I thank the Lord for every morning he allows me to rise,
And though the sun is shining, there’s a cloud in the sky
Lettin’ me know that at any moment there could be rain.
And as beautiful as life is, there still can be pain.
Down the park, I hear the sirens, just screamin’ away,
And then the inevitable happens, the end of them days,
As sad as it sounds, but that’s the price we all gotta pay.
And the whole world knows God giveth, and will taketh away.
I live and I learn, I sit and watch my cigarette burn
Down to the ash. It reminds me of the now and the past.
I say a little prayer, cause eventually I’ll stand in the path
Of the souls and dark rows that lead to rest.

Scarface, “What Can I Do?,” The Fix, 2002

Never looking back or too far in front of me,
The present is a gift, and I just want to Be.

Common, “Be,” Be, 2005

I live this life at a pace that anyone can go.
Know your place, and dedicate your role
…To the faith that you’ll die alone

Kendrick Lamar, “See No Evil,” from Game’s Jesus Piece, 2012

It’s like a cycle: niggas come home, some’ll go in,
Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again.
From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable,
Guns salute life, rapidly, that’s the ritual.

Nas, “Verbal Intercourse,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995

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

Eminem • “Rock Bottom” • 1999

My life is full of empty promises and broken dreams…
I’m hopin’ things look up; but there ain’t no job openings.
I feel discouraged, hungry and malnourished,
Living in this house with no furnace, unfurnished.
And I’m sick of workin’ dead end jobs with lame pay,
And I’m tired of bein’ hired and fired the same day.
But fuck it, if you know the rules to the game play,
Cause when we die, we know we all going the same way.

Eminem, “Rock Bottom,” Slim Shady LP, 1999

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

A simple right or left can mean life or death,
Epic fail or nice success,
Days of pleasure or nights of stress.

Ka, “Decisions,” Grief Pedigree, 2012

So lovers of life, don’t keep your hopes up high.
Why? Cause it’s just a matter of time before it’s your turn to die.
But until then, when you stop breathin’,
It’s time to stand up and fight for what you believe in!

Sticky Fingaz, “2 Wrongz,” from Onyx’s All We Got Iz Us,  1995

I remember when I fell from my first bike:
There were no ‘Are you okays?’ and rarely ‘Are you alrights?’
Just dirt in my pockets, handful of gravel…
That’s when I realized that getting up is only half the battle.

Big K.R.I.T., “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Live from the Underground, 2012

Laugh now, cry later: this is the karma.
Hip-hop never died, it’s just sick of the drama.

Cormega, “Journey,” Born and Raised, 2009

…I’ve never had a dream in my life,
Because a dream is what you wanna do, but still haven’t pursued.
I knew what I wanted, and did it till it was done.
So I’ve been the dream I wanted to be since Day One.

Aesop Rock, “No Regrets,” Labor Days, 2001

God damn! Drug dealers dealin’ to the kiddies,
Livin’ in the city ain’t no pity on the itty-bitty.
We try to cry, but still they all die,
I try to speak to the youth, and the truth is: they all high.

2Pac, “Wassup Wit The Luv?,” from Digital Underground’s The Body-Hat Syndrome, 1993

I know how it feels to wake up fucked up,
Pockets broke as hell, another rock to sell.
People look at you like you’s the user,
Selling drugs to all the losers, mad buddha abuser.
But they don’t know about the stress-filled day…
Baby on the way, mad bills to pay,
That’s why you drink Tanqueray,
So you can reminisce and wish
You wasn’t living so devilish, shit.

Notorious B.I.G., “Everyday Struggle,” Ready to Die, 1994

Life is real, reality is not a dream.
Those who chose to sleep…I wake em up,
Cause you’re sleepin with your mouth open hummin deez nuts.

King Sun, “Humm Deez Nuts,” Strictly Ghetto EP, 1994

I don’t see the world as you see it.
I see it as a game, and my aim is to complete it.
What you live for is what you die for:
To make a little name, grab some fame and the high score.

Murs, “Ice Cream Mountain,” from McKenzie Eddy’s Slow Your Horse Down, Son, 2011

They say it’s lonely at the top, in whatever you do,
You always gotta watch motherfuckers around you.
Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof,
We all must meet our Moment of Truth.

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

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

My life is violent but violence is life,
Peace is a dream, reality is a knife.

Ice-T, “Colors,” from Colors Soundtrack, 1988

Life’s a bitch, but God forbid the bitch divorce me…

Nas, “Affirmative Action,” It Was Written, 1996

Day in and day out we do the same thing,
Tryina find the joy in our repetition.
Always complainin’ about the routine and the mundane.
But let me stop to remind y’all bout one thing:
Come hell or high water you can count on the sun
Always shinin’ in its untamed glory.

