Table of Contents Name.
People and Places Mac dre — Thizzelle dance ......................................................02 E-40 — Da bumble.....................................................................03 Snoop dogg — Tha Shiznit.........................................................04 Eazy E — Real Compton city G’s.............................................05 Wu-Tang Clan — C.R.E.A.M..........................................................06 Wu-Tang Clan — Protect Ya Neck.............................................06
Big Money Jay Z — Dead presidents 2........................................... 28 Jay Z — Ain’t no nigga....................................................28 Puff Daddy — It’s all about the Benjamins................29 Puff Daddy — Been around the world........................29 Fat Joe — Success ...........................................................30 Fat Joe — King NY............................................................30
Ghetto Life Notorious B.I.G — Juicy...............................................................07 Tupac — Brenda’s got a baby..................................................07 Master P — The ghetto’s trying to kill me ...........................08 Coolio — Gangster’s Paradise..................................................08 Too Short — The ghetto.............................................................09 Compton’s most wanted — hood took me under..................09
Education and cultural upliftment Goodie MOB — Thought Process.................................. 31 Outkast — Git up Git out ............................................. 32 Too Short — The good life..............................................33 Nas – The world is yours................................................33 N.W.A – Express yourself .............................................. 34 Slick Rick – Hey Young World.........................................34
Poverty and discrimination Tupac — Changes ......................................................................10 Nas — I gave you power .........................................................10 Ice Cube — Who got the camera ...........................................11 Ice Cube — We had to tear this Mothafucka.......................11 Kool G. Rap Ft. Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane—Erase Racism ....12 Gang West Coast All Stars — We’re All In The Same...............12
Misogyny Ice T — 6 N Tha Morning...............................................35 Common — Soul by the Pound.....................................35 Eminem — 97’ bonnie & clyde......................................36 Kool G Rap — Hey mister.................................................36 Big L — No endz, No skinz............................................37 Dr. Dre — Bitches ain’t shit...........................................37
History Jungle Brothers — Acknowledge your own history .........13 Master P — Black History .........................................................13 Run DMC — Black History .........................................................14 Run DMC — Proud to be black.................................................14 Lakim Shabazz — The lost tribe of shabazz..........................15 King Sun — Be black...................................................................15 Narcotics Snoop Dogg — Gin & Juice........................................................ 16 Dre Dog — Smoke Dope and Rap..........................................17 Cypress Hill — Hits from the bong..........................................18 Cypress Hill — I wanna get high..............................................18 Redman — How to roll a blunt................................................19 Redman — Smoke Buddah.......................................................19 No homo A tribe called quest — Georgie Porgie.....................................20 Eazy-E — Nobody Move ..........................................................21 Goodie MOB — Fly Away............................................................22 Boogie Down Productions — Ya Struggling..............................23 Bran Nubian — Punks Jump up to get beat down............24 Notorious B.I.G — 10 Crack Commandments......................24 Violence / murder Big L — All Black..........................................................................25 DMX — Bring Your Whole Crew.............................................25 Mobb Deep — Shook Ones pt 2...............................................26 Mobb Deep — The Start of your ending (41st)....................26 Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg — Fuck wit’ Dre Day............................27 Big Pun — Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)........................................27
01 People and Places
Where it came from: reflecting a musical heritage, jargon, and culture
05 Narcotics Drugs 101
09 Git up, Git out
Hip-hop related to education and cultural unliftment
02 Ghetto Life
03 Time for change
Rap exposes the inescapable horrors and harsh realities of the ghetto
Hip hop addresses the issue of poverty and discrimination
06 No homo
Homophobia through Rap
07 Violence, Murder
04 Not only for the masses,
Hip hop is a key learning tool to Black History and North American history
08 Big Money
Bling, Fast cars, big homes
01 Hip-hop at its best always spoke to the
people and places it came from, reflecting a musical heritage, slang and culture of a particular region. Hip-Hop is a movement that sprung up in various locals simultaneously. Ever since Mc Shaw’s single the Bridge inspired KRSOne to rap about hip-hop originating in New York turf battles became popular in rap. Rappers use slang and other metaphors to link them to a particular region.
MAC DRE Mac dre – Thizzelle dance
Released August 27, 2002 , featuring Chuck Beez Album Thizzelle Washington Genere Hyphy Label Thizz Custom dance songs are made for the public. Bringing people together, they are easy to like and jam to. Can you do the thizzelle dance? Adding in an occasional “Ta ta” to substitute the electrical sounds of the chorus gets the crowd going. With a beat like this and catchy chorus, Mac Dre’s Thizzle Dance can be brought back to today’s pop culture world, a short decade later. Crossing out the horror of the harlem shake, “come on everybody, now’s the chance. Fuck the harlem shake, it’s the thistle dance.” Backed up by Thizz Entertainment, Thizz describes the high off of ecstasy. Playing on the sensation of the true ecstasy high, the lyrics follow, “I hope you got the juice, a thizze because its time to pop a few, then you gas, break start to dip, bounce wit the core as it starts to shift.” A rough upbringing, and ‘hustling’ experience is mirrored in his impersonation of the senses in this hit. This unique dance alongside the some of the unique slang mentioned throughout the lyrics of the song such as “ghost riding”, bring to mind the African-American culture of the bay area where Mac Dre hails from, making the track standout as a direct indicator of its heritage.
E-40 Da Bumble
Released March 14, 1995 Album In a Major Way Genere Rap Label Jive and Stck Wid It Records
A subtle third on the album, Bay area rapper, E-40, released this track on one of his best albums early into his career. At the peak of his inspiration, Da bumble highlights his Bay area life in the form of a straight rap, with no chorus or repetition. It’s the music that draws in the public and makes it a solid hit complimenting the serious tone of the lyrics. Present in the music of E-40 is the Bay Area slang where artists such as Dre Dog and Mac Dre hail from. A notable use, unique to E-40 is the slang term “Batch”, a term synonymous with “bitch”: A motherf**ker ain`t gotta be Flash Gordon always runnin up the backstreets in a batch That having a hoe protect the sh*t won`t work that batch just wants your scrizzach Other uses of Bay area slang in the song include the term “smebbin” meaning to drive drunk, “scrizzach”, pig Latin for “scratch” meaning money, as well as “kizzartridge” and Pizzacking”, both terms that are pig Latin for “cartridge” and “packing”. A notable attribute of the Bay Area raps incorporate this style of using pig Latin pronunciations of regular terms or other Bay Area slang. This unique use of language directly relates to the culture and heritage of the Bay Area, and is instantly recognizable amongst the many distinct styles of language used in the rap world. 3
SNOOP DOGG Tha Shiznit
Released August 27, 2002 , featuring Chuck Beez Album Thizzelle Washington Genere Hyphy Label Thizz
It’s the best, and there’s simply no betta. Tha shiznit is a track of Snoop Dogg’s critically acclaimed debut album, released in 1993, and is a landmark in West Coast G-Funk rap culture, originated by Dr. Dre with the release of his album, The Chronic, largely responsible for jump-starting Snoop Dogg’s career. Snoop Dogg is a master of the West Coast relaxed Gangsta vibe and language, his charisma and character an undeniably unique element of his raps that have made him into a household name. His verses on the track at hand combine the laid back terminology and wordplay unique to the West Coast, specifically the Long Beach area that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg hail from, as well as numerous name drops of locales and notable persons, as well as for the Los Angeles based label that Snoop represents. Furthemore, Snoop references other West Coast songs, such as Deep Cover with him and Dre, as well as name dropping his crew’s name, the Dogg pound, all reflections of the musical heritage and culture unique to the Long Beach area of the West Coast.
EAZY E Real Compton City G’s
Released August 26, 1993 Album Real Muthaphuckkin G’s Genere West Coast hip hop, g-funk Writer(s) Eric Wright, Al Hansan Naqiyy, Andre DeSean Wicker, David Weldon Record Label Ruthless, Priority
One of the most important diss tracks in West Coast hip-hop history. Eazy-E, fires shots on his former ally Dr. Dre and posse of Dre’s new label, Death Row Records. Aside from being an important track in the history of the Eazy-E vs Death Row feud, the song’s representation of West Coast hip hop culture through its name drops and historical accusations gives the song a great amount of culture and significance in the West Coast Gangsta Rap scene. Eazy drops many references to the rival label, Death Row, and culturally significant label lead by Suge Knight and Dr. Dre, as well as to the city the members of N.W.A are from, Compton. Eazy-E reps his city while at the same time calling out the very same members of the group which he originally founded, and in doing so responds to some of the disses from Dr. Dre on his tracks such as “Fuck Wit Dre Day”. Furthemore, the track’s hook samples another West Coast classic, “It’s Funky Enough” by The D.O.C., another nod to the West Coast hip hop culture, and reference to the groups affiliation with Ruthless Records and Dr. Dre. An undeniable classic diss track, Eazy-E’s “Real Compton City G’s” is undeniably West Coast in its roots, and serves as an important cultural landmark in the Hip hop scene of California. 5
WU-TANG CLAN C.R.E.A.M.
