Don’t sell yourself to fall in love,
With those things you do…

J Dilla, “Fall in Love,” from Slum Village’s Fantastic Vol 2., 2000

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

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

I live by the beat like you live check to check.
If you don’t move your feet then I don’t eat,
So we like neck to neck.

André Benjamin, “Elevators (Me & You),” from Outkast’s ATLiens, 1996

To all the seeds that follow me,
Protect your essence.
Born with less, but you still precious,
Just smile for me now.

2Pac, “Smile,” from Scarface’s The Untouchable, 1997

I’m surrounded by psychopathic little fellas,
Ghetto dwellas, with ammunition in their cellas,
And no remorse in their hearts
When the shit starts it don’t end…
Until somebody’s gone with the wind.

Masta Ace, “Maintain,” Sittin on Chrome EP, 1995

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

I don’t mind you talkin shit, just keep it in the first person.

El-P, “89.9 Detrimental,” from Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus, 1997

Know the shit I don’t write be the illest shit that’s ever been recited in the game,
Word to the hyphen in my name!

Jay Z, “The Watcher 2,” The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, 2002. Jay Z dropped the hyphen today.

I got mouths to feed,
Unnecessary beef is more cows to breed.

GZA, “4th Chamber,” Liquid Swords, 1995

Rappers act so wild, and love to profile,
Frontin’ hard, but ain’t got no style.

Big Daddy Kane, “Smooth Operator,” It’s a Big Daddy Thing, 1989

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

In time, you’ll see a thin line between friend and rival.
Between you and me: stupidity and men’s bravado.

Ka, “Iron Age,” Grief Pedigree, 2012

No matter what the name, we’re all the same pieces in one big chess game.

Chuck D., “Rebel Without a Pause,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988

Burn, Hollywood, burn, I smell a riot goin’ on,
First they’re guilty, now they’re gone!

Chuck D., “Burn, Hollywood, Burn,” from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet, 1990

Nowadays, the game is all bugged out,
Phony, like back when Hammer tried to come thugged out.

MF Doom, “Foolish,“ from MF Grimm’s Downfall of Ibliys: A Ghetto Opera, 2002

If you love someone, you should say it often,
You never know when they’ll be layin’ in a coffin.
Wake up, it’s important that you know that
No one on Earth is promised tomorrow.

MC Lyte, “Poor Georgie,” Act Like You Know, 1991

Her dreams hold Versace,
She fall for Armani…
Only deal with rich niggas,
Fuck you and Mitt Romney.

Kendrick Lamar, “Memories Back Then,” Grand Hustle Presents: Hustle Gang, 2013

Lyrically, I’m supposed to represent;
I’m not only the client, I’m the player president.

The Notorious B.I.G., “One More Chance (Remix),” 12", 1995

I’m only trying to show you how black niggas live,
But you don’t want your little ones acting like this.
Lil Amy told Becky, Becky told Jenny,
And now they all know the skinny.
Lil Joey got his durag on,
Driving down the street blasting Tupac’s song.

Jay-Z, “Hell Yeah (Pimp the System) (Remix)”, from Revolutionary But Gangsta, 2004

Feds still lurking,
They see I’m still putting work in.
Cause somewhere in America…
Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’.

Jay-Z, “Somewhere In America,” Magna Carta Holy Grail, 2013

I been in the game for 10 years making rap tunes…
Ever since honeys was wearing Sassoons.

Dr. Dre, “California Love,” from 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, 1996

It’s the principle of it, I get a rush when I bust
Some dope lines oral, that maybe somebody’ll quote.
That’s what I consider real in this field of music,
Instead of puttin’ brain cells to work, they abuse it.
Non-conceptual, non-exceptional,
Everybody’s either crime-related or sexual.
For those who pose lyrical, but really ain’t true, I feel:
Their time’s limited, hard rocks too.

O.C., “Time’s Up,” Word…Life, 1994

I drop styles on ears…the public bite ‘em.
Not many went to school, so the dummies wouldn’t write ’em.
They say, “Yo Keith! You’re Kool, you usin’ big words!”
I went to college, I’m even more stupid, herb.

Kool Keith, “Raise It Up,” from Ultramagnetic M.C.’s The Four Horsemen, 1993

Ooh! Jesus Christ had dreads, so shake ‘em.
I ain’t got none, but I’m planning on growing some.
Imagine all the Hebrews going dumb…
Dancing on top of chariots and turning tight ones.

E-40, “Tell Me When to Go,” My Ghetto Report Card, 2006

We made plans, but we’ll never be able to fulfill ‘em.
This is shit we put together since we was little…
Every time we had dreams, you found a way you could kill ’em.

Kurupt, “Keep it Moving,” from Hi-Tek’s Hi-Teknology 2: The Chip, 2006

Payback’s a bitch, that’s why I never borrow;
And if push comes to shove, I’d do a stickup tomorrow.

