This week saw some long-awaited projects come to light. Juelz Santana and Raekwon returned with mixtapes, the heavily-anticipated collaborated between newcomer Joey Bada$$ and DJ Premier finally saw the light of day, and, oh yeah, some former boy-band singer put out a tune as well. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “I infuse the olive oil drizzle on your bill/Hit these devils with they own pitchfork, so let ‘em squeal” — Meyhem Lauren, ‘The Laurenovich Angle (Pitchfork Dis)’ lyrics
Laurenovich gets back at the popular music blog Pitchfork after getting hit with a terrible review. While, as fellow music journalists, we generally don’t approve of being defensive over bad press (and could do without some of the homophobic insults Lauren drops here), in general, the rapper does a fantastic job of actually addressing and critiquing the review point-by-point. Not an easy thing to do under any circumstance, and even harder while, you know, rhyming. These closing lines are the insult coup de grâce.
4. “Treacherous emcee, react like Jack Dempsey” — Raekwon, ‘Came Up’ lyrics
Leave it to the Chef to come up with the best reference of the week. This nod to the 1920’s boxing icon blew us away, easily earning Rae a spot on our list.
3. “I’m a Brooklyn ni**a, basically I grind with the grimiest/Learn how to eat in the jungle full of hyenas” — Joey Bada$$, ‘Unorthodox’ lyrics
Bada$$, along with the rest of his Pro Era crew, has a thing for playing with pronunciations, messing with words until they suit the rappers’ purpose. Here, Joey puts the emphasis on the first syllable of “hyenas,” brilliantly bending it in order to keep his flow going.
2. “D’usses on doubles, ain’t looking for trouble/You just got good genes, so a ni**a tryna cuff you” — Jay-Z, ‘Suit & Tie’ lyrics
As huge fans of Justin Timberlake‘s two solo albums, we were extremely excited for the debut of “Suit & Tie,” and JT and Jay-Z did not let us down. Hov in particular shines bright, with a wide-ranging verse that is both emotional and clever. This elaborate pun on “genes”/”jeans” and “cuff” was a highlight.
1. “You best keep a weapon like a shirt tail, tucked in/Because I’m taking ni**as out like Huck Finn” — Black Thought, ‘Rage Is Back (“NY State of Mind” Freestyle)’ lyrics
It would take something really incredible to top a Timberlake/Hov collaboration on our list this week, and we found it. Black Thought of The Roots absolutely decimates the classic Nas beat here. In the middle of it all, he finds time to make a show-stopping joke about NewSouth Books’ controversial plan to publish a version of Mark Twain’s classic novel without any of its over 200 uses of the n-word.Thought proves himself as much of a beast on the mic as ever, and leaves us primed for his band’s upcoming album.