This week Rap Genius’ New York office find ourselves in the land of perpetual sunshine and movie stars — Los Angeles! In between dips in the pool and spells of tooth-gnashing traffic on the 405, we managed to comb through new music to find the hottest rhymes. Ladies and gentlemen, the lines of the week:
5. “Had it my way like it’s Burger King; you don’t want beef, put that burger down/Don’t go against my coalition, you can kiss my Colin Powell” — Ab-Soul, ‘Christopher Droner’ lyrics
Soulo takes on our dark reality of drones and all-seeing government agencies on his new song. But the best moment comes with this layered pun on “colon” and Powell’s status as head of the Desert Storm coalition forces.
4. “Kurtis Blow sang ‘Basketball’/Remember in the 90’s, R. Kelly tried to sound like Aaron Hall?/Remember KRS made the ‘Stop the Violence’ song/Then he beat down that fat guy from PM Dawn?” — R.A. the Rugged Man, ‘It’s Gone’ lyrics
R.A.’s new number is a fantastic history of hip-hop over the past quarter century. This section points out the oddness of BDP’s leader, who tried so hard to stop the violence, getting physical with another group who had the temerity to want to get on the radio.
3. “They say the darkest night comes before the brightest morning/I like to think I’d ask the right things if God was right before me/Like, why you let babies get shot while babies is killing?/All because the system that raised me from grade school made me the villain” — Vic Mensa, ‘Time Is Money’ lyrics
Every once in a while, you come across a rhyme that can say in a few words what it would take most people a textbook’s worth of essays to get across. Here, Vic takes the effects of systemic racism and makes them immediately, shockingly personal.
2. “Afraid you’ll get locked up, they’ll throw away the key/They’re free to move across the sea, you ain’t even free” — Awkword, ‘Throw Away the Key’ lyrics
In a similar but more international vein, Akword takes on international capital here. The stark fact that capital can move around freely while so many people are imprisoned (or unable to go to their country of choice) is a terrifying and often forgotten fact of modern life, one that the rapper reminds us of here.
1. “Cash came, lost all religion/All day get dough — Homer Simpson” — Harvey Stripes, ‘Bought A Boat’ lyrics
On a less depressing note, Harvey brings us a hashtag rap punchline on Homer’s famous catchphrase that was captivating. We went back and forth for an eternity trying to figure out whether it was clever or terrible, and ultimately decided that, for all the enjoyment it gave us, it didn’t really matter.