This past week was a big one here at Rap Genius. We got to talk to one of our all-time favorite rhymers, Black Thought of The Roots. In addition, the man in black and yellow, Wiz Khalifa, released a new album, and his legion of Taylor Gang followers insisted that we have every nuance right. Somehow, in all that chaos, we still found some incredible new music by veterans and newbies alike. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “Banging Pac in my uncle’s ’87 Cutlass/Smoking out, thugging, screaming, ‘Only God can judge us’” – Nappy Roots, ‘Ain’t Gon Stop’ lyrics
This song is overall a hopeful and positive one. However, its strongest moment comes as the narrator looks back on his misspent youth. The specificity of this line — the music playing, the make of the car and who it belonged to — gives it real heft and poetry.
4. “‘How to be a Stupid Ni**a’ is the class we skipped/Divy up after a flip and hit strippers with cash we split” — Mayhem Lauren, ‘Thousand Dollar Gym Shoes’ lyrics
The rhyming in these short lines is very intense. The same short “i” sound appears in almost every word, lending an almost Eminem-like level of complexity of sound. But the main reason we love this couplet is that the first part of it made us do the often-talked-about but rarely-seen move of laughing out loud.
3. “I’ve been trying to slow it down, in hopes you could relate/But the slowest I can go is knowledge, there’s no escape” — Masta Killa, ‘Food’ lyrics
It’s been a Wu-heavy time on LOTW lately. GZA took the crown last week, and now his group-mate makes the list. Masta Killa’s inclusion here is no doubt helped by the soulful 9th Wonder beat. But the brag about how, even when he tries to dumb things down, he’s still dropping knowledge is what really won us over.
2. “I mean, it started with the rose petal, ended with the stem/By the car, while I was thinking, ‘Damn, here we go again’” — Big Boi, ‘She Hates Me’ lyrics
Big Boi gets big points here for using the imagery of roses and thorns in a far more subtle way than Poison ever dreamed of. For one thing, he never actually says the word “thorn” anywhere, leaving it up to the listener to figure out exactly what is on a rose stem. Also, the imagery used gives the listener a strong feeling of the relationship’s history without being boringly literal.
1. “The natives are nauseous from inhaling the nonsense and noxiousness pee-pee c*ca since Bush verse Dukakis” — Homeboy Sandman, ‘Richardsun’ lyrics
If there’s one thing we at Rap Genius like more than alliteration, it’s references to old presidential campaigns. Like the Big Boi line, this one leaves something to the imagination. Sandman never explicitly states his criticism of the racist Willie Horton ad that drove Bush to victory, but the dig is there for those who know to see it.