Time is real, we can’t rewind it…
Out of everybody I met, who told the truth?
Common, “The Truth,” from Pharoahe Monch’s Internal Affairs, 1999
Wake up: all of that ‘crack in the street’ talk?
It’s made up, like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’
Sean Price, “Pyrex,” Mic Tyson, 2012
Props is a true thug’s wife.
Nas, “Verbal Intercourse,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995
It’s like a cycle: niggas come home, some’ll go in,
Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again.
From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable,
Guns salute life, rapidly, that’s the ritual.
Nas, “Verbal Intercourse,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995
The purpose of life is a life with a purpose;
So I’d rather die for a cause than live a life that is worthless.
Immortal Technique, “The Martyr,” The Martyr, 2011
Put your hands where I can see ‘em, so they look like 12 PM
On the dot, see this Glock? Don’t make me give these shells freedom.
Elzhi, “Hands Up,” The Preface, 2008
Breathe in…inhale vapors from bright stars that shine,
Breathe out…weed smoke retrace the skyline.
Mos Def, “Respiration,” from Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998
Times are hard in the ghetto, I gotta steal for a living;
Eating turkey-flavored Now & Laters for Thanksgiving.
DMX, “Born Loser,” 12”, 1993
You better duck, and pray for good luck, Chuck, cause you’re stuck.
You’re like a Thanksgiving turkey and it’s time to be plucked.
The Fresh Prince, “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper,” from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, 1988
You know that one auntie, you don’t wanna be rude,
…But every holiday, nobody eatin’ her food.
Kanye West, “Family Business,” The College Dropout, 2004
Age ain’t nothing but a number, that’s what Chi-Ali said.
OK, then why don’t you get that through the judge’s head?
Biz Markie, “Young Girl Bluez,” All Samples Cleared!, 1993
We were at the same table when the chips were checked,
A gamblin’ rebel who inspects the deck.
Just when you thought we would fold our hand,
Against all odds, we raised the bet like we changed the plans.
It was live on air, but in between station breaks,
I was holdin a pair and just made the table stakes.
Split the demos, put insurance on tapes,
A safeguard against the crusaders in capes.
If I double-down, they say the Gods are sharks;
If we win against the house, they thought the cards was marked.
We draw hit after hit from a royal flush menu,
While the dealer promoted the full house venue.
A spade in the club with the heart to wear diamonds,
The high roller who got credit upon signin’.
They look puzzled when I shuffle, most of ‘em stunned by the hustle,
Recourse of bluff game’s your muscle.
GZA, “Back in the Game,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Iron Flag, 2001
There’s a very big difference between what’s rap and what’s real,
When those worlds collide, that’s when rappers get killed.
Trappers, they go to jail, die without leaving a will,
There’s a very big difference between what’s rap and what’s real.
Saigon, “Rap Vs. Real,” The Greatest Story Never Told 2: Bread and Circuses, 2012
My life is full of empty promises and broken dreams…
I’m hopin’ things look up; but there ain’t no job openings.
I feel discouraged, hungry and malnourished,
Living in this house with no furnace, unfurnished.
And I’m sick of workin’ dead end jobs with lame pay,
And I’m tired of bein’ hired and fired the same day.
But fuck it, if you know the rules to the game play,
Cause when we die, we know we all going the same way.
Eminem, “Rock Bottom,” Slim Shady LP, 1999
City lights shine bright on my complexion,
Self-reflection…red hairs flashing at the intersection.
Life is a green light, one star, no script,
Supporting actors…fresh peaches, no pit.
Action Bronson, “Randy The Musical,” Rare Chandeliers, 2012
In my world, even sure bets are not certain;
‘Cause you’ll get the picture, then find out it’s the cropped version.
Joe Budden, “Going Through the Motions,” Mood Muzik: The Box Set, 2012
I know the game, it’s old and lame:
You’re holdin’ a flame for my name and my fame.
