This list will introduce you to some of the best clean rap songs from over the decades.
Rap music tends to be high on profanity, with frequent references to sex, drugs, and violence. However, as this list shows, many of the greatest rap songs of all time are free from swearing and graphic language.
That said, it can be hard to dig out clean rap songs. This is made harder by the fact that many existing lists of clean rap songs are not actually clean! I’ve checked the lyrics of each one of these songs to make sure.
From the 80s and 90s ‘golden age’ of hip-hop, through to the biggest trap hits of recent times, this list showcases some of the best kid-friendly, family-friendly, clean rap songs ever.
1. God’s Plan – Drake
One of Drake’s most popular and most streamed songs of all time is a totally clean rap song. Released in 2018, this trap track topped the Billboard Hot 100, and was nominated for three Grammy awards – Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Rap Song.
The music video is equally well-loved. One of the most-popular rap music videos of all time, ‘God’s Plan’ has achieved well over one billion views on YouTube, and it shows the artist giving away the video’s budget – $175,000 – to random people that he meets.
2. Sunflower – Post Malone and Swae Lee
‘Sunflower’ is one of Post Malone’s most popular songs of all time. The smash hit, which was released in 2018 to accompany the Spider-Man film, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was one of the best-selling records of the year, being certified seventeen times platinum by the RIAA.
The track has a dreamy, R&B-influenced feel, and has been described as a mix between hip-hop and dream pop. The track was nominated for the 2020 Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. A great, clean rap song.
3. Praise God – Kanye West
In recent times, Kanye West has made the headlines for all the wrong reason. But he remains one of the greatest rappers of all time, and he has a number of clean songs, especially from his more recent gospel-influenced records.
‘Praise God’ is a trap track from Kanye’s 2021 album Donda and features additional vocals from Travis Scott and Baby Keem. The song peaked at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100, charted in the top fifty in countries around the world, and topped Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart.
The whole of Kanye’s Donda album is clean, as well as a number of other tracks including ‘Welcome to Heartbreak,’ ‘Say You Will,’ and ‘Bad News.’
4. I Can – Nas
Nas is one of the most respected rappers of all time, and his song ‘I Can’ is a fantastic clean rap song that is specifically aimed at kids. The song has an uplifting and clear message about making wise decisions in life. The song samples the classical piano composition ‘Für Elise’ by Beethoven.
Released in 2003, ‘I Can’ was not just popular with kids – the song was well-liked enough to reach number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A perfect clean rap song for kids and adults alike.
5. Hey Ya! – Outkast
One of Outkast’s most successful and most popular songs of all time is ‘Hey Ya!.’ The esteemed hip-hop duo released the track in 2003, and it topped the Billboard Hot 100, as well as numerous charts in countries around the world. The song won multiple awards including the Grammy award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
Lyrically, ‘Hey Ya!’ is humorous, with an accompanying video that is colourful and playful. Some of the lyrics have suggestive undertones, although the meaning will be lost on most kids. The song is completely free of swear words, and basically just great clean fun.
6. Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio
Coolio’s iconic song ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ is one of the greatest rap songs of all time, and, even better, it’s a good, clean song. The song is one of the only Coolio songs that doesn’t contain swearing. The reason the song is clean is because it samples Stevie Wonder’s ‘Pastime Paradise,’ and Stevie stated that he didn’t want his music to be paired with curse words.
The 1995 song was the top-selling single on Billboard that year, and is often listed as one of the best hip-hop songs of all time. The song saw Coolio awarded with the Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance. The music video, which accompanied the film Dangerous Minds, has amassed over one billion views on YouTube.
7. Panini – Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X shot to fame with his sensationally popular single ‘Old Town Road.’ His second big single ‘Panini’ was another big chart success and a perfectly clean rap song. The song charted worldwide, and reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
The unusual song is not about a sandwich as the name suggests. Lil Nas X has explained in an interview that the song actually refers to the character Panini from the TV show Chowder. The song is about fans who liked the artist before he was famous, and how he wants those fans to continue to like him even though he is now a rap superstar.
An innocent and clean rap song that’s totally suitable for kids.
8. Let You Down – NF
NF is one of the most popular Christian rappers in the world today, and ‘Let You Down’ is his biggest hit to date. The 2017 song peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, topped Billboard’s Hot Christian Songs chart, and reached the top ten in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Sweden, and Norway.
The track is a moving song about the artist’s relationship with his father, who raised him alone. His parents went through a divorce, with his mother eventually dying of an overdose.
