I’m your idol, the highest title, Numero Uno,
I’m not a Puerto Rican, but I’m speakin so that you know,
And understand, I got the gift of speech,
And it’s a blessin, so listen to the lesson I preach…

Special Ed, “I Got it Made,” Youngest in Charge, 1989

You can tell by the rhyme it’s my time to shine;
Let’s eat, motherfucker, I don’t dine on swine.
I don’t beef with turkeys, I told you the God’ll fold you,
Hard to digest: I suggest that you take tofu.

Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Superstar, 2007

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

Why give you the cure when the disease makes money?

Talib Kweli, “The Traveller,” from J.Period’s Rage Is Back mixtape, 2013

Real, rough and rugged, shine like a gold nugget,
Every time I pick up the microphone, I drug it.

Jeru The Damaja, “Come Clean,” The Sun Rises in the East, 1994

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

For 9-6, the only MC with a flu.
Yeah, I rhyme sick, I be what you tryin’ to do.

Jay-Z, “Brooklyn’s Finest,” Reasonable Doubt, 1996. Visit the Flu Trends map on Google for more information on how the flu is impacting your community. Theme song: Beatnuts “No Escapin’ This”.

Just because no one can understand how you speak,
Don’t necessarily mean that what you be sayin is deep.

Talib Kweli, “Good Mourning,” from Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought, 2000

New York, New York is where we live and we’re thorough,
Never taking shorts, ‘cause Brooklyn’s the borough.
Peace to Uptown, to Queens and The Bronx,
Long Island and Jersey get as fly as they want.
But I must tell you, where we rest is no joke…
So let me break it down to sections for you slow pokes:
Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, Brownsville,
Crown Heights and East New York will be down till,
Medina takes respect for the styles we bring,
‘Cause in Brooklyn we be into our own thing.

Guru, “The Place Where We Dwell,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992

Wake up: all of that ‘crack in the street’ talk?
It’s made up, like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’

Sean Price, “Pyrex,” Mic Tyson, 2012

Breathe in…inhale vapors from bright stars that shine,
Breathe out…weed smoke retrace the skyline.

Mos Def, “Respiration,” from Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998

Age ain’t nothing but a number, that’s what Chi-Ali said.
OK, then why don’t you get that through the judge’s head?

Biz Markie, “Young Girl Bluez,” All Samples Cleared!, 1993

Put a quarter in your ass, ‘cause ya played yourself.

Big Daddy Kane, “The Symphony,” from Marley Marl’s In Control, Vol. 1, 1988

Won’t cha…picture life as my wife, just think:
Full length mink, fat X and O links,
Bracelets to match, conversation was all that,
Showed you the safe combinations and all that.
Guess you could say you’s the one I trusted…
Who would ever think that you would spread like mustard?

Notorious B.I.G., “Get Money,” from Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s Conspiracy, 1995

You’re too light to fight, plus you’re too thin to win.
Who ya gonna call when I break your glass chin?

Tek, “Wrektime,” from Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’, 1993

Yo, it’s 1 universal law but 2 sides to every story,
3 strikes and you be in for life, mandatory.
4 MC’s murdered in the last 4 years,
I ain’t tryin to be the 5th one, the Millennium is here.
Yo, it’s 6 million ways to die, from the 7 deadly thrills,
8-year olds gettin’ found with 9 mill’s.
It’s 10 P.M., where your seeds at? What’s the deal?

Mos Def, “Mathematics,” from Black on Both Sides, 1999

Braniac dumb-dumbs, bust the scientifical,
Approach to the course and the force is centrifugal.
Can you find your way through the lyrics that be catchin’ ‘em?
Throw another rhyme across the room, they be fetchin’ ’em.

Masta Ace, “Jeep Ass Niguh,” Slaughtahouse, 1993

Telling my business to kids I don’t even know,
You’re like a daytime talk show…and that’s low.

Guru, “Take it Personal,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992

Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns,
As I crush so-called Willies, thugs, and rapper-dons.

