Headphones come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and flavors. But if you’re a hip-hop fan, you’re going to be on the lookout for something that’s best suited to your music of choice. Hip-hop is bass-heavy music, so you need some thick, juicy bottom-end. But you also need crisp, clear vocals to enjoy all the lyrics. So you need some solid mids and highs as well.
So what are the best headphones for hip-hop? It all comes down to the best sound quality and style you can get for your buck. So, let’s have a look at some of the best out there and find the perfect option for one, starting with the…
Top 6 Best Headphones for Hip-Hop of 2023
1 Skullcandy Crusher Wireless Over-Ear Headphones – Best Budget Headphones for Hip-Hop
We’re going to start at the low end of the price range and work our way up. So, our first set of headphones is the $100 Crushers by Skullcandy. This brand has been crushing it in the past few years, coming out with some extremely popular and low-priced headphones.
Do the Crushers represent Skullcandy well?
The best feature of these over-ear headphones that stands out is the phenomenal battery life. These headphones can give you three hours’ worth of playing time with just a 10-minute rapid charge, which is pretty much unheard of.
But even more impressively, you get 40 hours on a full charge, give or take. Meaning these are some of the best battery life headphones for hip hop on the market.
Unfortunately, that’s where these headphones peak
Skullcandy represents its sound as immersive and bass-heavy. Well, these headphones do a pretty good job of keeping sound in with minimal leakage to outside. And the bass is certainly strong.
However, they’ve added a haptic bass driver here that is supposed to boost bass. This is also tied into an adjustable (through their app) sensory bass program that turns it off and on when necessary. However, the haptic bass boost doesn’t get as deep and low as it should.
Instead, it pumps up the mid-bass sound, which causes the overall bass to get muddy. And the sensory bass will turn off automatically when the bass isn’t pumping, but come back on with a lag following a bass drop.
These headphones will fit nicely over most ears, and the ear cups are soft and comfortable. However, the sliders can only go out so far, and the bigger-headed among us may find them limiting. Also, I was pretty disappointed in the plastic construction of these earphones. I just don’t see them being durable enough to last as long as they should.
Overall, you get good Bluetooth here and incredible battery life, but it’s not enough to make up for the downsides.
- Excellent battery life.
- The bass is not clear, and the bass boost has a lag in it.
- Made from cheap plastic that doesn’t seem very durable.
2 Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones – Best Bass Headphones for Hip Hop
Now, if you want to step it up a bit, you can pay another 20 bucks and pick up the Sennheiser HD 450BT wireless headphones. This gets you a pair of over-ear headphones with Bluetooth like the Crushers. But you’re also getting active noise cancellation (ANC).
Let’s see if it’s worth the extra cost…
First off, the ANC here is good at blocking out ambient sounds at steady levels. If sudden loud noises pop up, though, it’s not as good at blocking them out. There ANC also brings the overall volume level down noticeably, and sometimes this can leave the audio too quiet.
The Bluetooth here is 5.0 class one and includes the ANC and AptX codecs. This will ensure that your connection will never drop out. At least if you stay in range, anyway.
You get a decent 30 foot (10m) range here with no dropouts, and farther if you have no walls or other obstacles in the way. As a result, these are some of the best Bluetooth headphones for hip hop you can buy.
These headphones also support multiple connections
However, the firmware isn’t quite up to the task yet. So, if one of your devices goes out of range, it’s impossible to re-connect without powering off and back on again. Not all that convenient.
Sennheiser invites you to download their app so you can control the EQ of these headphones. You can take advantage of several EQ presets, download firmware updates, and also check battery levels.
Speaking of the battery, you get about 30 hours of playback with a full charge on these headphones. That’s no 40 hours like the Skullcandy Crushers, but with ANC on board, you’re going to expect less anyway.
So how about the sound?
For hip-hop, you need strong, clear bass. Well, these headphones deliver. With dynamic bass, they can blast your ears while keeping the distortion low and the sound clear. The mids here are natural, and the high end is clear and strong without being overpowering. In short, the music sounds good, and the lyrics are clear and easy to hear.
- Good balance of clear high-end and strong bass.
- Good battery life.
- Excellent Bluetooth connection.
- Battery and out-of-range notifications can be annoying.
- ANC can cause the overall level to be too quiet.
3 Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones – Best Sounding Wired Headphones for Hip-Hop
Next up, we get the chance to look at a professional set of headphones that are used in studios for mixing, mastering, and DJing too.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones are big and bold but only run you about $140. Why? Well, they’re wired, that’s why. As the world moves towards wireless headphones like the two pairs we’ve just seen, wired headphones have come down in price A LOT to try to stay competitive.
What’s good about wired headphones?
