“The Show Goes On”: 9 Motivating Rap Songs To Listen To in the Face of an L

Taking the L is always unpleasant, and can even cause an existential crisis. But you have to keep your perspective: as Hov once said, “life’s a trip and sometimes we gonna stumble.” Understand them for what they are and learn from them (so as to be prepared for upcoming Ls that you will undoubtedly come across later on.

The following are songs that help in dealing with disappointment and setbacks, but which ultimately should only make you stronger.

“The Show Goes On,” Lupe Fiasco

Lupe keeps it blunt and radio-friendly with this one. Simply, no matter how grand the disappointment we face might be, the show (always) goes on. So let’s get up, and play the role, the role that YOU want.

“Let em’ know you’re there/
That you struggling and survivin’/
That you gonna persevere yeah/
Ain’t nobody leavin’/
Nobody goin’ home/
Even if they turn the lights out the show is goin’ on!”

“Hold On,” Skepta

Drake’s man from the ends, “the black Scott Disick,” encourages us to “Hold On” and recognize that actually, even though the low blows and broken bones will come, we’re undefeatable!

“Whenever you feel like letting go/
And you’ve got your back against the wall/
Hold on, hold on, ’cause you’re undefeatable.”


“Stronger,” Kanye West

Remember when Kanye West was told he couldn’t rap? When he was told he could only be the producer guy? All this did was fuel the creation of Yeezus, the rap gawd he is today. Not to mention the car crash that led to him rap through the wire? Goes to show…

“N-now th-that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger!”

“Keep Ya Head Up,” Tupac

The beautifully calming “Keep Ya Head Up” is perfect for those down and out days. Tupac just understands, man.

“’Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I’m sure
And if you fall, stand tall and come back for more”

kid cudi pursuit of happiness

“Pursuit of Happiness,” Kid Cudi

Not the turn-up version. No. The mellow, real, Kid Cudi, spaced-out version. Cudi says for us what we need to say to ourselves when we feel let down:

“Hey, I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be goo-oood”
*cue AWESOME guitar solo*

“One Man Can Change the World,” Big Sean

The song in honor of Sean Don’s late grandma is nothing but uplifting. It makes us believe that, in fact, as the positive affirmation goes, yes we can! (Shoutout to Obama real quick.) We ourselves and nobody else can get through disappointment and in actual fact change the world.

“I hope you learn to make it on your own/
And if you love yourself just know you’ll never be alone”

“Focused,” Wale feat. Kid Cudi

You’ve hit that mental block; you feel like you can’t go on ‘cause maybe you failed that one test? Wale and Cudi tell us what to do in these unfortunate situations:

“Gotta just keep on rolling/
Gotta keep at it, gotta stay focused”

kendrick lamar

“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar

We need to stay hopeful after disappointment, and what better way to feel hopeful, than plugging in your headphones to the multi Grammy-nominated song engineered for hope by Kendrick and Pharrell?


“Best Day Ever,” Mac Miller

You know how we sometimes take a nap to run away from it all because naps are magical for curing disappointments? Afterward, wake up to this perfect, I’m-gonna-have-an-amazing-day song by Mr. McCormick…

“No matter where life takes me, find me with a smile
Pursuit to be happy, only laughing like a child

Life couldn’t get better
This ‘gon be the best day ever”

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