This week found much of hip-hop celebrating the re-election of President Obama, a fact that is reflected in our LOTW choices. However, it wasn’t all politics all the time. Pharoahe Monch reminded us of childhood weekend days spent watching wrestling, Guilty Simpson gave us an update on the state of his city, and Donny Goines literally dropped some science on us. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “Detroit, the city’s got a wild rep/That explains why over seven hundred thou left” — Guilty Simpson, ‘Reputation’ lyrics
Guilty is dropping a new collaboration album with producer Apollo Brown and, from the sounds of this tune, it’s going to be a great one. Here, Simpson talks about the D’s mass exodus in a way that somehow turns it into a brag.
4. “When you can’t feed your family and kids, what’s the solution?/Only one word for that — a revolution” — Young Jeezy, ‘We Done It Again’ lyrics
“We Done It Again” is supposedly a song released to celebrate the President’s re-election. However, much of the song sounds like a lament for a system gone wrong. The gang violence in Chicago, the war in Afghanistan, the depressed economy — not exactly party music! This couplet shows a different side of Jeezy’s thug persona, and leaves open the possibility of trap music and its authors becoming explicitly radicalized, which would be a project similar to the kinds of things Tupac was talking about immediately prior to his death.
3. “We on Main Street, he’s on Madison/Fifty K a plate with that dude Sheldon Adelson” — Ed O.G., ‘Mitt’ lyrics
On a more mainstream end of the political spectrum, we have this anti-Romney jam from Boston mainstay Ed O.G. While the song itself is really nothing special, the mere fact that ultra-rich Republican donor (and all-around creep) Sheldon Adelson made it into a rap song makes these lines worthy of conclusion.
2. “My lectures advance, the Einstein of my time/Stephen Hawking when I’m chalking my rhymes/E equals MC squared/Yeah, that’s true, but this emcee here/You can’t box in/IQ of Socrates, lyrical doctrine/Philosophies, methodically written within the conscious” — Donny Goines, ‘Rap Genius’ lyrics
We were touched when Goines contacted Rap Genius over this past week and told us that he would write a song dedicated to us. It turned out to be not just a sweet gesture, but an amazing tune to boot. The tune, playing on the “genius” in our name, is chock-full of intellectual puns, and these lines are among the best.
1. “I will never spit on a Mantan jam but damn, Pharoahe’s that ni**a, though/Slam these b*tches like Bam Bam Bigelow” — Pharoahe Monch, ‘This Is Our Thing’ lyrics
Leave it to Pharoahe, long one of our favorites at RG, to stop us in our tracks with these bars. He slyly connects the racism of 1930’s and 40’s Hollywood with Spike Lee’s latter-day critique of those same dynamics with his use of the name “Mantan”, referring both to old-time black actor Mantan Moreland and the character Mantan from Spike’s 2000 satire Bamboozled. Just as great is the rapper’s nod to one of our favorite WWF wrestlers (who was, like us, a Jersey native).
Groaner of the Week:
‘D-O-double G in the place/Turn up the bass/In your face/Anesthetics, call the paramedics” — Snoop Dogg, ‘Emergency’ lyrics
Snoop has earned his place in the canon of hip-hop greats, without a doubt. But every once in a while, he spits a verse that seems so, well, lazy that we can’t help but groan. His cameo on “Emergency” is just such a turn. We wish we could say that these weak bars are surrounded by gems but, sadly, the lyrics quoted above are not drastically worse than the rest of the rap.