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

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

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

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

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 

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

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

For underground metaphors, you can scrape an inch below the turf.
For what it’s worth, my style’s been developed in the core of the Earth.
The exhale’s volcanic, the inhale is seismic…

J-Live, “Braggin’ Writes,” 12", 1995

The D’s for doin it all of the time.
M is for the rhymes, that are all mine,
C’s for cool, cool as can be,
And why you wear those glasses? So I can see!

D.M.C., “Here We Go,” Run-D.M.C., 1983

A rap villain: chillin’ and I don’t give a fuck about a killin’ cause I’m still in effect when you’re illin’.

Kool G. Rap, “Jive Talk,” from Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo’s Wanted: Dead or Alive, 1990

I got styles sick as hell, sicker than sickle cell anemia,
Slaughter your circulatory like leukemia.

AZ, “Rather Unique,” Doe or Die, 1995

A rap pro, do a show, good to go, also
Cameo afro, Virgo, domino, I go Rambo,
Gigolo, Romeo, Friday night spend money on a ho…tel,
To get a good night’s sleep, I’m keeping in step.
Now do I come off? Yep.

Big Daddy Kane, “Just Rhymin’ with Biz,” Long Live the Kane, 1988

Linguine linguistics that left my verbal essence saucy,
Send a message, leave you sleepin’ next to headless horsey.

Action Bronson, “Terror Death Camp,” from Action Bronson and Statik Selektah’s Well Done, 2011

I leave scientists mentally scarred,
Triple Extra Large,
Wild like rock stars who smash guitars…

Inspectah Deck, “Above the Clouds,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

Leave MC’s blind with amnesia;
Chop ‘em into salad, and my name ain’t Caesar.

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

My karma’s the comma that puts you inside of a coma,
Hyphen, dot, dot, semi-colon, leave you semi-swollen.
Question mark, you pregnant?
Oh you’re not? I love you, period.

Chino XL, “Wordsmith,” Poison Pen, 2006

New York City gritty committee pity the fool that act shitty in the midst of the calm, the witty.

Pharaohe Monch, “Simon Says (Get the Fuck Up),” Internal Affairs, 1999

Dwellin’ in the Rotten Apple, you get tackled.
Or caught by the devil’s lasso…shit is a hassle.

Nas, “The World Is Yours,” Illmatic, 1994

Never been to Sesame Street but I flip a Big Bird.
And I know “stealers” and they not from Pittsburgh…

Cam’Ron, “357,” Confessions of Fire, 1998

Makin’ veterans run for medicine,
Cause I put out more lights in a fight than ConEdison.

Kool G. Rap, “The Symphony,” from Marley Marl’s In Control Vol. 1, 1988

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

Yo, you 14-carat gold slum computer wizard,
Tappin’ inside my rap vein causes blizzards!

Ghostface Killah, “Guillotine (Swordz)”, from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995

Some is sniffin’, and some is buffin’.
Some is riffin’, some ain’t sayin nothin’,
But my pockets I am stuffin’.
Huffin’ puffin’, blow the house down,
Nice and Smooth is in your town…

Greg Nice, “No Delayin’”, from Nice & Smooth’s Nice and Smooth, 1989

La-Di-Da-Di, we likes to party
We don’t cause trouble, we don’t bother nobody.
We’re just some men that’s on the mic,
And when we rock up on the mic
We rock the mic, right!

MC Ricky D. a.k.a. Slick Rick, “La Di Da Di,” from The Show 12", 1985

I get physical, mystical, very artistical…
Giving party people something funky to listen to.

Big Daddy Kane, “Just Rhymin’ with Biz,” Long Live The Kane, 1988

Street’s disciple, my raps are trifle.
I shoot slugs from my brain just like a rifle.

Nas, “Live at the Barbeque,” from Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 1991

Let’s travel at magnificent speeds around the universe
What could you say as the Earth gets further and further away
Planets are small as balls of clay
Astray into the Milky Way, world’s outasight
Far as the eye can see, not even a satellite
Now stop and turn around and look
As you stare in the darkness, your knowledge is took!
So keep starin’ soon you suddenly see a star
You better follow it, cause it’s the R.