Released January 31, 1994 Album Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) Record Label Loud Records Format Vinyl Written by The Wu-Tang Clan, Mastered by Chris Gehringer, Rappers Raekwon, Method Man, Inspectah Deck
Released 1992 Album Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) Genere Hip Hop, hardcore hip hop Label Loud Records Writter(s) Robert Diggs, Jason Hunter, Lamont Hawkins, Clifford Smith, Corey Woods, Dennis Coles, Russell Jones, Gary Grice Rappers xDeck Producer Prince Rakeem
First, let’s break it down: Cash Rules Everything Around Me. New York Hip Hop group, Wu-Tang Clan released the song C.R.E.A.M. in their 1993 album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), coining the title as a slang term for money. The track is one of the highest charting singles of the group. reaching #60 on the Billboard Hot 100. With great acclaim, and overall reviews, the song was featured in 8 Mile, and continuously referenced by artists like Wylef, Akon, and Lil Wayne. This is an ode to cash. What it does to our culture, lifestyles, and morals. It’s a messed up life, but we gotta live with it. The acronym is one thing, but how one goes about it is something else. Here, Wu-Tang Clan warns to stay away from drugs and earn money through hard work. It’s an all time favourite, simply because, Dollar, dollar bill y’all. It pays.
Well, this one takes us back to 1988. Synonymous to watch your ass, this single debut features eight of the original nine members. Off the same album as C.R.E.A.M, this classic track adds to the New York vibe of the others, with the members making direct references and analogies to New York landmarks, as well as retaining the same New York Projects slang that reflects the culture and heritage of the Wu Tang. Notable examples include Method Man comparing his flow to New York’s Hudson River in this verse as well as mentioning the 160 Park Hill avenue Staten Island project building where Meth and the other Wu tang members grew up: “Enough respect due to the one-six-ooh I mean ohh, yo check out the flow Like the Hudson,” Furthermore, Ol Dirty Bastard makes reference to the Brooklyn Zoo in his verse: “Shame on you when you stepped through to The Ol’ Dirty Bastard straight from the Brooklyn Zu” All these locales are unique to the New York area where Wu tang hail from, and reflect a unique cultural heritage that is easily identified in their music.
Aside from the signature term, C.R.E.A.M, the distinct New York based slang and language prevalent throughout the verses of the members of Wu Tang, directly identify the song as being from a certain time and place to the listener. Among the many examples, Raekwon uses the term “Woolies” in his verse, representing blunt cigars filled with marijuana and sprinkled with cocaine, a term unique to the New York slang: “But it was just a dream for the teen, who was a fiend Started smoking woolies at 16” Further slang examples can be seen in Inspactah Deck’s verse, referring to cigarettes as “Bones”, Police officers as “Jake’s” and Marijuana as “Sess”: Everyday I escape from Jakes giving chase, selling base Smoking bones in the staircase Though I don’t know why I chose to smoke sessv
Protect Ya Neck
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Juicy
Notorious B.I.G or Biggie Small’s first single, off of his debut album went gold within weeks after its release. This hit was called Juicy. He used this song to contrast his life in the ghetto, with his current one. The result of this comparison is a vivid contrast between life in the ghetto and in the rest of the city. He says, “remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner” to show the malnutrition in the ghetto in contrast to “the Moet and Alize” he now can afford simply for enjoyment. Being raised by a single parent he always had a close relationship with his mother. He saw how hard life was for her. As she was the only source of income for the family, Biggie had a difficult childhood. Like he says “we used to fuss when the landlord dissed us/ No heat, wonder why Christmas missed us/ Birthdays was the worst days/.” The tragedy of these circumstances is that they are the norm for families that live in the ghetto. Only the lucky few are able to get out and improve their lives.
02 Rap music exposes the inescapable
horrors and harsh realities of living in the ghetto. Hip-hop right from its origin was created to inform the public of the horrors African Americans are exposed to in the ghetto. It is a means to raise awareness in hopes of combating the issue.
Released August 8, 1994 Album Ready To Die Writer(s)/Composer(s) Christopher Wallance, Sean Combs, Pete Rocks, Trackmasters Record Label Bad Boy, Arista
2PAC Brenda’s Got a Baby
Released December 20, 1991 Album 2Pacalypse Now Writer(s)/Composer(s) T. Shakur, D. Evans Record Label Interscope 2pac’s hit Brenda’s Got a Baby focuses on a predominant issue in the ghetto- the plight of young single mothers. In fact, “Almost 70 percent of black children are born to single mothers. Those mothers are far more likely than married mothers to be poor, even after a post-welfare-reform decline in child poverty.”1 Tupac did not escape this fate, as he too was raised in poverty, solely by his mother. The song, based on a true story talks about Brenda, a 12 year old girl, who was impregnated and then abandoned by her boyfriend. There’s an interlude in the song that repeats, “that’s not our problem. That’s up to Brenda’s family” Tupac interjects and explains how the issue is representative of the entire ghetto. He raps “Now Brenda’s gotta make her own way/ can’t go to her family, they won’t let her stay/No money, no babysitter, she couldn’t keep a job”. The unsurpassable obstacles push the girl into desperation, and therefore to illegal activities; first drug trafficking, then prostitution. Tupac then goes on to sing “prostitute, found slain, and Brenda’s her name, and she’s got a baby”. This is a perfect example of how rap exposes the horrors of the ghetto. It shows how desperation leads to illegal and degrading activities which can then result in death leaving children motherless and also growing up in poverty, repeating the cycle. 7
MASTER P The Ghetto’s Trying To Kill Me
Released March 18, 1994 Album The Ghetto’s Trying to Kill Me Record Label No Limit/Solar Producer(s) Master P, Bigg Nate, Larry D. Henderson, JT The Bigga Figga, Ski & Cmt
Investopedia describes the ghetto as “a run-down urban area primarily inhabited by a single minority group”. Ghettos are often characterized by high unemployment, high crime, gang activity, inadequate municipal services, widespread drug use, high rates of dropout from school, broken families and an absence of businesses.“2 Master P’s The Ghetto is trying to Kill Me brings this definition to life. The song depicts the necessity of taking part in drug trafficking to stay afloat financially. He raps, “Reminiscing on my childhood, but it ain’t the same/ I never though my occupation was going to be the dope game”. He had better dreams for himself while growing up, but the lack of opportunity to youth living in the ghetto pushed him to a life of crime. He explains, “I try to go straight but I still end up selling dope,” meaning it’s a hard life path to break out of. This is very common in ghetto areas, as the high unemployment sadly pushes many people into a life of crime.
COOLIO Gangsta’s Paradise
Released August 8, 1995 Album Gangsta’s Paradise Record Label Tommy Boy Records Producer(s) Coolio, Doug Rasheed, Larry Sanders, Stevie Wonder The 1995 Grammy winner for best solo rap performance and remake of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise, Coolio’s Gangster’s paradise like Hood Took Me Under, gives insight to gang life. Similar to CMW, Coolio ‘s rap states that there is no other path to success apart from that of gangs. He states “They got the situation, they got me facin’/I can’t live a normal life, I was raised by the strip/ So I gotta be down with the hood team.” Throughout the course of the song, Coolio almost praises the “gangster life” for being a means to accomplish his dreams (i.e becoming rich). Towards the end he raps, “Tell me why are we, so blind to see/ That the ones we hurt, are you and me,” indicating that he understands that this life causes nothing but suffering, but it is forced on them anyways. 8
Released August 20, 1992 Album Music to Driveby Writer(s)/Composer(s) Aaron Tyler Record Label Orpheus
Todd Anthony Shaw3 “Too Short”‘s song The Ghetto, uses a narrative style of rap, started by Rakim. His rapping, over a smooth soft music, helps to bring the story to life in the imagination of the listener. First, he sets the stage with description. “Even though the streets are bumpy, lights burned out /Dope fiends die with a pipe in their mouths/Old school buddies not doing it right/Every day it’s the same/ And it’s the same every night.” He inspires empathy among the listeners. The intro sets the tone; it foreshadows the never ending hopelessness. From there, he dives deeper into the true horrors. “Even though my sister smoked crack cocaine She was nine months pregnant, ain’t nothing changed 600 million on a footbal team And her baby dies just like a dope fiend The story I tell is so incomplete Five kids in the house and no food to eat Don’t look at me and don’t ask me why Mama’s next door getting high Even though she’s got five mouths to feed She’s rather spend her money on a H-I-T” This part clearly references the severity of the crack epidemic of the mid 80s. This newly created form of cocaine was heavily trafficked in the ghetto, in its place of origin.4 It was seen as a means of escape, physically by making money and psychologically by experiencing the trip. Sadly, it also leads to an increase in violence and crime adding to the horrors of the ghetto.
