously through the lyrics.
Speaking of exes who did you wrong, cheating is a topic that can come up in plenty of raps about relationships. Whether their infidelity is the reason for your revenge or you just need an emotional release to let all of those hurt emotions out, rapping about being cheated on is a great way to deal with those feelings.
11. Forbidden Love
Love gets explored a lot in rap, but forbidden love has an edge to it that a love song just doesn’t. Maybe you rap about loving a person you should have no business being with or maybe it’s just so wrong that it turns out right. Either way, it can be an engaging and interesting topic to explore.
Dealing with heartbreak can be one of the most emotionally traumatic experiences you’ll go through in life. Rapping about it not only gives those feelings a place to be released, but it can also let fans and listeners know that they aren’t alone.
Love itself is a deep topic, and there are almost an innumerable number of ways to include it in your bars. It’s also one of the fundamental aspects of being a human being. Love for family, friends, and partners, these are important to who you are and what you care about.
There’s plenty of lust in the rap game. So, while it isn’t an uncommon trope, it’s definitely something you could try approaching from a fresh angle.
You don’t have to go all “power of friendship” in your raps to talk about how big an impact your friends have had on your life. It’s a good place to remind people not to take their friends for granted and enjoy the time they have together. It’s a topic that’s universally relatable, which makes it great for engaging listeners.
Family can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s their blood relatives, but for others, the people they think of as family. Rapping about family is something that most people can relate to, and it’s an easy one to put some real emotion behind.
Life goals are incredibly important to people. For some, just making it in their career is a shining achievement that they’re proud of, especially in the rap game. But you can do a lot with this topic, from simple goals like providing for your family to complicated ones like ending societal issues.
A good fighting rap song is all it takes to get a room hyped up. There’s an air of excitement surrounding a good fight, no matter the reason for it starting, that adds an extra level of energy to your rap lyrics.
Covering a topic like your own childhood in rap is one of the best ways to let people get to know you. Whether you’re talking about the fun times you had during your childhood or the struggles you had to deal with and overcome, it can be one of the best universal and personal topics to deploy in your bars, without the heavy weight of other personal topics.
20. Growing Up
Growing up is a universal experience for people. It’s painful, awkward, and just no fun. Losing the innocence and carefree state of being a child is something everyone has to go through, though not everyone does it at the same age. Rapping about growing up is something relatable and gives people an outlet for the problems they had dealing with it as well.
21. Where You’re From
The place you’re from can have a huge impact on the way you view the world, how you grew up, and who you become. While it’s a piece of your identity, there are so many ways to branch out into the place you came from. You can talk about all the great things about it or the things that made it rough, even just telling stories gets easier with this as one of the focuses of your bars.
There are very few topics that are as universal and overarching as just talking about life. From day-to-day tasks and struggles to the things that really matter, life is a great topic. A verse can be as simple as your thoughts on making life worth living or major life events and how they’ve changed you.
School is an interesting topic to rap about, because like almost all of the topics in this list, it has a lot of available variety. You can talk about your own time during school and try relating to students to expand your audience. You could, of course, also write something educational or give tips for surviving a school year.
Religion can be another big topic in rap, especially when it comes to Christian rap. Hip hop isn’t exactly always something that fits into the tenets of the religion, but Christian rap is an art form used to give glory to God and talk about faith. If you’re religious, consider rapping about your own beliefs and the ways it has helped you in life.
Just like our last topic, God can be the main focus of a rap. Glorifying your creator, giving thanks for all the things you’ve been given, or even just describing Him in as great a way as possible is a solid basis for a religious rap song.
Sobriety can be one of the most important aspects of people’s lives, especially those who have dealt with addiction or seen the problems drugs and alcohol can cause in their lives. It’s not an easy road to take, often a struggle every day. But a good rap about sobriety can help and inspire others in their own journeys.
Drugs are a pretty common theme in rap music too, though this is the opposite of our last topic. You could rap about the pitfalls of drugs or the great time you have when you’re on them. It’s a topic with a lot of flexibility, allowing people to approach it from whatever angle they feel the most comfortable.