Rakim, “Follow the Leader,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader, 1988

I’m the epitome of catchin’ wreck, catch you when you cash your check
Smash you when you pass, then jack you for your fuckin’ Lex

Big Pun, “Beware,” Capital Punishment, 1998

GZA/Genius (Wu-Tang Clan) • “Alphabets” • Pro Tools • 2008

Allah Be a Born, Cee Divine, Equality,
Father, then after that, there’s the G-O-D.
He or Her, I Islam, then Justice,
King of Kingdom, Love, Hell or Right, we still exist.
Master, Now in Cypher, Power’s the Queen,
Rule of Rulers, Self of Save, the Truth of the square, the same.
Universe, Victory, Wisdom, Unknown,
Why, Zig Zag Zig…and now we’re back home.

GZA, “Alphabets,” Pro Tools, 2008

Kool G. Rap • “Bad to the Bone” • 1990

Rhymes are dynamic, voice is titanic,
Gigantic…suckers get frantic, and then panic.
A smooth talker, ‘cause I’m a Queens New Yorker,
My rhymes bring more Good Times than Jimmie Walker.

Kool G. Rap, “Bad to the Bone,” from Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo’s Wanted: Dead or Alive, 1990

LL Cool J • “My Rhyme Ain’t Done” • 1987

I took a little trip into a deck of cards:
The Diamond Jack, Joker and the Ace of Spades
Was amazed at greater Cut Creator on the fade.
Then I played cards with the Queen of Clubs,
The Queen of Hearts with me cold fell in love.
As for the Queen of Diamonds, she don’t like men…
Because you know that a diamond is a girl’s best friend.
The double-trouble Spade was named the Deuce,
And the Joker acted stupid, so we gave him the news.
There was 52 cards, and I met everyone
That story is over, but my rhyme ain’t done.

LL Cool J, “My Rhyme Ain’t Done,” Bigger and Deffer, 1987

Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang Clan) • “Triumph” • 1997

I bomb atomically, Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses
Can’t define how I be dropping these mockeries.
Lyrically perform armed robbery,
Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me…

– Inspectah Deck, “Triumph,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu-Tang Forever, 1997

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

Killer Mike (Run the Jewels) • “Nobody Speak” • 2016

I rob Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Linus and Lucy,
Put coke in the doobie, roll woolies to smoke with Snoopy.
I still remain that dick grabbin’ slacker that spit a loogie,
Cause the toter of the toolie’ll murder you friggin’ Moolie.

– Killer Mike, “Nobody Speak,” from DJ Shadow’s The Mountain Will Fall, 2016

I dispense dope sentences without a prescription.
Prefixes asphyxiate bitches who flips linguistics,
Representin the West, relevant to relentless sentences.
If renegade rebels resent this wicked syntax,
Revert to revolution Ras reverse, reverberates,
Revolvin with written retalliation, rate repetitious.

Ras Kass, “Etc.,” Soul on Ice, 1996. More from Ras Kass…

Serve the curves, I never swerve I’m superb;
Every word you heard played tricks on your nerves.

LL Cool J, “Jinglin’ Baby (Remixed But Still Jinglin’),” Mama Said Knock You Out, 1990. More from Uncle L…

I’m a beast on the microphone, a night stalker,
A killing machine, a savage street talker,
Jason with an axe, but I put it on wax
To eradicate the suckers who thought I had relaxed.

LL Cool J, “Jack the Ripper,” Walking with a Panther, 1989. More from Uncle L…

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…

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…

Deep like The Shining, sparkle like a diamond,
Sneak a Uzi on the Island in my army jacket lining.
Hit the Earth like a comet…invasion,
Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian: half-man, half-amazing.

Nas, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Illmatic, 1993. More from Nas…

It ain’t hard to tell, I excel then prevail,
The mic is contacted, I attract clientele.
My mic check is life or death, breathing a sniper’s breath,
I exhale the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps.

