When you think of the rap genre, your mind might automatically scream, “My kids are not listening to that crap!” But if you vet the lyrics to some rap songs, you learn that some of them are actually totally appropriate for children to listen to.
Not all rap songs are about sex and violence. In fact, some songs have pretty positive messages. And at this point, almost anything beats the mind-numbing madness that is listening to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat.
We went on a mission to create a playlist of the best rap songs for kids — a mix of new and classic hip-hop and rap. These aren’t radio-censored versions; they’re original songs squeaky clean enough that they won’t leave you completely humiliated when your kid decides to belt out the lyrics in public.
1. Lecrae — “I’ll Find You” featuring Tori Kelly
Lecrae’s 2014 album Anomaly made history when it became the first to be on the Billboard Top 200 and top gospel charts at the same time. Needless to say, all of his songs are good, clean music.
2. Gym Class Heroes — “Stereo Hearts” featuring Adam Levine
Clean, cute and Adam Levine: the trifecta.
3. Rihanna — “We Found Love” featuring Calvin Harris
Two words: dance party. Probably the cleanest song ever from one of the baddest divas around; and while the video is not really kid-safe, the song definitely is.
4. Flo Rida — “Good Feeling”
The title of this song really should just be #goals.
5. Arrested Development — “Tennessee”
Give it two or three plays and your kids will be singing every word to this awesome throwback. Why is that awesome? Because there will be nothing better for your temperament than watching your kid coloring while singing, “Lord, I’ve really been real stressed, down and out, losing friends…”
6. B.o.B. — “Magic” featuring Rivers Cuomo
Slip in a little alt-rock on your kids to keep it fresh.
7. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince — “Parents Just Don’t Understand”
Most of this duo’s songs are kid-friendly, as is the majority of Will Smith’s music. Can’t go wrong with The Fresh Prince theme, either. This is one your kids will definitely relate to.
8. Kris Kross — “Jump”
Have fun explaining this one to your kids, but it is sure to get them out of their chairs.
A version of this article was originally published in December 2015.