There’s nothing better than the whiff of hamburgers sizzling on the BBQ at the first tailgate of football season. While the scent of cheese melting on those beef patties tries to compete with the overpowering aroma of the crisping hot dogs, the sound of beer bottles cracking open under the summer sun signifies that tailgate season is officially underway. After eager fanatics start chowing down on the various chips and homemade bean dip, you, the masterful host of this tailgate, realize the only thing missing from the perfect equation is the ultimate soundtrack for the party.
One can’t simply put any old Soundcloud rapper on this line-up. Every MC you deem worthy of keeping the tailgate lit is expected to play their part in fueling the hype on game day with gritty-yet-inspirational bars on wax. If your beer pong partner’s favorite tracks from Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, or Wiz Khalifa aren’t included in the playlist, sorry but your DJ is slacking.
Don’t sweat it — here are 10 rap records that are guaranteed to keep your tailgate lit.
1. “Litty” – Meek Mill ft. Tory Lanez (2016)
No one wants to show up to a boring tailgate no matter which teams are playing. Break the ice with Meek Mill and Tory Lanez’s “Litty” to set the mood for the day. If you’re looking to draw a crowd, the energetic club record is bound to attract anyone down to party until the start of the game. When Meek says “I shoot a movie, when I pull it have you/ Catch a bullet like a NFL player,” you and your boys will most likely bust out the football and start throwing bullets across numerous tailgate parties thus bringing more attention to your party.
2. “So Excited” – Fat Joe (2017)
Maintain the rising momentum of the tailgate with Fat Joe’s latest smash hit “So Excited.” The title alone is enough to hype up any group of fans who are excited to watch the game. StreetRunner’s nostalgic sample of “Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards fused with Joey Crack’s optimistic rhymes and Dre’s smooth vocals on the chorus keep the party alive while the beer pong competition gets serious and everyone else is dancing around the tent with a drink in their hands.
3. “No Mercy” – Lil Wayne (2016)
Lil Wayne’s “No Mercy” is another enticing icebreaker for any tailgate. Once the theme song for Skip and Shannon: Undisputed comes on, anything can happen. Wayne’s voice alone could spark up discussions about the status of The Carter 5 as everyone waits for those burgers and hot dogs to finish cooking. Then, Wayne drops lines like “let’s go face to face/I embrace debate.” The party could go left once the undercover sports analysts reveal themselves in order to challenge anyone who disagrees with them on dramatic trending topics in sports like the status of Colin Kaepernick’s 2017-18 season or Marshawn Lynch’s decision to sit during the National Anthem. Either way, Wayne’s “undisputed” intro will definitely able to keep the tailgate interesting.
4. “Black & Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa (2010)
If you’re a Pittsburgh Steelers fan like Wiz Khalifa, then “Black & Yellow” is still a vital part of your tailgating playlist. The thought of leaving out his standout single off his Rolling Papers album not blaring from your Beats by Dre Pill on game day is disturbing alone. Once Wiz screams “you know what it is” on the hook, then you already know its time to rep your team loud and proud regardless of what your team colors are.
5. “Play To Win” – Ace Hood (2017)
The game isn’t too far from kickoff so an inspirational record is definitely appreciated in the playlist. Ace Hood’s newest release “Play To Win” warns us right from the start that he “don’t play to lose.” In his fresh hymn off new mixtape Trust The Process, Ace is focused on attaining his goal by any means necessary. At the tailgate, fans have the opportunity to gloat about their team’s record to any naysayer with full confidence that he or she will be victorious all while Ace spits his raps about playing to win.
6. “Push It” – O.T. Genasis (2016)
It’s close to game time and that means you’ve got to start getting your party in full fanatic mode for the kickoff. O.T. Genasis’ “Push It” will make any situation come alive no matter how lame the tailgate has been. If the energetic instrumental doesn’t get your squad hype, then his opening verse will make everyone out of their lawn chairs and out in the street chanting their team’s name. Name a better way to pray for your team’s victory than screaming their name while O.T. chants, “Go get the money, go get the money.” We’ll wait.
7. “It’s Ok” – Zoey Dollaz ft. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (2017)
While cleaning up the tailgate, the party overhears disrespectful slander about your team from a neighboring tailgate. Not only are they bringing the franchise down, but they’re also dragging the team’s star quarterback through the mud. After getting over the natural instinct to invade the tailgate and defend the home team, the iPod DJ scrolls through the tailgate playlist and blares Zoey Dollaz’s collabo with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie “It’s Ok” off M’ap Boule. Zoey enlists A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie to push back on the haters for you when he drops defensive bars like “That shits crazy, ’cause a n—a shinin’, now you actin’ shady.” Simply push play and let the hate fade away before the game.
8. “Man Of The Year” – Schoolboy Q (2014)
The sense of pride the squad has for their team lasts longer than the fight against their haters at the tailgate. Right before the party heads inside the stadium, turn on ScHoolboy Q’s “Man of the Year” and blast it to maximum volume. The infectious loop of Chromatics‘s ‘Cherry’ fused with Schoolboy Q’s braggadocio bars are guaranteed to hype up the squad after the grill, beer pong table, and keg are put away.
9. “Big Rings” – Drake & Future (2015)
The spirit of the tailgate lives on even as you walk up to the stadium. Your Beats By Dre Pill may be back in the car, but you can still fuel the hype for the game by pulling out your phone and blasting Drake & Future’s “Big Rings” from your go-to music streaming service. When you’ve got a really big team like OVO Sounds and the Freebandz Gang, the entire squad deserves a major win. While Metro Boomin’s bouncy instrumental amps up your entourage, the master BBQ chef from the tailgate blows off some steam after managing the grill all day by screaming “What a time to be alive! You and yours vs. me and mine!” at the top of his lungs right before you get to the gate.
10. “All I Do Is Win” – DJ Khaled (2010)
No tailgate is complete without a song from DJ Khaled’s uplifting catalog. After making millions by handing out the keys to success, it should be a ritual to play at least one of the SnapChat king’s most inspirational records from any point of his extensive career. “All I Do Is Win” off his Victory album allows Khaled and his band of champions Ludacris, Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Snoop Dogg to pump us up with every positive and encouraging thought possible before kickoff.