Inhale deep like the words of my breath,
I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.

Nas, “New York State of Mind,” Illmatic, 1994

I chop ‘em into salad and my name ain’t Caesar.

Black Thought, “@15,” from The Roots’ Rising Down, 2008

I ain’t the captain of the yacht, but I’m on the boat;
I ain’t acting what I’m not, knowing that I don’t.
You niggaz acting like you will, but I know you won’t.
Man, I read between the lines of the eyes of your brows,
Your handshake ain’t matchin your smile…

Beanie Sigel, “Feel it in the Air,” The B. Coming, 2005

Step to this and get shanked up,
I knocked out so many teeth, the tooth fairy went bankrupt.

Big L, “Let ‘Em Have it L,” Lifestyles Ov Da Poor and Dangerous, 1995

‘You claim to be the man, you want me for a lover,
So you can do my girlfriends and my sister and my mother?’

I said, ‘You’re very blunt,’ with quickness to the cue,
‘So whassup with your mother, does she look as good as you?’

Dres, “Similac Child,” from Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, 1991

Cloned chickens walking around without heads,
The food is contaminated, the water got lead in it.
Population control, make the babies sick,
All these RFID chips, RU-486…
This is a war against consciousness,
Controlling your soul, sort of a psychological dictatorship.
And we are on the front lines,
Guilty as charged if intellect is a crime.

Pharoahe Monch, “W.A.R.,” W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), 2011

My mama didn’t see it comin, my daddy was there.
What’s my excuse? Cartoons were the root.
Started with Yosemite Sam
With the gun in the palm of the hand,
What couldn’t I demand?

Pusha T, “Young Boy,” from The Clipse’s Lord Willin’, 2002

Actions have reactions, don’t be quick to judge,
You may not know the hardships people don’t speak of.
It’s best to step back, and observe with couth,
For we all must meet our Moment of Truth.

Guru, “Moment of Truth,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

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

Peace before everything, God before anything,
Love before anything, real before everything,
Home before any place, shoot before anything,
Style and state radiate, Love Power slay the hate.

Mos Def, “Priority,” The Ecstatic, 2009

Every coast gotta know, I’m the most with the flow,
No joke I’m a pro, I’m like The Pope on the low.

AZ, “I Am the Truth,” The Format, 2006. Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected as the 266th pope of the Catholic Church yesterday.

Long as I live large, life will be luxury,
Ladies in Lamborghinis…love is like luck to me.

Redman, “Hardcore,” from EPMD’s Business as Usual, 1990

…The greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th.
God bless his soul, rest in peace, kid.
It’s because of him now at least I know what beef is.

Canibus, “Second Round K.O.,” Can-I-Bus, 1998. RIP Christopher George Latore Wallace, best known as The Notorious B.I.G., born May 21, 1972, died March 9, 1997 at the age of 24.

You stackin cheddar cause you working at the burger place.

Inspectah Deck, “It’s Raw,” CZARFACE, 2013

What is the meaning of C.R.I.M.E.?
Is it Criminals Robbin’ Innocent Muthafuckaz Everytime?

GZA, “I Gotcha Back,” Liquid Swords, 1995

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

The business of beauty isn’t a natural model;
It’s built to be the opposite of the cultures we topple.
These magazines got you caught in a hustle,
Cause when you starve yourself, your body doesn’t burn fat, it burns muscles.

Immortal Technique, “Natural Beauty,” The Martyr, 2011

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

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

Mix me with violence, blend me with peace,
Combine me with hate, and I can’t face defeat.

Diddy, “Someone To Love Me,” from Diddy-Dirty Money’s Last Train to Paris, 2011

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

She’s got charm, a firearm to match mine,
Goin to the movies packin his and her nine’s.
Wearin Carhartt and leather, motherfuck the weather,
On Valentine’s Day doin stick-ups together.
No one to blame, no shame in her game,
And when we fuck, she makes me scream out her name.

Apache, “Gangsta Bitch,” Apache Ain’t Shit, 1994

Fuck Compton.

Tim Dog, “Fuck Compton,” Penicillin on Wax, 1991. The Bronx rapper Tim Dog died today from a seizure following a lengthy battle with diabetes, reports The Source. He was 46. Rest in Power, Timothy Blair (1967-2013).

Consider youself lucky, that’s what friends say.
Cause I leave more heads touched, son, than Ash Wednesday.

J-Treds, “Praise Due,” 12", 1998

…Shorty’s laugh was cold-blooded as he spoke so foul,
Only twelve tryin to tell me that he liked my style.
Then I rose, wiping the blunt’s ash from my clothes,
Then froze, only to blow the herb smoke through my nose.