Daddy-O, “Inner City Boundaries,” from Freestyle Fellowship’s Innercity Griots, 1993

They claim we’re products from the bottom of Hell,
But the black is back, and it’s bound to sell.
Picture us coolin’ out on the Fourth of July…
And if you heard we were celebratin’, that’s a worldwide lie.

Flavor Flav, “Louder than a Bomb,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988

My heart is ‘We Are the World,’ my penis is P.E.
But my balls are Avatar, you could see ’em in 3D.

Pharoahe Monch, “Let U Live,” from Consequence’s Movies on Demand, 2010

I’m down for you, so ride with me.
My enemies your enemies,
Cause you ain’t ever had a friend like me.

2Pac, “Never Had a Friend Like Me,” from Gridlock’d Soundtrack, 1997

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

I ain’t goin out like a spineless jellyfish.
Some say life is a bitch…
Ask that punk who dug his own ditch.

B-Real, “Hand on the Pump,” Cypress Hill’s Cypress Hill, 1991

Who’s that peeking in my window?
Pow.
Nobody now.

Goodie Mob, “Cell Therapy,” Soul Food, 1995

I know you think my life is good ‘cause my diamond piece,
But my life been good since I started finding peace.

Nas, “Loco-Motive,” Life Is Good, 2012

Raise your right palm: We do solemnly swear
To stack more dough more calmly this year.

MF Doom, “Get ‘Er Done,” from Jake One’s White Van Music, 2008

It’s drones over Brooklyn, you blink, you could get tooken,
And now you’re understanding the definition of ‘Crooklyn.’
Pigs on parade, but bacon fryin’ and cookin’,
Cause kids’ tired of dyin’ and walkin’ round like they shooken.

Killer Mike, “DDFH,” from El-P + Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels, 2013

…About those other Jennys I reckoned with
Lost them all like a homework excuse.
This time the Magic Number is Two,
‘Cause it takes two, not three, to seduce.

Dove, “Eye Know,” from De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, 1989

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

We fight every night, now that’s not kosher.
I reminisce with bliss of when we was closer,
And wake up to be greeted by an argument again,
…You act like you’re ten.
So immature, I try to concentrate on a cure,
And keep lookin’ at the front door.

Large Professor, “Looking at the Front Door,” from Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 1991

I drink twenty forties, smoke forty blunts,
Say a hundred rhymes, and not sound like you once.

Dres, “Roll  Wit Tha Flava,” from Flavor Unit’s Roll Wit Tha Flava, 1993

How you picture tomorrow with the wrong frame of mind?
How you picture love, if you were blind?

Blu, “My Hoe,” from Statik Selektah’s Extended Play, 2013

Woke up quick, at about noon.
Just thought that I had to be in Compton soon.
I gotta get drunk before the day begins,
Before my mother starts bitchin bout my friends.

Eazy-E, “Boyz-N-The-Hood (remix),” Eazy Duz It, 1988

You dudes is noodles, I got more ziti to bake.
You dudes is cake, I keep two biscuits on the waist.
Razor blades under the tongue, I will eat your face,
Appetite for destruction, I am starvin’ today.
Got a money hungry lawyer that’ll eat the case,
And that’s just food for thought, don’t let it go to waste.

Jay-Z, “U Don’t Know (Remix),” The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, 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

‘What you doing in the club on a Thursday?’
She say she only here for her girl birthday…
They ordered champagne but still look thirsty,
Rock Forever 21 but just turned 30.

Kanye West, “Bound 2,” Yeezus, 2013

You and your friends…always together,
No time for the B-I-G, so I’m O-U-T.
The sex was great, but the headaches I can’t take.
I think I made a very big mistake.

Notorious B.I.G., “Buddy X (Remix),” from Neneh Cherry’s Homebrew, 1992

It’s been a long time…I shouldn’t have left you
Without a strong rhyme to step to.

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

Be a father, if not, why bother, son?
A boy can make ‘em, but a man can raise one.
If you did it, admit it and stick with it.

Ed O.G., “Be a Father to Your Child,” from Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs’s Life of a Kid in the Ghetto, 1991

All right, stop whatcha doin, cause I’m about to ruin
The image and the style that you’re used to.

Shock G. aka Humpty Hump, “The Humpty Dance,” from Digital Underground’s Sex Packets, 1990

It’s a beautiful day, and everybody’s feelin’ wonderful,
The ladies is out, lookin’ fly, dressed comfortable.
I love to wake up, and feel the breeze through my window,
Slip on fatigues, grab a dutch, and roll some indo.

