And through our travels we get separated, never forget:
In order to survive, got to learn to live with regrets.
Jay Z, “Regrets,” Reasonable Doubt, 1996
Picked up the yoga, put down the soda.
My healthy mind…that’s what’s gon’ help me over.
Life of a stoner (if you still concerned),
I never lose, I only win or learn;
It’s all about your state of mind.
Dizzy Wright, “State of Mind,” State of Mind EP, 2014
Tell ‘em the truth and they call you a traitor,
Talk to ’em honestly and they call you a hater.
Immortal Technique, “Eye in the Sky,” from The Martyr, 2011
Most rappers these days is actors,
And I can’t keep watching the same movie.
Mick Jenkins, “Jazz,” The Water[s], 2014
I had a church girl, quiet girl…one girl was rich.
The most memorable girl was a Gangsta Bitch.
We went out a lot, sometimes we dressed the same,
Lickin’ shots in the park and had pet names:
I called her ‘Dollars’ cause that’s what she liked to spend;
She called me ‘Diamond’ cause my dick was her best friend.
Apache, “Gangsta Bitch,” Apache Ain’t Shit, 1993
We could fight the fuss till we get like friends,
Or somebody bite the dust and we split like ends.
Even in our wildest moments, girl, I’m on it cause you’re worth it.
Practice makes perfect, so we fightin’ for a purpose.
A$AP Rocky, “Wildest Moments (Remix),” from Jessie Ware’s Devotion, 2013
Fuck the Febreze, I’m stinkin’ like that Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
That’s that Wu and Mobb shit; don’t turn it up…blast it.
Ghostface Killah, “Dirt (Remix),” from Mobb Deep’s The Infamous Mobb Deep, 2014. More from Ghost >
This is business: they don’t care about your lyrics;
The better you sell, the better future for their children.
Controversy sells, so they support conflict,
Makes more progress, means more profit.
An artist gets killed, they say they’re ‘so sorry,’
Meanwhile, they tell you the date of his next project.
What a life…death made them more profit:
Record companies get paid for your drama.
Cormega, “Industry,” Mega Philosophy, 2014. More wisdom from ‘Mega…
You see, if you ever wanted to ever be anything,
There’d always be somebody that shoot down any dream.
There’ll always be haters, that’s the way it is:
Hater niggas marry hater bitches, and have hater kids.
Kanye West, “Bring Me Down,” Late Registration, 2005. More gems from ‘Ye
Rappers hate each other, not the labels that got rich,
Don’t care about culture, they only want profit.
If your album sell slow, bet you’ll get dropped quick;
Q-Tip warned us: the industry’s toxic.
For reference, check out BDP’s Sex and Violence.
Cormega, “Industry,” Mega Philosophy, 2014
I’ve been out there 3 days and I got shot at 3 times,
Felt like every bullet hit me when they flew out each 9.
I’ll be happy when I wake up and I have a free mind.
Lil Herb, “The Neighborhood,” from Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, 2014
Different day, same shit, ain’t nothing good in the hood,
I’d run away from this bitch and never come back, if I could.
50 Cent, “Hate It or Love It,” from The Game’s The Documentary, 2005. More lyrics from 50…
Now who done passed you a diaper and got you thinkin’ you the shit?
Mad Skillz, “The Jam,” From Where???, 1996
Damn it’s a shame you’re the mighty queen of vials,
With a wide-eyed look and a rotten-toothed smile.
Used to walk with a swagger, now you simply stagger
From one spot on, to the next spot on, to the next spot on, to the next…
Derek X (now known as Sadat X), “Slow Down,” from Brand Nubian’s One For All, 1990
See, it really ain’t about if you eatin’ or not eatin’.
It’s freedom or not freedom. Breathin’ or not breathin’.
Another day, another way, another dollar spent;
Gotta make a revolution out of fifteen cent.
Dead Prez, “The Grind,” from Erykah Badu’s Worldwide Underground, 2008. Read more Dead Prez quotes…
I say ‘cuz’ around Bloods, and I say ‘blood’ around Crips…I’m twisted.
Got Mary, got Lucy, got Molly: that’s wifey, girlfriend and mistress.
Ab-Soul, “Gods Reign,” These Days…, 2014
Squeeze 7cc’s so I could see the seven seas,
And CC all my friends so they could see what I was seeing…
But what they saw was a despicable human being;
So, I guess they just wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.
Pharoahe Monch, “Broken Again,” PTSD, 2014. More quotes from Pharoahe Monch…
We knew we’d be together, we didn’t know when,
But long distance love, never thought it would end.
The feelings never changed until the call came…
You were engaged, I was in pain.
It was such a shame: the timing, it just wasn’t right.
So I say, ‘Good luck,’ and then I say, ‘Good night.’
Murs, “Dance With Me,” from Murs & 9th Wonder’s The Final Adventure, 2012. More Murs >
The Nets’ a stone throw from where I used to throw bricks
…So it’s only right I’m still tossing ‘round Knicks.
Jay Z, “Seen It All,” from Jeezy’s Seen It All, 2014
You named them: hustlers, killers, fiends, ex-cons.
I called them: cousins, aunts, pops, moms.
To you? Hoodlums, crackheads, gunmens.
To me? Just neighbors, classmates, young friends.
Ka, “To Hull and Back,” 1200 B.C. EP, 2014. More bars from Ka…
Girls, don’t run that shit that beauty’s only skin deep,
Cause I don’t want no girl with a Brillo face,
Or the type that’ll leave Jheri Curl juice on my pillow case.
