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 came in the door, I said it before
I never let the mic magnetize me no more.
But it’s biting me, fighting me, inviting me to rhyme,
I can’t hold it back…I’m looking for the line.
Taking off my coat, clearing my throat,
My rhyme will be kicking until I hit my last note.
Rakim, “Eric B. Is President,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid In Full, 1987. More Rakim quotes…
If sleep is the cousin of death, then death is the cousin of sadness;
Murder’s the cousin of madness, love is the cousin of that bitch.
Ill Bill, “Secrets Worth Dying For,” from DJ Muggs & Ill Bill’s Kill Devil Hills, 2010
Brain cells are lit, ideas start to hit,
Next the formation of words that fit.
At the table I sit, making it legit,
And when my pen hits the paper…ahhhh shit!
Big Daddy Kane, “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” Long Live The Kane, 1988
I got the gangsta in me, plus I’m not friendly
To a bitch-ass whose mouth runs more laps than the Indy.
Redman, “Nuthin’ But the Gangsta,” from MC Eiht’s We Come Strapped, 1994
Crews talk shit, but in my face they kiss my ass.
A-Plus, “93 Til Infinity,” from Souls of Mischief’s 93 Til Infinity, 1993
Flip the flyer attire females desire,
Baby you can step to this if you admire
The extraordinary dapper rapper…
Keep tabs on your main squeeze before I tap her.
Opio, “93 Til Infinity,” from Souls of Mischief’s 93 Til Infinity, 1993
I’d count my blessings, but I suck at math.
Eminem, “So Far…,” The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 2013
I’m so Rakim and Eric. B, bitches check out my melody.
I might Slick Rick on a fella…catch me a felony.
I might Shyne Po a ho…POW! Catch me a case.
Producto must have rolled the L because this blunt feels laced.
Killer Mike, “Twin Hype Back,” Run the Jewels, 2013
If we gotta dumb down our style and ABC it, then so be it,
Cause nowadays these kids just don’t give a shit ‘bout lyrics.
All they wanna hear is a beat and that’s it,
Long as they can go to the club and get blitzed,
Pick up some chicks and get some digits.
And the DJs playing them hits, “Oh, this my jam, this my shit!”
We don’t know a word to a verse, all we know is the chorus,
Cause the chorus repeats the same four words for us.
Eminem, “Syllables," 2010
What’s better than tripping is falling in love.
What’s better than Letterman, Leno, Fallon, and all the above?
What’s better than popping bottles trying to ball in the club?
Is the first caveman pops with his son, ball and a club.
What’s better than paper is balling it up.
What’s better than followers is actually falling in love.
What’s better than frolicking, follies, fallin in mud?
Rolling in green pastures, wandering, following love.
What’s better than eating is feeding your fam.
What’s better than meetings is missing meetings to meet with your fam.
What’s better than leaning and needing your Xan?
Is hitting your zan dreaming a dream could mean leaving the land.
What’s better than yelling is hollering love.
What’s better than rhymes, nickles, dimes, dollars, and dubs?
Is dialing up your darling just for calling her up.
There ain’t nothing better than falling in love.
Chance the Rapper, “Interlude (That’s Love),” Acid Rap, 2013
We ain’t speak, clicking heat is our Morse code.
Ka, “Jungle,” Night’s Gambit, 2013
I make niggas eat dirt and fart dust,
Then give you a $80 gift certificate to Pussies “Я” Us.
Ludacris, “Mouthing Off,” Back for the First Time, 2000
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
Listenin to nothin, takin no suggestions,
All destructive criticisms that can’t improve on perfection.
MF Doom is Viktor Vaughn, “The Drop,” Vaudeville Villain, 2003
You lose money chasing women;
Never lose women chasing money.
Nas, “Ghetto Rich (Remix),” Rich Boy’s self-titled album, 2007
Bitch is in the back looking righteous
In a tight dress…I think I might just
Hit her with a little Biggie 101:
How to tote a gun,
And have fun with Jamaican rum.
The Notorious B.I.G., “Party and Bullshit,” from Who’s The Man? soundtrack, 1993
Pain is joy when it cries, it’s my smile in disguise.
Pusha T, “Pain,” My Name is My Name, 2013
I’ve been layin’, waiting for your next mistake,
I put in work, and watch my status escalate.
Guru, “Work,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998
Every time I write these words they become a taboo,
Making sure my punctuation curve, every letter here’s true,
Living my life in the margin, and that metaphor was proof.
Kendrick Lamar, “Poetic Justice,” good kid, m.A.A.d city, 2012
A day to God is a thousand years,
Men walk around with a thousand fears.
The true joy of love brings a thousand tears,
In the world of desire, there’s a thousand snares.
RZA, “A Day to God is 1000 Years,” Birth of a Prince, 2003
If you go platinum, it’s got nothing to do with luck,
It just means that a million people are stupid as fuck.
Immortal Technique, “Industrial Revolution,” Revolutionary Vol. 2, 2003
Those who flashin’ don’t blast, they still buffoons,
Just blowin out hot air, they should fill balloons.
I’m like them shorties that could kill for goons,
They started hustlin’ in April to cop wheels in June.
Elzhi, “Mt. Everest,” from U-God’s The Keynote Speaker, 2013
And as for the critics, tell me I don’t get it.
Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it.
Jay-Z, “Already Home,” The Blueprint 3, 2009
If I wasn’t in the rap game,
I’d probably have a key knee-deep in the crack game.
Because the streets is a short stop:
Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot.
