Favorite Hip Hop Verses

Jay Rocl

Jay Rock

Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay Rock “Money Trees” from the 2012 album Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City 

[Listener’s Log]

Yo. First of all, I have been sleeping heavily on Jay Rock. I’m talmbout heavy dosage of that Nyquil, Ra-tat-tatted with a tranquilizer gun, straight sleeping with no dreaming. I know understand why Jay Rock was the first to gain a bit of notoriety for the Black Hippy crew.

Upon my first interaction of the GKMC album, I realized on the tracklisting that Kendrick did not have much features and only one that displayed the presence of a Black Hippy crew member. I guessed he didn’t want anything of such a conceptual album that would impede on the conceptualness (yea, I’m making up words muhhfucka). After listening to Jay Rock’s verse, there is no way that K.dot could have left this of the album. Shit, in my opinion, it’s the best verse in the album.

Jay Rock hit us up with a super dupa floetic, well-measured 16 bars of that good shit. Lyrics, on point. Flow, on point. Charisma, on point. References, on point. What else do you need?

Imagine Rock up in the projects where them niggas pick your pockets
Santa Claus don’t miss them stockings, liquor spilling pistols popping
Baking soda YOLA whipping, ain’t no turkey on Thanksgiving
My homeboy just domed a nigga, I just hope the Lord forgive him
Pots with cocaine residue, everyday I’m hustling
What else is a thug to do when you eatin’ cheese from the government
Gotta provide for my daughter n’em, get the fuck up out my way, bitch
Got that drum and got them bands just like a parade, bitch
Drop that work up in the bushes, hope them boys don’t see my stash
If they do tell the truth, this the last time you might see my ass
From the gardens where the grass ain’t cut, them serpents lurking blood
Bitches selling pussy, niggas selling drugs but it’s all good
Broken promises, steal yo watch and tell you what time it is
Take your J’s and tell you to kick it where a footlocker is
In the streets with a heater under my dungarees
Dreams of me getting shaded under a money tree


Click To Listen To “Money Trees”

Rick Ross ft Nas - “Triple Beam Dreams”

[Listener’s Log]

Rozay’s Rich Forever just dropped and folks are talking all about the Drake verse on “Grand Scheming”. That’s all good but I went NUTS, if I was a squirrel I would have dropped my nuts after hearing Nas verse on “Triple Beam Dreams”. The poetry, oh man, the poetry… the vividness… wow.

I was just talking about how, sometimes (actually most times) too much punchlines makes me lose my interest but a great storyteller doesn’t need much punchlines. Nas is a storyteller of that stature

Best verse on the mixtape, and that’s not no diss to the mixtape because this is probably going to end up being my most favorite verse of the year.  

A project minded individual, criminal tactics
Us blacks kids born with birth defects, we hyperactive
Mentally sex-crazed dysfunctional they describe us
They liars, the end of the day, we fucking survivors
I remember watching Scarface the first time
Look at that big house, that Porsche paid for by crime
How could I sell this poison to peoples in my mind
They dumb to destroy themselves is how I rationalise
In a bastardised nation, Magnum .45 carrying
Where I’m from, ain’t far from Washington Heights to cop Aryan
A rookie boy the cookie didn’t make no profit
A stranger to the block I damn near had to make them cop it
It only took a fiend to taste it once to say it’s garbage
I brought it back to poppy, aint tryna take no losses
He focuses on my emotionless young dealer face then pauses
He gives me powder he has faith in Nas’
Ambitions to distribute coke
Had addictions to gold chains, Mercedes Benz hopes
But I’m again broke
This shit ain’t cut for me, other dealers they up their orders
Barely at 62′s they already up they quotas
They out there everyday, some true hustlas for ya
I’m at it halfway, none of my customers are loyal
Picturin’ piping out the seats of a Pathfinder
Powerful pursuit for pussy cash, the flash diamonds
My junior high school class, wish I stayed there
Illegal entrepreneur, I got my grades there
Blaming society, man it wasn’t made fair
I would be Ivy League if America played fair
Poor excuse and so I was
Throwin’ rocks at the pen just for the love
Or for the evil the secret life of G’s
You seeing my blurry, triple beam dreams

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

Blu

[“Amnesia” from the 2010 mixtape HerFavoriteColo(u)r]

Jonathan Barnes is my favorite rapper right now. Life poems after life poems rang through his bars. I had to go against my “one verse for each song” and put both verses for this song on here.

