I’m givin’ more flat lines to niggas than loose-leaf.
Kool G. Rap, “Go For Your Guns,” from Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die, 1992
My sense of self and my mental health
Is much more powerful than any hint of wealth.
Guru, “Peace of Mine,” from Gang Starr’s The Ownerz, 2003
Now I’m not the type that gets upset,
Try to disrespect folks just to earn respect.
But learn this fact: whether white or black,
I can’t be conquered in my style of rap.
For jealousy and envy are dumb ones’ tools,
So Ricky says nothing, he keeps his cool.
Revenge is not a mission that the Ruler’s on,
Just forgiveness required for the wrong that’s done.
Slick Rick, “The Ruler’s Back,” The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988
I live this life at a pace that anyone can go.
Know your place, and dedicate your role
…To the faith that you’ll die alone
Kendrick Lamar, “See No Evil,” from Game’s Jesus Piece, 2012
Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet?
Why did Judas rat to the Romans while Jesus slept?
Ghostface Killah, “4th Chamber,” from GZA’s Liquid Swords, 1995
I wanna live like Arnold, Willis and Mr. Drummond…
And keep my paper sturdy, big birds and tight herbs.
Pimp C., “Ridin’ Dirty,” from UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty, 1996. Rest in Peace Conraid Bain, better known as Mr. Drummond from the beloved TV sitcom Diff’rent Strokes. He died today at the age of 89.
I don’t get pat down, you know what’s on the waist,
I don’t mean Jazz when I say I “count base.”
Fly Louis sneakers, Purple Tape coming out the speakers,
Bumped into my high school teachers,
They said I wouldn’t be nothing, sitting on the bleachers.
Now I’m sitting in the Phantom, trynna figure out the features.
I’m a big fish now, I watch for the leeches.
Sheek Louch, “Pour tha Martini,” from Wu-Block, 2012
You got game like me? I doubt it.
They say pimping ain’t easy…what’s so hard about it?
A.G., “Fat for the 90’s,” from Lord Finesse’s Return of the Funky Man, 1992
I thought I’d probably die in prison, expensive taste in women,
Ain’t have no pot to piss in, now my kitchen full of dishes.
Nose bloody from that sniffin’, your heroin addiction
Trigger finger itchin’, fuck parental supervision…
Purple sippin’, finger twistin’, teeth glisten like it’s Memphis
A bunch of hypocritic Christians, the land of no religion.
A$AP Rocky, “LongLiveA$AP,” LongLiveA$AP, 2013
Take a look at the police and how they treat you,
Take a look at these corporations that cheat you.
Democrats and Republicans are all see-through.
Now we votin for the lesser of two evils…
Man, don’t let ‘em deceive you.
This is an autocracy, not a democracy,
But to call this a democracy without mock interest
In the laws of society? That’s called hypocrisy.
KRS-One, “Pick It Up,” Maximum Strength, 2008
All we want in this life is peace, prosperity and a little paper.
Q-Tip, “Peace, Prosperity and Paper,” from High School High Soundtrack, 1996
Back as kids we used to kiss when we played truth or dare,
Now she’s more sophisticated, highly edu-ma-cated
Not at all over-rated…I think I need a prayer
To get in her boots, and it looks rather dry,
I guess a twinkle in her eye is just a twinkle in her eye.
Although she’s crazy steppin’, I’ll try to stop her stride,
‘Cause I won’t have no more of this passin’ me by.
Slim Kid Tre, “Passin Me By,” from The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde, 1992
Switchin’ speeds like Bruce Lee ridin’ up Fuji in a movie.
Redman, “Can’t Wait,” Dare Iz a Darkside, 1994
Man gave us laws, and God gave us time,
It’s the art of storytelling and I’m only telling mine.
A$AP Rocky, “Lines,” from Big Boi’s Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, 2012
Niggas is too scared to hustle, but too cool to work,
So they walk around broke like a motherfuckin jerk.
Meyhem Lauren, “Brand Name Marijuana,” Mandatory Brunch Meetings, 2012
Party’s over, tell the rest of the crew.
Mobb Deep, “Party Over,” The Infamous, 1995
Just because no one can understand how you speak,
Don’t necessarily mean that what you be sayin is deep.
Talib Kweli, “Good Mourning,” from Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought, 2000
Even when I say nothing, it’s a beautiful use of negative space.
El-P, “The Fire In Which You Burn,” from Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus, 1997
New York, New York is where we live and we’re thorough,
Never taking shorts, ‘cause Brooklyn’s the borough.
Peace to Uptown, to Queens and The Bronx,
Long Island and Jersey get as fly as they want.
But I must tell you, where we rest is no joke…
So let me break it down to sections for you slow pokes:
Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, Brownsville,
Crown Heights and East New York will be down till,
Medina takes respect for the styles we bring,
‘Cause in Brooklyn we be into our own thing.
Guru, “The Place Where We Dwell,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992
Time is money, every moment is costly,
So I ration emotion, ‘cause existence exhausts me.
Slug, “They’re All Gonna Laugh @ You,” from Atmosphere’s Lucy Ford: The Atmosphere EPs, 2001
My radio’s loud like a fire alarm:
The floor vibrates, the walls cave in,
The bass makes my eardrums seem thin.
Def sounds in my ride, yes the front and back…
You would think it was a party, not a Cadillac!
LL Cool J, “I Can’t Live Without My Radio,” Radio, 1985
I refuse to abuse my savings and loans,
So if you want some ends, baby, you best go get your own.
Now I said it once before, and I’m a say it again:
Best believe you won’t receive no dividends.
E.S.T., “Funky Dividends,” Three Times Dope’s Original Stylin’, 1988
My limo driver’s white, my attorney black…
‘Show me some love’ like I’m Bernie Mac.
Masta Ace, “Good Ol Love,” Long Hot Summer, 2004
Picture yourself crushin’ Xzibit with your tough talk?
That’s like Christopher Reeve doing the crip walk.
Xzibit, “3 Card Molly,” 40 Days and 40 Nightz, 1998
I throw raps that attack like the Japs on Pearl Harbor.
MC’s be out like bank robbers,
Fleeing the scene, to be a sole survivor;
DJ…the getaway driver.
GZA, “Living In the World Today,” Liquid Swords, 1995. Pearl Harbor Harbor dead remembered on 71st anniversary.
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