The Notorious B.I.G., “Kick in the Door,” Life After Death, 1997

On the square…I’m not riffin’ like Andy Griffith,
Just fed up, goin’ head up, with competition.

Positive K, “Step Up Front,” 12", 1988. Legendary television actor Andy Griffith died of natural causes today at the age of 86.

When you say you love me, it doesn’t matter.
It goes into my head as just chit-chatter.
You may think it’s egotistical or just worry-free,
But what you say, I take none of it seriously.

MC Lyte, “Paper Thin,” Lyte as a Rock, 1988

Ayo, the arm bone connected to the hand bone,
Nigga, the hand bone connected to the damn chrome!

Sean P, “Don’t You Cross the Line,” from Boot Camp Clik’s The Last Stand, 2006

Nowadays rap artists coming half-hearted,
Commercial like pop, or underground like black markets.
Where were you the day hip-hop died?
Is it too early to mourn? Is it too late to ride?

Talib Kweli, “Too Late,” from  Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought, 2000

Fake MC’s – they always act hard
But won’t walk the streets without their bodyguards.

Guru, “Suckas Need Bodyguards,” from Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn, 1994

Rappers can’t sleep, need sleepin’,
B.I.G. keep creepin’,
Bullets heat-seekin’,
Casualties need treatin’,
Dumb rappers need teachin’.

Notorious B.I.G., “Unbelievable,” Ready To Die, 1994

I was always taught my do’s and don’ts:
For do’s I did, and for don’ts, I said I won’t.

GZA, “I Gotcha Back,” from the Fresh soundtrack, and also on Liquid Swords, 1994

Don’t you like when the winter’s gone,
And all of a sudden it starts gettin’ warm?
The trees and the grass start lookin’ fresh,
And the sun and sky be lookin’ their best…

Biz Markie, “Spring Again,” The Biz Never Sleeps, 1989

Look: if I shoot you, I’m brainless,
But if you shoot me, then you’re famous.
What’s a nigga to do?

Jay-Z, “Streets Is Watching,” In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, 1997

Ain’t nothin’ like hip-hop music;
You like it cause you choose it.
Most DJ’s won’t refuse it,
A lotta sucka MC’s misuse it.

Daddy-O, “Go Stetsa I,” from Stetsasonic’s On Fire, 1986

Lemonade was a popular drink and it still is;
I get more props and stunts than Bruce Willis.

Guru, “DWYCK,” from Gang Starr featuring Nice & Smooth DWYCK 12", 1994

This country of ours was built on violence;
If your ass got in the way, you was killed in silence.
And these been the ways since back in the days:
Just ask the Indians or the African slaves.

Masta Ace, “The Ways,” A Long Hot Summer, 2004

I’d rather die enormous than live dormant.

Jay-Z, “Can I Live,” Reasonable Doubt, 1996

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

I’m not a ‘Businessman,’ I’m a Business… man! Let me handle my business, damn!

Jay-Z, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix),” from Kanye West’s Late Registration, 2005

Said she loved my necklace, started relaxin’.
Now that’s what the fuck I call a chain reaction!

Jay-Z, “Money Ain’t a Thang,” from Jermaine Dupri’s Life in 1472, 1998

Special Ed • “Ready 2 Attack” • 1990

Christmas is over and this is my resolution:
To stop the confusion.
Let the fresh get fresh, and the stale get staler
And throw em in a pail of
Trash…with the other trash, and smash down the lid,
For all the weak shit they did.

Special Ed, “Ready 2 Attack,” Legal, 1990

Dead Prez • “Hell Yeah (Pimp the System)” • 2004

I’m not the one to kiss ass for the top position,
I take mine off the top like a politician.
Where I’m from, doin dirt is a part of livin…
I got mouths to feed, I gots to get it.

– Dead Prez, “Hell Yeah (Pimp the System),” RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta, 2004

Jay-Z • American Dreamin • 2007

Survive the droughts? I wish you well.
How sick am I? I wish you health.
I wish you wheels, I wish you wealth,
I wish you insight so you could see for yourself.

