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 ain't no politician but I'll kick it with 'em a minute
Cause see they call me a menace; and if the shoe fits I'll wear it
But if it don't, then y'all'll swallow the truth grin and bear it
Now who's these king of these rude ludicrous lucrative lyrics
Who could inherit the title, put the youth in hysterics
Usin his music to steer it, sharin his views and his merits
But there's a huge interference - they're sayin you shouldn't hear it
Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit
Maybe it's beautiful music I made for you to just cherish
But I'm debated disputed hated and viewed in America
As a motherf---in drug addict - like you didn't experiment?
Now now...that's when you start to stare at who's in the mirror
And see yourself as a kid again, and you get embarrased
And I got nothin to do but make you look stupid as parents<o:p></o:p>
I don't think you do so stay tuned and keep your ears glued to the stereo
Cause here we go...And I'm the sinister, Mr. Kiss-My-Ass it's just the...renegade.<o:p></o:p>
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
Never have to sell a brick again, must I tell a b---- again
The bullsh-- I'm addressin, check I'm on some next level sh--
Never been f---ed in the game, I'm celibate
Rarely out my element, barely out the ghetto with
One foot out and one foot in, intelligent as fellas get
Listen let's settle this -- be clear:
I could fall back seven years, still it ain't no one ahead of me
Consider it a blessin if you get to stand next to me
Five star general, O.G. veteran
Caked like Entenmann's, blowin that celery
Stack that cash like the U.S. treasury
Every single thing I ever did was done heavily
Rap until you're seventy; still ain't no catchin me
Put it on my pops, Big Phil, and Beverly
Be standin on top, still, after they bury me
Nose in the air so stuck up arrogant
Ain't got long hot songs, best cherish it
Cool when I drop mine, that's over, finito
You payin for your foul like a free throw. BOW!
Now, how could a n---- think that he could see me
Other than the magazine covers or the TV
Know I sold more mixtapes than your CD
You're waitin on your big break, prayin you could be me
You ain't made it far as D.C., on the low
I been all around the globe like a god how they treat me
Broads hit they knees, eyes closed when they greet me
You in a deep sleep, stop dreamin
I'm six albums in for 10 years I been five hot steamin
The limelight's mine, I'm gleamin, beamin
That's why I say I'm king, b----, I got my reasons.
<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
With your hands out, lookin up to me, like you want somethin free
When my last CD was out, you wasn't bumpin me
But now that I got this new company
Everybody wanna come to me, like it was some disease
But you won't get a crumb from me
Cause I'm from the streets of
I told em all - all them little gangstas
Who you think helped mold 'em all?
Now you wanna run around talkin bout guns like I ain't got none
What you think I sold 'em all?
Cause I stay well off?
Now all I get is hate mail all day sayin Dre fell off?
What? Cause I been in the lab with a pen and a pad
Try'n'a get this damn label off?
I ain't havin that!<o:p></o:p>
This is the millenium of Aftermath!
It ain't gon' be nothin after that
So give me one more platinum plaque, and f--- rap, you can have it back!
So where's all the Madd Rappers at?
It's like a jungle in this habitat
But all you savage cats<o:p></o:p>
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
Call an ambulance,<o:p></o:p>
To come and pick that a-- up, cause the n---- never had a chance
They try to dance with the devil in a pale moonlight
Advance on a level that they can’t do right
Lay hands on a fella like a man in blue lights
(WOOP WOOP!)….Do it twice!
Big Boi, the B-I-G
I'm nicer than MC on your top three
You cock-y, I cock squeeze
Bust them thangs, now you slop-py
Speed it up, slow it down, then screw it
Don’t bite the flow, cause I got that fluid
Run through the crew on some whole other new sh--
Newness bi---, we do this!
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
And thought to myself that's the shape of things to come
She said, "Why in the club, you don't make it precipate?
You know, make it rain when you could make it thunderstorm?"
I'm like, why? The world needs sun... <o:p></o:p>
The hood needs funds; there's a war going on and half the battle is guns
How dare I throw it on the floor, when people are poor?
