I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem,
Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams.
I use it as my gas, so they say that I’m gassed,
But without it I’d be last, so I ought to laugh…

Kanye West, “Last Call,” The College Dropout, 2003

God’s the seamstress that tailor-fitted my pain.

50 Cent, “Patiently Waiting,” Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 2003

Music business hates me cause the industry ain’t make me,
Hustlers and boosters embrace me and the music I be makin.
I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars…
They criticized me for it, yet they all yell ‘HOLLA!’
If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.
Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense,
But I did five mil…I ain’t been rhymin like Common since.

Jay-Z, “Moment of Clarity,” The Black Album, 2003

Remember when friends was friends, and LL had a Benz?
And cell phones and beepers was the new trends?
When Koch was the Mayor and Reagan was the Pres?

Biz Markie, “Turn Back the Hands of Time,” from Weekend Warrior, 2003. Rest in peace to the three-term mayor of New York city, who passed away this morning at the age of 88.

My sense of self and my mental health
Is much more powerful than any hint of wealth.

Guru, “Peace of Mine,” from Gang Starr’s The Ownerz, 2003

Sunny days wouldn’t be special…if it wasn’t for rain.
Joy wouldn’t feel so good…if it wasn’t for pain.
Death gotta be easy, ‘cause life is hard,
It’ll leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred.

50 Cent, “Many Men (Wish Death),” Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 2003

Fuck a medic, we gon’ call yo ass a taxi cab,
Bleedin’ so hard you need a life-size maxi pad.

Ludacris, “We Got,” Chicken-N-Beer, 2003 

Using numerology to count the people I sent to heaven,
Produces more digits than 22 divided by 7.

Immortal Technique, “Hidden Track,” Revolutionary Volume 2, 2003

Ain’t no love lost, cause there was never none there.

Billy Danze, “Hood Music,” from Memphis Bleek’s M.A.D.E., 2003

Pull down the shades on the windows of your soul,
And gaze into your mind and watch the wisdom unfold…

Beanie Sigel, “Hypnotic,” from Memphis Bleek’s M.A.D.E., 2003

Uh oh, it’s beer o’clock, I think I’m sober.
How about we think this over, over a can of King Cobra?

Viktor Vaughn, “Raedawn,” Vaudeville Villain, 2003

If you can’t respect that, your whole perspective is wack.
Maybe you’ll love me when I fade to black.

Jay-Z, “December 4th,” The Black Album, 2003

See, you’re out your mind tryin’ to face tha God.
Your rhyme is like an empty prison…a waste of bars.

Lord Finesse, Freestyle vs. Percee P, 2003. Video

Watch out for the medallion, my diamonds are reckless,
Feels like a midget is hangin from my necklace!

Ludacris, “Stand Up,” Chicken-N-Beer, 2003

My life is like a song and I think I know the words,
And as I start to sing along the whole verse becomes a blur.
So I freestyle improv, make mistakes and evolve,
The obstacles repeat, cause naturally it revolves.

MURS, “18 with a Bullet (Remix),” The End of the Beginning, 2003

Beef is not what Jay said to Nas;
Beef is when the working folks can’t find jobs.

Mos Def, “Beef” 12", 2003

A lot of crews like to act like a violent mob,
They really need to just shut the fuck up like Silent Bob.

Viktor Vaughn, “Saliva,” Vaudeville Villain, 2003

This treadmill lifestyle ain’t workin for me…
It’s from ya crib to ya lab to ya job to make a profit,
And at the day’s end you still got nothing accomplished.

Phonte, “Speed,” from Little Brother’s The Listening, 2003

Reality is nourishment, but people don’t believe it,
I guess it’s hard to stomach the truth like a bulimic.

Immortal Technique, “Leaving The Past,” Revolutionary Vol. 2, 2003

There’s a whole lot of questions that really need answers
Like: Who the fuck told you that your rhyme style was hot?
You know when Biggie died? Who bust that shot?
Why is Sammy Bull still living, and where the fuck is Pac?

