Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: What’s On Your Running Playlist?

Q&A Wednesday: What’s On Your Running Playlist?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Q: My question is not a deep and intellectually challenging one – in fact, shamefully, quite the opposite….

Do you have a go-to work-out playlist? Or any music from your pole-dancing workouts you’d care to share? I always find that the music I’m listening to can have a determining effect on if I go for that run or not…

A: Dang, she brought up the pole too, though…

Strange side note – something I almost neverrr mention on the blog is that I’ve spent my life dedicated to music, and am actually a classically trained opera singer who sings in six languages… and occasionally still listens to Lil’ Jon and Gucci Mane.

So sue me.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my studies, it’s that music is about much more than words. What people relate to, more often than not, is feeling and emotion… and that can be conveyed in far more than just the lyrics. It’s the sound, the volume, the tone… if everything is right, it will spark the “right” feeling in you and you can use that as necessary to your life.

This is why, I believe, some people have no use for certain songs and others live for them. It’s all about whatever there is in your life that can relate to what that song is saying.

That being said, when I go run, it’s all about giving me something that’s going to stoke the ass-whoopin’ fire in my soul. I need something that’s gonna make me run out there and throw a ‘bow at the next jerk who wants to walk out on the jogging path smoking and eating a honey bun. Quite frankly, I need some music that’s going to get me thiiiiiiiis close to being arrested.

Conversely, when I practice my pole work, I prefer something sensual. Relaxed, focused, not necessarily wild… somewhat subtle… short of the occasional super-ratchet song, that is. It’s got to be something that can get me past the “OMG YOUR ARMS ARE BURNING AND YOUR THIGHS ARE ON FIRE… BUT YOU SEXY, GIRL!” feeling.

You have to figure out what feelings you need to tap into in order for you to feel emotionally fueled to complete your activity. I need to feel like I might get arrested… this might also be part of the reason why I run a little faster when certain songs come on.

That being said, asking me what’s on my playlist is a pretty personal question. I mean, you might as well ask me what I weigh. 😉 Here’s what my pole playlist looks like. (I know that sounds funny, since it very well could be, well… never mind.)

  • Anytime, Anyplace – Janet Jackson
  • Babydoll – Mariah Carey
  • Be With You – Beyonce
  • Beauty – Dru Hill
  • Blame It – Jamie Foxx
  • Blue Alert – Madeleine Peyroux
  • Break You Off – The Roots
  • Breathe – Raheem DeVaughn
  • Corrupt – Cee Cee Michaela
  • Crazy You – Zo! feat. Sy Smith
  • Excuse Me Miss – Jay-Z
  • Feenin’ – Jodeci
  • Freakin’ Me – Jamie Foxx feat. Marsha Ambrosius
  • Glory Box – Portishead
  • Hot Tottie – Usher
  • How Can I Love U 2Nite – Sisqo
  • I Need Love – Robin Thicke
  • In Private – Jagged Edge
  • Kiss Me – Cassie
  • Let’s Take Our Time – TLC
  • Long Night – Nelly feat. Usher
  • Look At Her – One Chance, Trey Songz, Lloyd
  • The Moon and the Sky – Sade
  • Nefertiti (Center of the Universe) – Chico DeBarge
  • No Guarantee – Chico DeBarge
  • One Night Stand – Lil’ Jon feat. Oobie
  • Promise – Ciara
  • Pushin’ Inside You – Sons of Funk
  • Pussycats – Missy Elliot
  • Question Existing – Rihanna
  • Release Some Tension – SWV
  • Say Yes – Floetry
  • Seven Days – Mary J. Blige
  • Sh-t, Damn, Motherf-cker – D’Angelo
  • So Anxious – Ginuwine
  • Suzie Blue – Ben Harper
  • Table Tennis – Flying Lotus feat. Laura Darlington
  • Take Care – Marsha Ambrosius
  • Teach U A Lesson – Robin Thicke
  • Single – Raheem DeVaughn
  • Video Phone – Beyonce feat. Lady Gaga
  • Who You Wit – Jay-Z
  • Yes – Beyonce
  • You Are Everything – Dru Hill
  • Your Love Is A 187 – Whitehead Bros

What’s on my current running playlist?

