This week, with the nation recovering from an election and a catastrophic storm, hip-hop proved its resilience. Amazing work was done by both seasoned veterans and promising newcomers (and Gucci Mane who, as ever, is in a category of his own).
This week, Ab-Soul tells us about his peers, Keith Murray wrestles with the dictionary (and wins!), Redman shouts out Sandy victims, Angel Haze engages in some inappropriate behavior, and Gucci…well, he keeps on keeping on. Below, the lines of the week.
5. ”Hit 280, onto the Turnpike/Look around Jersey, it ain’t no lights/Peace to Queens and Rockaway/Jersey, I love the way we operate” — Redman, ‘Hurricane Sandy Relief Freestyle’ lyrics
Redman, like this writer a proud New Jersey native, gives back to his home state and its neighbors who were so devastated by Superstorm/Hurricane/whatever Sandy. While the bulk of the rhyme is in Red’s typical light-hearted style, these more serious bars towards the end show where his head and heart really are. The sentiments are actually all the more effective for being contained in a bunch of jokes about weed and Friday, so that they seem sincere and not overblown or mawkish.
4. ”I bought a condo and I do not have no clothes there/We don’t f**k hoes there/Don’t do nothing but cook o’s there” — Gucci Mane, ‘A-Plus (Remix)’ lyrics
Like most Gucci lyrics, this one really needs to be heard to be understood. The rapper’s laconic delivery makes the double negative “do not have no clothes there” sound simultaneously scholarly and serious, and laugh-out-loud funny. Gucci!
3. ”All about this ratchetry/F**k them b*tches they had before me/I’m f**king this beat, I’m overgrown/Basically, this is statutory” — Angel Haze, ‘Gimme That’ lyrics
We were won over to Angel Haze after seeing her perform at the Mass Appeal CMJ showcase last month. Thus, we were primed to hear her absolutely destroy this new song. The highlight comes with, of all things, a statutory rape joke that somehow doesn’t come off as tasteless.
2. ”And you don’t want none of this splendiferous slitheressness, gibberishness, deviousness” — Keith Murray, ‘La, La, La’ lyrics
If you only know one thing about Rap Genius, know that we are absolute suckers for new words. From “conversate” to “bootylicious,” the flexibility of the English language always astounds us. Keith here adds “slitheressness” to the canon, and for that we thank him.
1. ”Tell my mama I’m a shaman rhyming/Jesus Christ and Shawn Carter are my only idols/No, Jesus Christ and Shawn Carter are my only rivals/I’m the Messiah of rap, my catalog’s the Bible” — Ab-Soul, ‘Enter The Void’ lyrics
Ab-Soul takes the “God” part of Hova’s “God MC” tag quite literally here. The quick switch from “idols” to “rivals” catches the listener by surprise, and creates the most effective brag we’ve heard in a long time.