In a recently started series with Rolling Stone, Nas takes some time out to list off hip hop’s best lyricists (or something).
When I said ‘hip hop is dead’ a few years ago, I felt we’d gotten away from the great wordplay and storytelling. There’s a place for the party shit and a place for the gangster shit. I focus on the guys that are always pushing themselves forward.
01. Notorious B.I.G. – My Downfall (1997)
The lyrics are about how he’s acing the shadows of death, despite all of his success, and he’s giving it to you in a way that makes it seem so real.
02. 2Pac – If My Homie Calls (1991)
He’s just saying to his boys that he’s going to be a friend no matter how big he gets.
03. Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Road To the Riches (1989)
The way we’re rhyming now? He was already doing it then .
04. Ice Cube – A Bird In the Hand (1991)
05. Eric B. & Rakim – Paid In Full (1987)
06. Lil Wayne – I’m Single (2010)
I’m recently divorced, so I feel what he’s saying.
07. Rick Ross – Tears of Joy (2010)
Ross is at the pulpit here.
08. Slick Rick – The Moment I Feared (1988)
It’s cinematic. He’s at a hip-hop show and ices this girl who played him, then he’s in prison getting violated by some dude. This was unheard of.
09. Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (2009)
This song is huge. It sounds like Broadway. It’s New York’s modern anthem.
10. Lil Kim – Queen Bitch (1996)
At the time, females rappers didn’t appeal to the street, but Kim came with the vulgarity, sexuality and gangster shit.
I’m scratching my head at a few of these. Dah well, shouts to HHDX on the find.