Released May 2, 1990 Album Short’s Dog’s in the House Writer(s)/Composer(s) Todd Shaw (Too Short) Record Label Jive Records
COMPTON’S MOST WANTED Hood Took Me Under MC Eiht, MC Chill, DJ Mike T and DJ Slip came together in 1989 to form Compton’s Most Wanted.5 CMW is known for writing laid-back gangsta ballads, and Hood Took Me Under is no exception. As such, this song approaches the description of the ghetto from the perspective of the gangs. It begins by explaining how a gang is formed and grown, starting: “I got another gang story to tell. Peep, about how a black nigga was born in hell. And right then and there it’s no hope cause a nigga can’t escape the gangs and the dope.” This song, like the others, mentions the difficulty of escaping illegal activities. However, where Too Short decided to focus on the drugs, CMW’s style allowed them to emphasis gang activity. Collaborating, they rap, “Cause when you grow up in the hood, you gots ta claim a set.”, meaning there is no other way of life in the ghetto but joining a gang. The lyrics proceed to describe the violence, bloodshed and sacrifices that follow. This once again proves that the state of the living conditions in the ghettos pushed people into unfortunate life paths. 9
03 Hip hop provides the means of addressing the issue of poverty and discrimination
The issue of poverty and discrimination is a problem that has a huge lack of awareness. Those who fall victim are ignored by society. Rap presents a way to give these people a voice.
Tupac, considered by some to be the most influential and compelling rapper1, had many songs released after his death in 1996.2 One of these songs was called Changes. The song is a statement about how even though the time of segregation has passed, society has not yet been cured of racism. He says “I see no changes. All I see is racist faces.” Tupac further explains how the police still view his race as inferior. He raps “Cops give a damn about a negro? Pull the trigger, kill a nigga, he’s a hero. He calls for change, for an end to discrimination. He says “You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do/ what we gotta do, to survive.” Tupac concludes by saying, “some things will never change.” The unfortunate reality of discrimination is as society becomes wiser, its predominance weakens, and it will never truly disappear. As long as ignorance exists, so will discrimination.
Released October 13, 1998 Album Greatest Hits Record Label Interscope, Amaru, Death Row Writer(s) Tupac Shakur, Deon Evans, Bruce Hornsby
I Gave you Power
Released July 2, 1996 Album It Was Written Record Label Columbia Writer(s)/Composer(s) N. Jones (Nas), C. Martin
In his song I gave you power, Nas delivers his message through the eyes of a gun, which he uses as a metaphor for the daily struggles of poor African Americans. He opens with: “Damn, look how muhfuckers use a nigga Just use me for whatever the fuck they want I don’t get to say shit Just grab me, just do what the fuck they want Sell me, throw me away” Here, the implication is that the main character is used as an object. It is clear that his life path is set for him, no free will. As the song develops it becomes evident that the metaphor’s purpose is to show that impoverish African Americans have little opportunity to improve their condition. Therefore, they are forced to give up their individuality and start listening to their “owners”. In this context owners refers to both, historical slave owners and to the wealthy in society in power. They are treated like “I’m a F, I’m a gun, shit/ It’s like I’m a motherfuckin’ gun.” Their opinions are given no value and they are seen mainly as tools used by the rich. This song, like the others in this category, is meant to inform the masses of the injustices faced by those who are disadvantaged in society.
Who Got the Camera
Ice Cube’s single, Who Got the Camera, from his most successful double platinum album, The Predator, is focused on police brutality to men of colour.3 The entire album was written in support of the Los Angeles riots against mistreatment of Blacks by the police. Ice Cube informs his listeners that racism is ingrained so deeply into their society that such horrors are overlooked. When people are discriminated against to the point where, as Ice Cube says “the nigger looked just like you” is enough of a reason to resort to violence; protest is necessary. Since there was “no lights no camera no action” to record and expose this event Ice Cube is doing this through song. Informing the public of these injustices is the only way to put a stop to them.
We had to Tear this Mothafucka
We had to tear this Mothafucka by Ice Cube, is on the same album Who got the Camera, and therefore it was also inspired by the LA riots. It is a response to the non guilty verdict received by the police officers who beat Rodney King.3 Voicing “can’t trust a cracker in a blue uniform/ stick a nigga like a unicorn.” A cracker in a blue uniform refers to a white police officer. The implication is that violence is used against blacks without a second thought. The song is a stance against the injustice of the juridical system spurred by racism. Ice Cube raps that the police officers were “not guilty, the filthy devils tried ta kill me” to demonstrate the extent of the discrimination against black people by the law, since even murder can be forgiven if the victim is black.
Released November 17, 1992 Album The Predator Writer(s)/Composer(s) O’Shea Jackson (Ice Cube) Record Label Priority/EMI Records
Released August 13, 1990 Album Wanted: Dead or Alive (Kool G Rap & DJ Polo album) Record Label Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros. Records Writer(s) Biz Markie, *Cool V
KOOL G. RAP ft. BIZ MARKIE AND BIG DADDY KANE Erase Racism
Erase racism by Kool G. Rap Ft. Biz Markie And Big Daddy Kane, addresses the issue of discrimination being a call to action, rather than a means of exposing the depth of the issue like the previously mentioned songs. Biz Markie starts the song by saying: “We all gonnna do just one part Because you know, we came a long way You know, from back in Martin Luther King days, Malcom X”
He names the leaders of the fight against racism of the 60s and demostrates that their efforts have accomplished a great deal, but there is still more to be done. He instructes his audience to listen to the “words of a wise man, wisdom/ Take a taste and erase the racism.” The entire song consists of pleas from the rappers to take charge and to consolidate the movement against racism that was started by the leaders mentioned in the beginning. The rappers join together to inspire their audience to take a stand and finally end racism.
GANG WEST COAST ALL STARS We’re All in the Same Gang
We’re All In The Same Gang by Gang West Coast All stars was the West’s contribution to the anti violence movement started by KRS-One and Chuck D.3 West Coast artists joined forces to bring about a lyrically creative call for action against gang violence. It is Ice-T that centers his verse on the causes of this horror, rapping: “What if we could take our enemies, feed em poison Undereducate their girls and boys and Split em up, make em fight one another.” These lyrics imply that this is what is happening to cause violence. The poverty and horrid living conditions leave no choices but to fight each other for the little that is available. The solution is harder like Tone-Loc says, “it’s time to fight, unit and be a black man.” The message is that the gangs must join forces and fight against poverty and discrimination if they truly wish to prosper. 12
04 Hip-hop is not only music for the
JUNGLE BROTHERS Acknowledge Your Own History
Boogie Down Production’s fourth album “Edutainment”, released in 1990 and certified Gold in the US, is notable in its Afrocentric and socio-politically aimed lyrics, with many references to the Civil rights movement and the Black Panther Movement. A landmark in Afrocentric hip-hop, the 10th track has the unfortunate downfall of containing a homophobic tainted verse, in which KRS-One slams RnB singers and men with the Jheri-curl hairstyle: Where oh where, are all the real men The feminine look seems to be the trend You got eyeliner on, chillin and maxin See you’re a man with a spine extraction So what I’m askin is plain to see Are there any straight singers in R&B? All I see, is the light-skinned buffy Tryin hard, to be Mr. Tuffy Yet in fact, you’re Mr. Softie with the beige contacts on, yo you lost me I ain’t with it, never will, never have How can your son even call you dad?
masses, but a key tool to learn about Black History and North American history
Rappers use hip hop as a way to teach youth about their history. They use lyrics and beats to instill in them a sense of pride of their past.
Released 1998 Album Done by the Forces of Nature Writer(s)/Composer(s) Master P, RomeoRecord Label Take a Stand Records
MASTER P Black History
Released November 8, 1989 Album Solo Album Aside from the obvious homophobic remark about Writer(s)/Composer(s) The Jungle Brothers no straight singers in the RnB genre, KRS attributes masculin- Record Label Warner Bros ity to having a specific hetero-normative appearance and disIn this track by Master P, featuring Romeo, the regards the style and expression that should not be unfairly two promote black culture and history by mentioning singled out to one sex or sexual orientation. In an attempt to notable figures in the Civil Rights movement such as speak to African-Americans through the rap medium, KRS- Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman as well as One makes the mistake of being close-minded in this regard, notable events and dates in black history. The track furand further influences the homophobic culture of rap music. thermore, encourages young African American youths to take a stand against the authorities and government oppression, and to remember their roots:
We’re All the Same Gang Released May 16, 1990 Album We’re All in the Same Gang Record Label Warner Bros. Writer(s)/Composer(s) King Tee Body & Soul (including Dee Barnes) Def Jef Michel’le Tone-Loc Above the Law Ice-T Dr. Dre, MC Ren and Eazy-E of N.W.A J.J. Fad Young MC Digital Underground (Money-B and Shock G/Humpty Hump) Oaktown’s 3.5.7 MC Hammer
“Young athletes don’t know who Babe Ruth is Bet you gang bangers know who Snoop is Booker T. Washington opened up the school doors Thanks to Frederick Douglas Slavery is no more” Master P talks condemns the youth for idolizing the incorrect role models of the entertainment industry and not knowing who key African American athletes and activists are. The songs catchy hook and well written verses provide an informative tool for rap as a way to educate the youth about the history of African American culture. 13
Proud to be Black
Released 1984 Album Solo Record Label Profile Writer(s) Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell
Released May 15, 1986 Album Raising Hell Writer(s)/Composer(s) Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darrl “D.M.C” McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell Record Label Profile/Arista Records
This gem of a song was released for free sometime in 1984, lacking any sort of copyright, and a rare find in its physical form, but thankfully available as a digital upload with the progressive technology of today. The track itself is an epic ode to black history, being over 10 minutes in length. The group kick literally dozens of short verses about important black historical figures. It’s really rudimentary old school stuff, with beat-box beats, handclaps, and a simplistic but funky bass line. The MC’s have constant interplay throughout their verses, with the key, dramatic lines shouted in unison, which injects a lot of energy that keeps things from getting dull or plodding. The lyrics are pretty simple, but this predates anything like “You Must Learn” by years and you there aren’t many rap records by real artists that are as educational as this one: “In a hot July evening of 1893,” “A black doctor performed historic surgery.” “The person had a knife-wound in his heart;” “And the doctor knew it was a shot in the dark.” “But he went ahead and opened his chest;” “And the operation WAS A BIG SUCCESS!” “Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was his name;” “And open-heart surgery was his claim to fame.” “You say open-heart surgery was his claim to fame?” “Yeah, open-heart surgery was his claim to fame.” The track’s constant energy and inspirational hook keeps the listener energized throughout the duration of the song, and the song finally ends with the MC’s kicking a rap about the importance of knowing your roots.
