The South rises again this week, as rappers below the Mason-Dixon take all five slots in our Lines of the Week roundup. Dixie’s comeback this week is a varied one, with rhymes ranging from sophisticated, allusion-filled wordplay to creative brags to playful absurdity to, well, whatever it is that Waka Flocka does. Below, the all-South Lines of the Week, with entries from Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia.
5. ”My watch say I made it, my chain say I’m rich/Diamonds in my mouth got me talking cash sh*t” — Waka Flocka, ‘Pretty Flacko (Remix)’ lyrics
While these words may admittedly not read like much on the page, Waka’s delivery makes all the difference. He says these lines in a cadence somewhere between a drill sergeant and a cheerleader, and his infectious sense of fun leaves you no choice but to give in and start shouting along.
4. ”In the bed, in the safe — man, I hide money in the roof/Got more babies in the house than the old lady in the shoe” — Gucci Mane, ‘U Can Tell’ lyrics
Speaking of fun, Flocka’s mentor Gucci Mane also makes our list this week. Only Gucci would be self-effacing and charming enough to use The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe in a simile.
3. ”2001 True Blues, some high end denim/Cost a lil grip, them motherfuckers won’t bleed on my shoes/Excuse me if I’m stepping on your image” — Curren$y, ‘Pick N Roll’ lyrics
As with Waka, delivery is just about everything when it comes to Curren$y. His laid-back drawl disguises a knack for odd flows and phrases that run for unpredictable lengths of time. Here, he packs all of the above into a brag about expensive jeans, and brings it to a higher (no pun intended!) level with the “shoes”/”stepping on your image” wordplay.
2. ”2 Chainz came up, Kendrick went HAM/Tupac came back — oh, that was a hologram?” — Skillz, ’2012 Rap Up’ lyrics
It wouldn’t be late December without Skillz’ annual rhyming look back, the “Rap Up.” He swears that this year will be the last, a promise we really hope he finds a reason to weasel out of. But if this the last one in the series, Skillz went out in style. The puzzlement in his voice as he mock-realizes the truth about Pac’s return is priceless.
It’s a shame this song didn’t come out a week earlier, as Pusha’s verse may well have made it to our year-end list. Be that as it may, this performance is incredible, and well worth hearing in full. Just pulling out this excerpt loses some of the incredible context before and after the lines above. Regardless, so much is going on here that to unpack it all — the Biblical allusions and Roman history, the political scandals, the literary references — would take far more space than we have here. Congratulations to Pusha for a masterpiece of a verse.