Posted on: January 22, 2009 4:43 pm
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Posted on: January 7, 2009 3:28 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2009 3:38 pm
First of all, I have NO IDEA why this is formatting the way it is. Ah, technology. Sometimes, I just wanna punch it in the uterus.
Here's another of those dreaded non-sports entries....
I don't expect that there are many hip hop fans on this site. I expect there are even fewer HUGE hip hop fans, as I am. But Vibe Magazine recently had a list of the 15 best rap verses ever, and I disagreed with most of it.
This is part 1 -- the first 11 -- of my list. I don't know yet how many parts there will be -- I just keep thinking of new, amazing verses that I feel like including. It will be more than 15, because that's just too small a number with all the great verses out there.
No particular order.
Eminem, "Renegade" (Verse 1; 2000)
Since I'm in a position to talk to these kids and they listen
I don't think you do so stay tuned and keep your ears glued to the stereo
Comment: In my opinion, the best verse ever. This is just typical Eminem. I am not aware of any other rapper (or any other sort of lyricist) who is able to string together so many sensical, polysyllabic rhymes as he does. And his sense of humor, albeit a very subtle and dry one, is unparallelled.
T.I., "I'm Illy (Verse 1; 2008)
Rebel for the hell of it, hella rich
<o:p>Comment: The second verse of this song is also awesome. T.I. has always been an above average rapper, but on some songs on Paper Trail, his 2008 pre-prison album, such as this one and "56 Bars" just have fantastic word play on them. </o:p>
Dr. Dre, "Forgot About Dre" (Verse 3; 1999) (written by Eminem)<o:p></o:p>
If it was up to me, you muh'f---ers would stop comin up to me
This is the millenium of Aftermath!
Know that I was strapped with gats when you were cuddlin a Cabbage Patch.
<o:p>Comment: When he writes his own rhymes, Dr. Dre is not a good rapper. But when Eminem wrote this verse (and Dre's other verse from this song), Dre became incredible. Dre's delivery made this better than Eminem ever could have made it.</o:p>
Big Boi, "I'm So Hood" (remix) (Verse 4; 2007)
Daddy Fat Sacks<o:p></o:p>
So hood like a Cadillac, on the mint on from the Baby-lon
To come and pick that a-- up, cause the n---- never had a chance
Comment: This is one of those where you have to hear it to fully understand how impressive it is. Big Boi is one of my favorite rappers, but his is more consistently good than occasionally outstanding. But if you are so inclined, listen to this song -- Big Boi's is the best of 3 incredible verses. (The others are from Busta Rhymes and Ludacris.)
Andre 3000, "Da Art of Storytellin', Part 4" (Verse 1; 2007)
So I'm watching her fine a-- walk to my bedroom
The hood needs funds; there's a war going on and half the battle is guns
Requesting my services
These ain't them same old rhymes
Sit down, heard you need some plumbin'
I’m in <o:p></o:p>
A swell mood; a rather swole mood
I started off starvin'
<o:p>Comment: Andre 3000 and Eminem and hands-down the best pure lyricists ever. And they're tied, in my book, becase they're both amazing in completely different ways. This is one of the most brilliantly written verses ever. I really don't know what else to say about it. He combines social responsibility and swagger like I've never seen before, and don't expect to again.</o:p>
<o:p></o:p>Lupe Fiasco, "Trials and Tribulations" (Verse 3; 2006)
Pops said, "They won't follow if your points is hollow"<o:p></o:p>
So with main vocal a ad-lib,<o:p></o:p>
I bring focal to bad kids<o:p></o:p>
Shed light on troubled youth<o:p></o:p>
Fad -- egg rice and noodle soup<o:p></o:p>
Explain all they rules and roots -- not enough to incriminate; just enough to demonstrate<o:p></o:p>
Why they confused as mutes<o:p></o:p>
Are easily confused and consumed with hoops,<o:p></o:p>
Spar greedily for cubes and refuse the truth<o:p></o:p>
Followers...easily subdued by flutes,<o:p></o:p>
Swallowers...of anything the bandwagon hands em<o:p></o:p>
But listen to me, tellin' 'em to listen to me<o:p></o:p>
Refuse my rule; peruse a scoop<o:p></o:p>
Let ne take you to my zone, <o:p></o:p>
Take you to my home -- please remove your boots<o:p></o:p>
Not the spook who sat by the door,<o:p></o:p>
But Lu who slept on the floor<o:p></o:p>
That you stepped over all these years<o:p></o:p>
Waitin' up, comin' back for yours.
Comment: I am as verbally confounded as to this one as I was with Andre's. It's just brilliant, and for the same reasons -- not to mention the fact that at one point Lupe rhymes two entire lines back-to-back. Lupe is an incredible lyricist, and I would put him just behind Eminem and Andre 3000. If you can find this, listen to it -- the beat (Prolyfic) is one of the best of 2007 (in my opinion).