Lord Finesse, “I Like My Girls With a Boom,” Return of the Funky Man, 1992. More Lord Finesse quotes…
My life is a blunt to the head, a prayer for the dead,
Run around hustlin…scared of the feds.
They said death is eternal sleep,
But the only thing is you ain’t really sure if you prepared for the bed.
Styles P, “My Life,” A Gangster and a Gentleman, 2002
Love is love, love is real, love is great.
But when it isn’t reciprocated, it could become hate.
Apathy, “It’s Only Hip-Hop,” Honkey Kong, 2011
I said, ‘What you wanna be?’ She said, ‘Alive.’
It made me think for a minute, then looked in her eyes
…I coulda died.
Andre 3000, “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1),” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998. More from Outkast…
We still wading in the water…
Cocaine, blunts, marinating in the water.
Lean and took a puff, and then she gave it to my father,
Used to take the bullets out so I could play with the revolver.
Satan serenading ever since I was a toddler,
Tell ‘em talk is cheap…niggas living for the dollar.
Vince Staples, “Kingdom,” from Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, 2014
There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s gotta handle up on his own.
Can’t depend on friends to help you in a squeeze,
Please…they got problems of their own.
Slim Kid Tre, “Runnin’”, from Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia, 1995. More Pharcyde quotes…
I got a smile that’ll make the mirror crack,
And I seem to stay under clouds that’s pitch black.
So when it rains, it pours, and when it pours, I’m soaked.
I contracted lung cancer from third hand smoke,
And I’m like the frog that’s dying to be a prince,
The boy who cried wolf and no one was convinced.
The man who hit lotto and lost his ticket,
In a rainstorm…and struck by lightning trying to get it.
GZA, “Life Is a Movie,” Pro Tools, 2008. More brilliant lyrics from The GZA…
Abraham Lincoln got shot and died,
Freed the slaves so they put him on the five.
Too $hort, “Money In The Ghetto,” Get In Where You Fit In, 1993
They say it’s lonely at the top, in whatever you do,
You always gotta watch motherfuckers around you.
Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof,
We all must meet our Moment of Truth.
Guru, “Moment of Truth,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998
Life is real, reality is not a dream.
Those who chose to sleep…I wake em up,
Cause you’re sleepin with your mouth open hummin deez nuts.
King Sun, “Humm Deez Nuts,” Strictly Ghetto EP, 1994. More King Sun quotes…
Shorty, let me tell you about my only vice:
It has to do with lots of lovin’, and it ain’t nuttin’ nice.
Q-Tip, “Electric Relaxation,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, 1993. More from the Tribe…
Truth brings light, light refracts off the mirror,
Visions of yourself and error could never be clearer.
The truth is that you ugly…
Not on the outside, but in the inside;
On the outside, you frontin’ you lovely.
Pharoahe Monch, “The Truth,” Internal Affairs, 1999. More Pharoahe Monch quotes >
A simple right or left can mean life or death,
Epic fail or nice success,
Days of pleasure or nights of stress.
Ka, “Decisions,” Grief Pedigree, 2012
Don’t clock anybody, let them all clock you,
Don’t be down with anybody, let them all be down with you.
Stay self-managed, self-kept, self-taught,
Be your own man; don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought.
Heavy D, “We Got Our Own Thang,” Heavy D & The Boyz’ Big Tyme, 1989
Nobody put the crack into the pipe,
Nobody made you smoke off your life.
You thought that you could do dope and still stay cool?
Fool…you played yourself.
Ice-T, “You Played Yourself,” The Iceberg: Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say, 1989
Either she love me or she hate me…either way, she crazy.
Blu, “Well Fare,” It’s Good To Be Home, 2014
What the fuck happened to reality-spitting rhyme sayers?
These days, everybody trying to be a thug or a player.
Where did all the real motherfuckers go in the game?
Bring back the breakdancers and graffiti writers with fame.
Immortal Technique, “Revolutionary,” Revolutionary Vol. 1, 2001. More from Immortal Technique >
You don’t know about hell unless you walk through it;
Can’t recognize the devil’s face unless you talk to it.
Apathy, “School for Scoundrels,” 2012
It was the beauty that caught me and held my soul hostage…
Remember those days? Had you smellin’ my boxers.
Ghostface Killah, “Never Be the Same Again,” Bulletproof Wallets, 2001. More quotes from GFK…
People ask for God, ‘till the day He comes,
See God’s face…turn around and run.
God sees the face of a man,
Shaking his head, says “He’ll never understand.”
Dice Raw, “Understand,” from The Roots’ …and then you shoot your cousin, 2014. More lyrics by The Legendary Roots Crew…
This is for my bitches in the shelters that don’t need shelter, you just doin’ that shit for a crib.
And all my bad little bitches, when your baby father hits you, stick a ice cold knife in his ribs.
And all my bitches pimp the system, get your WIC, tell your workers, “Fuck that,” you gon’ have more kids.
And you ain’t have ‘em cause you need ’em, but now you gotta feed em, so you figure that your ass gon’ strip.
Panchi, “Stretch Marks and Cigarette Burns,” from Blaq Poet’s The Blaqprint, 2009
I’d rather make one righteous dollar on my level
Than make a million dollars spittin’ rhymes for the devil.
KRS-One, “True School,” from DJ Jean Maron’s True School, 2014