His way with words and navigating through fragments of a stories and to piece it back together like a jigsaw puzzle is crazy. 

"Naïve as the dry leaves on the ground, looking past the tree to the blue sky asking: Why me?" - Definitely one of the best lines I have heard from anybody. Definitely had me thinking about times when I have felt my situations were unfair and not realizing that nature conquers all

Peace, serenity, teaching divinity
Break bread, sipping the blood, eating with enemies
Blind, pearl on my mind thinking we fittin’ to be
This, that, and the third
Boy did I learn, tables turn
Billy Holiday burned down to play when my nerves drowned my folks away
Swerving in the locomotive, far from my hopes and motives
Back to boasting at shows to get a standing O
From all the fans I know on some of that
Sapphire rapid fire soul stuff I used to hit ‘em off with
But now I’m some ol’ “pay the toll” for the way I played the role
Cautious when I lace a flow, cause, pose? think I’m painting codes
Patience grown thin, home sick and haven’t been home since
Fuck a rapper, I’m an actor in a film called:
“Leave me the fuck alone until I find a real job”
Busting chrome grills off at these soft hearted breakbeats bouncing with 808’s and gray ink
Blue heart, red skies, true art died in the heart of my mind
Kept trying to fulfill this
Blank scribbled realness, even if it kills this poet inside

Used to speak sweet with sympathy
Tease to mimic me, sunshine every line you ever sent to me
Heaven sent, heavenly scent that later crippled me, shit
Simple men don’t learn, where was your empathy?
Couldn’t see the fork in the road
Kept straight forward, straight towards a humble abode we both hate more
Now that I fumbled and folded that open letter said “dead men walking don’t dream”
You taped yours, and you told me I could rent it
Thought it was invented for my viewing pleasure
Human error, the apprentice turned teacher, preacher turned God
Couldn’t reach ya, just a façade, the main feature
Modified for blogs, podcast the past, hi-definition, she laughed
Pass the message, now I’m guessing that the jokes on me
Cause I’m the only one threatened
The wretched by the windows sketching
Pencil? the mural of the method, don’t sweat it, techniques turning, burning incense
Listening to Billy burn my intent, definitive days that turn my nights to fiction
Friction-less, just a pen trynna pimp this stress, ‘cause I couldn’t keep a lid on my life
Naïve as the dry leaves on the ground, looking past the tree to the blue sky asking:
Why me?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO “AMNESIA” BY BLU

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

ghostface

Ghostface Killah 

(“All That Is You” ft. Mary J. Blige from the 1996 album Ironman)

Usually those more impressive verses are not the most creative in the terms of wordplay. The best verses are the ones with stories that are relative to those who went through and interpreted with a passion which folks who didn’t go through with it can feel it. This is what Ghostface Killah did on the “All That I Got Is You”

Already known for his impressive storytelling. On this track, Ghostface tells the most important story; the autobiography of Dennis Cole.

"7 o’clock plucking roaches out of the cereal box" — Ahh. When we was living in our first place in the United States, I had to pluck a roach out of the Corn Flakes box. We couldn’t threw away the Corn Flakes because that’s all we had at that time. The we would put sugar on the cereal because we couldn’t afford Frosted Flaked. 

We’ve come so far. Thank you Ghost for helping to remind me to never get too far ahead of myself. 

