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 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

You better duck, and pray for good luck, Chuck, cause you’re stuck.
You’re like a Thanksgiving turkey and it’s time to be plucked.

The Fresh Prince, “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper,” from DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, 1988

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

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

And when I smiled, ‘Bing!’ I almost blinded her.
She said, ‘Great Scot, are you a thief?
Seems like you have a mouth full of gold teeth!’
Hahahaha, had to find that funny,
So I said, ‘No child, I work hard for the money.
And calling me a thief? Please…don’t even try it,
Sit down, eat your slice of pizza, and be quiet.’

Slick Rick, “Mona Lisa,” The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988

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.

Bass! How low can you go?
Death row…what a brother know.
Once again, back is the incredible,
The rhyme animal, the uncannable “D!”
Public Enemy Number One.
Five-O said, “Freeze!” and I got numb.
Can I tell ‘em that I really never had a gun?
But it’s the wax that the Terminator X spun.

Chuck D., “Bring the Noise,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988

I’m not a sucka, so I don’t need a bodyguard.

Rob Base, “It Takes Two,” from Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s It Takes Two, 1988

I’m a menace to society,
But girls in biker shorts are so fly to me.
After the date, I’mma want to do the wild thing…
You’re talkin’ lobster? I’m thinkin’ Burger King.

Ice Cube, “I Ain’t Tha One,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988

Friday the 13th…I’mma play Jason!

Big Daddy Kane, “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’,” Long Live the Kane, 1988

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

They smile in my face, behind my back they talk trash,
Mad and stuff because they don’t have cash.

Erick Sermon, “Strictly Business,” from EPMD’s Strictly Business, 1988

You got to have style, and learn to be original.

KRS-One, “My Philosophy,” from Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary, 1988

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

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

The employees of the year, yeah we back to work.
I took time off, while other rappers got jerked.

Erick Sermon, “So Watcha Sayin’,” from EPMD’s Strictly Business, 1988

I got a letter from the government the other day
I opened and read it…it said they were suckers.

Chuck D., “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988

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 don’t need your assistance, social persistence.
Any problem I got, I just put my fist in.

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

We don’t just say “No”, we too busy sayin’ “Yeah!”
To drinkin’ straight out the eight bottle…
Do I look like a muthafuckin’ role model?!

Ice Cube, “Gangsta Gangsta,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988

Stepping to me? Yo, that’s the wrong move.
So what you on, hobbs, dope or dog food?

Big Daddy Kane, “Ain’t No Half-Steppin,” Long Live the Kane, 1988

The 808 kick drum makes the girlies get dumb,
We’re rollin’ Rainier, and the jealous wanna get some.
Every time we do the sucka MC’s wanna battle,
I’m the man they love to hate, the J.R. Ewing of Seattle…

Sir Mix-a-Lot, “My Posse’s on Broadway,” SWASS, 1988

Tell the truth:
James Brown was old,
Til Eric B. and Rakim came out with ‘I Got Soul.’

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

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

Dr. Dre (N.W.A.) • “Express Yourself” • 1988

I’m expressin’ with my full capabilities,
And now I’m livin in correctional facilities.
Cause some don’t agree with how I do this,
I get straight and meditate like a Buddhist.

Dr. Dre, “Express Yourself,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988

I guess nobody told you a little knowledge is dangerous,
It can’t be mixed, diluted, it can’t be changed or switched.
Here’s a lesson if you’re guessing and borrowing:
Hurry, hurry step right up and keep following the leader.

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

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.

And when I smiled, ‘Bing!’ I almost blinded her.
She said, ‘Great Scot, are you a thief?
Seems like you have a mouth full of gold teeth!’
Hahahaha, had to find that funny,
So I said, ‘No child, I work hard for the money.
And calling me a thief? Please…don’t even try it,
Sit down, eat your slice of pizza, and be quiet.’

Slick Rick, “Mona Lisa,” The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, 1988

Whoever underestimated, still waited,
Pumping the radio, finally they played it.
You wondered how come the album was late?
I was giving you time to get the last one straight.

Rakim, “The R,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader, 1988. More from Rakim Allah >

Cool…cause I don’t get upset,
I kick a hole in the speaker, pull the plug, then I jet.

Rakim, “Microphone Fiend,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader, 1988. More from The R…

Now it’s my turn, and I am concerned
About idiots posing as kings.
What are we here to rule?
I thought we were supposed to sing.
And if we oughta sing, then let us begin to teach.
Many of you are educated…open your mouth and speak!

KRS-One, “I’m Still #1,” from Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary, 1988

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…

Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?

Flavor Flav, “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988. More P.E. quotes…

Fuck the police, comin straight from the underground…
A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown.
And not the other color so police think
They have the authority to kill a minority.

Ice Cube, “Fuck Tha Police,” from N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, 1988. More from Ice Cube…

Rap is like a set-up…a lot of games,
A lot of suckers with colorful names.
‘I’m so-and-so,’ ‘I’m this, I’m that.’
But they all just wick-wick-wack.

KRS-One, “My Philosophy,” from BDP’s By All Means Necessary, 1988. More from KRS…

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…

Whatcha gonna do to this?
You may be older than me, but you’re new to this.
Cause I been out there, queen of MC’s,
When your man was walkin’ round in mocknecks and Lee’s.
While you were over here perpetratin’ a fraud,
I was overseas on the charts with Boy George.
You’re the beginner, Shante’s the winner,
Havin’ other competition for dinner.
Sit you on the table with a plate and cup,
Say grace…and then eat your ass up.

Roxanne Shanté, “Go On Girl,” from Colors Soundtrack, 1988

Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?

Flavor Flav, “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic,” from Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, 1988. More P.E. quotes…

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

I get a craving like I fiend for nicotine.
But I don’t need a cigarette, know what I mean?

Rakim, “Microphone Fiend,” from Eric B. and Rakim’s Follow the Leader, 1988. More Rakim quotes

Brain cells are lit, ideas start to hit,
Next the formation of words that fit.
At the table I sit, making it legit,
And when my pen hits the paper…ahhhh shit!

Big Daddy Kane, “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” Long Live The Kane, 1988

When I get involved, I give it my heart,
I mean my mind, my soul, my body: I mean every part.
But if it doesn’t work out, yo, it just doesn’t.
It wasn’t meant to be, you know, it just wasn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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