20 Songs About Hard Work Paying Off

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

We all know the saying: hard work pays off. With determination, skill, motivation, and a lot of inspiration, you can reach even your highest dreams!

And with these 20 songs below — all of which are about hard work indeed paying off — you can gain a little bit of help in the inspiration department!

1. “Hard Work Pays Off” by Juice WRLD and Future

“Hard Work Pays Off” by Juice WRLD and Future follows the two rappers as they talk about their success in the music industry. Both rappers worked hard to get where they are. Now, they can really enjoy their lives and look around to see what they’ve created — and what they’ve earned!

They rap, “They say hard work pays off, I’ve been feeling paid.”

2. “My House” by Big Sean

“My House” by Big Sean is also about hard work paying off! In this 2011 track, Big Sean questions whose house he’s in… and then realizes it’s his own! He’s worked hard in his career to get where he is, and he’s happy that he’s now able to look around and see his success reflected back at him in the form of his home.

He says, “They say hard work pays off, wrong it pays good as hell / You the man huh? Sorry I couldn’t tell.”

3. “Vacation” by Dirty Heads

In “Vacation”, Dirty Heads tells people that they should always live their lives as if they are on vacation. Everyone should have fun! The band explains that we should all do what makes us happy. If we have jobs that we don’t like, we should find ones that we feel happiest doing.

Therefore, the band also explains that we should work hard in these happy occupations, rather than in careers we despise. They sing the lyrics, “Rejuvenate my inner light / As I work hard for all I need / Open arms, embracing life / And all of which you gave me.”

4. “Elvis Presley Blvd.” by Rick Ross featuring Project Pat

Rick Ross’ song “Elvis Presley Blvd.”, which features Project Pat, talks about a lot of different topics, such as drugs, Ross’ lifestyle, and Elvis Presley. However, Ross also raps about how hard work pays off!

5. “Started From the Bottom” by Drake

“Started From the Bottom” by Drake is perhaps one of the best songs about hard work paying off! In this song, Drake raps about how he truly started from nothing. However, he worked hard — and now look where he is! Now, he’s at the top of his game and truly enjoying his life!

6. “Work Hard” by Migos

In “Work Hard”, Migos raps about their difficult upbringings. The three rappers explain that they didn’t have it easy when they were growing up. However, they knew that they didn’t want to live like this forever. So, they worked hard to become successful and now feel an immense sense of accomplishment to see where they’re at!

They rap the lyrics, “Mama ain’t really have a good job / But now she ain’t never gotta have no job / ‘Cause I work hard for mine.”

7. “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa

“Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa is another great song about hard work paying off. Wiz Khalifa explains that he’s worked hard to get where he’s at. Now that he’s put in all of that hard work, he can also play hard. He’s living the dream!

8. “Work Hard, Play Harder” by Gretchen Wilson

Now, for a country number. “Work Hard, Play Harder” by Gretchen Wilson, which appears on her album I Got Your Country Right Here, follows the singer as she explains how hard she works. She works regular jobs throughout the week, working hard to get money however she can.

However, once the weekend rolls around, she’s ready to have fun! She sings the lyrics, “I work hard, I play harder / I’m a good-timin’, American daughter / Redneck, blue-collar / And I party down to my last dollar.”

9. “Unstoppable” by Drake featuring Lil Wayne & Santigold

We’ve got another Drake song for you! “Unstoppable” by Drake, which also features Santigold and Lil Wayne, follows the trio as they explain how hard they work. They feel that they always need to be “Unstoppable” when it comes to their music career.

As a result, both Drake and Lil Wayne rap that they work incredibly hard — and they’re not going to stop. They may have seen their hard work pay off, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to quit yet!

Lil Wayne raps, “Ahem, my name is Weezy, I’m almost perfect / And I work harder than hard workin’.”

10. “Work Hard” by Depeche Mode

Let’s take it back to the 80s. “Work Hard” by Depeche Mode, which appears on the band’s 1982 album Everything Counts, opens with the lyrics, “You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to work hard / If you want anything at all.”