They don’t need charging and never run out of power. However, the wires can get tangled, damaged, or just get in the way. The DT 770 Pros have a single-sided cable that resists tangling very well. However, it’s also almost ten feet (3m) long, which means it can get in the way sometimes.
These headphones were designed for studio use where that long cable comes in handy, but if you’re using them on the go, you’ll have to find an effective way to keep the extra length coiled up.
But the sound is probably well worth it
These are closed-back over-ear headphones that do a great job of keeping your hip-hop music in your ears and not leaking out to bother other people. The connection here is a standard 3.5mm pin, but it’s gold plated to ensure noise-proof connections.
The headphones have a frequency response from 5 – 35,000Hz, extending beyond the range of human hearing in both directions. They’re also loud, reaching up to a 96dB sound pressure level. As a result, these are some of the most powerful headphones for hip hop you will find.
The bass here is deep and powerful, hitting all your beats as you need it to. It’s very clear and accurate, as is the mid-range. The high-end is also clear and a bit loud with a high-end boost. This makes the treble, and consequently most lyrics, very sharp. Some users may find this high-end fatiguing without bringing it down with equalization.
As for comfort
These headphones are big and a bit heavy. They are, however, well decked out with a padded leatherette cushion around the headband and soft velour-covered ear cups. Both are replaceable.
They might not be the best headphones for listening when you’re out and about. But at home, these headphones are excellent for hip-hop and anything else you want to hear in a detailed way.
- Great sound with pure, deep bass.
- No charging is needed.
- Detailed, accurate sound representation.
- No Bluetooth.
- Big and bulky with a three-meter long cable.
- High-end can be fatiguing for some users.
4 Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones – Best Portable Headphones for Hip-Hop
Next up, Audio Technica steps up with its ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. At about $150, and as wired headphones, these are a pretty solid competitor for the Beyerdynamic DT 770s, so let’s compare them directly.
Both headphones are wired, as I mentioned, and don’t have Bluetooth capabilities. However, the flip side is that they never need charging and are always ready to give you great sound. Where the ATH-M50X stands out is that its cables are detachable.
Yep, I said “cables”
These headphones come with a coiled 4-10 foot (1.2-3m) cable, a straight 4-foot cable, and a straight 10-foot cable. You can see how that’s going to make them better when you’re on the go – just use the short cable for convenience.
Both headphones have the same SPL, and both have frequency responses that exceed the limits of human hearing. The ATH-M50Xs have a solid level of bass, but it’s not as powerful as we saw with the DT770s. However, the high-end isn’t as detailed either.
I’d say this comes down to a personal sound preference
Some people are going to prefer the very analytical sound of the DT770s. Others will like the smooth overall sound of the ATH-M50Ks.
But for comfort and convenience, I think these ATH-M50Ks are better. Like I mentioned earlier, the interchangeable and replaceable cable makes traveling with these phones easy. You could say these are some of the most comfortable headphones for hip hop on the market.
You can also buy a new cable should you need to. The ear cups also rotate 90 degrees and swivel 90 degrees as well on strong hinges. This adds to the comfort of wearing these as well as transporting them.
- Comfortable with swivel hinges.
- Cables are interchangeable and replaceable.
- Well-balanced sound.
- No Bluetooth connection.
- Weaker bass than the Beyerdynamics.
5 Beats Studio3 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones – Best Value for the Money Headphones for Hip-Hop
I’m sure you’ve been expecting it, so of course, we have a Beats by Dr. Dre contender up next. The Studio3 over-ear wireless headphones from Beats, now owned by Apple, are hip-hop icons.
But is their reputation deserved?
You’re looking at anything from $180-290 for a pair of these headphones, so the price is getting up there. They’re still sleek and minimally cool and come in Blue, Red, Matte Black, White, Defiant Black-Red, Shadow Grey, and Midnight Black.
These are over-ear headphones, with big enough ear cups to fit most ears comfortably. The cups are lined with leatherette and are pretty cushy. The overall construction is a steel frame and sliders covered in a plastic coating.
They don’t seem as durable as the price tag indicates, especially the folding hinges. It’s great that they can fold up for transport in their cool travel case – I just wish they were stronger.
There is a fairly strong clamping pressure with these headphones, which might not be great for folks with bigger heads. This is in part to keep out noise, but of course, the built-in ANC does most of that work. It’s quite effective against loud constant sounds like an airplane engine or jackhammering. However, sudden loud noises will get through a lot better.
They also give you a transparency mode to allow you to take in outside noises when you need to be alert. This is done using the onboard mics that, of course, also help you take calls. In other words, these are some of the best noise canceling headphones for hip hop around.