– Jay-Z, “American Dreamin,” American Gangster, 2007

We live to love, and we love to rock mics.
We speak in ghetto tongue, cause ghetto’s the life.

Doodlebug, “Where I’m From,” from Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), 1993. More from Digable Planets…

Stay far from timid.
Only make moves when your heart is in it.
And live the phrase ‘Sky’s the Limit.’

Notorious B.I.G., “Sky’s the Limit,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…

She claims she loves my mind, cause I’m so intelligent,
But fuck my mental…she was scheming on my mint.

Jeru tha Damaja, “Me or the Papes,” Wrath of the Math, 1996. More from Jeru…

You know, I used to be a player…flygirl-layer and a heartbreaker,
Lovemaker, backbreaker, but then I made a mistake.
Yes, I fell in love with this ill chick,
Sweatin’ me for money, my name and the dilsnick.
My homeboys told me drop her cause it would be to my benefit;
She used to say I’d better quit hanging with those derelicts.

Guru, “Ex Girl to the Next Girl,” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992. More from Guru…

Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk,
Martin Luther walked so Barack Obama could run,
Barack Obama ran so all the children could fly…
So, I’mma spread my wings, you can meet me in the sky.

Jay-Z, “My President is Black (Remix)” from Young Jeezy’s The Recession, 2008

I wouldn’ta came and said my name and run some weak shit,
Puttin’ blurbs and slurs and words that don’t fit
In a rhyme, why waste time on the microphone?
I take this more serious than just a poem.
Rockin’ party to party, backyard to yard,
I tear it up y’all…and bless the mic for the Gods.

Rakim, “My Melody,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full, 1987. More from Rakim Allah…

Now, yo: Juice Crew’s the family, Slick Rick’s a friend of me
And Doug E. Fresh, Stet, KRS and Public Enemy.
Blahzay-blah, you know who you are:
The red, black and green, the sun, moon and star.
Knowledge of self is being taught here on after,
Peace in the name of I, Self, Lord and Master.
I come to teach and preach and reaching each
With the speech every leech I’ll impeach.
Drop science and build with math,
And the dumb, deaf and blind’ll feel the Wrath…of Kane.

Big Daddy Kane, “Wrath of Kane (Live),” It’s a Big Daddy Thing, 1990. More from Kane…

Got the new Hummer in the summer when,
I was a newcomer then,
Drugs and Mac-10s, hugs from fake friends.
Make ends: they hate you,
Be broke: girls won’t date you.

Notorious B.I.G., “Long Kiss Goodnight,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…

Y’all niggaz ain’t rapping the same,
Fuck the flow, y’all jacking our slang,
I seen the same shit happen to Kane,
Three cuts in your eyebrow trying to wild out.
The game is ours, will never foul out,
Y’all just better hope we gracefully bow out.

Jay-Z, “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” Vol. 2…The Life and Times of S. Carter, 1999. More from Jay…

Lyrically def and connecting, complete mic-wrecking…
No double-checking, vocals kill like weapons.

Guru, “Mass Appeal,” from Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn, 1994. More from Guru…

Never forget that I’m the one you thought wouldn’t make it.
I used to make money…now I just take it.

Buckshot, “I Gotcha Opin,” from Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage, 1993. More from Black Moon…

I know the price, know the risk, know the wrongs and the rights;
Still my blood flows ice…it’s just my life.

Jay-Z, “In My Lifetime (Remix),” 12", 1994. More from Hov…

Talk…well I heard talk is cheap.
But like beauty, talk is just skin deep.
And when you lie and you talk a lot,
People tell you to step off a lot.

Daddy-O, “Talkin’ All That Jazz,” from Stetsasonic’s In Full Gear, 1988.

I’m outspoken; my language is broken into a slang,
But it’s just a dialect that I select when I hang.

Special Ed, “I Got It Made,” Youngest in Charge, 1989. More from Special Ed…

Another day, another burial,
Got you wondering ’bout the day when they bury you.
Tear drops stain the Wally’s that you rockin’,
On the block, candles burn, guns poppin’.

