Top 10 Modern Hip-Hop Ad-Libs

Rick Ross, make 'em say "UGGHHNN."
Throughout hip-hop's history, rappers have sought to distinguish themselves through a variety of methods. While some have focused exclusively on lyrical content, others have focused on style and cadence. As of late, hip-hop has experienced a fundamental shift from an emphasis on substance to an emphasis on style. It's no longer what you're saying, but how you're saying it, as evidenced by the rise of the ad-lib.

Originally derived from the Latin phrase ad libitum, the ad-lib is defined as an improvisation or an extemporaneous delivery. From Rick Ross's grunt to Lil Jon's elongated "Yeah," an ad-lib announces a rapper's presence on a given track, but it's also a calculated marketing tool deeply rooted in an artist's identity. To not have one would simply be blasphemous.

With that in mind, let's explore ten of them.

10. DJ Khaled
Universally hated for yelling at the beginning of singles he rarely produces, DJ Khaled's signature "WE DA BEST" and "DEE JAY KHALED" have been the ire of music connoisseur's ears around the world.

9. Lil B
Recently guest lecturing at NYU before a packed crowd, cultural icon Lil B is best known for such phrases as "swag" and "whoop," accompanied by an obtuse cooking dance simulating the process of making wonton soup. Indeed, very based and rare.

Example: "Hopped up in my car (swag!) then I drop my roof/Taste like wonton soup/That's just how I do (swag!)" - "Wonton Soup"

8. Gucci Mane
Even though Gucci Mane can't seem to stay out of trouble with the law, there's no question he's a Southern hip-hop heavyweight, with infamous ad-libs such as "BRRRR," which inform the listener how "icy" is he truly is. Did I mention he has his own iPhone app?

Example: "Yeahhhhh. Wah. Burr Burr it's Gucci!" - "O Let's Do It"

7. Young Jeezy
Known best for his diabolical laughs, which have found themselves sampled on Kanye and Jay-Z's tracks, "Mr. TM103" has one of the most recognizable ad-libs in the industry, despite his limited subject matter.

Example: "Hey snowman, can I get an ad-lib? Yeahhhhh." - "And Then What"

6. 2 Chainz
Born Tauheed Epps, "Mr Everything In 2s" has a simple yet effective ad-lib strategy that has recently afforded him collaborations with the likes of Kanye West and Nicki Minaj. Rumored to be signing with Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label, 2 Chainz's meteoric rise can be partly attributed to his "Tru" ad-lib before every verse.

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Fabolous - NIIIIIIIIIICEEEEEEEEEEEEE, How is that not in there?


and some people actually think this load of pure crap is music?

Coleman Foley
Coleman Foley

I wish there was an app that was silent most of the time, but dropped rap ad libs at random moments. 

You're making coffee at work. "HA HAAA!!" (Young Jeezy voice)

About to fall asleep at your desk..."YEE-UH!!"

Rhymes & Reasons
Rhymes & Reasons

If you like hip-hop, you might like my blog, Rhymes and Reasons. It’s a series of interviews with hip-hop heads who discuss their lives and a few songs that matter to them. Pretty powerful stuff. Check’em out here:


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