Greed isn’t a light topic, but it is something that serves as an undercurrent in rap often. Whether it’s always wanting more money, cars, jewelry, and fame or calling out the greed of a record label that’s done you wrong. Heavier topics like this can add weight to a rap that it might otherwise lack.
Many people dream of being able to travel the world to see everything they can and experience all kinds of other cultures. A rapper describing their travels is yet another way to flex on the haters and a fun way to explore their worldliness in a song.
Flexing has a major influence on the rap game, with some amazing songs entirely dedicated to it. Showing off a lavish lifestyle has become commonplace, but a rapper doesn’t have to take this angle. No matter the lifestyle or way a rapper wants to approach it, describing their lifestyle can either set them above the rest or help bring them down to earth with fans.
31. Overcoming Obstacles
People are always going to face obstacles in their lives, especially when it comes to achieving their goals. There are a ton of ways to approach the ones you’ve gone through yourself, from bragging about doing it to encouraging others to be able to do the same. Discussing them can also add a bit of humanity to the lyrics and just might inspire others to overcome their own problems.
32. Fake Friends
Fake friends have become a common topic in recent years, especially with the growing influence of social media. There’s nothing worse than someone only being around because of what you can provide for them, and everybody hates a fake friend. It’s relatable and easy to rap about, giving room for some nasty diss lines as well.
The next few topics are all social issues that are often focused on by socially conscious rappers. Racism is a massive part of hip hop, and rap as a whole, bringing attention to the issue of racism and pointing out major incidents that people may not be aware of.
One of the most important parts of successful social change is unity. When people as a group decide on something, it has a much higher chance of actually happening. Even just lending a voice or some support to a cause can improve its chance of succeeding. Calling for unity in a rap can help grow a following and make real change happen.
35. Police Brutality
Police brutality is an ongoing problem that has almost always been a topic of discussion in the rap game. Using it as a topic in your own lyrics can help bring awareness to the issue, call for or suggest changes to help, or bring attention to specific incidents and injustices.
Politically-charged rap is nothing new, but with the current slate of politicians in power, there’s no shortage of content to rap about or clown on. No matter what side of the aisle a rapper falls on, it can be a positive medium to put their positions out there and potentially influence any number of fans.
A political topic that might be a bit out there to take on in a rap would be immigration. Most countries have a ton of immigrants, especially in the Western world. Maybe the rapper is an immigrant or they were born to immigrants. It’s a topic with several angles to take, no matter what side you stand on in an immigration debate.
38. Gun Violence
Gun violence is an issue that touches the lives of thousands, if not millions, each year. For some, it may be an afterthought, but for others, it’s an everyday part of life. Bringing awareness to things like that is one way to help bring about real change in communities. Rapping about problems and what life is really like through this lens can show the real violence happening every day.
39. Wealth Disparities
Another big issue in communities is the disparity of wealth that seems to follow the place you live in. Completely outside of the control of people, they end up having fewer opportunities to become wealthy. It’s an issue worthy of attention and something any socially conscious rapper should consider putting into their rhymes.
While conflict is something that gets listeners, what better message could a rapper put in their song than a call for peace? Peaceful resolutions to issues are massively important for everyone’s sake, and like other genres that call for peace and unity, rap can do the same thing.
41. Mental Health
Mental health issues have become a normal topic in rap and music across several different genres over the last few years. No matter the issues you struggle with, you can write an amazing rap about it that will help people relate to you. Not only that, but a good rap can help inspire and uplift people who deal with the same problems you do.
Depression is a heavy topic, often left to the side by music artists but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an awesome topic for a rap. Describing your own struggles can help others not just relate to you but feel like they aren’t alone. And when it comes to depression, not feeling alone can make all the difference in the world.
Anxiety, just like our last two topics, can be a tough one to include in your own lyrics because it can be such a personal topic. Rapping about it can give you a safe place to release all of those tensions.
44. Overcoming Trauma
Overcoming traumas and circumstances is a major part of the come-up. It’s a point of pride to have come from a bad place and reached the pinnacle of your form of art. Take the opportunity to brag about the things that have happened in life that could have knocked you down and how you achieved success in spite of them.