Livin’ like Givens schemin’ on Tyson,
But she got lucky ‘cause he was a nice one.
But I ain’t nice and I don’t play that,
If it ain’t tax, I don’t pay that.
Kool Moe Dee, “They Want Money,” Knowledge Is King, 1989
You can do all them push-ups to pump up your chest,
I got a 12 gauge Mossberg to pump up your chest,
Have you gasping for air after that shell hit your vest.
Fear me like you fear God, ‘cause I bring death.
50 Cent, “We All Die One Day,” from Obie Trice’s Cheers, 2003
Put a quarter in your ass, ‘cause ya played yourself.
Big Daddy Kane, “The Symphony,” from Marley Marl’s In Control, Vol. 1, 1988
I get atomic, hypo-galactical…
Word to mom, I’m in my own world.
Galaxy rays? Powerful.
Kool Keith, “Raise It Up,” from Ultramagnetic M.C.’s The Four Horsemen, 1993
Y’all mythological niggas is comical,
The astronomical is comin’ thru like tha flu bombin’ you…
And embalmin’ in your crew, too.
With the musical, mystical, magical, you know how I do.
Keith Murray, “The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World," The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, 1994
How could you possibly stop the apocalypse when I’m atomic bombin’ the populace?
Crooked I, “Loud Noises,” from Bad Meets Evil’s Hell: The Sequel, 2011
Little brats yellin ‘Trick or Treat’ all through my screen door,
When y’all should be at home sleep,
Instead of at my front porch 15 deep.
The jack o’ lantern came in handy…
I can turn my porch light out like I ain’t got no candy.
But ain’t that somethin?
You buy a Halloween costume and a pumpkin,
Almost gave your children a heart attack.
It’s a tradition, but who the hell started that?
Kam, “Holiday Madness,” Neva Again, 1993
You never know: rain, sleet, hail, snow,
See you gotta accept that’s how things go.
Prepare for the rainy day, or the sun’s glow,
But there’s clouds movin’ in and the clouds gonna blow.
Q-Tip, “Keep it Moving,” from Hi-Tek’s Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, 2006. Hurricane Sandy resources: How to Prepare for a Hurricane (Ready.gov). Map with weather and path (Google Crisis Response). New York City Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder.
Yes I’m highly explosive, yes I’m something ferocious,
Niggas fuckin with my nerves like multiple sclerosis.
Lil’ Fame, “Black Out,” from The Man With the Iron Fists Soundtrack, 2012
Success is what you make it, take it how it come.
A half a mil in twenties, like a billion where I’m from.
An arrogant drug dealer, the legend I become,
CNN said I’d be dead by 21.
Blackjack…I just pulled an ace,
As you looking at the king in his face.
Pusha T, “So Appalled,” from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010
People say, ‘Grimm, you’ve been shot like 50.
So why don’t you just rhyme like 50?
Then, you could get the money like 50,
Otherwise, before you see success…you’ll be 50.’
MF Grimm, “Boing,” American Hunger, 2006
Back when I was younger,
Very ambitious, but often blinded by my hunger.
Some say I dream too big,
And my dream gon’ take me under.
Freddie Gibbs, “National Anthem (Fuck the World),” Str8 Killa EP, 2010
Won’t cha…picture life as my wife, just think:
Full length mink, fat X and O links,
Bracelets to match, conversation was all that,
Showed you the safe combinations and all that.
Guess you could say you’s the one I trusted…
Who would ever think that you would spread like mustard?
Notorious B.I.G., “Get Money,” from Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s Conspiracy, 1995
All I want is peace and love on this planet.
Ain’t that how God planned it?
Chuck D., “Fear of a Black Planet,” from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, 1990
It’s weak to speak and blame somebody else
…When you destroy yourself.
Chuck D., “Welcome to the Terrordome,” from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, 1990
Look inside my soul and you can find gold and maybe get rich.
