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10 Best Rap Songs About War of All Time, Ranked

Rap has been a bastion of serious discussion ever since it became massively popularised in the United States of America and became a worldwide phenomenon. Over the years of its impressive lifespan, rap has evolved tenfold in a plethora of directions musically, but lyrically, themes remain somewhat similar. 

Talk of peace, the issues of gun violence and war, and inequality are all common themes that spin around the rap sphere, with the intense beats and bars walking in tandem to create a powerful message overall.

So without further ado, here is my list of the best rap songs about war!

1. Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story – Jedi Mind Tricks

Album: Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell
Released: 2006

When it comes to no-nonsense rap songs about war, few hit the nail on the head better than the extremely talented Jedi Mind Tricks. This iconic rap duo was formed by rapper Vinnie Paz, and producer Stoupe The Enemy Of Mankind.

While most of their work is thought-provoking and hard-hitting, “Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story” is a graphic exploration of the Vietnam War from the view of two soldiers. It’s a harrowing tale amidst an incredibly catchy song. 

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2. War – Edwin Starr

Album: War & Peace
Released: 1970

While this entry isn’t necessarily a ‘complete’ rap song, it would be a sin to ignore this song’s influence in making people question war itself. Edwin Starr became a household name in the anti-war circuit, with this song in particular being an anthem for those who wish to stand up against worldwide violence.

It may not be the most complex track in the world, but its simplicity aids the delivery of its message: War is good for nobody. 

3. Fuck A War – Geto Boys

Album: We Can’t Be Stopped
Released: 1991

Similar to how leaving “War” out of this list would be inexcusable due to its serious influence, it would also be rather shameful of me to miss out on the chance to share Geto Boys’ legendary track “Fuck A War”. 

This song was initially highly controversial upon its release but has in time become a well-known classic in anti-war and protest music history. It offers an exploration of the futility and damage of war and the impact of its overall senselessness on people. 

4. Strange Ways – Madvillain

Album: Madvillainy
Released: 2004

The late great MF DOOM – also known as Madvillain and other aliases, or Daniel Dumile outside of his music moniker – was a lyrical and musical legend in every sense of the word. He received an abundance of love and respect from the mainstream and the underground and became best known for his thought-provoking material. 

This song can be seen as an observation of how human beings tend to treat each other, with war being one of the aspects discussed.

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5. Agent Orange – Pharoahe Monch

Album: Desire
Released: 2007

One of the lesser-known artists in this list is Pharoahe Monch, who admittedly was a discovery when making this list. However, upon listening to the alluring “Agent Orange”, I knew he had a place in this top 10.

The quirky electronic introduction of this track paired with the intense lyrics and message of the overall song make such a unique combination that, surprisingly, Pharoahe Monch hasn’t received more love for this song. 

6. Mosh – Eminem

Album: Encore
Released: 2004

Most of us will know that Eminem is unafraid to touch on nearly any subject throughout his career, and the anti-war chime of “Mosh” is amongst one of the strongest messages in his work thus far.

Not only does this song make us question war, but it also entices people to work together to find the greater good; even if that means standing up to systems that are already in place. 

7. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos – Public Enemy

Album: It Takes A Nation
Released: 1988

Public Enemy is another outfit that became a household name in the world of rap, and for good reason. The duo – formed of Chuck D and Flava Flav – would become legends in the scene for their direct and intelligent bar writing, with “Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos” being one of their biggest hits.

The piano section of this unmistakable song is from a solo in Isaac Hayes’ “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”.

8. Memorial Day – The Perceptionists

Album: Black Dialogue
Released: 2005

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Many songs that explore the impact of war, rightly, focus on the impact of the battle on the countries and civilians involved, and how often war can be avoided. 

In “Memorial Day”, The Perceptionists try to explore the impact of war on the unknown soldier, who is thrown into a life he barely understands to fight for something that isn’t all that it seems. 

9. Patriots – Canibus

Album: Can-I-Bus
Released: 1998

Next on our list of the 10 best rap songs about war is Patriots’ R&B/rap hybrid “Canibus”. 

While the overall message is serious – exploring two Navy SEALs boasting to each other about their achievements and success in battle – the song’s comedic quips make it feel like a satirical piece on war, which works tremendously. 

10. Little Weapon – Lupe Fiasco (ft. Bishop G & Nikki Jean)

Album: Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool
Released: 2007

Lastly on our list of war-related rap songs is the incredibly powerful and moving “Little Weapon”, which features a trio of talented artists gathering to spread a real, and dark, message.

This song is about the terrifying reality in which child soldiers are used in war, which truly highlights the horrors within battle that are seldom discussed.