We have an all-too-rare geographic variety in this edition of LOTW. Birdman and Bun B represent the Third Coast (that’s the South, to those of you playing along at home). R.A. the Rugged Man holds down hip-hop’s NYC birthplace — well, Long Island, but who’s counting? Esoteric hails from New England, a region that definitely needs a pick-me-up after being hammered by record snowfalls. And Ras Kass comes to us all the way from the Golden State. This cross-section of our great nation managed to bring us some amazing music over the past seven days. Below, the lines of the week:
5. “Gotta get it by all means/Put it down for my city from a triple beam” — Birdman, ‘Columbia (Remix)’ lyrics
As people who live our lives around rap lyrics seen on a computer screen, we at Rap Genius are more likely than most to forget the cardinal rule of rap — that delivery is just about everything. Birdman reminds us of this with a lyric that looks fairly normal when written down. But when he says it, the pride, pain, and danger leap out of the speaker and come alive.
4. “Jesus loves and God forgives/But a trill-ass ni**a’s coming back for his” — Bun B, ‘Snakeskin Down’ lyrics
Few people sound more bad-ass when they want to than Bun B. The Texas drawl, the deep voice that resonates with years of authority — he’s the Trill OG for a reason. So when he interrupts his normal flow for a punchline, as here, you can bet your last longhorn that it’ll be a showstopper.
3. “Okey-doke, motorized vocals; yeah, I practice/Raised on a tape the same color as Galactus” — Esoteric, ‘Savagely Attack’ lyrics
One of the joys of hip-hop is the way it manages to say things indirectly. Esoteric praises Raekwon’s album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… in a super-creative way. The album is popularly known as “the purple tape,” and it is to this nickname that the rapper is referring by mentioning the Marvel Comics villain Galactus — who dressed in, you guessed it, purple. As an extra bonus, the guest rapper on this song is Ghostface Killah, the Wu member who had as much to do with OB4CL‘s success as Raekwon and RZA.
2. “I crucify niggas, give ‘em Calvary pain/Like Christ; y’all ni**as suffer ’til my salary change” — Ras Kass, ‘Kings’ lyrics
Ras Kass proves his mastery over all things historical yet again on, of all things, a song that is a tribute to a hockey team. Somehow, in between praising the LA Kings for their Stanley Cup win and calling himself “Wayne Gretzky with a part and a fade,” he drops a religious reference that makes the usual “I return like Christ” boasts sound like the lazy and hollow lines they are.
1. “A rapper with a Maybach or a car that my a** can’t afford/I rip out the windshield and I sh*t on your dashboard” — R.A. The Rugged Man, ‘The Peoples Champ’ lyrics
Welcome back! R.A. the Rugged Man is set to release his long-awaited new album in April, and we can’t wait. If this first single is any indication, he hasn’t lost his knack for either vulgarity or causing trouble (this is, after all, the man who titled a song “C**t Renaissance.” In this rhyme, a little good old fashioned class resentment is expressed in his inimitable style, and that’s more than enough to give R.A. this week’s highest honor.