Yo, dwellin in the past, flashbacks when I was young
Whoever thought that I’d have a baby girl and three sons?
I’m goin through this difficult stage I find it hard to believe
Why my old Earth had so many seeds
But she’s an old woman, and due to me I respect that
I saw life for what it’s really worth and took a step back
Family ain’t family no more, we used to play ball
Eggs after school, eat grits cause we was poor
Grab the pliers for the channel, fix the hanger on the TV
Rockin each others pants to school wasn’t easy
We survived winters, snotty nosed with no coats
We kept it real, but the older brother still had jokes
Sadly, daddy left me at the age of six
I didn’t know nuttin but mommy neatly packed his shit
She cried, and grandma held the family down
I guess mommy wasn’t strong enough, she just went down
Check it, fifteen of us in a three bedroom apartment
Roaches everywhere, cousins and aunts was there
Four in the bed, two at the foot, two at the head
I didn’t like to sleep with Jon-Jon he peed the bed
Seven o’clock, pluckin roaches out the cereal box 
Some shared the same spoon, watchin saturday cartoons
Sugar water was our thing, every meal was no thrill
In the summer, free lunch held us down like steel
And there was days I had to go to Tex house with a note
Stating “Gloria can I borrow some food I’m dead broke”
So embarrasin I couldn’t stand to knock on they door
My friends might be laughin, I spent stamps in stores
Mommy where’s the toilet paper, use the newspaper
Look Ms. Rose gave us a couch, she’s the neighbor
Things was deep, my whole youth was sharper than cleats
Two brothers with muscular dystrophy, it killed me
But I remember this, mom’s would lick her finger tips
To wipe the cold out my eye before school wit her spit
Case worker had her runnin back to face to face
I caught a case, housin tried to throw us out of our place
Sometimes I look up at the stars and analyze the sky
And ask myself was I meant to be here… why?
Yeah, yo

CLICK TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO TO “ALL THAT I GOT IS YOU”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

Common

Common

(Black Star feat. Common “Respiration” from the 1998 album Black Star)

Yo, plenty of reason why I love this joint. There was a period in which I was listen to this joint everyday. First I must point out that each verse on this joint is classic, Mos Def being my faves. But Common’s verse is so relevant to me, being away from my hometown, I wonder about those who are still in my old neighborhood who don’t know about the world outside of “the ghetto”

Yo…on The Amen, Corner I stood lookin at my former hood
Felt the spirit in the wind, knew my friend was gone for good
Threw dirt on the casket, the hurt, I couldn’t mask it
Mixin down emotions, struggle I hadn’t mastered
I choreograph seven steps to heaven
And hell, waiting to exhale and make the bread leavened
Veteran of a cold war, It’s Chica-I-go for
What I know or, what’s known
So some days I take the bus home, just to touch home
From the crib I spend months gone
Sat by the window with a clutched dome listenin to shorties cuss long
Young girls with weak minds, but they butt strong
Tried to call, or at least beep the Lord, but didn’t have a touch-tone
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, you gotta mush on
Some of this land I must own
Outta the city, they want us gone
Tearin down the ‘jects creatin plush homes
My circumstance is between Cabrini and Love Jones
Surrounded by hate, yet I love home
Ask my God how he thought travellin the world sound
Found it hard to imagine he hadn’t been past downtown
It’s deep, I heard the city breathe in its sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep
Deep, I heard my man breathe in his sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep

(Hook)

So much on my mind I just can’t recline
Blastin holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Yo how the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathing
Chest heavin, against the flesh of the evening
Kiss the Ide’s goodbye, I’m on the last train leaving 

Click To Watch “Respiration”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

Nas

Nas

(“Surviving The Times” from the 2007 album Greatest Hits)

Yo, I’m a sucka for “coming of age” stories. I’m into finding out about how the genesis of one’s growth on their road to success. In the first verse, Nas showcased the soft-eyed perspective he had the everything that was going on during his entrance to the hip-hop game. This dudes dropped names of some major dudes like Eric B, respect. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Webber (Yea, Fab-Five Webb) laced the beat with some Nipsey Russell samples from the movie The Wiz.