Phonte, “Greater Than the Sun,” from Zo!’s SunStorm, 2010

You never question when you get the blessings,
So don’t get vexed when your life is stressed.

Shad, “Rose Garden,” TSOL, 2010

See, my Mom chose dope, my Pop chose the pipe.
So I rhyme like a triple beam balance in life.

Tragedy Khadafi a.k.a. The Intelligent Hoodlum, “Permanently Scarred,” Against All Odds, 1997

Every day is like a blank canvas,
Carving my initials in the planet like I brand it.
Hand-picked to live this life we take for granted,
Like a child with an upright bass, we can’t stand it.

Blu, “The Day,” from The Roots’ How I Got Over, 2010

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…

I give you life decoded,
Nicely quoted.

Ka, “Day 110,” 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.

Sometimes I look up at the stars and analyze the sky,
And ask myself: was I meant to be here…why?

Ghostface Killah, “All That I Got Is You,” Ironman, 1996. More quotes from GFK…

I never asked to be born, and death’s no question.
The sun’s still shining off the same old lessons,
Then why does life feel like an educated guess?
And my thoughts are like meals…I’m a sucker for the seconds.

Oddisee, “Own Appeal,” Tangible Dream, 2013. More from Oddisee…

There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s gotta handle up on his own.
Can’t depend on friends to help you in a squeeze,
Please…they got problems of their own.

Slim Kid Tre, “Runnin’”, from Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia, 1995. More Pharcyde quotes…

Life is real, reality is not a dream.
Those who chose to sleep…I wake em up,
Cause you’re sleepin with your mouth open hummin deez nuts.

King Sun, “Humm Deez Nuts,” Strictly Ghetto EP, 1994. More King Sun quotes…

Life is something you can’t borrow and give back;
Here today and gone tomorrow…just like that.

E-40, “The Story,” Tha Hall of Game, 1996

My old soul remains forever young…
I’ve done it all, and still I’m doing shit that I ain’t ever done.
See, it depends on your definition of winning;
I ain’t started from the bottom, I started from the beginning.

Oddisee, “Tangible Dream,” Tangible Dream, 2013

You can take back all the things you give,
But you can’t take back the days you live.
Life is to some people who’ve been on earth
Livin’ every single day for what it’s worth.
I live life just how I please,
Satisfy one person I know: that’s me.

Too $hort, “Life Is.. Too $hort,” Life Is… Too $hort, 1988

Life is full of stress and it wrecks my brain,
So I puff the buddha bless and destroy the pain.

JuJu, “Props Over Here,” from The Beatnuts’ Street Level, 1994

Life’s not a bitch, life is a beautiful woman…
You only call her a bitch because she won’t let you get that pussy.
Maybe she didn’t feel y’all shared any similar interests,
Or maybe you’re just an asshole who couldn’t sweet talk the princess.

Aesop Rock, “Daylight,” Daylight EP, 2002

I know the feelin, when you feelin like a villain,
You be havin good thoughts but the evils be revealin’.
And the stresses of life can take you off the right path,
Jealousy and envy tends to infiltrate your staff…
We gotta hold it down so we can move on past
All adversities, so we can get through fast.

Q-Tip, “Stressed Out,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats, Rhymes & Life, 1996

Every time I write these words they become a taboo,
Making sure my punctuation curve, every letter here’s true,
Living my life in the margin, and that metaphor was proof.

Kendrick Lamar, “Poetic Justice,” good kid, m.A.A.d city, 2012

Life can change your directions, even when you ain’t planned it.
All you can do is handle it, worst thing you can do is panic.

T.I., “No Matter What,” The Paper Trail, 2008

I wanna just take this time out to be perfectly honest;
Cause there’s a lotta shit I keep bottled that hurts deep inside of my soul,
And just know that I grow colder the older I grow.
This boulder on my shoulder gets heavy and harder to hold,
And this load is like the weight of the world and I think my neck is breaking,
Should I just give up or try to live up to these expectations?

Eminem, “Hailie’s Song,” The Eminem Show, 2002

Everything will eventually come to an end,
So try to savor the moment, cause time flies, don’t it?
The beauty of life, you gotta make it last for the better,
Cause nothin’ lasts forever.

Nas, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” The Lost Tapes, 2002

In this life ain’t no happy endings;
Only pure beginnings followed by years of sinning and fake repentance.

J. Cole, “Runaway,” Born Sinner, 2013