Another banger by Run DMC, this energetic, history flavored track off their third album “Raising Hell” promotes black history and culture like no other: “You know I’m proud to be black y’all And that’s a fact y’all And if you try to take what’s mine I take it back y’all - it’s like that” The motivational hook is catchy and infectious, and the verses are packed with references to famous Civil Rights activists as well as African American athletes and politicians. Harriet Tubman, Mohammed Ali, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and George Washington Carver are all mentioned within the alternating verses between Run and D.M.C. The verses speak for themselves: “There was a man - an inventor - who invented so well He invented a fortune - for a man named Bell George Washington Carver, made the peanut great Showed any man with a mind, could create You read about Malcolm X - in the history text Jesse Owens broke records, Ali broke necks What’s wrong with ya man? How can you be so dumb? LIKE DR. KING SAID, WE SHALL OVERCOME!”
Released 1990 Album Solo Album Record Label Tuff City Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Larry Welsh
The Lost Tribe of Shabazz
The track “the Lost tribe of Shabazz” by Lakim Shabazz is spiritual and at the same time educational about the black culture in America. A follower of the Nation of Islam, a lot of the lyrics of this track deal with the African-American made religion, which is a relevant piece of history and culturally significant in itself. In the song, Lakim raps about the oppression of the African American race and about significant events in their history, concluding each verse with the suggestion that maybe they are all descendants of the lost tribe of shabazz (an ancient black nation as described by the Nation of Islam): “They have you believe we descend from canibals Show you pictures of Africans lookin like animals
How could we be animals, look at the things we did With our own bare hands we built pyramids Blind, deaf, and dumb is how they raised ya To them it’s Africa, to us it’s Asia To get to the point, to make it clear to ya They’re no superior, and we’re not inferior I got the other man pointin at me, cause I licked him Took a stand for the blackman, and didn’t fall victim The nation is growin rapid and fast That’s why I’m tellin you we’re the lost Tribe of Shabazz” Lakim’s poetry and spiritual flare provides a unique twist on the common “black power” rap that has dominated this category.
KING SUN Be Black
Released 1990 Album Be Black Writer(s)/Composer(s) King Sun Record Label Profile Records
Such a fierce message in a song can only be delivered by an equally as fierce artist. King Sun stands at 6 ft 7 and raps about history and culture in his song “Be Black” off his “Righteous But Ruthless” album. Throughout the track, Sun mentions a few notable African figures, such as Nelson Mandela, and through his rhyming about the ways of the “oreos” (whitewashed black people), channels a message to the listener to be original and be black. King Sun advises to stop dressing like blacks did when they were slaves, for black women to stop selling their sex through tight clothes and fake makeup and hair extensions, and educates the masses on the meaning of the red, black and green colours of Africa: “Now everybody’s wearin the red black and green Here’s the point: do you know what it means? Red for the bloodshed, black for the people Green for the land to be utilized equal” The positive and inspirational messages in this track, combined with the educational name drops and stories about African American culture, is a reminder of the truth and knowledge that can be gained from the poetry of talented rap artists. 15
05 Hip-hop promotes and advocates the use of narcotics and drugs as beneficial to one’s lifestyle.
Rappers have a very lavish lifestyle and they like to indulge in the use of narcotics to fully appreciate it. Unfortunately their love to get high creates a link between being ‘cool’ and doing drugs. Due to this connection hip hop culture has became associated with the use of drugs, specifically marijuana.
SNOOP DOGG Gin & Juice
Released June 17, 1993 Snoop Dogg’s Gin & Juice was ranked Album The New Jim Jones 8th on VHL’s Greatest 100 Hip Hop Songs.1 The Writer(s)/Composer(s) Andre Nickatina (Dre Dog) song has no other message either then proRecord Label In-a-Minute Records moting partying, drinking and drugs use. The song describes a party and in order to celebrate having a good time Snoop says they are “gonna smoke a ounce to this,” implying that the use of narcotics enhances enjoyment. Later he says, “Rollin’ down the street, smokin’indo, sippin’ on gin and juice/ Laid back…. (with mind on my money and my money on my mind)”. This not only suggests that smoking indo (a type of marijuana) creates a relaxing sensation, as it also insinuates an association with wealth. Unfortunately, this type of propaganda results in many hip hop listeners developing a fondness for drugs. 16
DRE DOG Smoke Dope and Rap
Released January 15, 1994 Album Doggystyle Writer(s)/Composer(s) Harry Wayne “K.C.” Casey,Andre Young, Richard Finch,Calvin Broadus ( Snoop Dogg) Record Label Death Row, Interscope, Atlantic
Dre Dog’s Smoke Dope and Rap was released on his debut album titled The New Jim Jones.2 The album title reflects Dre Dog’s rapper persona. While he definitely did not want to have the image of a murderer and cult leader, he was still aiming for a bad boy image centered on prostitutes and drugs.3 This track is perfectly in line with his desired image. He raps about how “It’s a pity I’m a nigga that just don’t care/ except for my dope my money and hair,” showing that his priorities in life are perfectly adapted to this ‘bad boy’ image. He concludes by saying “they offer me drank but I don’t get drunk/ I smoke dope I rap and these hoes I fuck.” Now he is instituting that he is too good for alcohol, so he prefers to only get high. As this song demonstrates, drug use goes hand in hand with the rebellious, ‘bad boy’ façade many rappers, and therefore hip hop connoisseurs, strive for. It is this image that results in Dre Dog’s fan base because his lyrics are very weak. The song uses a basic couplet rhyme scheme. Unfortunately, Dre Dog did not realize that just because he wants to appear a bad boy does not mean he has to be a bad rapper too. 17
Released July 20, 1993 Album Black Sunday Record Label Ruffhouse, Columbia Writer(s) B-Real DJ Muggs Sen Dog Eric Bobo
Hits from the Bong
Cypress hill’s Hits From the Bong was on their triple platinum album Black Sunday. The song was also used on the soundtrack for the movie How High.4 The song is a complete rendition of how a person would get high using a bong. This is accompanied by the rap “I love you Mary Jane” and “she’s so good to me,” further expressing their affection for the drug. It ends by them saying “gunna get high.” The rich and famous are idolized; therefore automatically anything they endorse gains popularity since it becomes associated with them.
I Wanna Get High
I Wanna Get High by Cypress Hill is on the same album as Hits from a Bong, mentioned above. In fact it was also featured on the soundtrack for How High. This song however, takes promoting marijuana one step further. It not only encourages usage by its association with celebrities, the rappers openly say that they “want to get high so high!” at the very beginning of the track. They go on to say, “exhale, now you felt the funk of power/ Now feel the effects…”, which is basically instructing their listeners to smoke. With songs acting as both instruction manuals and commercials, it is no wonder that smoking marijuana is so predominant in the hip hop culture.
How to Roll a Joint
Redman’s How to Roll a Blunt was on his Gold selling album, Whut? Thee Album.5 The purpose of the track is to introduce a “new type of gimmick” to smoke weed, called the Philly Blunt. First he starts off by explaining how to create this joint. Then he makes the entire act seem entertaining by using the call and response technique. He instructs the listeners to repeat the lyrics after him, “I’m fucked up (I’m fucked up…)/ I’m high as hell (I’m high as hell).” Through this track the artist is creating a feeling of community among those who use this drug. All his fans would want to feel included, and therefore engage in the use of narcotics. Sadly, this desire to feel included is the main cause of drug use.