Tek, “Memorial,” from Cocoa Brovaz’ (aka Smif N Wessun) The Rude Awakening, 1998.

It’s the message in the song that makes you rock on,
Some people go to places where they don’t belong.
Whether wrong or right, a lot of people fight,
But I’m here to bless this mic, aight?

Guru, “What I’m Here 4,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998. More from Guru…

In my heart, though, I do believe:
If you put out more love than you receive,
It’s bound to come back around, eventually.

Masta Ace, “Glory,” from Marco Polo’s PA2: The Director’s Cut, 2013. More lyrics from Ace >

No sheep clothing,
I wear wolf;
Howl at the moon.

Ka, “Day 93,” from Ka and Preservation’s Days with Dr. Yen Lo, 2015. More from Ka…

Before I lay my head down to rest,
I roll up a nickel sack of cess to relieve the stress.

Steele, “Wontime,” from Smif-N-Wessun’s Dah Shinin’, 1995

You know how it go when you got no dough:
Niggas goin out to party and you got no clothes.
And when you do get clothes, then you can’t go out
That’s the bullshit I’m talkin’ about.

Sean Price, “Mess You Made,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. More from Sean Price

I mastered The Art of War before a nigga read Sun Tzu,
Third degree black-belt, master of Gun-Fu.
Pop pills, smoke weed, even get drunk too;
And you do what you can, and I do what I want to.

Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P! More from P!

Dutch in my ear, Olde E in my palm,
I Freddy Krueger your face, Michael Myers your moms.
You botherin mine? That’s when I’m sparkin the nine.

Sean Price, “King Kong,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P!

You can tell by the rhyme it’s my time to shine;
Let’s eat, motherfucker, I don’t dine on swine.
I don’t beef with turkeys, I told you the God’ll fold you,
Hard to digest: I suggest that you take tofu.

Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. R.I.P!

Wake up: all of that ‘crack in the street’ talk?
It’s made up, like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’

Sean Price, “Pyrex,” Mic Tyson, 2012. R.I.P!

I don’t like thugs, I don’t like nerds,
I don’t like myself and I hate bein’ disturbed.

Sean Price, “Critically Acclaimed,” from Statik Selektah’s 100 Proof (The Hangover), 2010. R.I.P!

Ayo, the arm bone connected to the hand bone,
Nigga, the hand bone connected to the damn chrome!

Sean P, “Don’t You Cross the Line,” from Boot Camp Clik’s The Last Stand, 2006. R.I.P!

Niggas’ rap albums sound like love letters,
Pen in my hand, like: damn, fam, I could do much better.

Sean Price, “Chewbacca,” from Random Axe, 2011. R.I.P!

Gangsta rappers can’t fight, so they rap about guns.

Sean Price, “Onion Head,” Monkey Barz, 2005. R.I.P!

Don’t mourn me when I’m gone, celebrate my travels;
Whenever you need me, just take a plane to the astral zones.

Joey BADA$$, “On and On,” B4.DA.$$, 2015.

I give you life decoded,
Nicely quoted.

Ka, “Day 110,” from Ka and Preservation’s Days with Dr. Yen Lo, 2015. More from Ka…

Fuck the world, don’t ask me for shit,
Everything you get you gotta work hard for it.
Honeys shake your hips, you don’t stop,
And niggas pack the clips, keep on…

Notorious B.I.G. & Method Man, “The What,” Ready to Die, 1994. More from Biggie, more from Meth.

I mastered The Art of War before a nigga read Sun Tzu,
Third degree black-belt, master of Gun-Fu.
Pop pills, smoke weed, even get drunk too;
And you do what you can, and I do what I want to.

Sean Price, “Like You,” Jesus Price Supastar, 2007. More from P!

Been tested, ain’t fail: I’m tried and true.
When it’s all falling apart, my pride’s the glue.
I felt at times worthless…
Pulled shifts with shifty crime merchants,
Stained hearts, brainwashed by mind serpents.
The fact I’m still here, it’s clear it’s divine purpose.