Dead Prez, “Happiness,” Let’s Get Free, 2000

I go to Queens for queens to get the crew from Brooklyn,
Make money in Manhattan and never been tooken.
Go Uptown and the Bronx to boogie down,
Get strong on the Island, recoup, and lay around.

Rakim, “Juice (Know the Ledge),” from Eric B. & Rakim’s Don’t Sweat the Technique, 1992

I’ma say this shit now and never again:
We ain’t buddies, we ain’t partners and we damn sure ain’t friends.
The games you playin, you get killed like that,
Actin like you all hard, you ain’t built like that.

50 Cent, “Life’s on the Line,” Guess Who’s Back, 2002

Bitch, you ain’t got nothin on the rich,
Every other day my whole dress code switch.

Cappadonna, “Winter Warz,” from Ghostface Killah’s Ironman, 1996

It was magic, I felt the bond between us.
She was a jelly to my peanuts, Mars to Venus,
The Earth to my sun, moon and stars,
We added up mathematically…
It’s like I had a bad habit, B!

Ghostface Killah, “The Center of Attraction,” Twelve Reasons to Die, 2013

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

The rap era’s outta control,
Brothers’ sellin their soul to go gold…
Going, going, gone, another rapper sold!

Parrish Smith, “Crossover,” EPMD’s Business Never Personal, 1993

I’m goin’ out first class, ain’t goin’ out coach.

MCA, “The Sounds of Science,” from Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, 1989. Remembering Adam Yauch, who passed away a year ago today. Rest in Peace, MCA.

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

You little cream puff Mac Daddy wannabe,
Keep dreaming cause a Mac you will never be.
So all y’all with the Dr. Seuss riddles,
You can get the finger…the middle

Mac Daddy, “Warm it Up,” from Kris Kross’ Totally Krossed Out, 1992. Chris Kelly, one half of the ‘90s rap duo Kris Kross, has died of a possible drug overdose. He was 34.

Might go fuck a rapper’s life up like Mo’nique did to Precious.

Killer Mike, “Get It,” from Killer Mike and El-P’s Run the Jewels, 2013

I’m stuck in a time capsule when rappers’ actually factual;
Meaning: shit you spit might cause killers to come and clap at you.

Killer Mike, “Get It,” from Killer Mike and El-P’s Run the Jewels, 2013

Food for thought, eat my words with your mind:
Emcees are grapes, and grapes are crushed to wine.

MF Grimm, “Do It for the Kids,” 12", 1998

I’m complexicated like a Rubik’s Cube puzzle,
Who said I drink? I don’t drink, I guzzle.

Subroc, “Sweet Premium Wine,” from K.M.D.’s Black Bastards, 1994

It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.

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

CIA, FBI, all they tell us is lies.
And when I say it, they get alarmed…
‘Cause I’m louder than a bomb.

Chuck D., “Louder Than a Bomb,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988

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 can drink a whole Hennessy fifth.
Some call that a problem, but I call it a gift.

Xzibit, “Get Your Walk On,” Restless, 2000

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

I wonder if these wack niggas realize they wack,
And they the reason that my people say they tired of rap.

Common, “Chi-City,” Be, 2005

Whether chocolate or vanilla, or you’re somewhere in between,
A cappuccino mocha or a caramel queen,
Rejected by the black, not accepted by the white world,
And this is dedicated to them dark-skinned white girls.

Murs, “D.S.W.G.,” Murray’s Revenge, 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

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

‘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

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

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

You keepin it real, but ain’t got a clue what reality really be;
See, the diameter of your knowledge is the circumference of your activity.

Ras Kass, “Soul On Ice (Remix),” Soul On Ice, 1996

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.

I don’t know what’s better: getting laid or getting paid.
I just know when I’m getting one, the other’s getting away.

Kanye West, “This Way,” from Dilated Peoples’ Neighborhood Watch, 2004

They love the fact you made it, but hate the fact you got it.
The stairway to heaven is packed…I’m in the lobby.
Too scared to go to sleep, cause most times I often doubt my dreams.

Big K.R.I.T., “R.E.M.,” King Remembered In Time, 2013

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 know it ain’t no stoppin’
All the doggs I’m droppin’
It’s Friday night, so everything is poppin.

Ice Cube, “Friday,” from the soundtrack to Friday, 1995

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

You know them days you just got the blues,
All stressed and depressed from just watchin’ the news?
No matter what good you do, it seems you always get screwed.
Got you caught up in your feelings, now you off in the mood.
Shake that attitude and do what you can,
Set a couple goals, follow through with your plans.
Time waits for no man and tomorrow’s not promised,
So if she’s still alive, shoot a call to your mama.
Cause the fighting and the drama, it’s just not worth it,
Nobody’s perfect, ain’t none of us worthless.
We all got a place, and we all got a purpose.

Murs, “Yesterday & Today,” Murray’s Revenge, 2006

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