I’d rather make one righteous dollar on my level
Than make a million dollars spittin’ rhymes for the devil.
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.
Fuck movin’ mountains, I move planets and leave you Earthless.
Terror Squad: the worst that hurt shit, split your universes.
Lyrical lecture, word architecture,
Rap director, the best in my sector.
Microphone cool chief, releasin the smooth speech…
I get nasty with a pen and some loose leaf.
Never we sleep, a thug doesn’t rest,
Cause a wise man said: it was a cousin of death.
Believers of Jesus be denouncing Satan on every level,
But every Halloween they’re dressin’ like devils.
It’s all love, but love’s got a thin line
And Pun’s got a big nine,
Respect crime…but not when it reflect mine.
Commentating, illustrating, description-giving
Adjective expert. Analyzing, surmising,
Musical, myth-seeking people of the universe…
This is yours!
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.
Mark you for death, won’t even talk that East or West crap.
From Watts to Lefrak, it ain’t where ya from, it’s where’s your gat.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a funny bastard…
But when it come to money, son, I’m not the one to laugh with.
What’s when you rap and don’t appreciate the art?
What’s when you sell out just to get a start?
What’s when you make bullshit just for the charts?
What’s when you rap, but it’s not from the heart?
What’s when you’re hardcore, then you turn pop?
When you steal ideas to get props?
When you sell out to be on top?
What’s when you front like you’re hard, but you’re not?
That’s a gimmick.
Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal,
MC’s spit rhymes to uplift their people.
So you think that hip-hop had its start out in Queensbridge?
If you popped that junk up in the Bronx, you might not live!
Rebel, renegade, must stay paid.
I am the manifestation of study,
NOT the manifestation of money.
Therefore, I advance through thought,
NOT what’s manufactured and bought.
…Cops just surrounding me with pistols everywhere.
They put me in the backseat of their car handcuffed,
Pushed out them chests like they’re big rough and tough.
A cop come and said ‘You’ll never sell your guns now.’
I said ‘It doesn’t matter, you’ll sell them anyhow.
You take the guns from me, you sell them for a fee;
Anyway you put it, they’ll get in the city!’
Too many MC’s take that word ‘emcee’ lightly;
They can’t Move a Crowd, not even slightly.
Look past the garbage, over the trains,
Under the ruins, through the remains,
Around the crime and pollution,
And tell me…where I fit in?
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
Flawless victory, you niggas can’t do shit to me:
Physically, lyrically, hypothetically, realistically.
– Big Pun, “Beware,” Capital Punishment, 1998
Life is love, heartache and strain,
Yet the strength to overcome it all keeps me sane.
OC, “Gotta Luv It,” from Ray West and OC’s Ray’s Café, 2014
They never understood, many people were so slow.
My funky type of rhyme, and my style is pyscho.
– Kool Keith, “Raise It Up,” from Ultramagnetic MC’s The Four Horsemen, 1993
I never want a jheri curl up under my hat,
The woman in my bed has got to be strictly black,
I never want money if my lyrics are wack,
So I must…rock…the mic.
I’m sick and tired of these fake-ass niggas,
Saying that they’re catching bodies when they never pulled a trigger.
I know your style, I’ve seen it before,
You wearing army suit, now you think you’re hardcore.
Drinking on your 40’s, smoking on your blunts,
Can’t afford a chain so you wear gold fronts…
You fakin’ the funk, kid.
And you’d be getting it up the ass if you ever did a fucking bid.
Having that gang war?
We want to know what you’re fighting for.
Fighting over colors?
All that gang shit’s for dumb motherfuckers.
But you go on thinking you’re hard…
Come to New York and we’ll see who gets robbed.
Take your jheri curls, take your black hats,
Take your wack lyrics and your bullshit tracks.
Now you’re mad and you’re thinking about stomping?
Well I’m from the South Bronx…Fuck Compton.
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.
Now it’s my turn, and I am concerned
About idiots posing as kings.
What are we here to rule?
I thought we were supposed to sing.
And if we oughta sing, then let us begin to teach.
Many of you are educated…open your mouth and speak!
More rhymes are funny now, happy and silly now.
Happy-go-lucky on the mic, and meanwhile,
You standin’ still, lookin out for a good rhyme,
Makin the wack junk, wastin’ my good time.
“All I see is blinking lights, track boards and fat mics. 950s, SP-12s, MPC60s…”
– A.G., “Next Level,” from Show & A.G.’s Goodfellas, 1995. DJ Premier closes down the legendary D&D Studios (aka HeadQCourterz) today and migrates to Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. The recording den, where Rakim, KRS-One, Jay Z, Nas and Gang Starr made some of hip-hop’s most canonized songs, will come to a close in 2015 due to new building ownership.
You were put here to protect us.
But who protects us from you?
Rap is like a set-up…a lot of games,
A lot of suckers with colorful names.
‘I’m so-and-so,’ ‘I’m this, I’m that.’
But they all just wick-wick-wack.
Girls, don’t run that shit that beauty’s only skin deep,
Cause I don’t want no girl with a Brillo face,
Or the type that’ll leave Jheri Curl juice on my pillow case.