This summer has been sweet, hasn't it? Endless sunshine has made for countless ways to sweat once a day - from the beach to the trails, the opportunities to spend time outdoors are endless. That being said, on the days when it gets TOO hot I always head to the gym for a dose of air-conditioned coolness.
This brings me to my next point. You know how a song can instantly transport you back into a specific place or time in your life? Well lemme tell you, all these early morning gym seshs have had me reminiscing about high school, and more specifically, hip hop. I forgot how fun it is to sweat to - the beats are sure to keep you moving on even the slowest mornings! With no further ado, may I present my all-time favourite hip hop workout playlist. *Note: Be careful playing these at work - Colt 45 consumption is considered unacceptable in most office environments.
Big Boi, one half of the magical tandem known as Outkast, released another solo project a month ago and it might be the coolest album of the year. I take back what I said last month about Drake having the song of the summer - Shutterbugg is hotter (sorry, Drake - it isn't personal... I just hadn't heard THIS yet). And don't worry, he and Andre 3000 are still cool - Dre produced half the tracks on this album. Play this for the haters who say all new hip hop sucks.
Is this song mature? No. Is the beat sick? Absolutely. Just let it happen!
A lot of the time, posthumous duets are contrived and unnatural feeling. This track, however, feels like all three ducked into a studio one night and cut something awesome... and as per usual with Biggie, the lyrics are an 11 out of 10.
T-Pain raps about something other than being on a boat. Miracles ensue.
Still a banger in the clubs 10 years later, Joe's dedication to wearing the freshest mock necks in the history of crooners is simply the cherry on top.
Wu-Tang Clan's eight main members all made fantastic side albums while still recording with the samurai-loving supergroup. This is my favourite, mostly because of Madame Majestic's weirdly edgy yet Edith Piaf-y voice.
Louis XIV style hat, including feather? Check. Electro beats & auto-tune? Check. Hookah pipe with gold fillagree handle? Check. Snoop Dogg getting away with all of it and making it awesome because he is Snoop Dogg? Check, check, check!
Hip hop's feel good pioneers will have you whistling while you work... out all day long. And yes, I know my jokes are especially bad today.
A member of legendary group A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip left the group in the late 90s to make an album that was both profound AND danceable - this right here is the best cut.
Sir Caps Lock inspires you to work out by talking about, you guessed it, working out. Mister West recorded this track before discovering his newest favourite way to sweat - exercising his Twitter finger.
You'd think someone repeating "A Milli" like, a milli times (I warned you about the bad jokes!) would be annoying - but magically, it's turbo awesome instead. Let's hope they've given him at least a key-tar in prison.
It's hard to pick one Wyclef song that gets the party started (the whole Carnival album is rippin', for example) - but this jam gets the nod for one very important reason: my top dog KELS. You can trash R. Kelly all you want, but you can't deny that if he invited you to a white-themed boat cruise with a champagne shot luge you'd be there faster than Carl Lewis to a finish line (for reference, check the video for "Step In The Name Of Love"). Braid. My. Hair.
While Rapper's Delight gets all the love, Sugarhill Gang's "Apache" is my favorite. The harmony sounds like a leftover disco hook that was discarded when punk tookover - and while that doesn't explain their jheri curls, it does explain the sweet funk beat.
It's a good thing we don't use records anymore - because this track is so addictive that it would have worn a groove in the disc in no time. It also provides a neat solution for those of us who front that we don't like Nelly but secretly put "Batter Up" on repeat. Don't judge me!
It's hard to pick one Jay-Z song and put it on a list - this is simply my personal fave. With what is arguably the deepest discography in hip hop, composed of club anthems, quirky b-sides and collaborations with artists from all genres of music, Jay-Z has successfully traversed the gangster rap/underground-intelligencia hip hop scenes without succumbing to any stereotypes. Proof of his coolness: Little Orphan Annie was sung sans irony by gang-bangers when "Hard-Knock Life" came out. Amazeballs.