Best Rap Bars of All-Time

Armoni Mcneill

A lot goes into making a good rapper. You’ve got to have a great flow and delivery. You need to be confident, charismatic, and a born performer. But you’ve also got to write great bars — a rapper is nothing without a story to tell and the wit it takes to engage an audience. Here are some of my favorite verses.

Yasiin Bey’s (fka Mos Def) verse on ‘Thieves in the Night’

One of my favorite rap verses of all time is Yasiin Bey’s (fka Mos Def) verse on ‘Thieves in the Night’ by Black Star. There are so many truths packed into one verse that truly did alter my perspective on the topics of perception vs reality, relationships with authority and the status quo, where we stand as people (black or otherwise) in a domineering capitalist society, and so much more. All in one verse. 

J. Cole’s verse on ‘Tribe’

J.Cole is my favorite rapper; his flow is like nothing else. I love this verse from ‘Tribe’ with Bas.  He says ‘Is it true what they say? The higher you go, the longer you fall.’ The work never stops; you gotta keep pushing and pushing.

Andre 3000’s verse on ‘Sixteen’

I remember my dad playing this repeatedly when it dropped. Ending a sentence on one bar and finishing it after the pause on the next works far too well. The 2Pac line and the guitar solo with the Rick Ross ad libs are just two of the standout moments.

Rick Ross’ verse on ‘Devil In A New Dress’

You could easily pick a lot of Rick Ross verses to put into a list, but this one is perfect. The classic Rick Ross flow over a Kanye joint is unmatched.

Nas’ first verse on ‘NY State Of Mind’

I honestly don’t have to write about this; everybody knows.

The Notorious B.I.G’s verse on ‘Notorious Thugs’

Biggie has the best flow in hip-hop: effortless wordplay that sits right in the pocket and is the slickest to ever do it. But on this in particular, there is a certain rhythm he taps into that doesn’t sacrifice his classic lines.

2Pac on ‘Letter 2 My Unborn’

The story: the way he tells it in the first verse and introduces it. I grew up with my older cousins just rapping 2PAC verses; every one of his joints have always stuck with me.

Nicki Minaj’s verse on ‘Monster’

Again, I don’t have to write about this. Everyone knows this verse.