As the song progresses, the band explains that nothing in life comes easy. However, good things come to those who work hard!

11. “Balance” by Future Islands

“Balance” by Future Islands is a different type of song compared to some of the other tracks on this list. Instead of singing about how hard work is something we all should do, the band instead says we should be patient, take our time, have fun, and live our lives. We should work hard for what we want — but this doesn’t mean we should stop living our lives and having fun!

Instead, the band explains that everything takes time. They sing, “It just takes time / Hard work and your time.”

12. “Here We Come” by Salt-N-Pepa

In “Here We Come”, Salt-N-Pepa discusses a lot of topics. However, they do talk about how they work hard and are the ones who bring home the money. They control their lives and their future!

They sing, “I’m a Nineties girl, that’s what they call me / I work hard for my family, doin’ it all, see?”


“ALASKA” by BROCKHAMPTON follows the group as they sing and rap about their newfound success in the music industry. Even though they obviously wanted this success, they do also explain how their lives are so different as a result of their hard work paying off.

14. “Work Bitch” by Britney Spears

And now, for a pop track from the iconic Britney Spears! In “Work Bitch”, Spears sings to us all and reminds us that if we want a nice car, a nice house, and all the material items we have our eyes on, we’ve got to work hard for it!

But once we do work hard for that car or that fit body, then we can celebrate!

15. “Shadow Dreams” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

“Shadow Dreams” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince follows the duo as they talk about their dreams. They explain that our dreams may be hard to reach, and sometimes even hard to remember, but we all have the capabilities of reaching and achieving these dreams.

They explain in the lyrics by saying, “My father said: ‘Son, don’t be talking so dumb / Hard work and education makes anything come / And plus a shadow dream ain’t as far as it seems son / You used to be a shadow dream.’”

16. “That Range Rover Came With Steps” by DJ Khaled

“That Range Rover Came With Steps” by DJ Khaled, which also features Future and Yo Gotti, follows the trio as they discuss quite a lot of topics. However, the overwhelming theme of this song is their success. They’ve achieved the life of their dreams. Their hard work has paid off. But that doesn’t mean everything is perfect!

Some friends have turned into enemies because of their success and money. Sometimes, they feel lonely and as if they can’t turn to those they used to!

17. “Come and Get Me” by Jay-Z

In “Come and Get Me”, Jay-Z raps about his newfound fame, money, and success. He explains that he’s untouchable. Nobody can get to him — even if they try! He goes on to explain that he’s worked incredibly hard to get where he’s at, so he’s not about to let it all be stolen away from him.

Jay-Z raps about his old jobs and how he’s gotten where he’s at, saying, “God I work hard, please don’t envy me / I paid the cost to be the boss to floss this hard / I can recall a year ago I almost lost this job / All y’all remember is the part about me parkin’ the hard.”

18. “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince

Here’s another great song by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince! “The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff” follows the Fresh Prince as he talks about how his hard work in the music industry has paid off. However, he says that he wouldn’t be there without one person: DJ Jazzy Jeff.

The Fresh Prince explains that his whole music career has been a success because he’s been able to make music with DJ Jazzy Jeff!

19. “Formation” by Beyoncé

In Beyoncé’s 2016 song “Formation”, which appears on her album Lemonade, she sings about Black Power. However, she also talks about how hard work can pay off! She explains that if she wants something, if she wants to further her career, she will. She will work hard and ensure that she gets what she wants!

So, she ends up saying, “I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it.”

20. “Play Hard” by David Guetta

Finally, we’ve got the last song on our list! “Play Hard” by David Guetta, which also features Akon and Ne-Yo, explores the common theme of working hard so that you can play hard. The singers explain that they’ve worked hard, gained success, and now will play hard and enjoy their lives!

Ne-Yo explains by singing, “Hey, said a hustler’s work is never through / We making it ’cause we making moves / The only thing we know how to do.”