Ka, “Day 912,” from Ka and Preservation’s Days with Dr. Yen Lo, 2015. More from Ka…

This ain’t the world we thought it was when we as in pre-school.
Sometimes it’s hard to be cool, sometimes I feel like I’m see-through.
Sometimes I really wish…I wish that I could be you.

Joey BADA$$, “Black Beetles,” B4.DA.$$, 2015.

I used to want a Beemer, I used to want a Benz.
One thing that I never wanted was fake friends in the end.

Buckshot, “Duress,” from Black Moon’s War Zone, 1999. More from Buckshot Shorty…

I’m a true master, you can check my credentials
Cause I choose to use my infinite potential.

Jeru tha Damaja, “Come Clean,” The Sun Rises in the East, 1994

I’ll never understand why a wack rapper tries and
Convinces himself that his image is so fly and
That’s the type of crap you know I’m not buying…
Chumps lack the beats and their rhymes don’t apply.

Guru, “Much Too Much (Mack a Mil),” from Gang Starr’s Daily Operation, 1992. More from Guru…

30 rack on a neck of a artist (Say what?)
About another 20K on his arm (Say what?)
This nigga flashin’ 50 grand,
Walk around here, lookin like food for the wolves.
Listen! Illuminati rap: we don’t ride to that,
Everybody poppin’ molly…look at how they act.
(Y’all sweatin’) The whole place emotional,
Wake up to find out some dude’s Frank Ocean’ed you.

Lil’ Fame, “187,” from M.O.P.’s Street Certified, 2014.

It’s like every step bring me close to destiny,
And every breath I get closer to the death of me.
I’m just tryna carry out my own legacy,
But the place I call home ain’t lettin’ me.

Joey Bada$$, “Like Me,” B4.DA.$$, 2015

Now if I worry too much about all my have nots,
I might not recognize just what I’ve got…

Mike G., “Jungle Brother,” from Jungle Brothers’ Raw Deluxe, 1997

Happiness is temporary, always has been.
I just lost one…but sometimes I win,
I always spread love…but sometimes I sin.

Joey Bada$$, “On & On," B4.DA.$$, 2015

Wrote this lyric from in the bed wit’ a chick
She had the tightest grip around the head of my…
…Bic. Now, can I get my pen back?

MF Doom, “Batty-Boys,” Born Like This, 2009. More quotes from MF Doom…

The rich act poor, and the poor claim rich,
Whatever sounds cool’ll make the weaker mind switch.
If you on a major label or an indie 12-inch:
When you fronting on the mic, you still the industry’s bitch.

J-Live, “Sub Level,” from Rob Swift’s Sound Event, 2002

Now when freaks get dressed to go out at night,
They like to wear leather jackets, chains and spikes.
They wear rips and zippers all in their shirts,
Real tight pants and fresh mini skirts.
All kinds of colors runnin’ through their hair,
And you could just about find a freak anywhere.
But then again, you could know someone all their life,
But might not know they’re a freak unless you see them at night.

Whodini, “Freaks Come out at Night,” Escape, 1984

Black boy, black boy, turn that shit down.
You know that America don’t wanna hear the sound
Of the bass drum jungle music, go back to Africa,
Nigga I’ll arrest ya if you’re holding up traffic.

I’ll be damned if I listen, so cops save your breath
And write another ticket if you have any left.
And I’m breaking eardrums while I’m breaking the law,
I’m disturbing all the peace cause Sister Soldier said ‘War!’

So catch me if you can, if you can, here’s a donut,
Cause once you drive away, yo, you know I’m gonna go nuts.
And turn it up to where it was before, nice try!
But you can’t stop the power of the bass in your eye.

Masta Ace, “Jeep Ass Niguh,” SlaughtaHouse, 1993. More from Ace…

You can’t tell a motherfucker what to do with his life,
Niggaz tend to live trife…so I react with the mic.

Lil Dap, “Speak Ya Clout” from Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn, 1994. More Gang Starr quotes…