Nas, “One Love,” Illmatic, 1994

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.

Some of you been trying to write rhymes for years,
But weak ideas irritate my ears.
Is this the best that you can make?
Cause if not, and you got more…I’ll wait.

Rakim, “Move the Crowd,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Paid in Full, 1987

I’m givin’ more flat lines to niggas than loose-leaf.

Kool G. Rap, “Go For Your Guns,” from Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo’s Live and Let Die, 1992

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

Now I’m not the type that gets upset,
Try to disrespect folks just to earn respect.
But learn this fact: whether white or black,
I can’t be conquered in my style of rap.
For jealousy and envy are dumb ones’ tools,
So Ricky says nothing, he keeps his cool.
Revenge is not a mission that the Ruler’s on,
Just forgiveness required for the wrong that’s done.

Slick Rick, “The Ruler’s Back,” The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988

I don’t get pat down, you know what’s on the waist,
I don’t mean Jazz when I say I “count base.”
Fly Louis sneakers, Purple Tape coming out the speakers,
Bumped into my high school teachers,
They said I wouldn’t be nothing, sitting on the bleachers.
Now I’m sitting in the Phantom, trynna figure out the features.
I’m a big fish now, I watch for the leeches.

Sheek Louch, “Pour tha Martini,” from Wu-Block, 2012

You got game like me? I doubt it.
They say pimping ain’t easy…what’s so hard about it?

A.G., “Fat for the 90’s,” from Lord Finesse’s Return of the Funky Man, 1992

I thought I’d probably die in prison, expensive taste in women,
Ain’t have no pot to piss in, now my kitchen full of dishes.
Nose bloody from that sniffin’, your heroin addiction
Trigger finger itchin’, fuck parental supervision…
Purple sippin’, finger twistin’, teeth glisten like it’s Memphis
A bunch of hypocritic Christians, the land of no religion.

A$AP Rocky, “LongLiveA$AP,” LongLiveA$AP, 2013

Hard times spreading just like the flu,
Watch out homeboy, don’t let it catch you.

Run-D.M.C., “Hard Times," Run-D.M.C. 1984. Visit the Flu Trends map on Google for more information on how the flu is impacting your community. Theme song: Beatnuts "No Escapin’ This”.

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”.

Take a look at the police and how they treat you,
Take a look at these corporations that cheat you.
Democrats and Republicans are all see-through.
Now we votin for the lesser of two evils…
Man, don’t let ‘em deceive you.
This is an autocracy, not a democracy,
But to call this a democracy without mock interest
In the laws of society? That’s called hypocrisy.

KRS-One, “Pick It Up,” Maximum Strength, 2008

All we want in this life is peace, prosperity and a little paper.

Q-Tip, “Peace, Prosperity and Paper,” from High School High Soundtrack, 1996

Switchin’ speeds like Bruce Lee ridin’ up Fuji in a movie.

Redman, “Can’t Wait,” Dare Iz a Darkside, 1994

Niggas is too scared to hustle, but too cool to work,
So they walk around broke like a motherfuckin jerk.

Meyhem Lauren, “Brand Name Marijuana,” Mandatory Brunch Meetings, 2012

Party’s over, tell the rest of the crew.

Mobb Deep, “Party Over,” The Infamous, 1995

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

Even when I say nothing, it’s a beautiful use of negative space.

El-P, “The Fire In Which You Burn,” from Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus, 1997

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

I refuse to abuse my savings and loans,
So if you want some ends, baby, you best go get your own.
Now I said it once before, and I’m a say it again:
Best believe you won’t receive no dividends.

E.S.T., “Funky Dividends,” Three Times Dope’s Original Stylin’, 1988

We got to stay awake for all these lizards and snakes;
Some of them come as friends, some of them come as Jakes.

Q-Tip, “Ill Vibe,” from Busta Rhymes’ The Coming, 1996

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

The purpose of life is a life with a purpose;
So I’d rather die for a cause than live a life that is worthless.

Immortal Technique, “The Martyr,” The Martyr, 2011

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

We were at the same table when the chips were checked,
A gamblin’ rebel who inspects the deck.
Just when you thought we would fold our hand,
Against all odds, we raised the bet like we changed the plans.
It was live on air, but in between station breaks,
I was holdin a pair and just made the table stakes.
Split the demos, put insurance on tapes,
A safeguard against the crusaders in capes.
If I double-down, they say the Gods are sharks;
If we win against the house, they thought the cards was marked.
We draw hit after hit from a royal flush menu,
While the dealer promoted the full house venue.
A spade in the club with the heart to wear diamonds,
The high roller who got credit upon signin’.
They look puzzled when I shuffle, most of ‘em stunned by the hustle,
Recourse of bluff game’s your muscle.

