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Holocaust, black man, lose veins, littered with thorns
Back smack you so hard, all your seeds will be formed deformed.
Swarm dorms, sting birds, fling verbs like mean curbs
Strike three, mics flee, I infect em with green germs, ringworm
Holocaust, “Holocaust (Silkworm),” from RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo, 1998
It’s war on the streets and a war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs
So the police can bother me…
2Pac, “Changes,” Greatest Hits, 1998 (Rest in power, 2Pac. 1971 – 1996)

Big Pun • “Drop It Heavy” • 1998

Now what’s the problem?
You ain’t nothin’ like you said on your album.
I thought you was wildin’,
Bustin’ your guns and runnin’ the Island.
You wasn’t violent, you was silent tryin’ to get college credits.
How pathetic…did it to get out of calisthenics.

Big Pun, “Drop It Heavy,” from Show & A.G.’s Full Scale EP, 1998

My first offense was possession of weed,
Now I’m in the major leagues, and
That muthafucka Bill Clinton is a son of a bitch;
Had the nerve to throw out the first pitch.
I’m just tryin’ to get rich like Trump,
The home run king is now in a slump…pass me a hunk.
How the fuck can I stay out the Pen,
When its 1-2-3 strikes, you in?
Ice Cube, “Three Strikes You In,” War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc), 1998. More from O’Shea…
I rub your face off the Earth and curse your family children,
Like Amityville; I drill the nerves in your cavity filling.
Insanity’s building a pavilion in my civilian
The cannon be the anarchy that humanity’s dealin’.
A villain without remorse who’s willing to out your boss
Forever…and take all the cheddar like child support.
Big Pun, “Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98),” Capital Punishment, 1998. More from Pun…

From open mics to solutions, I got a collage of answers,
And a 10-point program, just like the Black Panthers:

1: First, respect yourself as an artist
If you don’t respect yourself, then your rhymes is garbage.

2: Make sure your crew is as tight as you
Cause when them niggaz fallin off, they gonna bring you down too.

3: Understand the meaning of MC
The power to Move the Crowd like Moses split the seas.

4: Know your shit and don’t ever be blunted
If you don’t know what your words mean, then your rhymes mean nothin.

5: Kick facts in the raps, and curse with clarity
What’s a curse when language is immersed in vulgarity?

6: We gonna fix industrial poli-tricks
Shit, they made an art form out of ridin dicks.

7: We soldiers for God needin new recruits
So if you rhymin for the loot, then you’s a prostitute.

8: Acknowledge that you need food on your plate
In order to say your grace, make sure your business is straight.

9: We buildin black minds with intelligence
And when you freestyle, keep the subject matter relevant.

10: Every MC grab a pen
And write some conscious lyrics to tell the children.

Talib Kweli, “Manifesto,” from Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1, 1998. More Talib Kweli quotes