It seems we living the American Dream,
But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem.
The prettiest people do the ugliest things
For the road to riches and diamond rings.
Kanye West, “All Falls Down,” The College Dropout, 2004
We staring in the face of hate again…
The same hate they say will “Make America Great Again.”
No consolation prize for the dehumanized,
For America to rise, it’s a matter of Black Lives.
– Common, “Letter to the Free,” Black America Again, 2016
Sippin’ on that brown stuff
Got you feeling like you found love,
Or maybe it was just luck.
But honestly…it’s probably none of the above.
– Slug, “Arthur’s Song” from Atmosphere’s Southsiders, 2014.
You say Trump don’t kiss ass like a puppet?
‘Cause he runs his campaign with his own cash for the fundin’?
And that’s what you wanted:
A fuckin’ loose cannon who’s blunt with his hand on the button
Who doesn’t have to answer to no one? Great idea!
– Eminem, “Campaign Speech,” 2016
There’s a certain mystique when I speak that you notice,
‘Cause that’s sort of unique…’cause you know it’s me.
My poetry’s deep, and I’m Stillmatic the way I flow to this beat.
You can’t sit still; it’s like trying to smoke crack and go to sleep.
– Eminem, “Love Me,” from 8 Mile Soundtrack, 2002
To everyone out there who’s a little different:
I say, “Damn a magazine, these is God’s fingerprints.”
You can call me ugly, but can’t take nothing from me;
I am what I am, doctor, you ain’t gotta love me.
Brother Ali, “Forest Whitaker,” Shadows on the Sun, 2003.
I will show you all you need to know.
You must hold on to anyone that wants you,
And I will love you through simple and the struggle.
But girl…you got to understand: the modern man must hustle.
Slug, “Modern Man’s Hustle,” from Atmosphere’s God Loves Ugly, 2002. More from Atmosphere…
I just want to innovate and stimulate minds,
Travel the world and penetrate the times,
Escape through rhythms,
In search of peace and wisdom.
Common, “The 6th Sense,” Like Water for Chocolate, 2000. More from Comm…
Blow out your speakers, roll some more loud;
That’s the sound of the reefer, I think my parents is proud.
Thank my fans in the bleachers, think my teachers need features,
I think I’m walking with Jesus, I knew my feet wouldn’t drown.
Chance the Rapper, “Somewhere in Paradise,” 2015
Sick, sick dreams of picnic scenes:
Two kids, sixteen with M-16’s and ten clips each,
And them shits reach through six kids each,
And Slim gets blamed in Bill Clint’s speech to fix these streets?
Eminem, “Remember Me?” The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000. More from Em…
Somebody somewhere be saying some shit about you,
And that something be some bullshit when they know it ain’t true.
Quelle Chris, “The Ones to Watch,” Innocent Country, 2015
I never gave a rat’s ass or a flyin’ fuck…
Drivin’ drunk in a fire truck with the siren stuck,
Slammin’ the brakes, skiddin’ out cause the tires suck.
Went to pull you off my dick and got the pliers stuck.
You better run, cause I’m probably the only one
Crazy enough to shoot your ass with a knife and stab you with a gun.
Eminem, “5 Star Generals,” from Shabaam Sahdeeq’s Sound Clash / 5 Star Generals 12″, 1998. More from Em…
I don’t know why y’all so highly regarded;
You rhyme like you’re borderline mildly retarded.
Royce da 5′9″, “You Should Know,” from Royce & DJ Premier’s PRhyme, 2014.
I hope you get a paper cut on your tongue
From a razor in a paper cup.
I hope every soda you drink’s already shaken up.
I hope your dreams dry like raisins in the baking sun.
I hope your titties’ all saggy in your early 20s.
I hope there’s always snow in your driveway.
I hope you never get off Fridays…
And you work at a Friday’s that’s always busy on Fridays.
Chance the Rapper, “Baby Blue,” from Action Bronson’s Mr. Wonderful, 2015. More from Chance…
…That’s when you start to stare at who’s in the mirror,
And see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrassed.
And I got nothin’ to do but make you look stupid as parents,
You fuckin’ do-gooders; too bad you couldn’t do good at marriage!
Eminem, “Renegade,” from Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, 2001
How you looking like beef jerky, beefing in every verse,
But never beefing in person? Randy Savage.
You wouldn’t snap a Slim Jim,
You wouldn’t rip a wrapping on Christmas in Santa’s attic
With the hands of Eddie Scissors…ain’t you average?
Royce Da 5’9", “Courtesy,” from Royce and DJ Premier’s PRhyme, 2014.
I start thinking:
How many souls hip-hop has affected?
How many dead folks this art resurrected?
How many nations this culture connected?
Who am I to judge one’s perspective?
