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
Through the fame, through the fire and the flames,
I adapt to the pain, real niggas do the same.
And though we homies and we no longer hang
You know you know me, and that love still remains.
AZ, “Never Change,” A.W.O.L., 2005
Save your wack rhymes, hold your female.
Pass the Old Gold, trash the ale.
Cash your food stamps, get the WIC out the mail.
Love to eat shrimps, but I never eat snail,
Eat a whole fish except for the tail.
Keep food in the fridge so it don’t get stale,
And when there’s nothing to eat…I bite my nails.
Big Daddy Kane, “On the Bugged Tip,” Long Live the Kane, 1988. More ill quotes from the King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal…
A thug changes, and love changes,
And best friends become strangers.
Nas, “The Message,” It Was Written, 1996
Haters wanna ball, let me tighten up my draw string.
Wrong sport, boy, you know you’re as soft as a lacrosse team.
Jay-Z, “They Don’t Love You No More,” from DJ Khaled’s I Changed A Lot, 2014. Another Drake jab from Hov, ha.
Real slow hits from the bong…
Make me feel like Cheech,
And I’m kickin’ it with Chong.
B-Real, “Stoned Is the Way of the Walk,” from Cypress Hill’s self-titled debut album, 1991. More blunted lyrics from Cypress Hill…
Working hard may help you maintain,
To learn to overcome the heartaches and pain.
Inspectah Deck, “C.R.E.A.M.,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993. Many more lyrics from The Wu…
Tried to put shame in my game to make a name,
I’mma put it on a bullet…put it in your brain.
Rakim, “Know the Ledge,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Don’t Sweat the Technique, 1992. Read more lyrics from Rakim Allah…
I’m livin’ in times where my daughters are found around
Kids who can’t afford thinking caps…
But always found drinkin’ raps and eatin’ off beats,
Claimin’ laws of the streets. But who made the laws?
Everybody playin’ rebel with no sign of a cause.
Posdnuos, “Held Down,” from De La Soul’s AOI: Bionix, 2001. More from De La Soul…
Once I slapped a rapper with mace,
Then I spit acid in his face, after he rinsed his eyes, no wait…
I actually grew five times my size, grabbed Ma$e by the thigh and slapped a rapper with him.
Pharoahe Monch, “Rapid Eye Movement,” PTSD, 2014. More Pharoahe Monch quotes…
Somebody gotta tell you this:
Cancer kills way more Americans than any Arabic terrorist.
We use more money to fight them than finding a cure,
So a little kid sits there with his chemo-therapist.
Hair falling out while his vital signs weaken…
He’ll be dead while his parent are in debt for his treatment.
Crooked I, “Never Been,” 2008
These days you can’t see who’s in cahoots,
Cause now the KKK wears three-piece suits.
Chuck D., “Rebirth,” from Public Enemy’s Apocalypse ‘91…The Enemy Strikes Black, 1991. Baseball legend Hank Aaron has been flooded with hate mail after his comments about racism in America last week. "We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country,“ said Aaron. "The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”
Cocaine trafficking, your boy’s back again,
Moving bricks like I got a degree in scaffolding.
Fucking with some cats from Newark…half of them Jewish,
Cool white boys riding around, blasting my music,
And I’m taxin’ them like Jackson-Hewitt.
Ghostface Killah, “Cocaine Trafficking,” Put it on the Line, 2005. More quotes from Ghostface Killah…
Hip-hop started on the block;
I fell asleep at the wheel, the shit crashed into Pop.
Sticky Fingaz, “Wakedafucup,” from Onyx’s #WAKEDAFUCUP, 2014
It’s like I’m married to the silencer,
Until I file for divorce and release my ex-calibers.
Do art with your arteries, place that for my adversaries,
Put your snap back cap back, cap your capillaries.
Pharoahe Monch, “Rapid Eye Movement,” PTSD, 2014. More Pharoahe Monch quotes…
Could hate a person, but in fact it’s not worth it.
Never know how long you’ve got on this earth, kid.
Large Professor, “In the Sun,” First Class, 2002
And I’m not sure why I’m infatuated with death,
My imagination is surely an aggravation of threats…
Maybe cause I’m a dreamer, and sleep is the cousin of death,
Really stuck in the scheme of wondering when I’mma rest.
Kendrick Lamar, “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst," good kid, m.A.A.d city, 2012. More Kendrick Lamar quotes…
You don’t really get why I’m so pissed?
I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.
Tech N9ne, “Fragile,” Something Else, 2013
Brooklyn: the home of the black and the beautiful.
For a rough rap sound, ain’t a place more suitable.
Guru, “The Place Where We Dwell,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992. More lyrics from Guru…