Rapping 4 Kids
August 20, 2017 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to introduce my kids to Hip Hop (they are tiny, 3 and 1). I play it for them (I have a couple playlists of censored songs), but I'd like to show them some performances. What live performances or music videos or concerts can I play, specifically of rappers rapping but without either curse words or copious beeps?

It'll probably have to be old (any era is fine), but maybe there are new things that aren't full of curses or scary violence descriptions (like the Same Drugs video but not about drugs?)?

Also, please do not suggest anything wack, like Rappin' Bug Bunny or something. I'm looking for actual rap music (or hip hop for kids that is fun and not wack if it's out there-- namely by POC not white people doing epic raps of some kind).

(Youtube links extra appreciated)
posted by Potomac Avenue to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jurassic 5 will be fodder for my kid. Very clean overall, they have a few lines bragging about how they don't need to curse and it's a crutch for bad rappers. Also how they don't need to drink or do drugs to rock the party, etc.

Anyway, here's a live version of one of their biggest hits, YouTube has many more performances by them.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:07 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hot Cheetos & Takis is by kids, but I think it's legit good rap and a really fun kid-friendly video. They hand off between several boys and a few girls, illustrating several different styles of rap.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Lin-Manuel Miranda and his Freestyle Love Supreme partners Chris Jackson and Shockwave used to write and perform educational hip hop skits for kids on the reboot of the Electric Company. Here's an example:

Hard/Soft G
posted by BlueJae at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My kids love “Alive” by Beastie Boys, especially the music video.
posted by 4ster at 12:23 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Checkout McFrontalot's "Question Bedtime". Hip-hop retellings of fairy tales. Kid friendly, clever, and super catchy. Start Over
His other stuff if pretty good too: Stoop sale
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:30 PM on August 20, 2017

There's a Youtube Channel for kids with Hip Hop counting and stuff, Jack Hartmann.. My son loves it!

His favorite music video at 3yrs old was Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys. One of our 5 year old friends loves the song no Sleep 'til Brooklyn, which I think was in some kids movie soundtrack? I have to play that a lot when I drive them around. I'm OK with this.
posted by jbenben at 12:47 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In one of the political threads there's a link to Snoop Dogg rapping at the Kennedy Center in honor of (and over a track by) Herbie Hancock.
posted by vespabelle at 12:49 PM on August 20, 2017

Best answer: I also came to recommend Jurassic 5 (try Concrete Schoolyard among others) as well as Blackalicious (I particularly love First in Flight but they have so much amazing stuff, including the very very fun Alphabet Aerobics and Chemical Calisthenics).
posted by ourobouros at 1:04 PM on August 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Want to combine rap with cultural experience? Check out Desert Pea Media's collection of videos of Australian indigenous kids rapping about their country.
posted by Thella at 1:32 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo?
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:28 PM on August 20, 2017

I don't know whether you consider this "wack" or not, but isn't it a thing with Will Smith that he didn't curse in his songs?

Maybe they would like this or this.
posted by mccxxiii at 2:40 PM on August 20, 2017

Best answer: Kick it old school with Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight. Fun fact, I am an awkward 15 year old swaying on the stage in the video.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 3:05 PM on August 20, 2017 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Spearhead is socially conscious hip-hop. I prefer the earlier stuff for the most part, but some of the recent hits while less hip hop would be good small child dance music.

Common should be pretty child friendly, though I'm not familiar with all of his work.
posted by Candleman at 5:18 PM on August 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wonder if a child would get into 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul.
posted by kensington314 at 5:54 PM on August 20, 2017

Best answer: Please double-check these for cusring, but in general, these groups are pretty clean:
The Roots
A Tribe Called Quest (This has a few censored words, but it's so amazingly good.)
Blue Scholars
Deltron 3030
Kendrick Lamar at the Grammys (not sure if this is too grown up? I mean, they're not going to extract much meaning from it anyway, and it's maybe the best live hip hop performance ever put on video.)
Mixed Blood Majority
Nthing Common, Blackalicious. Also try De La Soul, Public Enemy, Rakim, Run DMC.
Doomtree (Mixed race band, but not sure if this violates the POC rule)
Flobots (Mixed race band, but not sure if this violates the POC rule)
posted by cnc at 6:20 PM on August 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

Will Smith has a reputation for being "clean". And most of his raps are about "I'm awesome, and I wanna just dance and have fun so come dance with me and be awesome too." Gettin' Jiggy With It you may wanna listen to the lyrics first, but it seems pretty innocuous. Summertime is pretty mellow too, and then there's Parents Just Don't Understand, of course.

And then there are the videos he did for the first two MEN IN BLACK movies, which are both loose retellings of the plots. The first one may have a couple instances of scary-looking monsters, but ends with him teaching one to boogie. There are creatures in the second one too, but they're a little less scary-looking. (And that one has the total swagger lyric: "I'm the best-looking crime fighter since myself in part 1.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 PM on August 20, 2017

I can't vouch for the album, but I recall that Chamillionaire's second record was renowned for having zero profanity. He is frequently a good rapper, and looking it up right now, apparently the album has verses from three or four of the best to ever do it.

Ultimate Victory is the name. I'm gonna go check that out.
posted by kensington314 at 11:37 PM on August 20, 2017

Best answer: Also, I can vouch that my friend's four-year old loves Chamillionaire, so maybe your older kid will be into him too!
posted by kensington314 at 11:39 PM on August 20, 2017

Chiddy Bang - Truth and Opposite of Adults

MF DOOM - MM FOOD album (this has very sparse cursing - usually using shit as a noun. )
posted by WeekendJen at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2017

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