The Best Of Harlem’s Classic Songs Of All Time On YouTube 2023-2024

February 7, 2024

Here are our best picks of the Harlem classic (some inspired) songs you can find on YouTube.

Our picks are from a curated list of the highest-rated video views in the millions on YouTube.

These high-rated videos are great examples of videos that capture the spirit of Harlem and its rich incredible musical history of Harlem in the past, as it does today and will in the future.

Our Jazz and Soul picks

“A Night in Harlem” by Duke Ellington

This 1943 masterpiece paints a vibrant picture of Harlem’s nightlife, with iconic solos and Ellington’s signature swing style. (15 million views) Opens in a new window Night in Harlem by Duke Ellington song

“Harlem Nocturne” by Billie Holiday

 This haunting ballad showcases Holiday’s powerful vocals and emotional depth, reflecting the complexities of life in Harlem. (4 million views) Opens in a new window Harlem Nocturne by Billie Holiday song

“Moanin'” by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

This bluesy instrumental track captures the raw energy and improvisational spirit of Harlem’s jazz scene. (18 million views) Opens in a new for an Amazon’s Choice for the Moanin’ by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers song

“Respect” by Aretha Franklin

This empowering anthem, recorded live at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, resonates with the spirit of Harlem’s resilience and demand for respect. (21 million views) Opens in a new window Respect by Aretha Franklin song

“Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. ft. Bill Withers

This romantic duet, with its smooth vocals and saxophone melody, embodies the soulful elegance of Harlem’s love songs. (120 million views) Opens in a new window Just the Two of Us by Grover Washington Jr. ft. Bill Withers song

Our Hip-Hop picks

“Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang

This 1979 hit is a landmark track, introducing hip-hop to the mainstream and showcasing Harlem’s street culture. (78 million views) Opens in a new window Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang song

“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

 This socially conscious rap anthem addresses issues like poverty, crime, and injustice, giving a voice to Harlem’s struggles. (30 million views) Opens in a new window Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five song

“Paid in Full” by Eric B. & Rakim

By HWM Partnership

This iconic track from Harlem’s Golden Age of hip-hop features Rakim’s complex wordplay and Eric B.’s smooth beats, setting a new standard for lyricism. (26 million views) Opens in a new window Paid in Full by Eric B. & Rakim song

“Fight the Power” by Public Enemy

This powerful protest song by Harlem’s Public Enemy champions Black rights and challenges societal inequalities, reflecting the fight for justice in the community. (23 million views) Opens in a new window Fight the Power by Public Enemy song

“It’s a Long Way Back” by Kool Moe Dee

This autobiographical track by Harlem legend Kool Moe Dee tells his story of overcoming challenges and finding success in the music industry, inspiring other aspiring artists. (13 million views) Opens in a new window “It’s a Long Way Back” by Kool Moe Dee

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. With countless classic Harlem songs available on YouTube, explore different genres, artists, and eras to discover your favorites.

Related: The HWM Green Book Check out our Curated pick of the latest discoveries, products, destinations, and Harlem happenings.

Remember, “best” is subjective, so find the music that resonates with you and enjoy the rich musical heritage of Harlem!

Let us know what you think and your choices.

Photo credit: 1) Duke Ellington. Souce. 2) Billie Holiday. Source. 3) Aretha Franklin. Source 4) Rakim. Source. 5) Public Enemy. Source.

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