  • Ice Cream – Raekwon
  • Maneater – Nelly Furtado feat. Lil’ Wayne
  • I Luv Your Girl – The-Dream
  • That Girl – Pharrell
  • Get Me Bodied – Beyonce
  • Fire – Paul Wall & Trina
  • Grew Up A Screw Up – Ludacris & Young Jeezy
  • Candy – E40, MC Eiht, Snoop Dogg
  • Special Delivery – G.Dep, Ghostface Killah, Craig Mack
  • Daddy Fat Sax – Big Boi
  • Itty Bitty Piggy – Nicki Minaj
  • Hard In The Paint – Waka Flocka Flame
  • What You Know – TI
  • Whoa – Black Rob
  • Viva La White Girl – Gym Class Heroes feat. Lil’ Wayne
  • Hot Tottie – Usher
  • So Appalled – Kanye West
  • Hot Boyz – Missy Elliott
  • Roman’s Revenge – Nicki Minaj feat. Eminem
  • No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame
  • Monster – Kanye West
  • Gucci Mane – Won’t Catch Me Runnin’
  • Drop It Like It’s Hot – Snoop Dogg
  • Play No Games – Lil’ Jon
  • I Don’t Give A F-ck – Lil’ Jon
  • Put Yo Hood Up – Lil’ Jon
  • Bia Bia – Lil’ Jon
  • Throw It Up – Pastor Troy

As you can see, I like my running music wild, and I make no apologies or explanations for it other than this is what I need to make those miles. What’s in your headphones? Let me see those lists!

Oh, and since I may be one of a handful of people around here with a pole, let’s throw this out there – if you could put on your best pole routine, what would be on your playlist?

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Retta June 1, 2011 - 10:38 AM

I read all the time but my first time making a comment.

When working out I listen to downloads from MotionTraxx (www.motiontraxx.com) the music is given in beats per minute (bpm) and it is FREE!!! He has music for walking, jogging, running, intervals and those lovely machines (elliptical, etc.) in the gym.


Kim August 24, 2011 - 2:57 PM

Thanks Retta!

April December 18, 2014 - 2:52 PM

Are you able to download the music and put it on an mp3 player or does it have to be on your phone? I’m always on the look out for music to run to especially that is set in bpm, but my phone battery blows so I run with an iPod.

CJ June 1, 2011 - 11:14 AM

Get Me Bodied is a necessity on ANY playlist for me! Love your blog and I see you have a little ratchet in your spirit as do I. “No Hands” will get you right!

manijojo June 1, 2011 - 11:15 AM

I feel you on both playlists. I am a classical violinist that must do my cardio to something that makes me feel empowered and “street” at the same time. I like some Young Joc, Rick Ross, David Banner, TI, and JayZ . . . sprinkle in some Trina, Beyonce, Monica. You get the picture.

Keep doing what you do. I am inspired by you.

smac June 1, 2011 - 11:32 AM

HaHa!!!!!! Don’t tell anybody this is my workout music!
I have 4 Cardio files on my iphone
Extreme Cardio ( my running list )…. I constantly change them

Da Brat Look at me Now
No Love Eminem & Lil Wayne
Hollywood Jay-Z
Drop it Low Ester Dean
Yeah Ya Know (Takers) T.I.
Hard Rihanna & Jeezy
How Low Ludacris
Bad Girl Danity Kane
Universal Mind Control Common
Hello Good Morning Diddy
Number One Jamie Foxx
Overnight Celebrity Twista
Green Light Beyonce
Gittin Funky Kid N Play (yeah thats that old school!)
Run the World (Girls) Beyonce

* Most of these are the clean versions and they provide a great work out!