So I write like Edgar Allen to restore
Got a cord, umbilical, attached to a place that can't afford
No landscapin' or window drapin'
This old lady told me if I ain't got nothin' good, say nay-thin'
That's why I don't talk much. I swear it don't cost much
To pay attention to me
I tell it like it is and then I tell it how it could be
The hood be <o:p></o:p>
Requesting my services
Oh, don't get nervous, it's
Step your game up time<o:p></o:p>
These ain't them same old rhymes
Designed to have you dancing in some club
N----s ride to me; women be off in their tub
Exfoliating with their poms poms yelling, "Go 3000."
I'm in my whatever bumping NWAH [n.w.a.], "100 Miles and Runnin'"
Runnin', Runnin', Runnin',
Summon, woman. Come in. <o:p></o:p>
Sit down, heard you need some plumbin'
I’m in <o:p></o:p>
A swell mood; a rather swole mood
Until she told me that she told dude
That she’ll be back, she’s going to the store
I didn’t know she had a boyfriend so the door
I pointed her to. I said, "Call me when y'all break up
I don’t f--- nobody's bitch and never owned a Jacob."
Know what time it is
N---- just tryin' to live like a n---- supposed to live
If I still drank that malt liquor, I’d po' the beer
On the ground for n----s not around<o:p></o:p>
I started off starvin'
Now they got me out here Brett Favre-in'
Trying see if I still got it got it
I guess it’s like a bike; think about it, bout it, bout it...
<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
When a bullet blows by, he'll probably feel a little breeze
Drop to ya knees, see the big barrel of the chrome fifth triple grip handle in the squeeze
I keep a couple of those for the n----s who talk sh--
When I go to Jacob and cop that ring
If you try to see me I'ma cock that thang
And I'ma lock that thang, and the shots gon' stain<o:p></o:p>
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
Front if want motherf---- you can catch it
Smile on my face even though I got a ratchet
Pop off (police) pull me over believe I got a compartment if I gotta stash it
Must I just remind y'all n----s when I come through
Know that I'ma find y'all n----s
Bust so many shots gun powder probably blind y'all n----s
See you don't know really wanna feel that Mossberg blow (naw)
Clap up a n---- then I cap up a n----
When I finish it'll turn into an absurd show (listen)
Then you better observe yo
Feel the sizzle from the bullet of the g---- burn slow (ssss)
Sh--- probably twist you up just a little and have your body leanin' lookin' like a quarter past four
Stay down betta (lay down)
Checkin' for a n----, come and put your body in the dirt
I don't play b----...you really need to go the other way, if you ain't know I got it under my shirt.
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
Violence became variety
Silently personalities <o:p></o:p>
Differ from what they try to be
2na be on the frontline, What rhyme shall I hit you with?
Sluggish like a barbituate, we can make you admit you bit
A hectic thrill, <o:p></o:p>
Connect with Will
And we create with the calm, cool, collective skill
The checks get real...<o:p></o:p>
People think this sh-- is hunky-dory
It's another story while we be fightin war. <o:p></o:p>
Redemption, pimps, and prostitutes get the break they need
With breakneck speed,<o:p></o:p>
The fakes succeed, indeed
Thinkin life is a party and it's a must to please
But many pop MC's work for Mephistopheles
Choppin broccoli happily for your company, publically sellin Satan when really <o:p></o:p>
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
Like the number after 1, I'ma get me 2
It's Weezy F U, now you gotta have a baby
My money don't folds, nor bends, Mercedes <o:p></o:p>
Maybach, grey-black, and I got a 44, and a 'K, like 8 stacks
F--- your city and your town, I state facts
No, better yet like Diddy, “take that...”
Wait rats, I hate rats, I clean 'em out like Ajax
Got paper like a fax machine, asaneen
Damn I mean...<o:p></o:p>
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
Or heard, Car-ter, Harvard, y'all scared,<o:p></o:p>
Not me, not I, call me young Popeye
Tell Bruno I'm a noono, I bring ral to your fune
Damn I mean fune-ral, fune-rul
You say tomayto, I say tomahto
You say get 'em, I say got 'em, yeah I got 'em
Man you better keep paying me, 'cause you don't want my problems
I be wildin like Capital One – “What is in your wallet?”
You fly -- but what is it to pilot?
Weezy: I'm at the top, foot up in yo' bottom
Damn I mean, foot up in your a--
I kick that sh--, now go 'n' put it in the trash…
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.