Busta Rhymes, "Hurt" (Verse 3; 2007)
Right now I'ma give you somethin' that a make a n---- beg please
Really? N---- ride inside the truck with me <o:p></o:p>
And for the most part the n---- stuck with me <o:p></o:p>
And tell you somethin' if you really were smart and you knew better people probably tell ya don't f--- with me
Comment: Busta Rhymes is an enigma. He is usually lackluster for the most part -- even his ultra-fast verses don't have a lot of ingenuity or cleverness behind them. But every once in a while, he comes up with material like this, or his verse in "I'm So Hood". This is super-speed, poly-syllabic rhyming, cleverness and humor rolled into one. The beat (Danja) is pretty good too, so check it out.
Chali 2na, "Get Original" (Verse 3; 2003)
When you think about rap in it's entirety
Differ from what they try to be
Connect with Will
People think this sh-- is hunky-dory
Redemption, pimps, and prostitutes get the break they need
The fakes succeed, indeed
You should be bumpin the truth, so stop now.
Comment: Chali 2na is one of my top-5 favorite rappers for two reasons: (1) He is an amazing rhymer, and (2) he asked my now-fiancee (along with one of her friends) to join him in a post-concert shower. (I swear to God that's true.) #1 is more important, because his rhyming skills are up there with the best rappers ever. You see it here: "many pop MC's work for Mephistopheles", for example. Anyone who appreciates clever poly-syllabic rhyme schemes should immediately consult this guy's entire catalogue.
Lil Wayne, "You Ain't Got Nuthin' On Me" (Verse 3; 2008)
Get you 3,4 get you
Maybach, grey-black, and I got a 44, and a 'K, like 8 stacks
No, better yet like Diddy, “take that...”
Asinine, I'm dapper don and after mine <o:p></o:p>
There will be nine, damn I mean there will be none, I will be one,<o:p></o:p>
Of the greatest things you've ever felt, you've ever seen
Not me, not I, call me young Popeye
Comment: This is sheer, pot-and-syrup-induced genius. It's another you probably have to hear to appreciate, partially because a lot of the time Wayne seems to be correcting himself within the rhymes -- and the corrections fit into the rhyme scheme. (I don't know how else to explain it.) This entire song is full of incredible one-liners. In fact, I just convinced myself to include Juelz Santana's verse as well. It also has a grimy but effectively simple beat from Alchemist that helps make it one of my new favorite songs to listen to over and over again.
Juelz Santana, "You Ain't Got Nuthin' On Me" (Verse 2; 2008)
I'm on my grind till the po-lice come
With that p--tol on my side, boy, don't be dumb,
Or...I'll let that semi twirl ya -- now you can follow the drip,
Cuz one shot outta the clip will gheri curl ya
Leave ya sloppy like seconds, obey me like peasants, or get opened up like presents -- please;
My young boys wildin for respect: sl-- your throat, have ya smilin' with your neck -- say cheese
My dough is just longer
My flow is just slaughter
My wrists look like frozen poland spring water
So tell me boy, tell me boy -- who ya think you're messin with?
I get money out the ass -- that's some expensive sh--
Haven't y'all all heard? I'm all herbs
I put fish sticks in y'all hoers d'erves
Listen -- I'm a shark, y'all just coy fish...
I got my eye on your wifey now
I'll have her lick me up, and then wipe me down
She told me you's a nag, you's a bug;
She told me I'm a blast, I'm a stud
She told me you be beastin -- you be checkin for the burns, so I gave her knee-pads for the rug
It's skull gang from the chain to the lifestyle
You surf board dudes get wiped out
Comment: I just love this verse. The reason I might've left it out is because of the few weak parts -- the ocean imagery; the overly pedestrian rhymes ("you's a nag, you's a bug" with "I'm a blast, I'm a stud"); etc. But the one-liners completely redeem it. One of the best I've heard that I can remember is "I get money out the ass -- that's some expensive sh--". Incredible.
Jay-Z, "Flip Flop Rock" (Verse 4; 2004) (song by Outkast/Big Boi)
When i'm in the mood,
I rock the S-Dot tennis shoes;
At the interlude, I got the Gucci flip flops,
And I...mix it up like gin and juice
When I'm in them interviews
Dudes wanna know what he cop
Where you got that? How can they buy that?
Where the million-dollar watch at? Stop that!
What that? Why this?
N----s wanna hijack the flyness
I'm on a whole different plane, a whole different lane,
A whole 'nother game that I'm playin, understand what I'm sayin'?
Hov and OutKast -- whatchu think about that?
Really don't matter though whatchu n----s chatter though
Anyone step outta line, you can trust that the mack'll go
"D-D-D-D-D-AT!!!" Get you chilled for that alone.
I'm back on the the strip
I'm back on this sh--
Another hit, I'm not gon' miss!
Comment: You gotta hear it to appreciate it. The flow is incredible. Not to mention the rhyming and play-ons like "hijack the flyness".
I will be back shortly with part 2.