Jessica June 1, 2011 - 11:43 AM

LOLO! I am cracking up at your list because it’s nice to see someone else has some just dirty “rachetedy” music on their playlist. Ok, this is what’s currently on my running playlist

Oh Yeah ! – Foxy Brown
No time to play – Guru
We gonna make it – Jadakiss
Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
Closer – Kings of Leon
Auditorium – Mos Def
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
The Saints are coming – Sweet Suburbia
Fly like an eagle – Steve Miller Band
In the City – Chromatics
Fancy – Drake
Fear Success – Drake, Jay-Z, Nas & T.I
What we talkin about – Jay-Z
Get right – Jennifer Lopez
Swagger like us – Jay -Z
One Mic – Nas
Brooklyn we go hard – Jay -Z
Da Rockwilder – Method Man & Redman
Lose Yourself – Eminem
I get money – 50 cent
Gatorade has evolved – David Banner (from the NBA playoffs last year)
Hustle Hard – Ace Hood
Who got it on lock – Guru
Who got the props – Black moon
You be killin’ em – Fabulous
Juice (Know the ledge) – Eric B & Rakim
Ego – Beyonce
Girls run the world – Beyonce ( Love the words of this song)
Shawty say – David Banner
Get like me – Chris Brown & David Banner
Here come the boom – DMX

I can’t wait 2 c what’s on everyone else’s playlist !!

The Duo Dishes-Chrystal June 1, 2011 - 11:52 AM

I have to have lots of beats going when I workout. Dancehall, dance/techno, euro pop, electro…that keeps me going on the days I really don’t want to run anyways!

LikeRamona June 1, 2011 - 1:38 PM

I’m loving the playlists posted! Y’all have given my playlists a much needed boost!!!
Mine are mixes by local djs. I have the rap mixes for cardio, house music for strength training & a montage of sexy tunes for abs, squats, and such. Marathon by Raheem Devaughn is one of my favorite sexy tunes!

keyalus June 1, 2011 - 2:39 PM

Love the pole dancing playlists. I love to see what songs move other dancers. I was more of a 90’s R&B pole girl. I’m not a very good fast dancer so the booty shaking songs never really cut it with me.

Laurnea – Infatuation
Tamia – Can’t No Man
Mariah Carey – Bliss
Christina Aguilera – Get Mine Get Yours
Mya – Sophisticated Lady
Truth Hurts – Addictive
Xscape – Feels So Good
Usher – Bad Girl
Kelis – Awww $h!t
Joi – Lick
Boyz II Men – Uhh Ahh
Anthony David – Cold Turkey
Sara Barellies – Come Round Soon

CurlieGirlie June 1, 2011 - 3:06 PM

Haha, the blog “Black Girls Run!” just came out with their playlist yesterday. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it should be interesting.

My fun, fast run usually consists of music that you would hear at the club, lol…I don’t know why, but it gets me going. I have introspective runs that feature the mellow songs of artists like India.Arie, Adele, Sade, etc. My long, “I-need-to-run-off-some-stress” run usually consists of worship music. I have so many different playlists, it’s not even funny. I feel like I can get tired of the same playlist really quickly, so I switch it up as often as possible.

Reggie Carr June 1, 2011 - 6:10 PM

@Erika Really impressed with the whole singing in 6 different languages thing! Since everyone seems to be giving their musical background, I’ve been playing alto sax since age 12, so that’s over 20 years for me. And I’ve been playing bari sax for about 8 years.

I’m like you, Erika; my workout music has to put me in a “I wish a M**F** WOULD” mood, but instead of a playlist I just listen to Pandora. I’m an old school hip hop/rap fan so my favorite station to work out to is Public Enemy (been a fan of theirs since forever ago). It being Pandora, I usually end up working out to P.E., Ice Cube, Ice T, NWA, EPMD, Beastie Boys, and KRS One. That’s the playlist when I’m lifting weights or doing calisthenics.

My cardio playlist is the Cadence Calls of the U.S. Special Forces (what can I say, I grew up military) which my wife found on iTunes, if anyone’s interested.