If you are looking for good clean rap songs, then artists like NF from the Christian rap scene are a great way to go, since they virtually never swear in their raps as a matter of principle.
9. Express Yourself – N.W.A
N.W.A. are an iconic hip-hop group hailing from the ‘golden age’ of hip-hop. Their song ‘Express Yourself’ is a fantastic clean rap song, with a great message. Released in 1989, the song peaked at number two on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart.
The track features Dr.Dre exclusively on the vocals, and is one of the rare N.W.A. songs that contains no profanity and no reference to violence. As the title suggests, the song is about self-expression. A solid, clean rap song from one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time.
10. It’s Like That – Run-DMC and Jason Nevins
One of the great rap songs of the 90s, ‘It’s Like That’ is a Run-DMC song that was first released in 1983. However, it was the 1997 remix by Jason Nevins that saw this song become a massive global success.
The track did not chart especially high in the US, but it was phenomenally popular in Europe, topping the charts in the UK, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Sweden.
Lyrically, the song is about social and economic problems that were faced in the neighborhood of Hollis, New York. Musically, the track incorporates elements of hip-hop and house, and has been described as ‘hip house.’ An iconic breakdancing and rap song that is totally free of swear words.
11. See You Again – Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
Released in 2015, ‘See You Again’ is one of the all-time most viewed videos on YouTube, and a great clean rap song. Performed by rapper Wiz Khalifa and singer Charlie Puth, the song was released as a tribute to the actor Paul Walker who died in a car accident in 2013. Lyrically, the song is about grief and loss.
The song spent a total of twelve weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as reaching the number one spot in charts around the world. The song has around 6 billion views on YouTube. This track is proof that good clean lyrics can actually help a song’s popularity.
12. Hotline Bling – Drake
Drake’s 2015 hit ‘Hotline Bling’ is one of the Canadian rappers biggest hits, and it is also free from swear words. Featuring that iconic line ‘you used to call me on my cell phone,’ the song’s video is also responsible for one of the most recognisable memes of all time.
The track reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and went on to win 2017 Grammy awards for Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song. It reached the top ten in global charts around the world. A classic R&B Drake song that is suitable for all, containing no swear words.
13. Butterfly Effect – Travis Scott
Travis Scott’s ‘Butterfly Effect’ is a totally clean rap song from his iconic 2018 album Astroworld. One of the most popular trap artists in the rap scene, this track is the perfect way to access Travis Scott’s discography if you are looking for tracks without any swear words.
The track was a reasonable chart success, reaching fifty on the Billboard Hot 100, and charting in the top one hundred in most major international markets.
The ‘butterfly effect’ is about how small changes can make a huge impact, and the lyrics see Scott reflect on changes he has made in his life and his goals for forward progress.
14. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
One of the most iconic songs of the 90s hip-hop, MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t Touch This’ is a fun and lighthearted clean rap song that is a great introduction to rap music for kids.
Featuring the iconic line, ‘stop! Hammer time!’ and a video with several dance moves that have become world-famous, the song is unforgettable, and one of the most ‘fun’ hip-hop songs to have ever been written.
Released in 1990, the track reached number eight on the Bilboard Hot 100, and topped the charts in numerous countries around the world. The song also won Grammy awards for Best R&B Song and Best Rap Solo Performance.
15. Men in Black – Will Smith
In recent times, Will Smith has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. But his early rap hits are fantastic examples of clean rap songs that are suitable for all ages. His 1997 song ‘Men in Black,’ which accompanied the film of the same name, is one of his most-popular of the era.
Due to the song’s connection with the film, it is a light-hearted and humorous rap song. That did not stop it from being a great tune that achieved massive commercial success.
This clean rap song topped charts all over the world including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Hungary, and Switzerland. The song was also awarded a 1998 Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
16. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice’s signature tune ‘Ice Ice Baby’ is one of the iconic hip-hop songs of the 90s, and it is totally free from swear words. Released in 1990, the song samples the bassline from the 1981 Queen and David Bowie song ‘Under Pressure.’
‘Ice Ice Baby’ was the first hip-hop song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, as well as topping charts all over Europe. Due to its massive success, the song has been credited as helping to bring hip-hop to a wider audience. However, the song is also sometimes criticised as a ‘novelty’ track.
Whichever way you look at it, the track was clearly intended to offer good clean fun, and that’s exactly what it does.
17. Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest are one of the most influential and iconic hip-hop groups of all time, and ‘Can I Kick It?’ is one of their all-time greatest tracks. The song reached number eight on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart, and number fifteen on the UK singles chart.
Released in 1990, the song famously samples Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side.’ The jazz-hop beat is instantly recognisable, as is the refrain ‘can I kick it? Yes, you can!’
The perfect clean rap song to introduce kids to one of the most important artists from the golden age of hip-hop.
18. Push It – Salt-N-Pepa
Salt-N-Pepa’s hit single ‘Push It’ is a well-known pop rap song released in 1987. The light-hearted song is generally regarded as the female rap duo’s signature song.
The track peaked at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as reaching the top ten in countries around the world. It would seem that the cheeky tune has stood the test of time, and remains imprinted in the minds of anyone who heard it back then.
If you’re a fan of Salt-N-Pepa, the duo’s other hit single ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ (1991) is another clean rap song.
19. I’ll Be Missing You – Faith Evans and Sean Combs
One of the most iconic rap songs of all time, ‘I’ll Be Missing You’ is a great clean rap song. Famously sampling the guitar riff from the Police song ‘Every Breath You Take,’ the track is a stirring tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie, after he was murdered in 1997. The song is especially moving when you know that Faith Evans was in fact the wife of Biggie.
Released in 1997, the song spent an incredible eleven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and topped charts in countries all over the world. It is one of the best-selling rap songs of all time. The song also won the 1998 Grammy award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
20. It’s Tricky – Run-DMC
Run-DMC were one of the most successful rap groups of the 80s and 90s, and their hit ‘It’s Tricky’ is a great example of their clean rap songs. The song peaked at number fifty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1987, and charted in the top fifty in countries around the world.
Co-produced by the legendary hip-hop producer Rick Rubin, the song incorporates elements of hard rock, making it a great example of clean rap-rock. A great song to introduce kids to one of the all-time most legendary hip-hop groups.
21. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
‘Good Feeling’ is one of Flo Rida’s biggest hits, and it is totally free from swear words. The dance-influenced hip-house track, released in 2011, reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached the top ten in sixteen countries around the world.
Despite not being especially celebrated amongst rap fans today, Flo Rida is, in fact, one of the best-selling rappers of all time. ‘Good Feeling’ serves as the perfect introduction to his music, especially if you looking for a clean track that’s suitable for kids.
22. Rapper’s Delight – Sugarhill Gang
Sugarhill Gang’’s song ‘Rapper’s Delight’ is considered by some to be the first commercial rap song released, making it a song of significant cultural and historic importance. For that reason, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.
Released in 1979, the track samples the Chic song ‘Good Times’ – a fact which led to legal disputes between Nile Rogers and the Sugarhill Gang. Aside from the song’s cultural significance, it was also a chart success, reaching the top ten in several countries around the world.
An essential rap song in the history of hip-hop, which also happens to be totally clean.
23. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
Will Smith was an important figure in the growth of hip-hop in the 90s, spreading the popularity of the genre on the back of his TV and film career, as well as through a number of big hits.
‘Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It’ is a great example of Will Smith’s very approachable and family-friendly 90s rap hits. The light-hearted song is playful and fun, and it has a great hook and beat.
The song has been criticised by some, but the numbers speak for themselves. The track topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1998 and stayed there for three weeks, as well as reaching the top ten in countries around the world. A memorable and fun clean rap song that is totally harmless!
24. Day ‘N’ Nite – Kid Cudi
One of Kid Cudi’s most famous songs ‘Day ‘N’ Nite’ is a fully clean rap song. The lead single from his iconic 2009 album Man on the Moon: The End of the Day, the track is one of Kid Cudi’s most popular tracks.
The song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and reached the top ten in charts in countries around the world. Generally speaking, Kid Cudi is one of the safer artists if you are looking for raps without swearing, with generally uplifting and positive lyrics.
25. Old Town Road – Lil Nas X
The Lil Nas X smash hit ‘Old Town Road’ was one of the biggest songs of the 2010s. The artist’s country rap debut single dropped in 2018, and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, staying there for a record-breaking nineteen weeks. The track also reached the top ten in countries around the world.
The song sold 18 million units, which makes it one of the best-selling singles of all time. In terms of the sound, the track blends elements of trap music with country music. Lyrically, the song is mostly about a horse – the second verse does include a couple of slightly risqué lines, but there are no swear words.
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