Bumpy Knuckles, “P.A.I.N.E.,” The Konexion, 2003

Big Boi (OutKast) • “War” • 2003

I rap about the Presidential Election and the scandal
that followed;
And we all watched the nation, as it swallowed
And chalked it up…basically, America, you got fucked.
The media shucked and jived, now we stuck.

– Big Boi, “War,” from OutKast’s Speakerboxxx, 2003

To everyone out there who’s a little different:

I say, “Damn a magazine, these is God’s fingerprints.”

You can call me ugly, but can’t take nothing from me;

I am what I am, doctor, you ain’t gotta love me.

Brother Ali, “Forest Whitaker,” Shadows on the Sun, 2003.

You won’t get a harvest if you don’t sow seeds,
Ill-gained wealth brings stress from dirty deeds.
The choices that you make will fulfill your needs,
But the shit you go through will be hard to believe.

Grap Luva, “Step Up,” from I.N.I.’s Center of Attention, 2003

And just so Conservatives don’t take it to heart,
I don’t think Bush did it, ‘cause he isn’t that smart.
He’s just a stupid puppet taking orders on his cell phone,
From the same people that sabotaged Senator Wellstone.
The military industry got it poppin’ and lockin’,
Looking for a way to justify the Wolfowitz Doctrine.
And as a matter of fact, Rumsfeld, now that I think back:
Without 9/11, you couldn’t have a war in Iraq,
Or a Defense budget of world conquest proportions.
Kill freedom of speech and revoke the right to abortions,
Tax cut extortion, a blessing to the wealthy and wicked,
But you still have to answer to the Armageddon you scripted.
And Dick Cheney? You fuckin leech, tell them your plans:
About building your pipelines through Afghanistan,
And how Israeli troops trained the Taliban in Pakistan.
You might have some house niggaz fooled, but I understand.
Colonialism is sponsored by corporations,
That’s why Halliburton gets paid to rebuild nations.
Tell me the truth, I don’t scare into paralysis,
I know the CIA saw Bin Laden on dialysis
In ’98 when he was Top Ten for the FBI.
Government ties is really why the government lies,
Read it yourself instead of asking the government why
‘Cause then the Cause of Death will cause the propaganda to die.

Immortal Technique, “Cause of Death,” Revolutionary Volume 2, 2003. More from Immortal Technique…

There’s four sides to every story…
If these walls could talk, they’d probably still ignore me.

Viktor Vaughn, aka MF Doom, “Lickupon,” Vaudeville Villain, 2003. More MF Doom quotes…

Bitch, I’m coming live from the trunk and I thrive on the funk;
Cause I’d rather die like a man than survive like a punk.

Bun B, “Re-Akshon (Remix),” from Killer Mike’s Monster, 2003

Complainin’ to my lawyer how this rookie tried to frisk me…
Jealous of my jeep, I gave his badge to the chief,
And got his ass directin’ traffic in the heat for a week.

RZA, “Wherever I Go,” Birth of a Prince, 2003. More Wu-Tang Clan quotes

A wise man sees failure as progress.
A fool divorces his knowledge and misses the logic,
And loses his soul in the process.

Canibus, “Poet Laureate II,” Rip the Jacker, 2003

Shawn Carter was born December 4th,
Weighing in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces.
He was the last of my 4 children,
The only one who didn’t give me any pain when I gave birth to him.
…And that’s how I knew that he was a special child.

Jay-Z’s mom, Gloria Carter, “December 4th,” The Black Album, 2003. Happy Bornday, Shawn Carter, born December 4, 1969.

Listenin to nothin, takin no suggestions,
All destructive criticisms that can’t improve on perfection.

MF Doom is Viktor Vaughn, “The Drop,” Vaudeville Villain, 2003

A day to God is a thousand years,
Men walk around with a thousand fears.
The true joy of love brings a thousand tears,
In the world of desire, there’s a thousand snares.

RZA, “A Day to God is 1000 Years,” Birth of a Prince, 2003

If you go platinum, it’s got nothing to do with luck,
It just means that a million people are stupid as fuck.

Immortal Technique, “Industrial Revolution,” Revolutionary Vol. 2, 2003

The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I show love cause it’s a terrible thing to hate.

Guru, “Peace of Mine,” from Gang Starr’s The Ownerz, 2003