Danielle June 1, 2011 - 6:48 PM

on a total post derail, can you do an article on running in the humidity/heat?
Just got into running, and I live in SC, and it’s hot as heyell down here!

aWickedRose June 1, 2011 - 10:54 PM

So this is my cardio mix:

1. Supermodel by RuPaul
2. Cover Girl by RuPaul
3. Hi Hater (Remix) by Maino
4. 4 Minutes by Madonna
5. Dream Big by Jazmin Sullivan
6. Bombs Over Baghdad by Outkast
7. I’m Not Your Toy by La Roux
8. Bulletproof by La Roux
9. Blah Blah Blah by Ke$ha feat. 3OH!3
10. Blind by Ke$ha
11. Take It Off by Ke$ha
12. Tik Tok by Ke$ha
13. Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance
14. Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) by Pitbull
15. College Kids by Relient K
16. Who’s That Chick by David Guetta
17. Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine
18. It’s On by Demi Lovato
19. Blow by Ke$ha
20. We R Who We R by Ke$ha
21. On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez

I like things that have a bit of a pop to kind of pep me up. I offered my husband my playlist and yeah…I guess it’s something that just fits me.

splitsun June 1, 2011 - 11:37 PM

My gym music is a mixture of r&b, rap, dubstep, trance, dance, pop, soca, and metal. I won’t list the entire thing here but the ones that probably got the most play for the past month were:

Blindfolded – Theophilius London
Numbers (Camo & Krooked Remix) – John B
Creator -Santigold
The End – Chasing Shadows
Sunlight – Modestep
Fire -Ferry Corsten
Apologise – Timberland ft. One Republic
Sexy B**** – David Guetta Ft. Akon

tdixonspeaks June 2, 2011 - 7:55 AM

Erika! Just what I needed in life. I haven’t updated my iPod in about 2 years so I switch between iPod and Pandora. I’ve got a short list but is absolutely looking for more suggestions. Imma come back to this later today!

Nicole June 2, 2011 - 9:54 AM

Some of my best songs come from pre-made cardio fitness compilations. They’re the right BPM and are already cross faded to blend nicely from one to another. I then mix in songs from my personal collection and voila! More… http://wp.me/pSdsa-39

Curlstar June 3, 2011 - 11:40 AM

Erika, don’t feel bad! I’m a classically trained dancer and I have some ratchet tendencies. I grew up in Washington, DC, so I am seriously rooted in Go-Go music (check out Chuck Brown and Rare Essence on youtube for a sample if you are curious). If it gets you to move, go with it!

Jem June 3, 2011 - 3:43 PM

My playlists tend to look very indie with a little something “street” thrown in. Now that my iPod is full though, I have to get a new one just for playlists and other music library spillover. My favorite tune to exercise too is Broken Social Scene’s “It’s All Gonna Break.”

becca June 3, 2011 - 8:17 PM

This is probably weird, but I listen to comedy podcasts while on the elliptical. If I’m on my treadmill at home, I really don’t listen to anything for whatever reason. If I’m on the treadmill at the gym… again with the comedy podcasts.

WTF with Marc Maron is a favorite. THOUGH, I often seem like a crazy person cackling, running, and sweating all at once.

Dominique July 27, 2011 - 7:11 PM

I won’t throw out a list, but will say that most of the songs I listen too are either fast-paced, or have a nice jingle to them.
Embarrassingly enough, a large percentage of my music comes from songs downloaded from Japanese animes. Yes, I listen to those, ‘I can (try to) sing along and dance to it but don’t speak a lick of it’ music. The rest are from artists like:

Cradle of Filth
My Chemical Romance
Eyes Set To Kill
Bullet for my Valentine
Lily Allen
Natasha Bedingfield
Relient K

…yeah you get the point. Just the right song can pull me into Mach 5! Lol.

Loretta July 28, 2011 - 3:33 AM

Ok…original old school here. I, too have a mix of some of everything.
Gap Band, Motown…Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye…I have a couple of Korean artists..Ha Dong Qn, Park Hyo Shin, Big Bang…then The Beatles……hmm Outkast, Mary J Blige…Tone Loc…Mary Mary….
When I get in the zone…I have my praise and worship…BeBe and CeCe..Crystal Lewis, Oleta Adams…you get me?!
I think I will update, as in switch out and rotate…

by the way..Gap Band Party Train…whew! start sweating just thinking about it!!

