I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities,
And now I’m livin in correctional facilities.
Cause some don’t agree with how I do this,
I get straight and meditate like a Buddhist.
Dr. Dre, “Express Yourself,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988
I’d rather stimulate your mind than emulate your purpose.
– Aceyalone, “The Guidelines,” A Book of Human Language, 1998
I lost my innocence at birth but I make no excuses
For the trivial things and the pain life induces.
– B-Real, “Bitter,” from Cypress Hill’s Stoned Raiders, 2001
Not to sound cynical, but all you ever learn in prison is how to be a better criminal.
– Ras Kass, “Shine,” 12″, 2005
Huey, Malcolm and Martin, those are my peers,
They been doin’ niggas like this for over hundreds of years.
Poppin’ us, fear, now it’s time for us to clap back,
But this time we gon’ bust…step the fuck back.
– Snoop Dogg, “Revolution,” COOLAID, 2016
I am a nightmare walking, psychopath talking,
King of my jungle, just a gangster stalking.
– Ice-T, “Colors,” from Colors Soundtrack, 1988
Enunciate well, so that you can tell:
I am not illiterate, no, not even a little bit.
– The D.O.C., “It’s Funky Enough,” No One Can Do It Better, 1989
I got bitches in the livin’ room gettin’ it on,
And they ain’t leavin’ till six in the mornin’.
– Snoop Dogg, “Gin and Juice,” Doggystyle, 1993
You need to quit bangin under false pretense,
Cause if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense
– DJ Quik, “Dollaz + Sense,” Safe + Sound, 1995
See my life is like a song, I just don’t know the words, So as I try to hum along people say that I’m disturbed. Stare and call me a loon, say I’m singin’ out of tune, But my musics’ got direction so I know what I’m doin’. Don’t know where I’m goin’ but I got to keep movin’, Even if my next step is obscured by the present… Gotta find the next rung on the stairway to heaven.
– MURS, “18 w/a Bullet,” …The End of the Beginning, 2002.
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…
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…
We live for they amusement like they view us from behind the glass.
No matter what we grow into, we never gonna escape our past.
So in this cage they made for me, exactly where you’ll find me at;
Whether it’s my time to leave or not, I’ll never turn my back.
Vince Staples, “Like It Is,” Summertime ‘06, 2015. More from Vince Staples…
Always knew that I would clock G’s,
But welcome to McDonald’s: May I take your order, please?
Gotta serve ya food that might give you cancer,
Cuz my son doesn’t take no for an answer.
Now I pay taxes that you never give me back;
What about diapers, bottles, and Similac?
Do I have to sell me a whole lotta crack
For decent shelter and clothes on my back?
Ice Cube, “A Bird in the Hand,” Death Certificate, 1991. More from Cube…
Why they hate us? Why they want to rape us for our culture?
They greet, defeat us, bleed us, then they leave us for the vultures.
They break the brilliant off with millions, tryna to break their focus;
More tan the man, the more alone and hopeless.
Vince Staples, “C.N.B.,” Summertime ‘06, 2015
Now I’m a veteran, spit a 16 sixteen ways,
Sixteen in a clip, spit it 16 ways.
I know six teens, pull up to a sweet sixteen and spray.
I’m like sixteen Jays, but the beat I can manage,
So every Sweet 16 is like Duke and Kansas.
Game, “The Documentary 2,” The Documentary 2, 2015
Before you try to fuck with Ren,
I’ll put two in your ass and you’ll be shittin’ a size 10.
MC Ren, “Real Niggaz,” from N.W.A.’s 100 Miles and Runnin’, 1990.
Everybody want to talk about who this and who that,
Who the realest and who wack, or who white or who black.
Critics want to mention that they miss when hip hop was rappin’…
Motherfucker, if you did, then Killer Mike’d be platinum.
Kendrick Lamar, “Hood Politics,” To Pimp a Butterfly, 2015. More from Kendrick…
Now there she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian,
And now the world around me be gets movin in slow motion
Whenever she happens to walk by, why does the apple of my eye
Overlook and disregard my feelings no matter how much I try?
Fat Lip, “Passin’ Me By,” from The Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, 1992
I guess it’s true what they say:
When you’re too far gone, ain’t no turning back.
And coming from the Compton, mack, that’s a fuckin’ fact.
MC Eiht, “N 2 Deep,” from Compton’s Most Wanted’s Music to Drive-By, 1992
Want to know my occupation, home location, and means of transportation?
The correct combination unlocked your placenta…
I got a cellular phone with a rubber antenna,
And a 3-story house, drive a 4-door Ac.
Favorite song of all time? Mobb Deep’s ‘Hit It From the Back’
Ras Kass, “Drama,” Soul on Ice, 1996. More from Ras Kass…
Fuck the police, comin straight from the underground…
A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown.
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority.
