808’s and Power Songs (+ playlist)


Whether you are a student or a “grown up”, already part of the working world, you know we can all appreciate a good “power song” to get your ass up and down to business. Before we plunge into the details of what makes a good ass power song let’s make it clear what kind of music we’re talking about here.

You know that feeling when you wake up on Monday morning and before you even get the crust out of your eyes you’re already out of patience to deal with all the bullshit. But you know you have to, and you just need that little nudge in the right direction. Or when you’re about to start your car to go to work in the same old mundane way and everything feels like a copy of a copy. A good sound can wake you up and bring you that breath of fresh air to help you push through. That’s a power song.

Now we all have our own taste and power songs are not a “one size fits all” type of thing. What sets you shooting out of your apartment door like Usain Bolt from the 100m start line might just as easily put someone else to sleep. However there are some crossing points.

The beat

The beat is basically the heart of a power song, as long as it pumps – it’s alive. So a powerful beat throughout the entire track almost certainly makes sure you don’t snooze off. A good beat sets the rhythm for you to tune your mind to. Disclosure for example has some good electronic beats to set you in the right direction. Or you might also turn to Gorillaz for that Feel Good Inc. The thing about the beat is that it slaps you from the beginning of the song, like in the beginning of Beyonce’s Formation, then it switches up and before you know it you’re ready to slay.


Obviously not crucial for everyone but we can all agree that when the beat and the vocals sync just right and the song just hits the right spot you can’t help but bob your head to it.

Kanye doing a demonstration of “bobbing your head”

Drake’s … I mean, BlocBoy’s Look Alive featuring Toronto’s golden boy is a good examples of that beat + vocals synchronization that goes throughout the entire song and keeps the mood turned up.

Bars and Punchlines

As of the moment of writing this article I’m quite happy I’ve gotten to this part, because this is what got me to writing this piece. When your favorite MC drops lines like “you can’t knock the hustle” or “Bitch better have my money”, it kind of gets stuck in the back of your mind for the whole day and provides that little shot of motivation every time it comes back to you.

Rap songs are the usual suspects here, and the cherry on the top of every sick line is an even sicker punchline. Like Nicki’s “If I’m fake I ain’t notice ’cause my money ain’t” rr even more so a song with some good ad-libs sprinkled in the right places. Migos being the obvious choice can also sometimes disappoint you by littering their track with all kinds of “ICE”, “CASH”, Purrrps or skrrrts, so keep an eye out. You can always count on some late 2000s Rick Ross who basically gave birth to the adlib back in the day.

I can’t claim to have covered it all up but I think these are the major stuff that makes a good power song. Here is a carefully curated playlist to power through a rough Monday. Feel free to share what your personal “power songs” is and by all means, have a nice week.



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Hanna Martins

student in her twenties with a lot of opinions

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