Fav Line: “I was happy, just getting some answers I ain’t even know what a record advance was”

I was young, I was surviving the times
Waiting for my moment, I was destined to shine
Little Ray had an NSX, I was hoping I’m next
Wanting bracelets, never had a rope on my neck
Unless I was holding Taiyeh chain—Rest In Peace
Even though that night you flipped on us, you warned us
If you came back and we still on the corners, we goners
Moving on to… move your arm in your watch
To another time on the block
'Cause this 40 Side
Where they say Shorty rhymed
Tragedy he used to come through all the time
I’m talking Juice Crew, not what the word define
He had a sister named Erin, for sure was fine
That was my first crush; I bought my first mic
I wrote my first verse, I was about nine
I was about mine, fantasize house buying
Met Paul, he wore some big glasses
Him and Melquan took me where G Rap lived
I was happy, just getting some answers
I ain’t even know what a record advance was
I’m seeing hoes sex in the studio bathroom
With rap dudes, thinking wow she moved me
Same girl then, right now’s a groupie
Back then, she was like the star in the movie
Large jewelry and expensive Gucci
Next stop, Paid In Full posse recruits me
Knew they were some millionaires, their ropes were dookie
Eric B man looking like touch-it-he-shoot-me
You see, every time Ra didn’t show
I get to record demos at attempts to blow
I wonder could they tell, how did they know
Sixteen years later, here I go

CLICK TO WATCH AND LISTEN TO THE OFFICIAL VIDEO OF “SURVIVING THE TIMES”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

jay-z

Jay-Z

(“You Must Love Me” from the 1997 album Reasonable Doubt)

We used to fight every night but I never would suffer

just smile my big brother’s tryna make me tougher

As we grew fussing and fighting continued

as I plundered through ya stuff and snuck ya clothes to school

Got intense, real intense as we got older

Never believed it would lead to be popped in one in ya shoulder

Where my rings? Knew you had it ‘cause you took too long

as Mickey, Andy, and the girl that bought it looked on

Huffin’ and puffin’ gun in my hand, told you step outside

Hoping you said no but you hurt my pride

made our way down the steps

maybe you thought it was just a threat

or maybe ya life was just that crazy

and you was beggin’ for death

try to justify this in my young mind

but ya drillin’ it

and my ego hurt combined

drove me berzerk

Saw the devil in your eyes

high off more than weed

confused I just closed

my young eyes and squeezed

What a sound!

opened my eyes just in time

to see ya stumbling to the ground

Damn

What the fuck I done now?

runnin’ around in a circle

thinking I’m assed out

hot gun burnin’ my waist

ran straight to Jazz’ house

Like a stranger damn, I just shot my nigga

and ran off into the night as if it was not my nigga

Left the scene how could I go out that way

Still you asked to see me in the hospital ya next day

You must love me.

CLICK TO LISTEN AND WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO TO “YOU MUST LOVE ME”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

(“Doo Wop” [That Thing] from the 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill)

The second verse is dedicated to the men

More concerned with his rims and his Tim’s than his women

Him and his men, come in the club like hooligans

Don’t care who they offend poppin’ game, like you got yen

Let’s stop pretend, the ones that pissed out by they waste men

Cristal by the case men, still living in his Mother’s basement

The pretty face men claiming that they be the big men

Need to take care of their three and four kids

But they face a court case when the child support’s late

Money taking and heart breaking now you wonder why women hate men

The sleepy silent men, the punk domestic violence men

Quick to shoot the scene, stop acting like boys and be men

How you gonna win, when you ain’t right within?

How you gonna win, when you ain’t right within?

How you gonna win, when you ain’t right within?