Released December 10, 1996 Album Muddy Waters Writer(s)/Composer(s) Reginald “Reggie” Noble and Rick James Record Label Def Jam
With Smoke Buddah, Redman is more accustomed to the fame then in How to Roll a Blunt and is already “smoking up the hotel lobby.” As his career progressed, so did Redman’s reliance on the creation of a community among his marijuana smoking listeners. Now he is saying “to all my real dogs, my real pals/ Who ain’t smoking, get the fuck owwwwt.” He is excluding those who do not smoke from this ‘group’ he created. The feeling of belonging to an exclusive collective is very seductive, and those who are loyal to Redman will make sure that they are accepted.
Released September 22, 1992 Album Whut? Thee Album Producer(s) Reginald “Reggie” Noble Record Label Def Jam 2
06 Hip-hop music is plagued with homophobia
Hip-hop music was never known to be polite; in fact it was always brash and unyielding. However, the manner in which homosexuals are addressed in rap music is simply unnecessarily cruel. For a people, that has fought against discrimination themselves it is inexcusable to be so quick to hate.
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST Georgie Porgie, “Show Business”
Infamously re-written and remade into the track now known as “Show Business” off the critically acclaimed “Low End Theory” by A Tribe Called Quest, the track titled Georgie Porgie features Q Tip, Phife and all three members of Brand Nubian spew forth a tirade of ignorance and homophobia, expressing their disgust at gay men in no uncertain terms. In what is quite possibly the most homophobic track in the history of hip-hop, the members of the group channel their discomfort with the homosexual sexual orientation by slandering a man named George and making ignorant remarks about the gay culture: “In the beginning there was Adam and Eve But some try to make it look like Adam and Steve
Like Georgie, why can’t money find a honey I couldn’t believe when I found out he was funny You know fierce with just his right ear pierced I couldn’t hack it, I knew this brother for years Walking in the ville with them long dreadlocks But on the DL, getting done up the butt box Oh my God how gross can one be Well anyway, better him than me” It is perhaps a good thing that the track was rewritten and rejected by the record label, ultimately not ruining the classic hip-hop album that came to be. However, the fact remains that the opinions expressed in this homophobia-themed track are shared by many in the rap and hip-hop community.
EAZY E Nobody Move
Released 1988 Album EazyDuz-It Record Label Ruthless, Priority Writer(s) Eazy-E, MC Ren In the second track of Eazy-E’s debut album Eazy Duz it, Eazy and MC Ren commit armed robbery in a public facility (it is never made clear if it is a bank or a store). Upon robbing the place, and grabbing the money, Eazy-E is intrigued by the breasts of an innocent bystander, and the following scenario ensues: I said: “Lay down, and unbutton your bra!” There was the biggest titties that a nigga ever saw I said: “Damn”, then the air got thinner Only thought in my mind, was going up in her The suspense was making me sick She took her panties down and the bitch had a dick! I said: “Damn”, dropped the gat from my hand (What I thought was a bitch, was nothing but a man) Put the gat to his legs, all the way up his skirt Because this is one faggot that I had to hurt, “
Released September 24, 1991 Album The Low End Theory Record Label Jive/RCA Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Skeff Anselm, Davis, Lorenzo Dechalus, Joseph Kirkland, Muhammad, Derrick Murphy, Taylor
Upon discovering that the bystander was a transgendered person, Eazy-E drops his gun, and then presumably picks it back up and sticks it up the person’s skirt. The last line of the verse implies that Eazy shot the transgendered person in-between the legs in order to hurt the “faggot”. His disapproval and homophobia is evident in the gay-slurs and violence committed against the transgendered bystander, and therefore this song stands as an example of the homophobic views of the rap culture. 21
GOODIE MOB Fly Away
Released April 7, 1998 Album Still Standing Writer(s)/Composer(s) Robert Barnett, Thomas Burton, Cameron Gipp,Willie Knighton, Organized Noize Record Label LaFace/Arista/BMG Records
Goodie Mob’s Fly Away stands as a top contender for having one of the most ignorant and homophobic verses in all of hip-hop to be released to the public. The Atlanta based hip hop outfit is best known as the starting point of now world-famous Cee-Lo Green. In the previously mentioned track, off the groups second studio album “Still Standing”, the group members voice there opinions on various issues and Khujo’s verse takes a homophobic twist as he expresses his disgust and desire to silence “gay activists”: Dirty men need to do more than bathe, huh How’s about burned at the stake Like the rest of those Sodomites Even though you had beautiful kids and a wife He still bent both ways, ain’t no due process For boys that become guls or verse vica Field niggas control this Pin the hollow point tip On this gay rights activists A ghetto game we all familiar The scenario set up by Khujo attempts to portray homosexual men in a negative light, by making them look immoral with the fake setup “beautiful kids and a wife” aimed to make the listener jealous and angry at their orientation. Furthermore the suggested violence aimed at gay rights activists is the more disheartening, making this verse aimed not only at those of a homosexual orientation, but at those who support gay rights as well. 22
BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS Ya Strugglin
Boogie Down Production’s fourth album Edutainment, released in 1990 and certified Gold in the US, is notable in its Afrocentric and socio-politically aimed lyrics, with many references to the Civil rights movement and the Black Panther Movement. A landmark in Afrocentric hip-hop, the 10th track has the unfortunate downfall of containing a homophobic tainted verse, in which KRSOne slams RnB singers and men with the Jheri-curl hairstyle: Where oh where, are all the real men The feminine look seems to be the trend You got eyeliner on, chillin and maxin See you’re a man with a spine extraction So what I’m askin is plain to see Are there any straight singers in R&B? All I see, is the light-skinned buffy Tryin hard, to be Mr. Tuffy Yet in fact, you’re Mr. Softie with the beige contacts on, yo you lost me I ain’t with it, never will, never have How can your son even call you dad?
Released 1990 Album Edutainment` Writer(s)/Composer(s) KRS-One, Kwame Toure Record Label Jive/Rca Records
Aside from the obvious homophobic remark about no straight singers in the RnB genre, KRS attributes masculinity to having a specific hetero-normative appearance and disregards the style and expression that should not be unfairly singled out to one sex or sexual orientation. In an attempt to speak to African-Americans through the rap medium, KRS-One makes the mistake of being close-minded in this regard, and further influences the homophobic culture of rap music.
BRAND NUBIAN Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down
Released February 2, 1993 Album All for One Record Label Elektra Writer(s) Sadat X, Lord Jamar With the departure of Grand Puba and DJ Alamo from the hip hop outfit Brand Nubian, their second album “In God We Trust” was a surprise success with only 2 of the original members, Sadat X and Lord Jamar, remaining. The album even spawned a hit single that reached the top 100 of the Billboard charts, “Punks Jump up to Get Beat Down”. It is unfortunate that the most commercially successful song on the album also contained homophobic content. The repeated use of the homosexual hateterm “faggot”, as well as a verse taking a direct jab at gays, the song caused minor controversy over its homophobic nature. The lyric in question, though only 2 bars and appearing minor, speaks a much grander message about the views of the rap community on homosexuality: “Though I can freak, fly, flow, fuck up a faggot Don’t understand their ways I ain’t down with gays” The first line makes a direct, violent threat to homosexuals, but it is the second line that creates a greater discomfort; the confusion in not understanding their ways as said by Sadat X and the subsequent disapproval of homosexuality proves the ignorance and misunderstanding on the rap community’s part and therefore the prevalent homophobia in much of rap’s lyricism.
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. Ten Crack Commandments
In Biggie’s famed track about the commandments of the drug game, his Moses-like position, delivering advice to the new up and comers of the drug game is serious and gruesome. As great of a track as this is with its raw content and slick DJ Premier beat, it’s homophobic remark halfway through does not go Released March 25, 1997 unnoticed. Upon stating the 7th rule of the so called crack commandments, BigAlbum C gie goes on to state that family and drugs don’t mix, and in doing so, presents a Record Label Bad Boy homophobic analogy: 7: this rule is so underrated Writer(s)/Composer(s) Martin Wallace Keep your family and business completely separated Money and blood don’t mix like 2 dicks and no bitch Find yourself in serious shit In stating that 2 genitals of the same sex don’t mix, Biggie is implying that it is wrong and that it is looked down upon. Although the analogy may be referring to the reproductive scenario, the picture the lyric paints can be seen as deroga24
07 Violence, murder, and the criminal element are all imbedded within the messages, lyrics and themes of Hip-hop music.
In rap it has become very popular to have a bad boy, thug or gangster image. Along with the image come the actions required to maintain it. Unfortunately, these actions are violence, murder or other criminal activities and they later become associated with rap as a whole.
BIG L All Black
Released March 28, 1995 Album Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous Record Label Columbia Writer(s)/Composer(s) L. Coleman (Big L), R. Hall All Black by Big L appears on his first and only album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous.1 The song reflects exactly that. Throughout the entire track Big L is loyal to the theme of violence with a lack of regard for human life. He begins, “From Killin corrupt cops, with motherfuckin buck shots,” demostrating his aim for justice through the use of violence. However as the song progress his message becomes less political, and more maniacal. He raps, “If I catch AIDS, then I’mma start rapin bitches,” with the mention of both rape and murder in a mere 10 words. With rappers producing such venomous lyrics, it is unfourtunate, yet understandable for rap to be associated with violence.
