Hooks are one of the most essential parts of a hip-hop song and help take a rapper’s track to the top of the charts once it’s rooted in the culture. On the flip side, there are a lot of memorable tracks that don’t have a hook and some of the most popular songs over the years.
A remarkable hookless banger is Meek Millthe 2012 anthem “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro). The guaranteed party start begins with a triumphant piano groove as Meek reflects on his rise to the pinnacle of rap. Produced by Tone the Beat Bully, an ominous beat rings out as the Philly rhymer spits out a fiery rant at his No Need hook, just Meek’s dazzling rhymes.
Three years ago, J. Cole delivered warning verses to up-and-coming rappers on his 2018 track “1985 (Intro to the Fall)” of his KOD album. The song was performed like him criticize new rappers like small pump. Overall, rap fans have praised Cole for his insightful bars on the pitfalls of the industry, all without a hook. As a result, “1985 (Intro to the Fall Off)” climbed to No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year.
One year before, Kendrick Lamar delivered his own hookless song, “Duckworth” from 2017. Some rhythm changes – courtesy of the producer 9th wonder—Supports K-Dot’s story from the days when Top Dawg Entertainment CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith robbed a KFC restaurant where Kendrick’s father, nicknamed “Ducky,” worked in the 1990s Ducky sided with Tiffith and decided not to harm Kendrick’s father. The incident happened several years before Tiffith discovered Kendrick, whose the last name is Duckworth, and signed the rapper to TDE. With such a compelling story, there’s no need for a hook on this one.
These are just a few of the tracks that don’t have a catchy hook or a memorable chorus, just fire bars. XXL highlights the best hip-hop songs without hooks. Check them out below.