Are you so freakin’ sick of listening to kid songs like “Let It Go” and “Wheels on the Bus?” Or, perhaps worse yet, “Baby Shark”? Us, too. The truth is that you don’t have to live in a kids’ music black hole. Kids like anything they can bounce to or that sounds a little different. That’s why you probably loved the Grease soundtrack when you were nine (long before you understood any of the adult innuendo, eep). It was silly and fun. Similarly, the beats and samples in hip-hop make it irresistible to kiddos. Of course, like a lot of rock or even country music, not all songs are kid-friendly. Let’s be honest after all, the rap and hip-hop songs we listen to when we clean the house, work out, or have a girls’ night out aren’t always appropriate for little ears. You need hip-hop songs for kids.
That’s when Kidz Bop and Now That’s What I Call Music! albums come in handy: They offer radio edits that are safe for little ears attached to mouths that like to repeat everything. Wanna make your own playlist and avoid those obnoxious compilation albums, though? We get it. The jams below are all the cleanest we could find of still genuinely decent hip-hop music. Some of these might allude to questionable actions, but it’s not super-obvious — and there are no curse words. Most of these are about as squeaky as a mom could hope for.
Most importantly? They’re all 100 percent fun to listen to with (or without, no judgment) your kids in the car. Enjoy!
Hip-Hop Songs for Kids
1. “Stereo Hearts” — Gym Class Heroes
Not everyone will agree on whether Gym Class Heroes should be included in this list of songs — but this song is too catchy to get nitpicky over. It’s also a great way to teach metaphor… just sayin’.
2. “Jump” — Kriss Kross
Kids literally performed this song — how could it not be safe, right? Raise your hand if you ever wore your clothes backward like these guys! Take it all the way back and turn on this tune. And while you’re at it, teach your kids some moves. “Jump” is proof that some songs never get old.
3. “Same Love” — Macklemore & Mary Lambert
While the obvious choice is Macklemore’s super fun bop, “Thrift Shop,” the lyrics actually use some words some mamas might not be cool with. For that reason, we’re going with this song with an important message. Besides being a beautiful ballad that represents love in the LGBTQIA community, it also has a pretty melody. Not only will it put your kids to sleep, but it’s one of those feel-good songs you can use to brighten your day.
4. “Ice Ice Baby” — Vanilla Ice
You danced around to this when you were a kid, so why wouldn’t your kiddos love it, too?
5. “Can’t Touch This” — MC Hammer
Stop! Hammer Time! Not only will this get the entire house jumping, but it’s also an amazing opportunity to teach your kids the “You Can’t Touch This” dance. You won’t regret it.
6. “The Principal’s Office” — Young MC
What’s this? A song about getting in trouble at school? Sure, you want your babies to be good. But this might be more relatable. *wink wink*
7. “Shake It” — Outkast
“Shake it like a Polaroid picture” might be questionable when they’re they’re tweens or well into their teens, but your younger kids won’t get it. To them, it just means to dance. And why can’t it just be that simple? (This is also a great workout tune if you’re looking for a hype song.)
8. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” — Drake
Not everything Aubrey does is kid-friendly. We think this mellow jam is pretty safe, though.
9. “Bust A Move” — Young MC
Honestly. This is just too fun to not sing along with.
10. “Old Town Road” — Lil Nas X
Your kids probably already know this song. Just embrace it.
11. “Sunflower” — Post Malone
Your kiddo probably already knows this song, too, thanks to its feature on the Into The Spider-Verse trailer.
12. “Love Lockdown” — Kanye
Regardless of your thoughts about Kanye personally, this song is pretty great. His tone is something kids seem to enjoy imitating.
13. “I Wish” — Skeelo
You’ll remember this song. Promise.
14. “Good Feeling” — Flo Rida
This song is about having a good night, which is a goal we can all strive for — including your tiny tot. So, if you’re looking to get your kid into a positive mood (especially about bedtime) Flo Rida is the man for the job.
15. “Me Myself & I” — De La Soul
You can never go wrong with an old-school beat. The hip-hop trio, De La Soul, has a rhythm and cadence your kids will love. This funky beat will have the whole house jumpin’ and leave you reminiscing about old-school house parties. So, while you’re in the zone, bust out some nineties moves to show your kids you still got it.
16. “Can I Kick It” — A Tribe Called Quest
This chill beat can be played in the background as your kids clean up the play area or do arts and crafts. It has a relaxing vibe that won’t pump your kids up but won’t put them to sleep either.
17. “Survivor” — Destiny’s Child
Beyonce has taught us many lessons over the years, and one of her earliest ones was about perseverance. This song is about empowerment and determination. Plus, it’s never too early to induct your kids into the Beyhive.
18. “Now or Never” — Kendrick Lamar
Do you want to get your kids dancing? This is the beat. It’s also a musical reminder to love who you are, follow your dreams, and appreciate the little things. It’s super positive, Mama!
19. “Rapper’s Delight” — The Sugarhill Gang
Sing it with us: “I said a-hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie, to the hip hop-a you don’t stop the rock it to the bang-bang boogie, say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.” There isn’t a kid in the world who could resist these catchy lyrics. Bonus points if you sing it like rapping Grandma Rosie from The Wedding Singer.
More Hip-Hop Songs for Kids
1. “Hotline Bling” — Drake
Drake seems to always be topping the charts. And you can always count on him for a creative music video. Maybe you and your nuggets can even learn the dance together and go viral.
2. “Dynamite” — Taio Cruz
“I want to celebrate and live my life.” And if that isn’t the attitude of every toddler ever, I don’t know what is. This song is an upbeat fusion of electro-pop and R&B. You and your kids can party like it’s 2010!
3. “I Gotta Feeling” — Black Eyed Peas
Who doesn’t love the Black Eyed Peas? This song has a soft beat and no profanity. It even has some group chanting, which your kiddo will love. “I Gotta Feeling” will have them bouncing off the walls. (So, it’s probably best not to play this before bedtime.)
4. “Empire State of Mind” — Alicia Keys & Jay-Z
5. “Clint Eastwood” — Gorillaz
6. “Cool Like Dat” — Digable Planets
7. “All You Can Eat” — Fat Boys
8. “Men In Black” — Will Smith
Here come the men in black! Men In Black’s CGI may seem antiquated to kids today but parents will remember grooving and moving to Will Smith’s earworm back in (checks calendar) 1997! Smith is the OG of kid-friendly hip-hop music so you can rest assured his discography is devoid of adult language.
9. “Getting Jiggy Wit It” — Will Smith
We can’t talk about Will Smith and not mention “Getting Jiggy Wit It,” the rapper’s runaway hit from 1998. This Billboard Top 100 single spawned a dance move and catapulted Smith to superstardom. A quick listen proves the song stands up to the test of time and is just as cool today as it was then.
10. “Starships” — Nicki Minaj
Let’s give credit where credit is due, Nicki Minaj is hands down one of the most influential female rappers of all time. Luckily, parents who spent quite a few Saturday nights dancing it up to her hits can now find clean versions of her more explicit songs on YouTube.
11. “The Way I Are” — Timbaland
Are you a millennial parent? Chances are this song was your getting ready to go dancing song, the song you jammed to in the taxi on the way to the party, and the song you asked the DJ to play on loop. It. Was. A. Bop. And you know what? It holds up. Play this for the kiddos as you’re making Saturday morning pancakes and see what happens.
What would you add to the list?