Nas, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Illmatic, 1993. More from Nas…

Redman ready to rock rough rhymes,
Renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time.
Punk push a pen and pencil when I’m pissed,
Pack pistol posse, flow some more pro shit.

Redman, “Hardcore,” from EPMD’s Business as Usual, 1990 (via rapquote)

Now I’m a veteran, spit a 16 sixteen ways,
Sixteen in a clip, spit it 16 ways.
I know six teens, pull up to a sweet sixteen and spray.
I’m like sixteen Jays, but the beat I can manage,
So every Sweet 16 is like Duke and Kansas.

Game, “The Documentary 2,” The Documentary 2, 2015

You tremble for my treble,
You’re begging for the bass.
The voice is too vicious,
The same as the pace.

Queen Latifah, “Wrath of My Madness,” All Hail the Queen, 1989

I rub your face off the Earth and curse your family children,
Like Amityville; I drill the nerves in your cavity filling.
Insanity’s building a pavilion in my civilian
The cannon be the anarchy that humanity’s dealin’.
A villain without remorse who’s willing to out your boss
Forever…and take all the cheddar like child support.

Big Pun, “Twinz (Deep Cover ‘98),” Capital Punishment, 1998. More from Pun…

I never gave a rat’s ass or a flyin’ fuck…
Drivin’ drunk in a fire truck with the siren stuck,
Slammin’ the brakes, skiddin’ out cause the tires suck.
Went to pull you off my dick and got the pliers stuck.
You better run, cause I’m probably the only one
Crazy enough to shoot your ass with a knife and stab you with a gun.

Eminem, “5 Star Generals,” from Shabaam Sahdeeq’s Sound Clash / 5 Star Generals 12″, 1998. More from Em…

Attention! Follow directions real close:
Keep out of reach of children, beware of overdose.
Too many milligram, but what made a iller jam?
My rhyme is the rhythm of thoughts that kill a man.
Ideas for the ear to fear, might split ‘em;
He’ll never forget ’em…he’ll rest in peace wit ’em.
At least when he left he’ll know what hit ’em:
The last breath of the words of death was ‘The Rhythm.’

Rakim, “Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em, 1990. More classic lines from the greatest of all time…

I keep the ugly rhymes in the cellar of my cranium,
Where no one can see them or hear cries for freedom.
Chopped up raw thoughts the only thing I feed ‘em,
Release the beats from the cellar when I need ‘em.

MF Grimm, “What a Nigga Know? (Remix),” from K.M.D.’s Black Bastards, 1993. More from Grimm…

The scene of a crime every night at the show,
The fiend of a rhyme on the mic that you know.
It’s only one capable; breaks, the unbreakable.
Melodies, unmakable; pattern, unescapable.

Rakim, “Lyrics of Fury,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader, 1988. More from Rakim Allah…

Brothers on the butters can’t flip the Parkay.

Large Professor, “Large Professor,” from Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 1991. More from Extra P…

My mic is a Magnum.
See me and this chick, we go back like Cro-Magnon.
Man…we did it in the back of your Magnum;
I said, ‘Put them Lifestyles back, give me the Magnums.’

Pharoahe Monch, “Rap Life,” from Diamond D’s The Diam Piece, 2014. More lyrics from Pharoahe Monch…

No-frill rappers: you will evaporate, disintegrate, deflate to your fate,
as the great will dominate straight to the state
Of reignin’, gainin’…So put Kane in
That category. Period. End of story.

Big Daddy Kane, “The Symphony,” from Marley Marl’s In Control, Volume 1, 1988. More from King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal >

Squeeze 7cc’s so I could see the seven seas,
And CC all my friends so they could see what I was seeing…
But what they saw was a despicable human being;
So, I guess they just wasn’t seeing what I was seeing.

Pharoahe Monch, “Broken Again,” PTSD, 2014. More quotes from Pharoahe Monch…

I got a smile that’ll make the mirror crack,
And I seem to stay under clouds that’s pitch black.
So when it rains, it pours, and when it pours, I’m soaked.
I contracted lung cancer from third hand smoke,
And I’m like the frog that’s dying to be a prince,
The boy who cried wolf and no one was convinced.
The man who hit lotto and lost his ticket,
In a rainstorm…and struck by lightning trying to get it.