GZA, “Back in the Game,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Iron Flag, 2001

There’s a very big difference between what’s rap and what’s real,
When those worlds collide, that’s when rappers get killed.
Trappers, they go to jail, die without leaving a will,
There’s a very big difference between what’s rap and what’s real.

Saigon, “Rap Vs. Real,” The Greatest Story Never Told 2: Bread and Circuses, 2012

City lights shine bright on my complexion,
Self-reflection…red hairs flashing at the intersection.
Life is a green light, one star, no script,
Supporting actors…fresh peaches, no pit.

Action Bronson, “Randy The Musical,” Rare Chandeliers, 2012

In my world, even sure bets are not certain;
‘Cause you’ll get the picture, then find out it’s the cropped version.

Joe Budden, “Going Through the Motions,” Mood Muzik: The Box Set, 2012

I know the game, it’s old and lame:
You’re holdin’ a flame for my name and my fame.
Livin’ like Givens schemin’ on Tyson,
But she got lucky ‘cause he was a nice one.
But I ain’t nice and I don’t play that,
If it ain’t tax, I don’t pay that.

Kool Moe Dee, “They Want Money,” Knowledge Is King, 1989

You can do all them push-ups to pump up your chest,
I got a 12 gauge Mossberg to pump up your chest,
Have you gasping for air after that shell hit your vest.
Fear me like you fear God, ‘cause I bring death.

50 Cent, “We All Die One Day,” from Obie Trice’s Cheers, 2003 

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

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

Y’all mythological niggas is comical,
The astronomical is comin’ thru like tha flu bombin’ you…
And embalmin’ in your crew, too.
With the musical, mystical, magical, you know how I do.

Keith Murray, “The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World," The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, 1994 

Success is what you make it, take it how it come.
A half a mil in twenties, like a billion where I’m from.
An arrogant drug dealer, the legend I become,
CNN said I’d be dead by 21.
Blackjack…I just pulled an ace,
As you looking at the king in his face.

Pusha T, “So Appalled,” from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010

People say, ‘Grimm, you’ve been shot like 50.
So why don’t you just rhyme like 50?
Then, you could get the money like 50,
Otherwise, before you see success…you’ll be 50.’

MF Grimm, “Boing,” American Hunger, 2006

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

It’s weak to speak and blame somebody else
…When you destroy yourself.

Chuck D., “Welcome to the Terrordome,” from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, 1990

Everything has a price…
No matter if it’s fortune, fame or your life.
I understood later that it’s all about paper,
Everything has a fee in the land of the free.

O.C., “Land of the Free,” from Show & A.G.’s Live Hard, 2007

Your new CD is a weed plate, nothin’ but love songs,
100% pure garbage, just something to break up buds on.

Jadakiss, “Checkmate,” 12", 2005

Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse,
My glock bursts, leave in a hearse, I did worse.
I come rough, tough like an elephant tusk,
Ya head rush, fly like Egyptian musk.

Ghostface Killah, “Bring Da Ruckus,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), 1993

The God’s tropical…ladies call me ‘Black Fruit Punch.’

Ghostface Killah, “Ice Water,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995

38-24-37…
You and me, hun, we’re a match made in heaven.
I like to kiss ya where some brothers won’t…
I like to tell ya things some brothers don’t.

Q-Tip, “Bonita Applebum,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, 1990

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

We were beginners in the hood as 5 Percenters,
But somethin’ must’ve got in us, cause all of us turned to sinners.

AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” from Nas’ Illmatic, 1994

Hip-Hop got turned into Hit Pop,
The second a record was number one on the pop charts.
But don’t skip on the heart, it gotta start in the ghetto,
Let no one forget about the hard part.

MC Serch, “Pop Goes the Weasel,” from 3rd Bass’ Derelicts of Dialect, 1994

There’s a million ways to live on this thing called a planet,
I’mma live everyday, I ain’t takin’ nothing for granted.

Sadat X, “The Next Spot,” from High School High soundtrack, 1996

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you
Without a strong rhyme to step to.
Think of how many weak shows you slept through…
Time’s up, I’m sorry I kept you.

Rakim, “I Know You Got Soul,” from Eric B. & Rakim’s Paid In Full, 1987

Fuck a stray bullet, I take aim when the gun draws,
For everlasting fame, I will maim those who change the gun laws.
Cause post-traumatic stress disorder, ask any vet I’ve worked with.
My purpose? Catching bodies like safety nets at the circus.

