Rap is bad. Really bad. It's ignorant, racist, sexist, and homophobic; it's even worse than sitting. And, for the most part, we wouldn't have it any other way.

That said, on occasion, rap does do some good (and does do tough things). No, not "there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas" type of ignorant, self-important do-gooding, but good ol' fashioned music with a message. Jay-Z and Rihanna (with Bono and the Edge of U2) did just that the other night, performing "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)" (see clip after the jump) for the huge Haiti benefit that raised $57 million (support the effort on iTunes here). Of course that had us looking back at the Greatest Rap Cause Songs of All Time...

SONG: "Christmas in Hollis"
ARTIST(S): Run-DMC
YEAR: 1987
CAUSE/CHARITY: The Special Olympics
• The boys from Hollis joined Whitney Houston, U2, Bruce Springsteen and the Pointer Sisters (among others) for A Very Special Christmas, a benefit for the Special Olympics.

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SONG: "Self Destruction" by the Stop the Violence Movement
ARTIST(S): Boogie Down Productions (KRS-One, D-Nice, Ms. Melodie), Stetsasonic (Delite, Daddy-O, Wise, Frukwan), Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Public Enemy (Chuck D, Flavor Flav)
YEAR: 1989
CAUSE/CHARITY: Urban non-violence (The Stop the Violence Movement)
• Disturbed by violence at rap shows as well as the gun death of his BDP co-founder Scott La Rock, KRS-One recruited a Who's Who of East Coast talent for a single with all proceeds benefiting the National Urban League.

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SONG: "We're All in the Same Gang" by the West Coast Rap All-Stars
ARTIST(S): King Tee, Body & Soul, Def Jef, Michel'le, Tone Loc, Above the Law, Ice T, N.W.A., J.J. Fad, Young MC, Digital Underground, Oaktown's 3.5.7., MC Hammer
YEAR: 1990
CAUSE/CHARITY: Anti-gang initiatives
• Dr. Dre-produced Left Coast version of the Stop the Violence Movement. Unfortunately Hammer had forgotten his own words of peace by the time The Funky Headhunter rolled around.

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SONG: "Heal Yourself" by H.E.A.L. (Human Education Against Lies)
ARTIST(S): Kid Capri, Big Daddy Kane, Freddy Fox, LL Cool J, Harmony, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, KRS-One, Ms. Melodie, Run-DMC
YEAR: 1992
CAUSE/CHARITY: KRS's Human Education Against Lies
• Another Golden Era KRS group project. Damn, you'd think dude was a teacha or something.

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SONG: "Close the Crackhouse"
ARTIST(S): Professor X, Brother J, Wise Intelligent, YZ, Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, Money B, Shock G, Sister Souljah, Freedom Williams, College Boyz, Two Kings in a Cipher
YEAR: 1993
CAUSE/CHARITY: Anti-drug education
• X-Clan's Professor X gathered an all-star cast for this anti-crack anthem (back when rap had such things as "anti-crack anthems").

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SONG: "The Rubbers Song"
ARTIST(S): The Pharcyde
YEAR: 1994
CAUSE/CHARITY: AIDS awareness
• The legendary West Coast quartet's contribution to Stolen Moments: Red, Hot + Cool, the first of a wave of mid-'90s rap compilations dedicated to fighting the AIDS epidemic..

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SONG: "Peace 2 Da Streets"
ARTIST(S):Master P, West Coast Bad Boyz, Herm Lewis, Silk the Shocker, King George, Big Ed, Ray Luv, Dangerous Dame, Lil' Ric, JT Tha Bigga Figga, Mac Spoon, Rappin' 4-Tay, The Delinquents, The Perk, Toby T, Perk, Erase E, Keylo
YEAR: 1994
CAUSE/CHARITY: Street violence
• Master P's early No Limit plea to increase the peace on the streets of his adopted Bay Area, where he'd recently founded his No Limit Records imprint after moving from New Orleans.

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SONG: "The Yearn"
ARTIST(S): Lost Boyz, Pete Rock
YEAR: 1996
CAUSE/CHARITY: AIDS awareness
• Classic LB party joint was also included on the America Is Dying Slowly compilation that featured Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, De La Soul, and more, and benefited the AIDS awareness Red Hot Organization.

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SONG: "One Four Love Pt. 1"
ARTIST(S): Talib Kweli, Kool G. Rap, Rah Digga, Sporty Thievz, Mos Def, Shabam Saahdeeq, Common, Pharoah Monch
YEAR: 1999
CAUSE/CHARITY: Trigger-happy cop awareness
• When street salesman Amadou Diallo was hit with 41 rounds by plainclothes policemen while reaching for his cell phone, the roster of famed backpack label Rawkus Records united for tribute.

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SONG: "Get U Down (remix)"
ARTIST(S): Warren G, Ice Cube, B-Real, Snoop Dogg
YEAR: 2005
CAUSE/CHARITY: Hurricane Katrina victim relief
• Oddly, it was the West Coast that made the most concerted effort to help victims in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as this quartet of Cali capos donated proceeds from the ringtone sales of this song to the Red Cross relief efforts.

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BONUS CLIP:
SONG: "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)"
ARTIST(S): Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono, the Edge

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