This week saw the return of some of the genre’s biggest stars, with new music from Nicki Minaj, The Game, and a last-minute new tune by superstar Kanye West. It also saw a new song by rapper/actor Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino. “Eat Your Vegetables” contained both one of the best lines of the week and the single worst and most tasteless one we’ve seen in quite a long time. Below, the week that was.
Jayceon “The Game” Taylor is all too often better at picking beats and paying homage to his rap heroes than he is at, you know, rapping. On this song from his upcoming mixtape, though, he effectively talks about the hardscrabble lives in his native Compton. This couplet is a darkly funny one, playing on California’s very real prison overcrowding to leave the listener with the image of murderers walking off scot-free even after being caught.
4. “Ni**as can’t stop my train, I’m Chubb rocking/What’s beef? Who ready to die? I’m big popping/I’m hundred proof, you ni**as cheap vodka/I’m the lord of the underground, the new chief rocker” – Beanie Sigel, “Shot Caller Freestyle”
One-time Jay-Z protege Beanie Sigel returned this week with a freestyle that had him recounting his past — which, for the Philly tough guy, meant talking about all the concerts where he had loaded guns onstage. But all the bluster was redeemed by this segment, where he cleverly drops a bunch of classic artist and song names. Chubb Rock’s “Stop That Train,” Biggie’s “What’s Beef” and his Ready to Die album, and Lords of the Underground’s signature song ‘Chief Rocka’ all get run together in a virtuosic performance.
3. “Hair in a bun ‘cause sometimes your hair just hides your beauty/Swear on my son, ain’t too many things could hide your booty/Call me what you like, but bet I slide with cutie/Kenny name wasn’t Bud, but he still ride with Rudy” – Fabolous, “Another Round (Remix)” lyrics
Like many people who survived the eighties, we have an abiding fondness for The Cosby Show. Thus, this Fabolous reference to Rudy Huxtable’s one-time boyfriend Kenny, who she inexplicably insisted on calling “Bud,” totally made our day.
2. “I’m from where shorties f**ked up, double-cupped up/Might even kill somebody and YouTube it/Whoever think they words affect me is too stupid/And if you could do it better than me, then you do it” – Kanye West, “Theraflu” lyrics
Yeezy taught us this week on this Hit Boy-produced banger, whose ultimate destination (mixtape? solo album? G.O.O.D. music compilation?) is still unknown. He turned in a fantastic performance, and these lines are some of the best. They start with a harsh critique of Derrion Albert’s 2009 Chicago murder and end with a brag that is sure to be coming from the lips of egomaniacs everywhere in the coming months.
1. “Everybody know she got tig ol’ bitties/But nobody cares, like it’s J. Cole-Diggy” – Childish Gambino, “Eat Your Vegetables” lyrics
We at RG have much love for rapper/actor Donald Glover, whose hip-hop nom de plume is the comic Childish Gambino. Here, he talks about perhaps the lamest rap feud in recent memory, the non-starter between J. Cole and Diggy “My dad was in Run-D.M.C. and my uncle’s really powerful” Simmons. Having a Spoonerism in the line doesn’t hurt, either.
Bonus worst line of the week, month, year, century, etc.
“Baby drinking Goya, girl put your shades on/Man, I die for my hood — Trayvon” – Childish Gambino, “Eat Your Vegetables” lyrics
It’s a shame that the same song that brings us our top line of the week also contains perhaps the worst punchline we’ve heard in years. The fact that it’s delivered in the played out “hashtag rap” format is only the icing on the ugly cake. Glover should be ashamed of himself for using the tragic death a child as grist for a bad joke.