Ice Cube, “Fuck Tha Police,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988. More from Ice Cube…
I think back to when I was robbin’ my own kind,
The police didn’t pay it no mind…
But when I start robbin the white folks?
Now I’m in the Pen with the soap-on-a-rope.
I said it before and I’ll still taught it:
Every muthafucka with a color is Most Wanted.
Ice Cube, “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted,” AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, 1990. More from Cube…
Little brats yellin ‘Trick or Treat’ all through my screen door,
When y’all should be at home sleep,
Instead of at my front porch 15 deep.
The jack o’ lantern came in handy…
I can turn my porch light out like I ain’t got no candy.
But ain’t that somethin?
You buy a Halloween costume and a pumpkin,
Almost gave your children a heart attack.
It’s a tradition, but who the hell started that?
Kam, “Holiday Madness,” Neva Again, 1993
I never rapped on an R&B record, and I never will.
I got these phony muthafuckas talkin bout ‘Let’s keep it real.’
But they don’t know how to take they own advisement,
Going out, do it solo on an advertisement, commercializing.
Fuckin’ sell out, nigga…this is hip-hop, not fashion.
B-Real, “Strictly Hip-Hop,” from Cypress Hill’s III: Temples of Boom, 1995. More quotes from Cypress Hill >
Some people tell me that I need help.
…Some people can fuck off and go to hell.
B-Real, “Illusions,” Cypress Hill’s III: Temples of Boom, 1995.
Hit the barber for the taper, ‘fore I call Tracy,
Now my ex wanna trace my steps like Dick Tracy.
Chill on the pills love, you think I’m dicking Tracy?
Blu, “Well Fare,” Good to be Home, 2014. More gems from Blu >
The world is full of bullshitters,
Liars, and triers and quitters,
Coulda-beens, wannabe’s, thought-I-was, isn’t-I-is’s…
And everybody in your business.
Aceyalone, “Keep It True,” All Balls Don’t Bounce, 1995. More lines from Aceyalone >
I say ‘cuz’ around Bloods, and I say ‘blood’ around Crips…I’m twisted.
Got Mary, got Lucy, got Molly: that’s wifey, girlfriend and mistress.
Ab-Soul, “Gods Reign,” These Days…, 2014
We knew we’d be together, we didn’t know when,
But long distance love, never thought it would end.
The feelings never changed until the call came…
You were engaged, I was in pain.
It was such a shame: the timing, it just wasn’t right.
So I say, ‘Good luck,’ and then I say, ‘Good night.’
Murs, “Dance With Me,” from Murs & 9th Wonder’s The Final Adventure, 2012. More Murs >
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…
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
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…
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
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…
How can they say feeling good is an addiction?
But the world is full of shit, so I don’t listen,
In fact, ‘we livin’ to die’ is a contradiction.
ScHoolboy Q, “Oxymoron,” Oxymoron, 2014
Can’t live with them…can’t live without them.
But I love a whole lot more than I hate about them.
They look good, feel good, and smell even better,
So why you acting like your mama didn’t use that leather?
‘B word’ this, ‘H bomb’ that.
In the midst all of this, I wonder: ‘Where your moms at?’
Cause if she ain’t one, then tell me where the hate from?
You just calm down, and maybe you can date one.
Buy some flowers, open up some doors.
She needs some tampons? Homie, go to the store.
Vitamin Water, a bottle of Motrin,
Teddy bear, candy bar, something, a token
Of affection, a step in that direction,
…Cause love is about progress, not perfection.
Murs, “Love & Appreciate 2," Murs for President, 2008. More Murs quotes…
If Dr. King marched today, would Bill Gates march?
I know Obama would, but would Hillary take part?
The Game, “Letter to the King,” L.A.X., 2008
What’s the basis when rappers don’t know the basics?
Still not takin’ advice from those I wouldn’t trade places with.
Skeme, “No Time,” Ingleworld, 2013
You better recognize, adjust your bifocals;
Your style is local…I sit on the beach in Acapulco.
I put words together like Peter Jennings,
And skate on motherfuckers like Peggy Fleming.
Diamond D., “The Next Level,” from Tha Alkaholiks’ Coast II Coast, 1995
My motto is: the bigger they are, the more politics involved,
And I revolve at a rate to make your occipital skull plate dissolve.
Techniques delve deep, soooo…don’t sleep, ock, I rock phonics
That got you holdin my dick like your name was Lorena Bobbit.
Ras Kass, “Remain Anonymous,” 12", 1994. More Ras Kass quotes.
I got a head full of headaches, a heart that’s full of woes.
I’m constantly singin’ them down home blues, and not many people knows
That leaves me with a twisted view of the whole wide world as I know it…
And I guess I got no choice but to be a poet.
Aceyalone, “Headaches & Woes,” All Balls Don’t Bounce, 1995
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