Bring Your Whole Crew
Released December 15, 1998 Album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood Label Def Jam Writer(s)/Composer(s) Earl Simmons (DMX) Bring Your Whole Crew by DMX appears on his chart topping album, Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood.2 DMX holds nothing back, informing his audience that he is not afraid to kill. He raps “I got blood on my hands and there’s no remorse.” He is saying that he ia a veteran murderer past the point of regret. He does what he finds to be necessary to stay ‘real’. DMX mentions that he “out for ‘Blood’ with the ‘Crips at war.” This ingenious word play signifies that he is part of the Bloods and he desires to see the Crips bleed. The reference to gang violence in this genre indicates that the artist endorses it, sending an inappropriate message to his audience.
Shook Ones pt.2
The Start of your ending (41st side)
Released October 3, 1995 Album Jealous One’s Envy Genere Rap Label Jerror Squad, Relativity
Released October 3, 1995 Album Jealous One’s Envy Writer(s)/Composer(s) Joseph Cartagena Record Label Jerror Squad, Relativity
Mobb Deep’s hit single Shook Ones Part 2, ranked 35th on the Rolling Stones list of 50 Greatest Hip Hop songs of All Time.3 The song reflects the fierce, even hostile competition present in rap music. Prodigy raps: “For all those, who wanna profile and pose Rock you in your face, stab your brain with your nose bone.” In these lyrics he is threatening anyone who challenges him and Havoc. He is saying that they would be willing to retaliate with violence. He continues: “You can put your whole army against my team and I guarantee you it’ll be your very last time breathing.” These lines demonstrate the fierce pride that in turn instigates the hostility mentioned earlier. Competition in hip hop is common, however it is this sense of arrogance that leads rappers to be issuing threats to their competition.
The Start of Your Ending (41st side) by Mobb Deep portrays the rap group as a real mob. Throughout the entire song the rappers describe how tough their ‘crew’ is. Havoc raps: “Man I never did forever wildin’ that’s how we live up in the Bridge You just sit scared cock back the gat then hit a nigga like a bid” He is explaining that life near the Queen’s bridge is hard; therefore they became accustomed to violence and other criminal activities in order to survive. It is for this reason that “you can ask around, don’t fuck with the Mobb.” Hardened by their life experience, they will resort to violence if they are ‘messed’ with. This track portrays violence as an acceptable form of retaliation which regrettably translates this belief to the audience.
DR. DRE ft. SNOOP DOG Fuck wit’ Dre Day
Dr. Dre’s double platinum single, Fuck wit’dre day is written as a ‘diss track’ towards his fellow ex NWC member: Eazy-E and to Luke Campbell. Throughout the song Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg describe how they plan to take revenge, threatening, “I’mma rob you in Compton and blast you in Miami”. This line is in regards to Luke who lives in Miami, therefore they are threatening to kill him when he returns home.
Released May 20, 1993 Album The Chronic Record Label Death Row, Interscope Writer(s)/Composer(s) Calvin Broadus, Colin Wolfe, David Spradely, Garry Shider, George Clinton
Dr. Dre raps: “And watch your back cause you might get smoked, loc And pass the bud and stay low-key B.G. cause you lost all your homey’s love” Here he is talking about Eazy-E. Because they are no longer friends, Dr. Dre warns him to ‘watch his back’ or he may be killed. The ongoing theme of the song in the cases of both Luke and Eazy-E, is that conflict is resolved through violence or threats of violence.
BIG PUN Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98)
Released April 28, 1998 Album Capital Punishment Label Terror Squad/Loud Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Christopher Lee, Rios Big Pun
Twinz (Deep cover’98) by Big Pun is designed to provide insight into a ‘thug’s’ lifestyle. The main goal is profit, and any means can be used to achieve it. Fat Joe raps: “It’ll be a cold day in hell the day I take an L Make no Mistake for real I wouldn’t hesitate to kill” Never losing out on a profit, Fat Joe claims he would murder anyone who stands in the way of his goals. Big Punisher raps about the hired gun rather than the man collecting the money, saying: “Spike Lee couldn’t paint a better picture You small change, I’m blowing out your brains getting richer.’ He is making it clear by ‘painting a picture’ that human life is meaningless to him. He sees a target as simply a means for him to obtain wealth. A song in which the artists portray themselves as ‘thugs’ encourages youth to be seduced by this violent lifestyle. 27
08 Hip-hop is preoccupied with “bling”, fast cars, big homes, and ex-
pensive clothes, almost the antithesis of how the culture was born. Hip Hop was born in the ghetto. Therefore being rich was a new experience for rappers and they wanted nothing more but to show it off.
Dead Presidents II
Released February 20, 1996 Album All About the Benjamins Record Label Roc-A-Fella Writer(s)/Composer(s) Shawn Carter, David Willis, Lonnie Smith, Nasir Jones, Peter Phillips
The infamous song that started the feud between Nas and Jay-Z, samples a line from Nas’ song “The World is Yours” that arguably takes the whole message and meaning behind Nas’ original classic and makes the whole track subject to that single line. Throughout the track Jay-Z’s lyrical content deals with how much money he has from selling drugs (I’m still spending money from ‘88), to thing things he spends his money on (I spend Japan yen, attend major events). And with the lyrical content involving spending boatloads of money, the familiar mentions of luxury cars, women as a commodity and gambling are all present: “Don’t get it corrected, this shit is perfected From chips to chicks to strippin’ a Lexus Naked without your gun, we taking everything you brung We cakin’ you niggas is fakin’, we getting it done” The wordplay on the track however is phenomenal, and the track is still regarded as one of the greatest rap songs of the 90’s. It is unfortunate that the lyrical themes and message are not on par with the lyrical talent of Jay, and certainly not even close to Nas’ classic off of “Illmatic”.
Ain’t No Nigga Released March 25, 1997 Album Thizzelle Washington Genere Hyphy Label Bay Boy Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Martin Wallace
Another single off Jay’s “Reasonable Doubt” that made the list, titled “Ain’t No Nigga”, brings a back and forth duet between Jay and Foxy Brown about their unfaithful and strictly money-based relationship. The hook of the song, sung by Foxy, puts into perspective the kind of subject material present throughout the verses of the song: “Ain’t no nigga like the one I got No one can fuck you better Sleeps around but he gives me a lot Keeps you in diamonds and leathers Friends will tell me I should leave you alone Hah hah, hah hah, hah hah, hah hah Tell the freaks to find a man of their own (Man of their own, man of their own)Annotate” Foxy is fully aware of her boyfriend’s unfaithfulness, but it doesn’t seem to phase her, taking the advise of her friends as a ploy to take her away from her man and the “diamonds and leathers” he keeps her in. In her main verse, Foxy raps about offering her sexual appeal in exchange for the spoils of her drug dealing, hustling boyfriend, her verses mentioning the type of materialistic possessions and services that she expects from her man, such as “Armani sweaters”, “E-Class Benz’s”, and “shrimp scampi”. Jay-Z doesn’t offer much more variety in his claims of his vast riches, and the track offers little in terms of actual lyrical quality and thematic content.
It’s All About the Benjamin’s
In Puff’s debut studio album “No Way Out”, no bars are wasted in the hit single It’s All About the Benjamin’s without Puff rapping about three course meals (“Spaghetti, fettucini, and veal”), Luxury Cars (“Benz wit the spoilers”) and expensive jewellery (“ Five carats on my hands wit the cuts”). Every subsequent verse of the guest rappers get more and more outlandish and ridiculous, with Biggie Smalls ending the song with: “I been had skills, Cristal spills Hide bills in Brazil, about a mil to ice grill Make it hard to figure me, liquor be, kickin me In my asshole, uhhh, undercover, Donni Brascoe Lent my East coast girl, the Bentley to twirl (uh-huh) My West coast shorty, push the chrome 740 Rockin Redman and Naughty, all in my kitty-kat Half a brick of yea, in the bra, where her titties at And I’m livin that, whole life, we push weight (uh-huh) Fuck the state pen, fuck hoes at Penn State (c’mon) Listen close it’s Francis, the Praying Mantis Attack with the Mac, my left hand spit, right hand Grip on the whip, for the smooth getaway Playa haters get away or my lead will spray Squeeze off til I’m empty, don’t tempt me Only, to Hell I send thee, all about the Benji’s What??” A song named after the 100 dollar American bill, the theme of the song deals with the materialistic spoils of life, and can be attributed as the start of the “bragadocious” hiphop that is present currently in most commercial hip-hop. Each guest feature on the track ends their verse in a similar fashion, restating their superiority over those that are broke and confirming the track’s title, “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby”.
