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Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) • “Black Spasmodic” • 2016

Rip every stage with grace, look right dead in they face,
Live the Tribe principle of havin’ impeccable taste.
Enjoy that breath like that one was your last one left,
If you don’t believe me, there’s truly life after death.

– Q-Tip, “Black Spasmodic,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, 2016

Everlast (House of Pain) • “No Doubt” • 1996

Come on, let’s be real:
You only think you can deal.
That’s why i’m holdin’ the steel,
I rock shit to make you feel
Like, damn that looks easy! Maybe I can do it.
So you take a fat beat and put your wack rhymes to it.
And God only knows what can make you pursue it,
For those who can’t dance and clap your hands to it.

– Everlast, “No Doubt,” from House of Pain’s Truth Crushed to Earth Will Rise Again, 1996

Killer Mike (Run the Jewels) • “Nobody Speak” • 2016

I rob Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy,
Put coke in the doobie, roll woolies to smoke with Snoopy.
I still remain that dick grabbin’ slacker that spit a loogie,
Cause the toter of the toolie’ll murder you friggin’ Moolie.

– Killer Mike, “Nobody Speak,” from DJ Shadow’s The Mountain Will Fall, 2016

MURS • “18 w/a Bullet” • 2002

See my life is like a song, I just don’t know the words,
So as I try to hum along people say that I’m disturbed.
Stare and call me a loon, say I’m singin’ out of tune,
But my musics’ got direction so I know what I’m doin’.
Don’t know where I’m goin’ but I got to keep movin’,
Even if my next step is obscured by the present…
Gotta find the next rung on the stairway to heaven.

– MURS, “18 w/a Bullet,” …The End of the Beginning, 2002.

From the bottom of my heart, that’s where the love starts:
The love for breakdancing, my love for the art.
And with this love, I do hip-hop from the soul,
A real MC, who never sweats how many copies are sold.
Yeah, I want to go gold, platinum, et ceteras,
But why put out some wackness when no one will respect ya?
I’m staying true, nuff respect to those that paved the way,
From Bambaata down to Shah (that be my DJ).
Without my peeps, I dont know how the hell I’d make it, word…
Sometimes I feel that my career is headed for the curb.
One love for the lendin’ hand and givin’ all your help,
Believing in me when I didn’t believe in my own self.
The Abstract, with whom I’m always making rugged tunes,
Kid Hood, restin’ in heaven, I hope to see you soon.
Phife Dawg, “Peace, Prosperity, and Paper,” from the High School High soundtrack, 1996. More from the Five Foot Assassin. Rest in power to Malik Taylor, better known as Phife from A Tribe Called Quest. 1970-2016.