Look inside of your soul and you can find out it never exists…
Kendrick Lamar, “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” good kid, m.A.A.d. city, 2012
Imagine Rock up in the projects where them niggas pick your pockets,
Santa Claus don’t miss them stockings, liquor spilling, pistols popping,
Baking soda Yola whipping, ain’t no turkey on Thanksgiving,
My homeboy just domed a nigga, I just hope the Lord forgive him.
Jay Rock, “Money Trees,” from Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, 2012
I bet you never heard of a playa with no game,
Told the truth to get what I want, but shot it with no shame.
Take this music dead serious while others entertain.
I see they makin’ they paper so I guess I can’t complain…or can I?
I feel they disrespectin’ the whole thang.
Them hooks like sellin’ dope to black folks,
And I choke when the food they serve ain’t tastin’ right,
My stomach can’t digest it even when I bless it…
Andre 3000, “13th Floor/Growing Old,” from Outkast’s ATLiens, 1996
Will I die slain like my King by a terrorist?
Will my woman be Coretta, take my name and cherish it?
Or will she Jackie O., drop the Kennedy, remarry it?
Killer Mike, “Untitled,” R.A.P. Music, 2012
Love comes in every color, but the fact is…
I never needed 50 Shades of Grey,
Just turn the lights down low and give me every shade of blackness.
Phonte, “Afro Blue (9th Wonder’s Blue Light Basement Remix)”, from Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, 2012
Let bygones be bygones…but where I’m from,
We buy guns and more guns, to give to the young.
Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Pt. 2,” from O(verly) D(edicated), 2010
Dear Mama, don’t cry, your baby boy’s doin’ good,
Tell the homies I’m in heaven, and they ain’t got hoods.
Seen a show with Marvin Gaye last night, it had me shook,
Drippin’ peppermint Schnapps, with Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke…
2Pac, “Thugz Mansion,” Better Dayz, 2002
Footballs, basketballs, microphones, gas and grass…
Just some of the few things that J-Ro likes to pass.
J-Ro of Tha Alkaholiks, “Freestyle Ghetto,” from King Tee’s IV Life, 1995
Everything has a price…
No matter if it’s fortune, fame or your life.
I understood later that it’s all about paper,
Everything has a fee in the land of the free.
O.C., “Land of the Free,” from Show & A.G.’s Live Hard, 2007
Now there she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian,
And now the world around me be gets movin in slow motion
Whenever she happens to walk by, why does the apple of my eye
Overlook and disregard my feelings no matter how much I try?
Fat Lip, “Passin’ Me By,” from The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, 1992
Your new CD is a weed plate, nothin’ but love songs,
100% pure garbage, just something to break up buds on.
Jadakiss, “Checkmate,” 12", 2005
Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse,
My glock bursts, leave in a hearse, I did worse.
I come rough, tough like an elephant tusk,
Ya head rush, fly like Egyptian musk.
Ghostface Killah, “Bring Da Ruckus,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993
The God’s tropical…ladies call me ‘Black Fruit Punch.’
Ghostface Killah, “Ice Water,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995
You and me, hun, we’re a match made in heaven.
I like to kiss ya where some brothers won’t…
I like to tell ya things some brothers don’t.
Q-Tip, “Bonita Applebum,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, 1990
You’re too light to fight, plus you’re too thin to win.
Who ya gonna call when I break your glass chin?
Tek, “Wrektime,” from Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’, 1993
I love black thighs, you sisters better realize
That real hair and real eyes get real guys.
So before you makeup your face, you better make up your mind…
Common, “In My Own World (Check the Method),” Resurrection, 1994
We were beginners in the hood as 5 Percenters,
But somethin’ must’ve got in us, cause all of us turned to sinners.
AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” from Nas’ Illmatic, 1994
Hip-Hop got turned into Hit Pop,
The second a record was number one on the pop charts.
But don’t skip on the heart, it gotta start in the ghetto,
Let no one forget about the hard part.
MC Serch, “Pop Goes the Weasel,” from 3rd Bass’ Derelicts of Dialect, 1994