Graduation marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter. Whether you’re heading off to college, taking your first step in the career world or taking a year to find yourself, there’s no better way to ‘toss the cap’ than celebrating with the perfect graduation playlist.
Your graduating class had a unique journey filled with fond memories—and your favorite songs helped you create those memories. While “Pomp and Circumstance” is a bit too formal for a graduation party, you can listen to modern hits and bask in the nostalgia of a few timeless classics. But with so many graduation anthems that have dropped over the last decade, which ones are essential?
We have you covered! Grab your cap and gown, and check out this list of timeless songs for graduation.
“Doses & Mimosas” - Cherub
Groovy and mesmerizing, Cherub’s “Doses & Mimosas” can make any night feel like a party. With heart-pumping rhythm to Jordan Kelley’s electrifying falsetto, this song has everything you need to get the room moving.
The Nashvillian duo, known for its vibrant blend of 80s pop and electronica, released “Doses & Mimosas” on their highly-anticipated third studio album, Year of the Caprese in 2016. Eight years and 51 million YouTube hits later, music lovers are still toasting to “Doses & Mimosas.”
So look back at everything you’ve accomplished and get inspired to celebrate your wins with “Doses & Mimosas.”
“Good Life” - Kanye West
The day Kanye stormed into the Roc-A-Fella office uninvited was only the beginning. “Good Life” is another example of his relentless drive and determination to win—traits that you and your fellow graduates are familiar with.
Released in 2007, “Good Life” is featured on Billboard’s list of Kanye’s most uplifting cuts. From triumphant horns to powerful 808 kick drums, the song’s formula is a classic Kanye recipe—grand, defiant and larger than life. T-Pain’s auto-tuned vocal presence, which practically defined modern hip-hop in the 2000s, makes the track even more iconic.
Is it a coincidence that this celebratory hit comes from Kanye’s Graduation album? Add this one to your graduation playlist and “throw your hands up in the sky.”
“September” - Earth, Wind & Fire
Question: Do you remember what you were up to on the 21st of September? “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire deserves a spot on every celebratory playlist. While it probably wasn’t your go-to song after acing an exam, it’s the perfect way to go out with a bang.
You might not be familiar with the band’s entire discography, but this song is unmistakable. Released as a single in 1978, “September” has an iconic groove that triggers a happy look back at all your favorite memories. Whether you remember the 21st of September or not, you’ll remember the good times that took place in between those never-ending lectures.
“We Are Young” - fun.
Although you’re entering into a new chapter of adulthood, you’re still young at heart. “We Are Young” by fun encourages you to embrace your youth, “set the world on fire” and stand out from the crowd. No matter what you take from this song, it’ll bring your graduating class closer together.
If you aren’t familiar with “We Are Young,” you probably haven’t seen many commercials or ads lately—which sounds impossible, in our opinion. Regardless, that song will make you feel unstoppable and ready for anything.
All graduates experience that bittersweet combination of excitement and uncertainty—you’re not alone! Listening to “We Are Young” will bring out the best version of yourself, allowing you to take life by the horns during the most uncertain moments.
“The World is Yours” - Nas
The world is yours, pure and simple. Nas, the scrappy underdog of hip-hop, defies the odds and practices what he preaches. “The World is Yours” is an empowering track that reminds you that you’re in control of what happens next in your story—something every new grad needs to hear.
Nas was young and on the rise with big dreams just like you. In 1994, he released his debut album, Illmatic, which became one of the most influential hip-hop albums of all time. Like Nas, you probably have big ambitions of your own. When you’re feeling unsure about what’s in store for you, listen to “The World is Yours” for a pep talk from hip-hop’s greatest MC.
“About Damn Time” - Lizzo
Lizzo, the queen of “living your best life,” inspires a new generation by being unapologetically herself. “About Damn Time” is another Lizzo anthem taking the music industry by storm.
“About Damn Time” hit the top of the Billboard Hot R&B Songs after lingering on the charts for three weeks strong. But what is it that keeps fans hooked on Lizzo’s unique brand? In addition to her brutally transparent attitude, music lovers can’t deny her unique rapping style and catchy rhythm.
Is it really a party playlist without a Lizzo track thrown in? Add this one to your graduation playlist and be the judge yourself.
“Celebrate” - Anderson .Paak
Anderson .Paak brings a suave lyrical flow to every song he touches. When he’s not performing alongside Bruno Mars, or showing up at a half-time show unannounced, Anderson .Paak writes songs that speak to the soul.
Malibu, Anderson .Paak’s debut album, introduced an unlikely formula to the hip-hop industry. Instead of deep 808 kick drums and earth-shaking bass lines, Malibu is full of guitar, live drums, piano and rich soul we haven’t heard since the Motown era. As the closing track of the album, “Celebrate” is the perfect way to end the story and set the tone for what’s next.
“Celebrate” has a laid-back vibe that reminds everyone to enjoy the good times. If you’re stepping across the stage this year, listening to this track will help you “celebrate while you still can.”
“Good Riddance” - Green Day
Your academic years are filled with hard work, but you had a lot of fun along the way. Time flies by fast, which is why you should spend a portion of it looking back on the best moments. That’s why “Good Riddance” should be in every graduate’s playlist, whether you’re a Green Day fan or not.
There’s no mistaking that opening riff. If you haven’t heard “Good Riddance” while sitting next to a campfire, you’ve heard it from ‘the guitar guy’ at a party. “Good Riddance” is the song that will kick off a spiral of memories, like a slideshow in your mind.
“Summertime” - Will Smith / DJ Jazzy Jeff
School’s out, summer’s here and it’s time to relax after months of classwork. Whether you’re throwing a ‘90s party on the beach or reconnecting with friends, you can ‘spark up nostalgia’ with “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.
In the ‘90s, Will Smith, a.k.a. The Fresh Prince had everyone huddled around TVs and boomboxes alike. Although The Fresh Prince didn’t stand toe-to-toe with rap heavyweights of the era, his clean style became a popular, laid-back alternative for music lovers who wanted to party all night.
You’ve spent hours studying and stressing over finals. Kick your feet up, unwind with “Summertime” and leave it all behind you—bonus points if you have a retro boombox.
“Graduation” - Vitamin C
Turn the formal graduation vibe into something lighthearted. “Graduation” by Vitamin C is a rap-infused twist on Canon in D Major. Vitamin C hits on many of the emotions and thoughts you’ll experience when you walk across the stage, from anxiety and sorrow to love and friendship.
If you’re ‘in your feels’ about graduation, Vitamin C is the best medicine. Queue up “Graduation” and take a nice walk down memory lane with your graduating class.
“Jamming” - Bob Marley
“Jamming” by Bob Marley is the essence of happiness. Featured on his iconic Exodus album, the song evokes a feeling of togetherness that you and your classmates will never forget.
Bob Marley & The Wailers had an impactful role in the history of reggae. From his early Trenchtown days to his final show in 1980, his powerful message united people together and gave them the strength to persevere through difficult times.
Bob Marley said it himself: “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” While graduation is a time of celebration, it’s normal to mourn the end of a chapter. When the graduation blues get you down, listening to Bob Marley will help you stay positive as your new chapter begins.
Celebrate with House of Marley
Congratulations from House of Marley! With a solid collection of uplifting, inspiring songs, you can craft the perfect playlist to party with your graduating class. Celebrate your graduation with the bold, powerful sound of House of Marley Bluetooth speakers, headphones and turntables.