GZA, “Life Is a Movie,” Pro Tools, 2008. More brilliant lyrics from The GZA…

Save your wack rhymes, hold your female.
Pass the Old Gold, trash the ale.
Cash your food stamps, get the WIC out the mail.
Love to eat shrimps, but I never eat snail,
Eat a whole fish except for the tail.
Keep food in the fridge so it don’t get stale,
And when there’s nothing to eat…I bite my nails.

Big Daddy Kane, “On the Bugged Tip,” Long Live the Kane, 1988. More ill quotes from the King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal…

I play chess, but my past is checkered,
The mic and I are like staff and shepherd.

Ka, “Peace Akhi,” Night’s Gambit, 2013. More Ka quotes.

Fuck movin’ mountains, I move planets and leave you Earthless.
Terror Squad: the worst that hurt shit, split your universes.

Fat Joe, “Find Out,” Don Cartagena, 1998

My motto is: the bigger they are, the more politics involved,
And I revolve at a rate to make your occipital skull plate dissolve.
Techniques delve deep, soooo…don’t sleep, ock, I rock phonics
That got you holdin my dick like your name was Lorena Bobbit.

Ras Kass, “Remain Anonymous,” 12", 1994. More Ras Kass quotes.

Lyrical lecture, word architecture,
Rap director, the best in my sector.
Microphone cool chief, releasin the smooth speech…
I get nasty with a pen and some loose leaf.

Lord Finesse, “Baby, You Nasty,” from Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth’s Funky Technician, 1990

Commentating, illustrating, description-giving
Adjective expert. Analyzing, surmising,
Musical, myth-seeking people of the universe…
This is yours!

T La Rock & Jazzy Jay, “It’s Yours,” 1987

This is my time, this is my hour,
This is my pain, this is my name, this is my power.
If it’s my reign, then it’s my shower,
This pole position…I made a lane ‘cause they blocked ours.

Pusha T, “King Push,” My Name Is My Name, 2013

This thing called rhymin’ is no different than coal minin’;
We both on assignment to unearth the diamond.

Mos Def, “Travellin’ Man,” from DJ Honda’s HII, 1998

Redman ready to rock rough rhymes,
Renegade rapper, rip when it’s rhyme time.
Punk push a pen and pencil when I’m pissed,
Pack pistol posse, flow some more pro shit.

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

What is competition? I’m tryna raise the bar high,
Who tryna jump and get it? You better off tryna skydive
Out the exit window of 5 G5’s with 5 grand
With your granddad as the pilot he drunk as fuck tryna land
With the hand full of arthritis and popping prosthetic leg
Bumpin Pac in the cockpit so the shit that pops in his head
Is an option of violence, someone heard the stewardess said
That your parachute is a latex condom hooked to a thread.

Kendrick Lamar, “Control,” from Big Sean’s Hall of Fame, 2013

I circumnavigate the globe with a one-liner like latitude.

Ras Kass, “Riiiot!” from Chino XL’s Here to Save You All, 1996

Consider me the entity within the industry without a history of spitting the epitome of stupidity.

Talib Kweli, “Definition,” from Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998

Comin’ from the school of hard knocks,
Some perpetrate…they drink Clorox.
Attack the black, cause I know they lack exact
The cold facts, and still they try to Xerox.

Chuck D., “Don’t Believe the Hype,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Million’s To Hold Us Back, 1988

The last batter to hit, blast shattered your hip,
Smash any splitter or fastball—that’ll be it.

Pharoahe Monch, “The Next Shit,” Internal Affairs, 1999

Super-cali-fragalistic-expiali-docious,
Docious-ali-expi-fragalistic-cali-super.
Cancun…catch me in the room, eatin’ grouper.

Ghostface Killah, “Buck 50,” Supreme Clientele, 1999