Self-love is something almost everyone struggles with at some point in their life, and it’s become a major theme in the emo rap community. No matter how well-off or popular a person is, at some point, they will doubt themselves. Rapping about self-love can help people feel like they aren’t alone and help them get through their own struggles.
Any sort of conflict can do, from something mild like siblings fighting to something serious like battles between gangs or even major international conflicts. Rap beef is also one of the most publicized and praised parts of the genre, spawning legendary diss tracks and inspiring artists for decades.
Who wouldn’t love a rap about a cute dog?
Comedic rap is one of the best styles out there. Like jesters and fools of old, modern rappers can entertain fans and get plenty of laughs by including jokes in their lyrics. From digs at others to literal punchlines, it isn’t hard to fit them in, and it will expand any rapper’s audience by quite a bit.
Storytelling is an integral part of music, but it’s also an integral part of the human experience. Just telling stories, fictional or true, can have a big impact on listeners. Rapping them can force an artist to learn new ways to incorporate themes and help them grow as a lyricist.
Epic rap songs on history, anyone? Rap is one of the most fun ways to learn and one of the most creative ways to tell stories. If you apply this to major historical events, it’s one of the best ways to learn.
51. Social Media
Social media has essentially taken over the entire world since it was created. It’s a major part of people’s lives and many spend more time online than they do with people in person. As a rap topic, you can discuss the positives and negatives of social media, or discuss how it can be used to bring positive changes to society.
52. Lost Friends
Losing a friend is one of the most painful experiences in life, especially if they’ve passed away. This one isn’t about fake friends who have left you, but it’s honoring the real friends who aren’t around anymore and are sorely missed.
53. Jail Time
Spending time in jail isn’t a universal experience, but it’s something that becomes integral to the lives of people who do go through it. It’s another way to relate to a niche of listeners or help warn others of what could happen to them.
54. Bad Luck
Bad luck plagues everyone, and sometimes, it just seems to follow certain people. The experience can make for a compelling verse or two if the rapper has gone through it themselves.
Change is one of the most inevitable concepts out there. Something is always changing, giving plenty of things for rappers to address in their lyrics, from small things like the time the sun sets to big changes like moving. They can also address changes they want to see in their communities or friend groups.
Ego is big, but rappers can always inflate their ego—and give fans a way to inflate their own—by providing some amazing and self-righteous pump-up jams.
Everyone has regrets, but not everyone is able to let them go that easily. Rapping about regrets can help people come to terms with the things they wish they could do differently, both for the rapper and anyone listening.
58. The Music Industry
The music industry isn’t a place where everyone is welcome or has a good experience. That being said, it can be one of the best things to come into a rapper’s life. No matter what angle they take with it, from dissing the industry to praising it, it can make for a fun rap.
What better way to endear fans than to give some shout-out or thank them for all they do for you?
Recipe blogs and videos are boring 99% of the time. People just want to be told or shown what to do and be done with it. But the people who want to be entertained and the people who might not but would still enjoy it will absolutely get a kick out of a rap about food.
Philosophy is something most people likely don’t think of when they think of rap, but it should be. Any sort of musings can count here, from thoughts about life to wondering why people are the way they are. Think shower thoughts and throw them in some bars to come up with something great here.
Technology continues to tighten its cold metallic grip on the lives of human beings every year. With innovation comes change and technology becomes more and more integral to people’s lives every day. That being said, there are positives to it because it makes life more convenient.
Nature has inspired all kinds of music since the dawn of time. Rapping about amazing views, enjoying a place outside, or even diving into the brutal side of nature can make for some intriguing and compelling bars.
Ever had a crappy job and needed a way to express how bad it was or just get some feelings off your chest? Rapping about it might be a cathartic and healing experience for you then. On the other hand, a rapper could address how hard it is to find a good job, how overworked they are, or even praise a job that they actually enjoyed.
65. Health Problems
Everyone deals with health problems at some point in their life, whether that be a devastating problem like cancer or mental health issues that drag people down. Topics involving health problems can include the impact it had on others, the way it changed a person’s life, or even bringing awareness to lesser-known problems people deal with.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.