They have mic monitoring as well to make sure you can hear your actual speaking level and not have to scream into the mics. The mics work OK for calls, but I wouldn’t recommend gaming in these as the mic isn’t going to be as sensitive as a boom mic.
As for battery power
They do get the same incredible 40 hours of playback off a single charge as the Skullcandy’s do. However, with ANC on, this will drop to something around 22 hours. Of course, these are Bluetooth headphones, so they’re wireless and connect through Class 1 Bluetooth, which is strong and reliable.
Now the sound here is geared towards hip-hop, as you’d expect. You get strong bass that’s focused and pretty tight. The mids are quite flat. There’s a boost in the treble as well. Although it can get loud, it’s never screechy. However, you can adjust your EQ through the Beats app in case you’re not listening to hip-hop all the time.
- Look cool and deliver a great sound tuned to hip-hop.
- Bluetooth is great and keeps a strong connection.
- ANC works relatively well for constant background noise.
- Starting to get expensive.
- Clamping force can be a bit strong.
6 Bose Soundlink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones – Best Wireless Headphones for Hip-Hop
Our final contender for the title of Best Headphones for Hip-Hop is the Bose Soundlink around-ear wireless headphones. Bose has made a name for itself in the speaker market, especially with Bluetooth sound systems, so let’s see how these headphones hold up that reputation.
I think these headphones are smooth and immersive. You get enough bass to feel it for most songs, although it’s less than the Beats Studio3 or Beyerdynamic DT770 offer. But things are still smooth and well-balanced here. You can adjust your EQ through the Bose Connect app to get the best sound for different uses as well.
The built-in microphones don’t fare as well, however. While the Studio3 mics do a good job of keeping outside noise out, the Soundlinks seemed designed to let it in. Wind and steady background noise will drown you out on outside calls except in the quietest of corners, though inside, they do a lot better.
What about comfort and durability?
The ear cups fit well over larger ears. The cups are lined with microsuede and are comfy. However, the vinyl-like material on the outside and the headband looks like it won’t last long, which is disappointing. At least the frame is silica-reinforced nylon over steel sliders for better durability.
You can use Bluetooth, NFC, or even a wired connection. That’s enough options for anyone. Therefore, these are some of the most versatile headphones for hip hop. At the same time, though, a full charge gets you only 15 hours of playback, which is pretty disappointing, next to the 40 hours we’ve seen from some competitors.
All told, the sound here is really good. But with no ANC and short battery life, I don’t think it justifies the higher price.
- Bluetooth, NFC, and wired connections.
- Well-balanced, immersive sound.
- No ANC.
- Short battery life of just 15 hours.
- Some covering materials aren’t the quality you’d expect for this price.
How to Buy the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop
To get yourself the best headphones for listening to hip-hop music, there are a few factors to consider. You have to balance quality, comfort, look, sound, and of course, price. Let’s look at these factors in a bit more detail.
Quality and Durability
Headphones can look great and sound great and then fall apart. If they fold or articulate, look at the joints and choose a pair that’s durable if you need to pack your headphones in a travel case often.
Likewise, the covering materials should be of a quality that reflects the price of the headphones. If something doesn’t feel like it will stand up to the test of time, it most likely won’t.
Comfort and Convenience
It doesn’t matter how good headphones sound if wearing them is uncomfortable. Look at your needs and find a pair that suits them. If you have larger ears or a bigger head than average – no judgment! – make sure you find headphones that are a good fit for bigger bodies.
As for convenience, you want your headphones to be easy to wear at home and on the go. Wires can be a pain and get in the way or even damaged. However, wireless headphones require you to be vigilant about charging them unless you go for excellent battery life. Decide what suits your lifestyle and buy accordingly.
If you drop enough cash on your headphones, you hope they’re going to look at least as expensive as they were. But some cheaper pairs can still look slick. If design is your thing, this can be a major factor in your choice.
Hip-hop is bass-heavy, and you need headphones with powerful enough bass to bring your tracks to life. At the same time, you want to hear those rhymes, and that requires a clear and smooth balance in the mid and high-end. Everyone’s preferences are different, but at least find headphones that are clear and powerful.
Additionally, most wireless headphones have apps to help you control EQ if you need that to make different types of music sound better.
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So, which of these Best Headphones for Hip-Hop should you Buy?
After reviewing all these quality headphones, it’s time to choose a champion. The Beyerdynamic DT770s have a great sound that I liked the best, but they’re wired and just not convenient enough for everyone. They’d be the champ if we were talking about just listening at home or in the studio.
However, if we have to consider battery life, ANC, comfort, and durability, I have to give it to the…
They look the part and make hip-hop records sound great. And after all, that’s what they’re designed to do. So, in the end, Beats is still leading in the hip-hop headphones game.
Until next time, happy listening.