Common, “6th Sense,” Like Water for Chocolate, 2000. More from Common…
This’ll be the last package I ever send your ass.
It’s been six months and still no word, I don’t deserve it.
I know you got my last two letters; I wrote the addresses on ‘em perfect.
So this is my cassette I’m sending you, I hope you hear it,
I’m in the car right now, I’m doing 90 on the freeway.
Hey Slim, I drank a fifth of vodka, you dare me to drive?
You know the song by Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight”
About that guy who coulda saved that other guy from drowning
But didn’t, then Phil saw it all, then at a a show he found him?
That’s kinda how this is, you coulda rescued me from drowning.
Now it’s too late; I’m on a thousand downers now, I’m drowsy,
And all I wanted was a lousy letter or a call.
I hope you know I ripped ALL of your pictures off the wall.
I love you Slim. We coulda been together, think about it.
You ruined it now, I hope you can’t sleep and you dream about it,
And when you dream I hope you can’t sleep and you SCREAM about it.
I hope your conscience EATS AT YOU and you can’t BREATHE without me.
Eminem, “Stan,” The Marshall Mathers LP, 2000. More from Em…
Word to Trayvon and Mike Brown,
Them pigs’ll gun you down and call it ‘standin’ they ground.’
The situation wack, we need a moment of silence,
Or violence…I’m only being honest.
Don’t condone it but fuck it, we ridin’,
Ain’t goin’ down without a fight.
Middle finger up if they ever try and read me my rights,
Hangin’ out the window screaming “F the police!”
Stalley, “BLK & WHT (Remix),” from Rick Ross’ Mastermind, 2014
Most rappers these days is actors,
And I can’t keep watching the same movie.
Mick Jenkins, “Jazz,” The Water[s], 2014
You see, if you ever wanted to ever be anything,
There’d always be somebody that shoot down any dream.
There’ll always be haters, that’s the way it is:
Hater niggas marry hater bitches, and have hater kids.
Kanye West, “Bring Me Down,” Late Registration, 2005. More gems from ‘Ye
I’ve been out there 3 days and I got shot at 3 times,
Felt like every bullet hit me when they flew out each 9.
I’ll be happy when I wake up and I have a free mind.
Lil Herb, “The Neighborhood,” from Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, 2014
We still wading in the water…
Cocaine, blunts, marinating in the water.
Lean and took a puff, and then she gave it to my father,
Used to take the bullets out so I could play with the revolver.
Satan serenading ever since I was a toddler,
Tell ‘em talk is cheap…niggas living for the dollar.
Vince Staples, “Kingdom,” from Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, 2014
You don’t really get why I’m so pissed?
I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.
Tech N9ne, “Fragile,” Something Else, 2013
I be with broads that got they shit together;
Even if it ain’t meant forever, still smoke the spliff together.
The essence of the herbs, the presence of the words…
Yeah you got a chest, but I’m treasurin’ your curves.
Common, “Made in Black America,” Nobody Smiling, 2014
What if somebody from the Chi that was ill got a deal on the hottest rap label around?
But he wasn’t talking ‘bout coke and birds, it was more like spoken word,
Except he’s really puttin’ it down.
Kanye West, “Through the Wire,” The College Dropout, 2004. The highly influential debut album was released 10 years ago, on February 10, 2004. More Kanye West Quotes…
If I don’t got two balls and a middle finger to throw up,
I’m takin off both shoes and stickin each middle toe up.
Eminem, “The Last Hit,” from The High & Mighty’s Home Field Advantage, 1999. More Eminem quotes…
Even through the unseen, I know that God watches,
From one King’s dream, he was able to Barack us.
Common, “The Believer,” The Dreamer/The Believer, 2011
I’m living three dreams:
Biggie Smalls’, Dr. King, Rodney King’s.
Cause we can’t get along, no resolution?
‘Til we drown all these haters…
Rest in peace to Whitney Houston
Kanye West, “New God Flow,” Cruel Summer, 2012
Death is the cousin of sleep,
Just close your eyes, count sheep and breathe deep.
Think about the sound of relief that surrounds you,
You were already gone before I found you.
Slug, “Bleed Slow,” from Atmosphere’s Godlovesugly, 2002
You used to be fly, but you crashed your plane.
One Be Lo, “Used 2 Be Fly,” S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M., 2005
I’d count my blessings, but I suck at math.
Eminem, “So Far…,” The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 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
Be a king? Think not.
Why be a king when you can be a God?
Eminem, “Rap God,” The Marshall Mathers LP 2, 2013
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
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
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
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
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
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
‘What you doing in the club on a Thursday?’
She say she only here for her girl birthday…
They ordered champagne but still look thirsty,
Rock Forever 21 but just turned 30.
Kanye West, “Bound 2,” Yeezus, 2013