Fitempress August 24, 2011 - 2:19 PM

oh thank u thank u thank u to all who posted before!! I just started working out again lately and sad to say the music on the work out dvd i bought absolutely sucks and the instructor talks to much so i’ve muted her and been playing own choice of music to work out to. However my ultra short playlist has gotten on my last nerves (its shorts cause i can never remember a song until i hear it and i never remember to go looking for more until its time to work out smdh).

ANYWHOOS there were basically three songs on the list

Hello Goodmorning by Rick Ross and company (too many names to remember right now)
Super Bass by Nicki Minaj
Run the World by Beyonce!

1beautifullymade October 20, 2011 - 1:24 AM

wOW ..You guys are always on time…I was on the treadmill yesterday thinking” I really need some new music”..My list is mostly :

Nas, dancehall, Beyonce, Jay Z, B.O.B, Rakim, Naughty by Nature, Onyx, and lots more dancehall

Do you know Michelle Obama was just recently asked what was in her playlist..lol she only mentioned Beyonce..than finished off with ..basically find something that makes you want to move….LOL..I was crackin up ..could you imagine her tellin the world she gets down to :

I Don’t Give A F-ck – Lil’ Jon
Put Yo Hood Up – Lil’ Jon
Bia Bia – Lil’ Jon
Throw It Up – Pastor Troy

LOL…I love our First Lady!

Tremilla October 28, 2011 - 8:59 AM

I have lots of Beyone, but what really gets me moving is Soca. Whenever a soca song comes on I picture myself at Miami Carnival in my costume wukking up a storm. When Im walking or at the gym I have to keep myself from having a soca fit and whining up a storm. Some of my fave workout songs:
Drop It Low- Ester Dean
Bacchanal- Destra
Gimme the Juk Juk- Alison Hinds
Check On It- Beyonce
Lollipop-Lil Wayne
Freeze- T-Pain feat. Chris Brown

Melissa February 1, 2012 - 3:38 PM

I confess to being totally brainwashed by the Army. I can ellip, step aerobic, weights to anything but when it comes to running I MUST have my Army Cadence. It keeps me paced, a timed steady breathing and when I close my eyes I swear I have my former platoon surrounding me and we are running lockstep!

Erika Nicole Kendall February 2, 2012 - 6:26 AM

Oh oh oh!!! Please believe I got into that US Women’s Marines Cadence a few weeks ago! Love it!!

Denice November 19, 2014 - 6:54 PM

Former active duty Marine here! I am SO getting that US Women Marine Cadence!!!

Blanche January 5, 2013 - 2:22 AM

I constantly update my workout playlist about every two weeks. Some of my favorite tunes to sweat out to are:

Pour It Up- Rhianna
Got Me Good- Ciara
Wildest Dreams- Brandy
Problems- ASAP Rocky
Gimme Dat- Ciara
I Go To Work – Kool Moe Dee
Sexxy Dance- Jacki O
Twerk It – VIC
Like This Like That- Monica
Baby I’m Scared of You- Womack and Womack
Funkin For Jamacia- Tom Browne
Girls Dem Sugar- Beenie Man
Ball- TI
Do It – Mykko Montana
Lose My Breath – Destiny Child
Freak It – Lathun
Music Makes Me High – Lost Boyz
Take On Me – A Ha
Shots- Lil Jon
The One – Ceelo
I’m Loving You More- Leela James
End of Time – Beyonce
Move Your Body – Beyonce
Long Heels Red Bottoms – Trina

Pole Dance Mix
Dance For You – Beyonce
Nasty Grind – Adina Howard
I Got – Waka Flocka
Climax – Usher
End of the Night – Ludacris/ Bobby Valentino
Chocolate Legs- Eric Benet
Prototype – Raheem DaVaughn
Lovers & Friends – Lil Jon
Come Over – Aaliyah
Slow Motion – Juvenile
Cheers 2 U – Playa
Splash Waterfalls remix – Ludacris
Yes – Q Parker
Calling Me – Raheem Davaughn
Microphone – Raheem Davaughn