Released March 25, 1997 Album Thizzelle Washington Genere Hyphy Label Bay Boy Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Martin Wallace 28
Been Around The World
Another track of Puff Daddy’s Grammy award winning debut album, Been around the World contains plenty of the same lyrical content that gives “All About the Benjamins” its materialistic and shallow verses a run for their money (No pun intended). Puff raps the majority of the verses, with the help of Mase, and both verses are as ridiculously brag filled as the other. Puff rhymes about the endless sea of women (“Swimmin in all the women that be tens”, “hoes of all complexions”), the beach houses and properties he owns (“Now I’m in beach houses, cream to the ceiling”), and buying out bars instead of spending money on drinks (“Save money for the drinks, I’m about to buy the bar”). The refrain of the song, sung by Biggie Smalls, is spun off Lisa Stansfield’s “all around the world” with Biggie questioning why the Bad Boy posse have so many haters: “Been around the world and I I I And we been playa hated I don’t know and I don’t know why Why they want us faded I don’t know why they hate us Is it our ladies or our drop Mercedes Baby, baby” Like the previous track in this category from Puff Daddy, the lyrics lack substance and a take-away message, sticking instead to making outlandish statements about how recklessly Puff and his posse are blowing away his hard-earned rap money. Released August 12, 1997 Album All About the Benjamins Record Label Arista Writer(s)/Composer(s) David Bowie, Lisa Standsfield, Ian Devaney, Andy Morris, Sean Combs, Ron Lawrence, Masen Betha, Christopher Wallace, Deric Angelettie
Released October 3, 1995 Album Jealous One’s Envy Genere Rap Label Jerror Squad, Relativity This is the first single from Fat Joe’s LP “Jealous One’s Envy”, the second studio album of Puerto-Rican/Cuban rapper Joseph Cartagena. The track “Success” presents the greatest generalization of what it means to be successful, summarized by the hook of the song: “Hustlin is the key to success Money is the key to sex The life is gettin cash, drinkin Mo’, gettin blessed The games people play The names people slay It’s just another ordinary day” In Fat Joe’s view, hustling is the path to success, and that life is all about “getting cash, drinkin Mo’ and getting blessed”. The track takes it’s materialistic theme further with Fat Joe rapping about his crew “rockin gold collars”, as well as their overstocked supply of weapons and drugs. The cherry on top can be seen in the references in the song to the Wu Tang Clan joint “C.R.E.A.M”, with Fat Joe’s drop of the phrases “CREAM” and “Dolla dolla bill” in various parts of the song. Unlike Fat Joe’s pigeon holed view of success, Wu Tang’s classic is an introspective look to the struggles of the street, and the allusion to such classic tracks only makes Fat Joe’s track seem even weaker in its lyrical content.
KING of NY
Released October 3, 1995 Album Jealous One’s Envy Writer(s)/Composer(s) Joseph Cartagena Record Label Jerror Squad, Relativity Another track of Fat Joe’s second album, the song “King of NY” makes this category along with the previous track “Success”, its lyrical content once again dealing with the fast cars, boat loads of money and big houses. The title of the song itself a brag, Fat Joe wastes no time on this track in explaining why “Don Cartagena” is the so called “King of New York”: “Aiyyo, who can test I, the true King of N.Y. Well ever since Big Boy died from Bed-Stuy I’ve been, controllin the street, holdin the heat Shit I only want what’s stolen from me (Nah you ain’t fuckin wit us) Rollin with me, could only get you fast cars and Fuck mad bitches and, dine amongst the stars, But we gettin mad chave in the life we live MTV’s comin over just to feel my “Crib”” In only 8 bars, Fat Joe mentions MTV Cribs, fast cars, sexual intercourse with fine women, and eating out with celebrities. Further down the line, Fat Joe even makes reference to the other offender by him in this category, confirming that hustling is indeed the key to success. “Man I’m feelin great (Whoo!) Pushin mad units Hustlin is the key to success but could you do it I been layin it down, the spray and the town It’s about time the rightful owner claimed his crown” The brag rap nature of the song along with the many outlandish claims of success makes this track a major contender for the worst offender of this category.
09 Hip-hop as it relates to education and cultural upliftment.
Most Mc’s had a hard life growing up, for most of them rapping was the only thing that got them out of the ghetto. Now they use their new found star power to encourage the younger generation to create other opportunities for themselves.
GOODIE MOB Thought Process
Released November 7, 1995 Album Soul Food Record Label LaFace Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Robert Barnett, André Benjamin, Thomas Burton Thought Process from Goodie Mob’s first album, Soul Food (the same one that helped coin the term Dirty South) was created with the help of Andre from Outkast . This track is a call to action for black people. T-Mo says, “It don’t matter young or old, it’s time we loc’up/ and do like we suppose,” encouraging them to take command and change their circumstances. Goodie Mob further describe the difficulties faced by black people. Nevertheless, after each scenario they ask, “So how you feel?” This is done to get a rise from the listeners, to empower them to take action and to fight for positive change.
OUTKAST Git Up Git Out
Released August 26, 1994 Album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik Record Label LaFace Records/Arista Records Writer(s) Outkast The single Git up Git Out from Outkast’s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik is delivered in a manner similar to that of an inspirational speech given by someone older, to a younger generation. Here, Outkast tells this ‘young generation’ to take charge of their lives in order to find success. Following the first chorus, these motivational words face a number of excuses, “I agree, I try to be the man I’m ‘posed to be/But negativity is all you seem to ever see”. In the next section of the song, the rappers explain how they each found success and imply that anyone can do it if they simply, “Git up, git out and git something”. The song is designed to show black youth that they can succeed. All they need to do it try.1
TOO SHORT The Good Life
The Good Life was released on Too Shot’s 11th album, Can’t Stay Away which went gold a month after its release.3 The song begins by describing “the good life”. “Everything is tight, money right/Everbody wanna be by youre side, trying to ride.” Then Too Short tells the story of two boys, both of who wanted to be gangsters. One went to school and the other one didn’t because he wouldn’t put in the effort. The one who dropped out ended up being taken, “to the pen they say he got molested/ Jealous cause his old friend took the right path”. The second part of the song tells the tale of a girl who was mocked in high school for being smart. She ends up with a good job also living the “good life”. Through the use of examples and storytelling in his rap, Too Short is showing youth that staying in school is a better way out of the ghetto than the gangster life.
Released July 13, 1999 Album Can’t Stay Away Writer(s)/Composer(s) Todd Shaw (Too Short) Record Label Jive Records
Released May 31, 1994 Album Illmatic Writer(s)/Composer(s) Nasir Jones (Nas), Peter Phillips Record Label Columbia
NAS The World is Yours
Nas’s hit single The World is Yours is deservingly ranked 7th of 100 Greatest Rap Songs by about.com. Nas is able to deliver an empowering message to the youth, while maintaining a radio friendly sound. He mentions the hardship he went through while growing up, rapping, “I’m out for presidents to represent me,” which is a plea for politics to take into consideration those living in the ghetto. Politicians need to be representative of all their citizens. Later on in the song he mentions his children, symbolic for hope in the future and faith in the new generation. He tells this new generation that, “The World is Yours/ It’s mine, It’s mine, It’s mine”, meaning that they will inherit the same life and they need to start being aware of how they can take control of it (i.e through politics). 33
N.W.A Express Yourself
Express Yourself by N.W.A was the last single on their double platinum debut studio album.5 This song is not only catchy, but has an inspirational message. Specifically N.W.A urges one to, “express yourself come on and do it”. They are telling the bgirls and bboys not to be afraid, let their talents show and to be proud of who they are. The song’s purpose is to encourage uniqueness and individuality. They rap “It’s crazy to see people be/ what society wants them to be, but not me,” meaning there are no rules to being creative, hip hop was born because rules were broken and new ways of making music were created. The song is saying to keep in line with the spirit of rap and not to bend to society’s rules. Hip hop itself has become a culture and staying true to it is the best way to become successful.
Released February 27, 1989 Album Straight Outta Compton Record Label Priority/Ruthless Writer(s) Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson
SLICK RICK Hey Young World
Released June 15, 1989 Album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick Record Label Def Jam Writer(s)/Composer(s) Ricky Walter (Slick Rick)
Hey Young World by Slick Rick was featured on his debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.6 This song, similarly to the others in the category, addresses the new generation. He starts off by saying “hey young world….the world is yours.” Right away he implies that he has advice for the young generation, as he is older. He instructs not to “be a fool like those that didn’t go to school/ get ahead.. and accomplish things/ you’ll see the wonder and the joy life brings.” The song tells the youth that their parents had a hard life and there is no need to make it harder by throwing opportunities away. Thanks to hip hop the world has changed for the better. It is now up to the youth to take advantage of this and prosper.
10 Hip-hop music is plagued with misogyny.
Most Mc’s had a Misogyny is defined as hatred of or hostility toward women. Regrettably hip-hop is overflowing with it. It is too common place for a rapper to disrespect women in his songs and to be respected for it by his ‘boys’.
