The right jam can pump you up or calm you down.
There are a lot of ways to observe Black History Month, and fitness and music are just two of the many ways that this can happen. Getting into the gym isn’t as possible as it used to be for everyone thanks to the pandemic, but since things have been opening over the past year it’s fair to say that getting back into the gym or finding another way and place to workout is necessary as well as possible. But what do people listen to when they’re working out? There are plenty of folks that might listen to pop, rock, even alternative and yes, folk music. But one of the most useful genres of music to listen to when working out is hip hop, and there are several reasons for this.
The cadence that so many hip hop songs possess and the hard-hitting notes that are expertly brought together by so many artists are great for warming a person up, getting them pumped, keeping them pumped, and then even calming them down at the end of a workout. That’s the versatility of hip hop, and it’s fair to say that a lot of folks would find themselves working a little harder and sweating a little more when hip hop is blasting over the speakers.
Let’s be clear that a lot of songs are bound to work for a lot of people since one person will find enjoyment and inspiration in a song that might not provide the same inspiration for others. But the point is that hip hop has a wide selection of songs by many artists that can get one’s heart pumping and their muscles twitching as they seek to keep up with or at least sync their movements with the beat. If you’ve ever worked out to DMX or felt yourself going a little harder, a little faster when certain songs come on then you know the feeling very well.
Shop Boyz-Party Like a Rockstar
This is the kind of song that you can’t help but think would be best for either a warm-up or when one is deep into their workout. Hearing this coming over the speakers is great since it can help to reinvigorate a person or ease them into a harder workout as one continues to build their reps and can feel their body resisting just enough to make it worth it.
DMX-X Gon’ Give it to Ya
First of all let’s say a respectful rest in peace to DMX. But when this man’s growling voice came through the speaker there aren’t a lot of folks out there that would hesitate to admit that it was time to get your pump on and grind your way through that next lift you didn’t think you could make. DMX was one of the few guys that could just growl and sound tough since his voice alone was worth working out to. There aren’t really any rappers out there today that could match his intensity and his energy when he was revved up, but thankfully his music is still around so people can enjoy it and, if they feel the need, grind out a few more reps or a few more minutes of cardio.
I’ll admit it took me a while to find this song when I first heard it, since I first heard it on the Daredevil movie soundtrack and absolutely loved it. It’s also been featured in The Girl Next Door and a few other movies, and it’s great since it’s not as hard-hitting as some tracks but it has its own intensity and can keep a person grinding simply because it has a great balance between hard beats and fluid notes that keeps a person tight but inspires them to relax too.
Kanye West-Jesus Walks
After hearing this song in the movie Jarhead it couldn’t be helped since this song has a definite cadence that one might not feel is worth getting pumped to, but is actually rather effective. While a lot of us either can or can’t say that we’re giant Kanye fans, the fact is that he does make great music when he’s not telling the world how great he is. This song though, despite not being a hard-hitting track, has an underlying quality that allows it become a tune that’s easy to put on a playlist and vibe to while enjoying a bit of cardio. For weightlifting it’s still great, but it’s not quite as effective.
Missy Elliott-Get Ur Freak On
Missy Elliott has been known for putting out killer tracks for years since her style and her ability to create a great amount of interest among her fans has been legendary. This song has been used for everything from working out to commercials, and it’s still one of the best hip hop tracks out there that a person can select. It’s versatile enough that one can use it as a means of pumping up, or just a pleasing background song with a few moments of heavy punctuation here and there that can make for an interesting workout.
B.o.B-Don’t Let Me Fall
I’ll admit I didn’t come upon this song until recently, but the power behind B.o.B.’s lyrics is great enough that a lot of his tracks could be used, but this one could be used during a rest period or even as a cool down piece since the feel of it can seep into the muscles and help a person to breathe, to relax, and to gain control of themselves once again as they breathe the fire out of their lungs. Or it could be a great addition to a lighter workout that isn’t quite as intense.
Busta Rhymes-Break Ya Neck
Listening to Busta Rhymes spitting his rhymes is always a lot of fun since the guy is one of the legendary voices that a lot of people would agree is great for a workout since despite some of the lyrics his tracks usually have an awesome beat to them and an energy that keeps a person going and sets a pace that’s tough to follow at first but definitely fun to try.
Sometimes you’ve got to think about the cool down, or at least the downward slope of the workout, and songs like this make it possible to come down in style and feel your body react to the music. Diddy has come an extremely long way from where he used to be, and while some folks love trashing him and others love building him up the truth is that he’s made a lot of great music over the years and this song is one of the many that’s actually great for a workout session since it’s both uplifting and has a way of lifting someone up before settling them back down again.
Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Jay-Z-All the Way Up
Watch ‘The Hurt Business’ and you’ll see that it used this song quite well throughout, as the tales of the UFC that are unfurled might make a person look at the sport a lot differently. But without being a song with huge, driving beats and a constant rhythm to follow, it still has a very compelling quality that can keep a person on course and ready to go with each passing minute.
Grits-Ooh Ah (My Life Be Like)
This song is just fun, I’ll admit it. Ever since hearing it on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, it’s been on my mind and it’s been a part of my workout routine. It has a good beat to bump to and can sustain a person fairly well throughout part of their workout.
WTR? (Why’s That Radass?)
Combining elements of black culture into everyday life is a great way to pay homage to what’s been contributed throughout the years, and it helps bring people together in a number of ways as well. On top of that, music is one of the best ways to express culture and can be used in a number of ways.