The Notorious B.I.G., “Things Done Changed,” Ready to Die, 1994
Perm in your hair or even a curly weave,
Wichya New Edition Bobby Brown button on your sleeve.
I tell you come here, you say, ‘Meet me half way,’
Cause brothers been popping that game all day.
LL Cool J, “Around the Way Girl,” Mama Said Knock You Out, 1990
All I see is sissies in magazines smiling…
Whatever happened to wildin’ out and being violent?
Whatever happened to catching a good, old-fashioned, passionate ass whoopin’?
And getting your shoes, coat and your hat tooken?
Eminem, “Marshall Mathers,” The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000
My momma did her part,
But it ain’t her fault that I was born without a heart.
In other words: I’m heartless dude.
I don’t love me…how the fuck I’mma love you?
Scarface, “Born Killer,” Mr. Scarface is Back, 1991
We live in a society created by an empire
That’s based on terror…welcome to the One World Era,
A complete interruption to your lil’ paltry-ass life,
That you thought you was livin, and what you been given.
Coolio, “The Park, from Slam The Soundtrack, 1998
Others tell like it is, while I tell it how I would like it to be.
Cee-Lo, “The World I Know,” from Slam The Soundtrack, 1998
They say that love is powerful as cough syrup and Styrofoam.
All I know is I fell asleep and woke up in that Monte Carlo
With the ugly Kardashian…
Lamar, oh, sorry. Yo, we done both set the bar low.
Eminem, “Berzerk,” The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 2013
Anything worth having is hard to keep,
I love you like my coffee, so hot and so sweet.
So, let’s stick it out so we never regret it,
I could forgive the past–but I never forget it.
Ghostface Killah, “You Know I’m No Good (Remix),” More Fish, 2006
I don’t understand the difficulty, people;
Love your brother, treat him as an equal.
Heavy D., “Self Destruction,” Stop The Violence All-Stars, 1989
Redman ready to rock rough rhymes,
Renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time.
Punk push a pen and pencil when I’m pissed,
Pack pistol posse, flow some more pro shit.
Redman, “Hardcore,” from EPMD’s Business as Usual, 1990
Your whole appearance is a lie and it could never be true.
And if you really loved yourself, then you would try and be you.
Phife, “Butter,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, 1991
What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high,
Who tryna jump and get it? You better off tryna skydive
Out the exit window of 5 G5’s with 5 grand
With your granddad as the pilot he drunk as fuck tryna land
With the hand full of arthritis and popping prosthetic leg
Bumpin Pac in the cockpit so the shit that pops in his head
Is an option of violence, someone heard the stewardess said
That your parachute is a latex condom hooked to a thread.
Kendrick Lamar, “Control,” from Big Sean’s Hall of Fame, 2013
I’ve seen niggas transform like villain Decepticons,
Mollies’ll prolly turn these niggas to fuckin’ Lindsay Lohan.
A bunch of rich ass white girls lookin’ for parties,
Playin with Barbies, wreck the Porsche before you give ‘em the car key.
Kendrick Lamar, “Control,” from Big Sean’s Hall of Fame, 2013
I got a girl and she treat me fine,
But the homies all think that I’m losin’ my mind.
I’m trippin’ and I know it cause I’m all nerved up,
Cause everytime I go to sleep, I see this big ol’ butt.
See, I ain’t never gave no chick 4 stars,
But she treat me so good that she be drivin my car.
And every day it get better, I can’t lie,
Went to the house and she made me some hot potato pie.
All my friends be sayin, “She ain’t nothin but a scrub!”
But she make me feel high like I’m hooked on drugs.
So I give her what she need, and what’s done is done,
But I’m a special kind of fool but ayo, it don’t bother me none.
I can’t help myself, I know that I’m trippin’,
But she got it goin’ on like Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Pimp C, “Use Me Up,” from UGK’s Too Hard to Swallow, 1992
It seem like everybody dress tight now,
And I just want my credit.
Kanye West, “Gifted,” from N.A.S.A.’s The Spirit of Apollo, 2009
What you base your happiness around?
Material, women, and large paper?
That means you inferior, not major.
Nas, “No Idea’s Original,” The Lost Tapes, 2002
You can’t take the heat, get ya ass out the kitchen
Matter fact, take ya ass back in there and wash the dishes.
Royce Da 5’9", “Deadly Melody,” from Black Milk’s Album of the Year, 2010
Food for thought, so get a buffet plate.
The lyrics are so fat you might gain weight.
Doodlebug, “Where I’m From,” from Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space, 1993
I wish I didn’t get searched when I come through customs.
I wish Christians stop beefin’ with Muslims,
Wish the poor didn’t have to take welfare,
Wish America had universal health care…
Cause ain’t no help here.
Edo G., “Wishing,” My Own Worst Enemy, 2004
The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I show love cause it’s a terrible thing to hate.
Guru, “Peace of Mine,” from Gang Starr’s The Ownerz, 2003
Guns and the sneakers made Jada.
The bitches and the reefer came later
With the money and the haters.
Jadakiss, “Jada’s Got a Gun,” Kiss the Game Goodbye, 2001
Don’t sell yourself to fall in love,
With those things you do…
J Dilla, “Fall in Love,” from Slum Village’s Fantastic Vol 2., 2000
I circumnavigate the globe with a one-liner like latitude.
Ras Kass, “Riiiot!” from Chino XL’s Here to Save You All, 1996
Life can change your directions, even when you ain’t planned it.
All you can do is handle it, worst thing you can do is panic.
T.I., “No Matter What,” The Paper Trail, 2008