Ice T 6 N’ the Mornin’
Released 1986 Album Rhyme Pays Record Label Techno Hop Records, Sire/Warner Bros. Producer(s) Tracy Marrow, The Unknown DJ Released in 1987, Ice T’s 6 N’ the Mornin’ has been lauded as one of the defining tracks of the gangsta rap genre of hip hop. His debut album Rhyme Pays (containing the track) is the first hip-hop album to carry a Parental Advisory warning label (a well-deserved one in this case). Of the song’s many verses detailing the rapper’s exaggerated occurrences in the rough street life, involving numerous run in’s with the cops, the swat team, as well as pimp’s and strippers, one verse in particular stands out as an incredibly misogynistic: “Through action at some freaks until one bitch got ill She started actin’ stupid simply would not quit Called us all punk pussies said we all weren’t shit As we walked over to here hoe continued to speak” Upon encountering this “hoe” after looking to chill with “fly girls”, what does Ice T and his crew do? “So we beat the bitch down in the god damn street But just livin’ in the city is a serious task Bitch didn’t know what hit her didn’t have time to ask” Aside from the obvious misogynistic tone of the language, referring to the women as “freaks” and “hoes”, Ice T promotes the use of violence against women with his lyrics describing the physical assault of an outnumbered helpless woman.
Released July 13, 1993 Album Can I Borrow a Dollar? Label Relativity Records Writer(s)/Composer(s) Immenslope, Common
COMMON Soul by the Pond
The third single of Common’s debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar?, the track Soul by the Pound has been attributed as a “black solidarity” track by many critics and black contemporary artists. A notable achievement of creative lyricism and a dope beat produced by Chi-town’s very own No I.D (aka Immenslope), Common’s intricate wordplay is unfortunately tainted with misogyny. In one verse, as Common vocalizes his dislike for selling out and then makes a comment about the value of a woman’s genitalia: “For a record sale a nigga’ll sell his soul to go gold And reach a large scale, sellin for the pale male And I can’t tell, why for a ho you grow a tail And stop drinkin ale, the booty probably smell Ain’t no pussy worth a sale at least not for the kid to do a bid” Furthermore, in a later verse, after confirming the stereotype about African-American penile width, common further degrades women with more misogynistic lyrics: “I’m gassin girls heads, just like petroleum Get em ready to bone me and, then I play custodian And turn off the lights this is the likes of a Ticketing wallowing high jumping radio rumping brother Got Seoul like Korea gimme an inch I’ll take a liter A chick is a chick that’s how I treat her” Common doesn’t lose the opportunity to state his stance on how he treats “chicks”. 35
EMINEM Bonnie and Clyde
Released February 12, 1998 Album The Slim Shady EP Writer(s)/Composer(s) M. Mathers, J.Bass, M. Bass Record Label Aftermath, Interscope
Known for his over the top depictions of violence and excess profanity, Eminem’s flavor of rap premainstream-pop-ballads-with-Rihanna doesn’t shy away from what made the rapper a household name in the first place. His second solo album, “the slim shady LP” contains the song “’97 Bonnie and Clyde”, in which Eminem describes murdering his ex-wife, her husband and his step-son, and then disposes of their bodies, all while throughout the song calmly lecturing and cooing his daughter. The lyrics paint a very vivid picture: “There goes mama, splashing in the water No more fighting with dad, no more restraining order No more step-da-da, no more new brother Blow her kisses bye-bye, tell mama you love her (mommy!) Now we’ll go play in the sand, build a castle and junk But first, just help dad with two more things out the trunk” Eminem’s repeated slandering of his ex-wife Kim in his songs provide a very depraving and misogynistic tone to his earlier works, and this song is one of the most notable in expressing Eminem’s anger and hate for his ex-wife and indirectly promoting the use of violence against women. The Slim Shady LP went on to win a Grammy for Best Rap Album and has been certified quadruple platinum. 36
KOOL G RAP Hey Mister
Released August 20, 1992 Album Solo Album Writer(s)/Composer(s) Aaron Tyler Record Label Orpheus
If you thought Eminem’s take on Female violent rap was something, you haven’t yet heard the track off of 4,5,6 by Kool G Rap titled “Hey Mister”. A seemingly innocent track title, the song details the rapper beating up his girl in public after it is exposed that she has been having an affair and stealing Kool’s drug money. The chorus sets the tone for the song quite perfectly, as passerby’s call out the rapper in the act of assaulting his girl: “Hey mister mister, what the fuck you doin?” “Hey mister mister” - keep walking past! “Hey mister mister, what the fuck you doin?” Don’t interrupt me when I’m whoopin on my bitch ass!” But wait, Kool G doesn’t stop at just physically abusing his girl. At a point where things seem to die down in the track, the rapper, upon groping his woman’s buttocks, discovers his stash of cash in her pocket. So he proceeds to rape her: “The bitch had my cash, I rolled up inside her stash She started coppin a plea but I ain’t really tryin to hear her I snatched her by her hand, bashed her face up in the mirror I threw her right on the ground and then her skirt revealed her panties Now a nigga’s ready to shove his dick up in her fanny I hit the bitch like one more time and then I just said fuck it Pulled my zipper down, whipped out my dick and made her suck it I’m rammin my dick inside of her mouth and tryin to make her choke Then I grabbed the back of her head and shot come down her throat” The misogyny in this song is extremely discomforting, not only describing physical, but adding in sexual abuse and rape into the mix.
This track of Big L’s debut and only album, “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous”, speaks to young and upcoming males looking to score women, and the reality of the situation in Big L’s terms: No money, no funny: ` “Let me get to the point real quick When your pockets are thick Mad chicks be on a brother’s tip When ya sporting jewels and driving in a groovy car All the ho’s gonna slut you like a movie star Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous To get in your pockets that’s what them girls wanna do But if you not rich them chicks gonna front on you No matter how strong your rap You only knock boots when you got loot in you on the map Cause if you broke you’ll get a whack slut If you got dough you get a ho with a fat butt With fresh gear, long hair and a cute face”
Big L paints a grim picture about the nature of heterosexual relationships, and portrays women as a money-obsessed, materialistic and shallow sex, claiming that the only way to get a good looking and nice girl is to have excess amounts of money, and that having none will only get you a “whack slut”. Although Big L seems to have the best intentions for his fellow man, the misogynistic lyrics degrade women and portray them in a very negative light.
Released March 28, 1995 Album Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous Writer(s)/Composer(s) Coleman, Lemay Record Label Columbia
Bitches Ain’t Shit
Aside from endorsing Monster Beats headphones, and producing the work of a multitude of up and coming hip hop artists, Dr. Dre back in 1992 released one of the most influential debut solo albums upon his departure from N.W.A, popularizing the G-Funk gangsta rap sub-genre. The release of Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” marked his first solo album debut, and Dre took every opportunity to take jabs at fellow N.W.A member Eazy-E, after their falling out following a money dispute. In the notoriously named track, “Bitches Ain’t shit”, Dre compares his old ally and his manger to a “trick bitch”, following the songs theme of putting “hoes” in their place. The song’s hook sets the tone for the rest of the song: “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks Lick on these nuts and suck the dick
Get’s the fuck out after you’re done And I hops in my ride to make a quick run” The other features on the song conform to its message, by presenting several different anecdotes of sexually explicit nature which ultimately attempt to convince the listener that “trick bitches ain’t shit”: “How could you trust a ho? (Snoop: Why?) Cause a ho’s a trick We don’t love them tricks (Snoop: Why?) Cause a trick’s a bitch And my dick’s constantly in her mouth And turning them trick-ass hoes the fuck out now” Stick to making headphones Dre or perhaps getting that doctoral degree that your name falsely presents yourself as having.
Released 1992 Album The Chronic Writer(s)/Composer(s) Daz Dillinger, Dr. Dre, Jewell, Kurupt, Snoop Dogg, The D.O.C Record Label Death Row, Interscope
05 Hip-hop promotes and advocates the use of narcotics and drugs as beneficial to oneâ€™s lifestyle.
1 http://www.prefixmag.com/news/vh1s-100-greatest-hip-hopsongs/21901/ 2 http://highlineballroom.com/show/2012/04/04/andre-nickatina/ 3 http://www.rapreviews.com/archive/BTTL_andre-newjimjones.html 4 http://www.marijuana.com/threads/ny-still-smokin-cypress-hill-battleto-keep-fans.262627/ 5 http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata. php?resultpage=1&table=SEARCH_RESULTS&action=&title=&artist=Red man&format=&debutLP=&category=&sex=&releaseDate=&requestNo=& type=&level=&label=&company=&certificationDate=&awardDescription =&catalogNo=&aSex=&rec_id=&charField=&gold=&platinum=&multiPl at=&level2=&certDate=&album=&id=&after=&before=&startMonth=1& endMonth=1&startYear=1958&endYear=2006&sort=Artist&perPage=25
07 Violence, murder, and the criminal element are all imbedded within the messages, lyrics and themes of Hip-hop music.
1 http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/editorials/id.1577/title.lord-finessebreaks-down-big-ls-lifestylez-ov-da-poor-dangerous 2 http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1538163/dmxs-billboard-winningstreak-ends.jhtml 3 http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-50-greatest-hip-hopsongs-of-all-time-20121205/mobb-deep-shook-ones-part-ii-19691231
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