This Hip-Hop Playlist Will Power You Through Grueling Workouts


A workout is nothing without your favorite music thumping out of your earbuds and pulsing through your body. The rhythm is timed to your sneakers hitting the pavement, or a song swells just as you hit your final training interval. Just imagine exercising with nothing but the sound of your own panting in your ear, or the belabored breathing of the guy next to you on the treadmill. Not ideal.

Sultan Malik is a trainer on Aaptiv, an app that provides audio-based fitness classes and workouts that can be started and stopped at any time—no equipment, no overbooked classes, and best of all, no judgmental looks from others. Malik is also a graduate of the Swedish Institute of Health Science and a VP of ConBody, a "prison-style" boot camp in New York that helps people reach their peak physical condition while also spreading awareness about the importance of prison reform. He created a custom workout playlist for Esquire full of hip-hop tracks, each chosen so the beats-per-minute matches the pace of his cardio workouts. "It's no frills, it's just raw," Malik says of his music choice. "You get everything there—the soul of the artist, the rawness of the rapper. There’s a rhythm to it."

They are also tracks he can relate to, and the emotion he can convey while listening to them coaxes more effort from his trainees—which of course leads to better results. "I want the makeup dripping off their faces, they need to be growling, and this is the music that’s going to do that for you. You can connect to that and express it," he says. "If you walk away from a workout feeling like a success, that translates to life."


This is Malik's playlist—his favorite song is Meek Mill's "Litty." Pair it with a cardio-intensive workout and start sweating.


1| "I Got the Keys" by DJ Khaled ft. Jay Z, Future
2| "Long Live the Chief" by Jidenna
3| "Trap Trap Trap" by Rick Ross ft. Young Thug, Wale
4| "It's Secured" by DJ Khaled ft. Nas, Travis Scott
5| "Maybach" by Future
6| "New Level" by A$AP Ferg ft. Future
7| "A.M. to P.M." by Cassidy
8| "Wild Thoughts" by DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna, Bryson Tiller
9| "Holy Key" by DJ Khaled ft. Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, and Betty Wright
10| "I'm a Huslta" by Cassidy
11| "Summer Seventeen" by Rick Ross ft. Yo Gotti
12| "POA" by Future
13| "beibs in the trap" by Travis Scott
14| "pick up the phone" by Young Thug and Travis Scott
15| "About the Money" by T.I. ft. Young Thug
16| "Hot Tottie" by Usher ft. Jay Z
17| "Nas Album Done" by DJ Khaled ft. Nas
18| "Progress" by Mavado
19| "Jet Fuel" by T.I. ft. Boosie Badazz
20| "Tony Montana" by Future ft. Drake
21| "Dead Presidents" by Rick Ross ft. Future, Jeezy, and Yo Gotti

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Sarah Rense
Sarah Rense is the Lifestyle Editor at Esquire, where she covers tech, food, drinks, home, and more.
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