The-Dream, and later Jay-Z, told you they don’t need no hook on their shit.
Murphy Lee and Jermaine Dupri asked each other what the hook gon’ be until that very question became a hook.
As much as some rappers hate to admit it, the search for the perfect chorus to go between every 16 bars is as much a delicate craft as penning the verses. Now and then you can get away without a chorus and make a hit (it helps if you’re Wu-Tang). But generally, you better be ready to sing or shout or sample something catchy as hell, or hire someone who can, to get your joint into heavy rotation.
In the 21st century, as hip-hop has become more collaborative, “hire someone” is the most popular route, as MCs began outsourcing the task of writing and performing hooks to producers like Pharrell and Swizz Beatz, hip-hop-ready singers like T-Pain and Nate Dogg, or even fellow rappers like Future and Lil Wayne. And then there are those moments when inspiration strikes and someone you’d never expect comes up with the anthem you end up shouting all summer. You might love some of them, you might hate some of them, but pretty much all of them are bound to be stuck in your head for the rest of your life: Hip-Hop’s Catchiest Choruses Since 2000.
Written by Al Shipley (@alshipley)