Reality’s really the individual’s mentality;
Some seek eternal life, while others seek fatality.
Juju, “Peace Akki,” from Al’ Tariq’s God Connections, 1996
I’m sautéing emcees with fried rice up in the wok without the MSG and chopped celery.
– Redman, “Da Ill Out,” Muddy Waters, 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
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.
I dispense dope sentences without a prescription.
Prefixes asphyxiate bitches who flips linguistics,
Representin the West, relevant to relentless sentences.
If renegade rebels resent this wicked syntax,
Revert to revolution Ras reverse, reverberates,
Revolvin with written retalliation, rate repetitious.
Ras Kass, “Etc.,” Soul on Ice, 1996. More from Ras Kass…
More rhymes are funny now, happy and silly now.
Happy-go-lucky on the mic, and meanwhile,
You standin’ still, lookin out for a good rhyme,
Makin the wack junk, wastin’ my good time.
Kool Keith, “I Ain’t Takin’ No Shorts,” from the Ultramagnetic MC’s New York What Is Funky, 1996. More from Kool Keith…
I got to keep it tight like seams,
Cause ain’t no fiends
Comin’ in between me and my dreams,
See what I mean, black?
Mad Skillz, “Move Ya Body,” From Where???, 1996
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
Now who done passed you a diaper and got you thinkin’ you the shit?
Mad Skillz, “The Jam,” From Where???, 1996
A thug changes, and love changes,
And best friends become strangers.
Nas, “The Message,” It Was Written, 1996
It seems to me like all these people claim to be the victim,
Acting like the whole entire world is out to get them.
Stand up on your own,
And prove that you are grown,
Because the life that you save may be your own.
Lee Majors, “Maybe,” from Da Bush Babees’ Gravity, 1996
Life is something you can’t borrow and give back;
Here today and gone tomorrow…just like that.
E-40, “The Story,” Tha Hall of Game, 1996
Two wrongs don’t make it right, but it damn sure makes us even.
Sticky Fingaz, “2 Wrongs,” from Onyx’s All We Got Iz Us, 1996
Now on the first day of Christmas, my homeboy gave to me
A sack of the krazy glue and told me to smoke it up slowly.
Now on the second day of Christmas, my homeboy gave to me
A fifth of Hendog and told me to take my mind off that weed.
Now by the third day of Christmas, my big homeboy gave to me
A whole lot of everything, and it wasn’t nuthin’ but game to me.
Snoop Dogg, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto,” from Christmas on Death Row, 1996
I never fronted, you can get it if you want it…
Won’t say I’m the best, but I’m not that far from it.
Lord Finesse, “Gameplan,” The Awakening, 1996
Make a radio hit: heads criticize it.
Underground classic? Nobody buys it.
So, rap is fucked…
And everything blowing up sounds redundant,
But money talks and bullshit does 9 flat in the 100.
Ras Kass, “Reelishymn,” Soul On Ice, 1996
I know the feelin, when you feelin like a villain,
You be havin good thoughts but the evils be revealin’.
And the stresses of life can take you off the right path,
Jealousy and envy tends to infiltrate your staff…
We gotta hold it down so we can move on past
All adversities, so we can get through fast.
Q-Tip, “Stressed Out,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes & Life, 1996
I circumnavigate the globe with a one-liner like latitude.
Ras Kass, “Riiiot!” from Chino XL’s Here to Save You All, 1996
I live by the beat like you live check to check.
If you don’t move your feet then I don’t eat,
So we like neck to neck.
André Benjamin, “Elevators (Me & You),” from Outkast’s ATLiens, 1996
I been in the game for 10 years making rap tunes…
Ever since honeys was wearing Sassoons.
Dr. Dre, “California Love,” from 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, 1996
Bitch, you ain’t got nothin on the rich,
Every other day my whole dress code switch.
Cappadonna, “Winter Warz,” from Ghostface Killah’s Ironman, 1996
You keepin it real, but ain’t got a clue what reality really be;
See, the diameter of your knowledge is the circumference of your activity.
Ras Kass, “Soul On Ice (Remix),” Soul On Ice, 1996
What’s when you rap and don’t appreciate the art?
What’s when you sell out just to get a start?
What’s when you make bullshit just for the charts?
What’s when you rap, but it’s not from the heart?
What’s when you’re hardcore, then you turn pop?
When you steal ideas to get props?
When you sell out to be on top?
What’s when you front like you’re hard, but you’re not?
That’s a gimmick.
Lord Finesse, “No Gimmicks,’ The Awakening, 1996
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
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
There’s a million ways to live on this thing called a planet,
I’mma live everyday, I ain’t takin’ nothing for granted.
Sadat X, “The Next Spot,” from High School High soundtrack, 1996
I will endanger your species like an ostrich,
Hold you hostage, and crazy feed you swine sausage!
Busta Rhymes, “Do My Thing,” The Coming, 1996
I show more blind rage than Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles wrestling in a steel cage.
Chino XL, “Freestyle Rhymes,” Here to Save You All, 1996
Set me up, wet me up, niggas stuck me up…
Heard the guns bust, but you tricks never shut me up.
2Pac, “Against All Odds,” The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, 1996. James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond Implicated Himself in 1994 Tupac Shakur Attack.
The principles of true hip-hop have been forsaken,
It’s all contractual and about money makin’.
Black Thought, “What They Do,” from The Roots’ Illadelph Halflife, 1996
Shakespeare’s gone, don’t even think about it.
Dr. Octagon, “Blue Flowers,” Dr. Octagonecologyst, 1996
For what it’s worth, I’ve been a hip-hopper from birth.
Try to disrespect, and get your ass played up like a Smurf.
Large Professor, “Actual Facts,” from Lord Finesse’s The Awakening, 1996
I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.
Jay-Z, “Can I Live,” Reasonable Doubt, 1996
Your whole vocabulary’s played out, admit it.
Still wack if it came out my mouth and I spit it.
Redman, “Pick It Up,” Muddy Waters, 1996
When I need bread, I grab the toaster and stick niggas for they crumbs.
Akinyele, “The Robbery Song,” Put It in Your Mouth EP, 1996
It don’t make sense: either you a soldier from the start,
Or a actor with a record deal tryin’ to play the part.
Xzibit, “Paparazzi,” At the Speed of Life, 1996
If I should fall asleep and death takes me away,
Don’t be surprised son, I wasn’t put here to stay.
Lauryn Hill, “Family Business,” from The Fugees’ The Score, 1996
Ayo, shout out to Mobb Deep, the Extra P
Busta Rhymes, De La, the J Beez, so don’t sleep
Q-Tip, “Mind Power, ” A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes and Life, 1996
Life’s a bitch, but God forbid the bitch divorce me…
Nas, “Affirmative Action,” It Was Written, 1996