Pharoahe Monch, “Damage,” from PTSD, 2012

I bumped into Loon, he like ‘Well, As Salaam-Alaikum.’
You know I ain’t Muslim, my nigga, I’m about my bacon!

Ma$e, “Higher,” from Kanye West Presents G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer, 2012

I scored 1.1 on my SAT,
And still push a whip with a right and left AC.

Redman, “Blackout,” from Method Man and Redman’s Blackout!, 1999

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

I judge wisely…as if nothin ever surprise me,
Loungin, between two pillars of ivory.
I’m lively, my dome piece is like buildin stones in Greece.
My poems are deep, from ancient thrones I speak.

Killah Priest, “4th Chamber,” from Genius/GZA’s Liquid Swords, 1995

Now what Clan you know with lines this ill?
Bust shots at Big Ben, like we got time to kill.

Method Man, “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off),” from Wu-Tang Clan’s The W, 2000

They use the simple back and forth, the same, old rhythm
That a baby can pick up, and join, right with ‘em.
But their rhymes are pathetic, they think they copacetic
Using nursery terms, at least not poetic…

Kool Keith, “Ego Trippin,” from Ultramagnetic MC’s Critical Beatdown, 1988

We got it on lock like Barack got the nomination

Masta Ace, “Pass the Mic,” from Masta Ace & Edo G’s Arts and Entertainment, 2009

Putting styles on lock, and making beats by the bundle,
Scooping more props than Bryant Gumbel…and staying humble.

Pete Rock, “Escape,” from Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s The Main Ingredient, 1994

These niggaz ain’t thugs, the real thugs is the government.
Don’t matter if you Independent, Democrat or Republican,
Niggaz politickin’ the street, get into beef,
Start blastin’…now a new cat is executive chief.

Talib Kweli, “Ghetto Afterlife,” from Reflection Eternal’s Train of Thought, 2000

You’re mad cause my style you’re admiring…
Don’t be mad, UPS is hiring.

The Notorious B.I.G., “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” 12", 1994

Let’s advance the game:
How many times can we rhyme about cars and chains?
How many bricks can a nigga really sell?
How many times can a nigga really go to jail?
How many murders can you do on one album?
Put ‘em together, must of did about a thousand.
I’m just saying, let’s change it up.
If not, nigga, hang it up.

Lord Jamar, “Advance the Game,” The 5% Album, 2006

Battling me is some deadly shit,
So come equipped with rhymes, guns and two extra clips.
Aim for the head, ‘cause you don’t wear a vest there,
Bullet makes a window, your brain needing fresh air.

MF Grimm, “Emotions,” Scars & Memories, 2005

Next time you see a brother down
Stop and pick him up,
Cause you might be the next one stuck.

Grand Puba, “Mind Your Business,” Ya Know How It Goes 12", 1992

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
Never forget where you from; someone will remind you.

DMX, “It’s On,” from DJ Clue’s The Professional, 1998

Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal,
MC’s spit rhymes to uplift their people.

KRS-One, “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been),” 2007

I will endanger your species like an ostrich,
Hold you hostage, and crazy feed you swine sausage!

Busta Rhymes, “Do My Thing,” The Coming, 1996

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

How far must you go to gain respect? Um…
Well, it’s kind of simple: just remain your own.
Or you’ll be crazy sad and alone.

Q-Tip, “Check the Rhime,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, 1991

I want a girl with extensions in her hair,
Bamboo earrings, at least two pair,
A Fendi bag and a bad attitude,
That’s all I need to get me in a good mood.
She can walk with a switch and talk with street slang,
I love it when a woman ain’t scared to do her thing.

LL Cool J, “Around the Way Girl,” Mama Said Knock You Out, 1990

I left my Phillie at home,
Do you have another?
I wanna get blunted, my brother.

Smooth B, “DWYCK,” from Gang Starr’s Hard to Earn, 1994

Some seek fame cause they need validation,
Some say hating is confused admiration.

Nas, “Stay,” Life is Good, 2012 

Once in awhile, I’mma cheat and get dome,
But best believe that I’mma always come home.
Shorty, I luv you.

Meyhem Lauren, “Let’s Hold Hands,” Respect The Fly Shit, 2012

Type to tote the glock and use gats…
You the type to vote Barack cause dude’s black.

Sean P, “Grown Man Palettes,” from Meyhem Lauren’s Respect The Fly Shit, 2012

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

Why’s my name the Large Professor?
Cause I milked your cow, in other words I hit your heifer.

Large Professor, “Live at the Barbecue,” from Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 1991