This past week had an abundance of new material for hip-hop fans. Current favorites, up-and-comers, and veterans all dropped verses we hadn’t heard before, and all are ably represented in our Lines of the Week. Below, the week that was:
5. “Tupac without a nose ring/Thug life, one wife, a mistress, and a girlfriend” – 2 Chainz, “No Lie” lyrics
Rappers have compared themselves to Tupac Shakur since about 0.5 seconds after his untimely and tragic death. Only 2 Chainz, though, would find such an, um, unique way to do it. We are willing to overlook the awful slant rhyme of “nose ring” and “girlfriend” simply because the first line amuses us so much.
4. “Come from the jungle, learn how to hustle from hunger/Keep my money in bundles, keep a gun that’s humongous” – T.I., “In The Jungle” lyrics
This line, like much great art, strikes a balance between comedy and tragedy — or, to paraphrase the immortal words of Spinal Tap, it hovers on the fine line between stupid and clever. Tip sounds deadly serious when talking about his hardscrabble past, and the assonance (“hustle from hunger”) only adds to the desperate feeling. Yet he ends the line with the word “humongous,” something that always makes us giggle like preschoolers. Also, anyone with T.I.’s record of gun arrests might want to talk a little less recklessly about his arsenal…
3. “Got cheerleaders like Mark Cuban/How ironic, they all Cubans” – Chamillionaire, “I Think I’m In Love” lyrics
We at RG are great fans of the homophone. One of our most popular blog posts is a list of our favorites. While this one doesn’t rise to Cam’ronian heights of greatness, it’s still pretty good. Cuban (the person) is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, of course. And despite Rap Genius being based in Brooklyn and thus just about ready to jump on the Nets bandwagon, we still give credit where credit is due.
2. “These ni**as front, though/They MC Gusto/See, before they talk, they should know that my gun go” – Troy Ave, “Cokeamania” lyrics
An all too rare bit of actual wordplay here. MC Gusto is the character played by Chris Rock in the gangsta rap parody movie CB4. In the film, Gusto steals his name and story from a jailed criminal and becomes a rap star. Troy accuses his antagonists of doing a real-life version of the same thing, and cleverly works in the movie’s title — “see, before” becomes “CB4” on a second listening.
1. “Stay swift/Walking around with my chest out like an esse on May fifth/Tell you you ain’t sh*t” – Crooked I, “Cosmic Kev Freestyle” lyrics
We had to go with the week-appropriate line here. What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with an insult from Crooked?
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