Music is a form of expression, Imma use mine just to teach you a lesson.
– Joey Bada$$, “FOR MY PEOPLE,” ALL-AMERICAN BADA$$, 2017
I’m not a ‘Businessman,’ I’m a Business… man! Let me handle my business, damn!
Jay-Z, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix),” from Kanye West’s Late Registration, 2005
Too much weak talk, and not enough real hip-hop.
Guru, “Watch What You Say,” Jazzmatazz Volume 2: The New Reality, 1995
Some type of grief you must experience
In order to appreciate happiness.
‘Cause if you are always satisfied,
Life will just pass by; you would’ve never tried.
MC Lyte, “Search 4 The Lyte,” Act Like You Know, 1991
Was crazy poor, now I’m tryna get mad rich;
With a good girl…you couldn’t tell, cause she’s a bad bitch.
Ka, “Chamber,” Grief Pedigree, 2012
Christmas is over and this is my resolution:
To stop the confusion.
Let the fresh get fresh, and the stale get staler
And throw em in a pail of
Trash…with the other trash, and smash down the lid,
For all the weak shit they did.
Special Ed, “Ready 2 Attack,” Legal, 1990
We love it where we from, but we kick it where we at.
Ladybug Mecca, “It’s Good to Be Here,” from Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), 1993
Got a freaky, freaky, freaky-freaky flow, Control the mic like Fidel Castro.
– Jeru Tha Damaja, “Come Clean,” The Sun Rises in the East, 1994
Penny for your thoughts, a nickel for your dreams
A dime for your goals and a quarter in your jeans
Trying to make a dollar outta forty-one cents
Caught up in the barbed wire, shorty on the fence
– Masta Ace, “Young Black Intelligent (Y.B.I.),” The Falling Season, 2016
Funny what seven days can change…
It was all good just a week ago.
Jay-Z, “A Week Ago,” Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life, 1998
I’m not the one to kiss ass for the top position,
I take mine off the top like a politician.
Where I’m from, doin dirt is a part of livin…
I got mouths to feed, I gots to get it.
– Dead Prez, “Hell Yeah (Pimp the System),” RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta, 2004
You can’t raise a man if you ain’t one yourself,
Getting all your cred from the gun on your belt.
– Troy Ave, “Drug Game,” Roland Collins, 2016
Survive the droughts? I wish you well.
How sick am I? I wish you health.
I wish you wheels, I wish you wealth,
I wish you insight so you could see for yourself.
– Jay-Z, “American Dreamin,” American Gangster, 2007
To try and to fail:
The two things I hate.
Succeed, and this rap game:
The two things that’s great.
– Jay-Z, “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” The Blueprint, 2001.
Life’s a bitch, who are we to judge each other?
I know I got faults, I ain’t the only muthafucka.
– Guru, “No Shame in my Game,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992
We live to love, and we love to rock mics.
We speak in ghetto tongue, cause ghetto’s the life.
Doodlebug, “Where I’m From,” from Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), 1993. More from Digable Planets…
You know, I used to be a player…flygirl-layer and a heartbreaker,
Lovemaker, backbreaker, but then I made a mistake.
Yes, I fell in love with this ill chick,
Sweatin’ me for money, my name and the dilsnick.
My homeboys told me drop her cause it would be to my benefit;
She used to say I’d better quit hanging with those derelicts.
Guru, “Ex Girl to the Next Girl,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992. More from Guru…
Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk,
Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run,
Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly…
So, I’mma spread my wings, you can meet me in the sky.
Jay-Z, “My President is Black (Remix)” from Young Jeezy’s The Recession, 2008
I wouldn’ta came and said my name and run some weak shit,
Puttin’ blurbs and slurs and words that don’t fit
In a rhyme, why waste time on the microphone?
I take this more serious than just a poem.
Rockin’ party to party, backyard to yard,
I tear it up y’all…and bless the mic for the Gods.
Rakim, “My Melody,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full, 1987. More from Rakim Allah…
Now, yo: Juice Crew’s the family, Slick Rick’s a friend of me
And Doug E. Fresh, Stet, KRS and Public Enemy.
