This week was a time when the veterans jumped to the head of the class. While rap is ever-focused on the newest and hottest, often to the detriment of listeners, experienced artists keep plugging away and creating great music. So it is this week, as Kool Keith gets poetic, Diamond D throws some internal rhymes at us, Freeway gives us dieting tips, and Kanye reminds us of one of the best urban legends in hip-hop. The only relative newcomer to make the list this week is B.o.B., who puns on rap’s second couple (Jay and Beyonce being the First Couple, of course, if not the Royal Family). Below, the lines of the week:
5. “Spirit of the golden Palestinian Indian/The formula’s cold, you simian” – Kool Keith, “Extra Thoughts” lyrics
What does it mean? Who knows! Who cares! Keith’s words are evocative and poetic, in the style of his best work. Literal meaning (what is a Palestinian Indian?) floats away, but something more associative and beautiful glides in instead.
4. “I got the nice thing with the Breitling on the dash/And it’s frightening, I’m like lightning on that ass” – Diamond D, “Deflate Ya” lyrics
The legendary Diamond D, the creator of one of rap’s greatest albums (Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop), returns full-force with this tune. The beat, as usual, is wonderful, and this segment of the words shows off his gift for internal rhymes (“nice thing”/”Breitling”/”frightening”/”lightning”). Welcome back, D!
3. “Y’all people think we don’t know that y’all cake like Hostess/While we getting cake like Oprah/Better go and eat your vegetables, broccoli and your okra/Thinking you can stop me is hopeless” – Freeway, “Six Degrees of Separation” lyrics
Free has long been one of our favorite rappers, and while comparing one’s wealth to Oprah’s is played-out, we just can’t resist a lyric that mentions okra!
2. “They ain’t about that life, they ain’t about that life/We hanging out the window, it’s about to be a Suge night” – Kanye West, “I Don’t Like” lyrics
One of hip-hop’s greatest shaggy-dog stories is the one about Death Row Records honcho Suge Knight and Vanilla Ice. Supposedly, Knight dangled Ice out of a hotel room window in order to get the rapper to sign over the publishing rights to his hit “Ice Ice Baby,” which sampled music from one of Suge’s artists. This story, which never has been and likely never will be definitively confirmed or disproven, has taken on epic proportions over the years, and Yeezy nods to it here.
1. “And if I hit your house, no Rose and no Khalifa/Meaning, ain’t bringing no flowers and no reefer” – B.o.B., “Up (Remix)” lyrics
This lyric tips its hat to rap’s couple of the moment, the newly engaged (congrats, guys!) Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa. B.o.B. here puns on Rose’s name and Khalifa’s propensity to, well, smoke reefer.