Once again, A. Harmony’s got your top 5 Lines of the Week, courtesy of the good folks at Rap Genius. Let’s break these lyrics down…
5. “I could go on/ A-Squad, I’m down for life like I put Shawty Lo on,” — Jon Connor, “Straight Up” Lyrics
This track is that REAL hip hop. A head-nod track by three heavy hitters form Michigan, (ChrisCo, Jon Conner and Elzhi), “Straight Up” is definitely for lovers of lyricism. Jon Connor really shines on the second verse. His words bob and weave around this soulful beat like Ali in his heyday.
In this line, Connor plays with words to pledge his allegiance to AvieSquad, the independent record label he co-founded at the age of 14. “Down for life” refers to D4L, the rap quartet from Atlanta that Shawty Lo was a member of.
4. “I need to know how my co-d/ Conned witness to sacrifice me/ Just so he can get away free/ This does not comply with the streets,” — Shyne, “You’re Welcome” Lyrics
13 years after the Club New York shooting that left him serving a 10 year bid, Shyne is back and he’s got a bone to pick with Diddy. Shyne (who has changed his name from Jamal Barrow to Moses Levy) claims that Diddy convinced witnesses to testify against the rapper in court, thus resulting in Diddy’s exoneration and Levy’s decade in the bing. From the rest of the lyrics in this verse, I gather Shyne is salty about the “snitching” that led him to prison. (“Street” code dictates that one should never inform the police of any illegal activity they might witness).
Side note: Shout out to the Fisher-Price tape deck, Dr. Seuss books, and 7 cups of lean that clearly contributed to the making of this song.
3. “Pump Makaveli in the car/ Until my girl get in — her pain in the ass want DeBarge,” —Redman, “Bridging the Gap Freestyle” Lyrics
The line preceding this is “the good die young, so the bad guy ready”; making it clear that Redman is paying homage to Tupac Shakur (who made a song with the Outlawz called “The Good Die Young”). With Redman’s next line, we get a hilarious mental picture of him blasting ‘Pac in his car, only for his woman to get in the whip and say “I don’t like this rap shit…put on some El DeBarge!”. Redman’s got jokes.
2. “P, I like ice and I like minks/ Might fuck you up, Mike Tyson verse Mike Spinks,” —Sean Price, “Champions 2” Lyrics
In 1998, Mike Tyson won a match against Mike Spinks in a first round KO. Spinks had been undefeated until that point. Now, that’s f*cked up!
1. “I walked around with gats and carried a little shank/ ‘Cause the world treat me bad and I couldn’t afford a shrink,” — Brother Ali, “4th King” Lyrics
I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody else hopped on this “3 Kings” beat. How could anyone resist? That bassline? Those keys? Those big, bold drums? This beat is the stuff any emcee’s dreams are made of.
In this line, Brother Ali touches on depression and mental angst, as rappers often do. I always stress the importance of mental health and the ample benefits of therapy. When one is faced with strife, they will find a way to cope with it either in a healthy or an unhealthy way. In this line, Brother Ali talks about using violence to cope with negative treatment he experienced from the world.
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