Angelique January 10, 2013 - 1:02 AM

I use my spin bike mostly so here’s my mix for that:

Whyyawannabringmedown – Aranda
The Time (The Dirty Bit) – BEP
Rock That Body – BEP
Womanizer – Britney Spears
Me Against The Music – Britney/Madonna
Yeah 3X – Chris Brown
Little Bad Girl – David Guetta
Turn Me On – David Guetta/Nicki Minaj
In The Dark – Dev
Let The Bodies Hit The Floor – Drowning Pool
Tonight – Enrique Iglesias
I like It – Enrique Iglesias
This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race – Fall Out Boy
I Cry – Flo Rida
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida
Dance Again – J.LO
On The Floor – J.LO
Somebody Told Me – The Killers
Sexy and I Know It – LMFAO
Party Rock – LMFAO
Around My Way – Lupe Fiasco
The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
Thrift Shop – Macklemore
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Starships – Nicki Minaj
Settle Down – No Doubt
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – Pink
Don’t Stop The Party – Pitbull
Give Me Everything – Pitbull/Neyo
Where Have You Been – Rihanna
Scream – Usher
DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again – Usher
More (Remix) – Usher
OMG – Usher
I Got It From My Mama – Will.I.Am

Daphney February 19, 2013 - 9:38 AM

N*ggas in Paris- Jay-Z & Kanye West
Run It- Juelz Santana & Chris Brown
Good Feeling- Flo Rida
Walk in my Shoes- Emily King
Please Don’t Leave Me- Pink
Otis- Jay-Z & Kanye West
Bossy- Kelis
Energy- Keri Hilson
Boom- P.O.D
My Boo- Ghost Town DJ’s (took it way back)
Only Wanna Give it to you- Elle Varner
Paid in Full- Eric B & Rakim
Sill not a Player- Big Pun & Joe
Put it Down- Brandy & Chris Brown
Gold Digger- Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
Bad B*tch- Trina & Webbie
Fool for You- Cee Lo Green & Phillip Bailey
Lose Yourself- Eminem
Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake
What’s your Fantasy- Ludacris
Since you been Gone- Kelly Clarkson

Erika Nicole Kendall February 19, 2013 - 11:18 AM

I’M BAW-SAY! I LOVE that song!

Daphney February 19, 2013 - 12:03 PM

Me too, I run with serious attitude when it comes on!

Ashleigh September 4, 2013 - 10:25 PM

This is my current running playlist. I remove & add songs all the time.

Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan
Beat It – Michael Jackson
Bad – Michael Jackson
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) – Michael Jackson
Run the World (Girls) – Beyonce
LoveGame – Lady Gaga
Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
I Like to Move It – Reel 2 Reel
My Prerogative – Bobby Brown
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics
Scream & Shout – Will.i.am and Britney Spears
Blow – Ke$ha
Back to Life (However Do You Want) – Soul II Soul
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Blame It On the Boogie – Jackson 5
Cumbia Medley – Live at Houston Astrodome – Selena
A Boy Like That – Selena
Give It To Me – Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado
Planet Rock – Afrika Bambaataa
I Can’t Wait – Nu Shooz
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) – Journey
Let the Groove Get In – Justin Timberlake
Get Busy – Sean Paul
Temperature – Sean Paul
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia
Girlfriend – N Sync
Gimme The Light – Sean Paul
Right Now – Rihanna, David Guetta
No Letting Go – Wayne Wonder
Rude Boy – Rihanna
Raining Men – Rihanna & Nicki Minaj
Hey Ya! – OutKast
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
Stronger – Kanye West
Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) – Usher
Glad You Came – The Wanted
Set it Off – Strafe
Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony
If It Isn’t Love – New Edition
Toxic – Britney Spears
Fantasy – Mariah Carey feat O.D.B.
Monster – Kanye West feat Jay Z, Rick Ross, & Nicki Minaj
H.A.M. – Kanye West & Jay Z

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