Blahzay-blah, you know who you are:
The red, black and green, the sun, moon and star.
Knowledge of self is being taught here on after,
Peace in the name of I, Self, Lord and Master.
I come to teach and preach and reaching each
With the speech every leech I’ll impeach.
Drop science and build with math,
And the dumb, deaf and blind’ll feel the Wrath…of Kane.
Big Daddy Kane, “Wrath of Kane (Live),” It’s a Big Daddy Thing, 1990. More from Kane…
Got the new Hummer in the summer when,
I was a newcomer then,
Drugs and Mac-10s, hugs from fake friends.
Make ends: they hate you,
Be broke: girls won’t date you.
Notorious B.I.G., “Long Kiss Goodnight,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…
Y’all niggaz ain’t rapping the same,
Fuck the flow, y’all jacking our slang,
I seen the same shit happen to Kane,
Three cuts in your eyebrow trying to wild out.
The game is ours, will never foul out,
Y’all just better hope we gracefully bow out.
Jay-Z, “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” Vol. 2…The Life and Times of S. Carter, 1999. More from Jay…
Talk…well I heard talk is cheap.
But like beauty, talk is just skin deep.
And when you lie and you talk a lot,
People tell you to step off a lot.
Daddy-O, “Talkin’ All That Jazz,” from Stetsasonic’s In Full Gear, 1988.
Another day, another burial,
Got you wondering ’bout the day when they bury you.
Tear drops stain the Wally’s that you rockin’,
On the block, candles burn, guns poppin’.
Tek, “Memorial,” from Cocoa Brovaz’ (aka Smif N Wessun) The Rude Awakening, 1998.
It’s the message in the song that makes you rock on,
Some people go to places where they don’t belong.
Whether wrong or right, a lot of people fight,
But I’m here to bless this mic, aight?
Guru, “What I’m Here 4,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998. More from Guru…
In my heart, though, I do believe:
If you put out more love than you receive,
It’s bound to come back around, eventually.
Masta Ace, “Glory,” from Marco Polo’s PA2: The Director’s Cut, 2013. More lyrics from Ace >
Before I lay my head down to rest,
I roll up a nickel sack of cess to relieve the stress.
Steele, “Wontime,” from Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’, 1995
You know how it go when you got no dough:
Niggas goin out to party and you got no clothes.
And when you do get clothes, then you can’t go out
That’s the bullshit I’m talkin’ about.
Sean Price, “Mess You Made,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. More from Sean Price
I mastered The Art of War before a nigga read Sun Tzu,
Third degree black-belt, master of Gun-Fu.
Pop pills, smoke weed, even get drunk too;
And you do what you can, and I do what I want to.
Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P! More from P!
Dutch in my ear, Olde E in my palm,
I Freddy Krueger your face, Michael Myers your moms.
You botherin mine? That’s when I’m sparkin the nine.
Sean Price, “King Kong,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P!
You can tell by the rhyme it’s my time to shine;
Let’s eat, motherfucker, I don’t dine on swine.
I don’t beef with turkeys, I told you the God’ll fold you,
Hard to digest: I suggest that you take tofu.
Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P!
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. R.I.P!
I don’t like thugs, I don’t like nerds,
I don’t like myself and I hate bein’ disturbed.
Sean Price, “Critically Acclaimed,” from Statik Selektah’s 100 Proof (The Hangover), 2010. R.I.P!
Ayo, the arm bone connected to the hand bone,
Nigga, the hand bone connected to the damn chrome!
Sean P, “Don’t You Cross the Line,” from Boot Camp Clik’s The Last Stand, 2006. R.I.P!
Niggas’ rap albums sound like love letters,
Pen in my hand, like: damn, fam, I could do much better.
Sean Price, “Chewbacca,” from Random Axe, 2011. R.I.P!
Don’t mourn me when I’m gone, celebrate my travels;
Whenever you need me, just take a plane to the astral zones.
Joey BADA$$, “On and On,” B4.DA.$$, 2015.