5 Ratchet Songs That Also Build Your Self-Esteem


One of the ways that bougie black people pretend to be ratchet is through the gateway drug that is current mainstream music. On any given Saturday at a day party you can hear the unintelligible musings of Young Thug, who not only wears dresses on occasion but has yet to make a song where I can understand more than ten percent of what he's saying.


No, seriously. His biggest hit to date, "Danny Glover" has caused an actual debate at a baby shower I went to a few weeks ago. The worst part of said debate is that nobody could verify who was actually right. He and Rich Homie Quan have a song together called "Lifestyle" where I swear I had to close my eyes and focus intently to understand even a smidge of what he was saying. My point here is don't listen to people named Young Thug.

I've lost my way…ah yes, ratchet music. Now, what is ratchet music? I'm glad you asked.Well ratchet is generally a term meaning ghetto or uncouth so the music would follow a similar path.  Now, ratchet music isn't new. Hell, it's been around for eons. NWA and Luke/2 Live Crew were creating ratchet music back in the late 80s and early 90s. "Me So Horny" probably deserves an award for its contribution to the canon. "Scarred". "I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown)". You get my point. While there was some balance back in the 80s and 90s, it seems like all current mainstream music has a ratchet lean to it though I think the synth sound adds something extra to it. Which, if I can be honest, makes me happy. I love it when people sing curse words. Word to Domino's "Ghetto Jam" and current day anything by or featuring Ty Dolla $ign. I mean, these hoes really ain't loyal.


While most ratchet music is pretty explicitly derogatory and destructive towards women and/or the community, there are some songs that are pretty awesomely good for self-esteem building. Fret not, they're still fraught with the same problems that plague all ratchetness; bitches, hoes, niggas, and treating these hoes like bitches are all still present, but they also feature mantras and phrases of upliftmentedness (ratchet word). We, the Black people, are an amazingly complicated people where even in our destruction of one another, we are able to build ourselves up.

With that being said, here are 5 amazingly esteem-building ratchet songs, beeeeyotch.

1. Shy Glizzy - I'm Awwsome

In no uncertain terms, I can't in good conscience recommend you ever listen to Shy Glizzy. I mean, this nigga is terrible. He's even terrible in a way that impresses me. However…and this pains me to say, his recent hit, "I'm Awwsome" is a wonderful thing to walk around and say in reference to yourself. It is true…swish, ballin'…I AM so awwsome (though I tend to spell my awesome the proper way but you can't hear that I spell it the right way when I say it). Oh, the word possum makes a cameo here because Shy Glizzy is a horrible rapper. But he doesn't give a fuck. And do you know why? Because he's so awwsome. And he's right. Won't you be? Won't you be? Please won't you be awwsome like Shy Glizzy? It's also fun to drive around blasting this song while telling little ole women in Dodge Dart's that your awesome. They too will become awesome. It's really the gift that keeps on giving.


2. Soulja Boy featuring Drake - We Made It

If you know Black people and/or have been on Twitter, you have heard folks say or seen people hashtag #niggawemadeit. It's a wonderful sentiment that speaks to our ability to overcome. Nigga, we did made it! And I for one couldn't be happier than to be able to proclaim this from the mountaintops. I've never been to a mountaintop but I'm sure its a different experience than to do it from my front stoop. Point is, "We Made It" is a wonderful battle cry and soul-stirrer that would make even James Baldwin proud. (See also "Turn My Swag On")


3. Three 6 Mafia featuring Eightball & MJG and Young Buck - Stay Fly

Technically, this song might be too old to be considered ratchet having hit the scene almost 10 years ago(!!!!!!!!!!!!!). But it involves Juicy J, one of the kings of this ratchet shit. Juicy J is definitely on ratchet Mt. Rushmore. And it shouldn't even be a debate. I mean, he brought us the most ubiquitous ratchet phrase of all time in his timeless classic "Bandz A Make Her Dance" - "…you say no to ratchet pussy, Juicy J can't…" Anyway, "Stay Fly" manages to speak to one's personal aesthetic and how to live one's life. You do have to stay fly…til you die. It's the only way. If I speak that into existence then I shall be able to achieve it. And if I achieve it, I have more confidence. And if I have more confidence than nobody dies. And when nobody dies we all win. And we all like winning. Get Xfinity. (Do not get Xfinity. Ever.)


4. Yo Gotti - 5 Star

This is one of those odd songs that calls a woman both wonderful and a bitch at the same time. I've heard it as a ringtone on more women's phones than I could shake a stick at. But hey, its like Webbie's "Independent" and Ne-Yo's "She's Got Her Own". But let's remove the cognitive dissonance from the song and think about the message. One on hand, men are praising women who are about their business and saying how hot they are. On the other hand, women get a new cool way to refer to themselves when their nails stay fly and their juice box wet. Have you all ever listened to these songs, like the actual words? It's amazing what these nwords say in these songs. Seriously. Point is, its got self-esteem written all over it, ladies. Be esteemed.


5. B.o.B. featuring Juicy J and T.I.- We Still In This Bitch

Bobby Ray may be one of the most conflicting artists of our time. Half the time he's on some pseudo upliftment. The other half of the time he's making songs that sound like he hates his mother, his community, and children. However, this song is absolutely built for feeling yourself in the tradition of "nigga we made it". When this song comes on and you are in the right vibe nobody can tell you shit. You walk in with that swag that lets folks know that you are one to be reckoned with. You are still in this bitch. You ain't going nowhere. You are here to stay. And you know it. This is your song if you are kind of a big deal. Let other people know.


So…what else you got?

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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miss t-lee

Hmmmm…. a few of my favorite ratchet self esteem anthems from a ladies perspective.

Fat Pimp-Roll Me Up
Dorrough-Walk That Walk
Paul Wall f/ Webbie- Bizzy Body
C-Boyd-She's So Fine (She Can Ride My Face)
Foxx- Know It's Good
Beat King- Lil T Jones/Let Me Find Out
Boosie- Freak Street
Trap Starz- Get It B*tch (remix)
Z-Ro-Top Notch

I could go on all day, I've got playlists on playlists.