Come again

Yo yo, come again

Bro-straight come again

Sit straight come again

CLICK TO LISTEN TO “DOO WOP”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

fatlip

Fatlip

(The Pharcyde - “Passin’ Me By” from the 1992 album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde)

Now there she goes again, the dopest ethiopian 

And now the world around me be gets movin in slow motion

When-ever she happens to walk by - why does the apple of my eye 

Overlook and disregard my feelings no matter how much I try? 

Wait, no, I did not really pursue my little princess with persistance; 

And I was so low-key that she was unaware of my existance 

From a distance I desired, secretly admired her; 

Wired her a letter to get her, and it went:

My dear, my dear, my dear, you do not know me but I know you very well 

Now let me tell you about the feelings I have for you 

When I try, or make some sort of attempt, I symp 

Damn I wish I wasn’t such a wimp!

'Cause then I would let you know that I love you so 

And if I was your man then I would be true 

The only lying I would do is in the bed with you 

Then I signed sincerely the one who loves you dearly, ps love me tender 

The letter came back three days later: return to sender 

Damn!

(Hook)

She keeps on passin me by

She keeps on passin me by

She keeps on passin me by

CLICK TO LISTEN TO “PASSIN’ ME BY”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

andre 3000

Andre 3000
(Outkast “Da Art Of Storytellin’ (Part 1) from the 1998 album Aquemeni) 

Now Suzy Skrew had a partna named Sasha (Sasha), Thumper (Thumper)
I remember her number like the summer
when her and Suzy yeah they threw a slumber - - party
but you can not call it that cause it was slummer
Well it was more like spend the night
Three in the morning yawnin dancin under street lights
We chillin like a villain and a nigga feelin right
in the middle of the ghetto on the curb, but in spite
all of the bullshit we on our back starin at the stars above
(aww man) Talkin bout what we gonna be when we grow up
I said what you wanna be, she said, “Alive” (hmm)
It made me think for a minute, then looked in her eyes
I coulda died, time went on, I got grown
Rhyme got strong, mind got blown, I came back home
to find lil Sasha was gone
Her mamma said she with a nigga that be treatin her wrong
I kept on singin my song and hopin at a show
that I would one day see her standin in the front row
But two weeks later she got found in the back of a school
With a needle in her arm, baby two months due, Sasha Thumper

CLICK TO LISTEN TO “DA ART OF STORYTELLING (PART 1)”

Favorite Hip-Hop Verses

Mos Def

Mos Def
(Black Star feat Common “Respiration” from the 1998 album Black Star)

The new moon rode high in the crown of the metropolis
Shinin, like who on top of this?
People was hustlin, arguin and bustlin
Gangstaz of Gotham hardcore hustlin
I’m wrestlin with words and ideas
My ears is picky, seekin what will transmit
the scribes can apply to transcript, yo
This ain’t no time where the usual is suitable
Tonight alive, let’s describe the inscrutable
The indisputable, we New York the narcotic
Strength in metal and fiber optics
where mercenaries is paid to trade hot stock tips
for profits, thirsty criminals take pockets
Hard knuckles on the second hands of workin class watches
Skyscrapers is collosus, the cost of living
is preposterous, stay alive, you play or die, no options
No Batman and Robin, can’t tell between
the cops and the robbers, they both partners, they all heartless
With no conscience, back streets stay darkened
Where unbeliever hearts stay hardened
My eagle talons STAY sharpened, like city lights stay throbbin
You either make a way or stay sobbin, the Shiny Apple
is bruised but sweet and if you choose to eat
You could lose your teeth, many crews retreat
Nightly news repeat, who got shot down and locked down
Spotlight to savages, NASDAQ averages
My narrative, rose to explain this existance
Amidst the harbor lights which remain in the distance

(Hook)
So much on my mind that it can’t recline
Blastin holes in the night til she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Heard the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I can’t take it y’all, I can feel the city breathin
Chest heavin, against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving

CLICK TO LISTEN TO “RESPIRATION”