I don’t understand the difficulty, people;
Love your brother, treat him as an equal.

Heavy D., “Self Destruction,” Stop The Violence All-Stars, 1989

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

…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

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.

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

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’re insecure and need a blanket like Linus.

King Sun, “It’s a Heat Up,” XL, 1989

I gave birth to most of them MC’s…
So when it comes around to the month of May,
Send me your royalty check for Mother’s Day.

Roxanne Shanté, “Have a Nice Day,” Bad Sister, 1989

Lookin’ out at the world through my window pane,
Every day has many colors ‘cause the glass is stained.
Everything has changed but remains the same,
So once again the mirror raised.
And I see myself as clear as day,
And I am goin’ to the limits of my ultimate destiny,
Feeling as though somebody somewhere is testin’ me.
He who sees the end from the beginning of time
Looking forward through all the ages:
Is, was, and always shall be.

MCA, “B-Boy Bouillabaisse (A Year And A Day),” from Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, 1989. Rest in power, Adam Yauch (1964 – 2012).

Don’t you like when the winter’s gone,
And all of a sudden it starts gettin’ warm?
The trees and the grass start lookin’ fresh,
And the sun and sky be lookin’ their best…

Biz Markie, “Spring Again,” The Biz Never Sleeps, 1989

Educated: no. Stupid: yes.
And when I say “stupid,” I mean stupid fresh.

King Ad Rock, “Hey Ladies,” from Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, 1989

…Had dreams of fancy cars and limos,
And all I wanted was somebody to listen to my demo.

Erick Sermon, “Please Listen to My Demo,” from EPMD’s Unfinished Business, 1989

I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan, and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man.

Kool Moe Dee, “Self-Destruction,” from Stop the Violence All-Stars’ Self Destruction, 1989

Lookin down the barrel of a gun, son of gun, son of a bitch, gettin paid, gettin rich!

Beastie Boys, “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun,” Paul’s Boutique, 1989

Yeah, I cut class…I got a D.
Cause History meant nothing to me
Except a definite nap.
That’s why I always sat in the back.

Mike G., “Acknowledge Your Own History,” from Jungle Brothers’ Done by the Forces of Nature, 1989

Teach the student what needs to be taught.
‘Cause black and white kids both take shorts
When one doesn’t know about the other one’s culture,
Ignorance swoops down like a vulture.

KRS-One, “You Must Learn,” from Boogie Down Production’s Ghetto Music – The Blueprint of Hip-Hop, 1989

My father always told me to wisen up, son.
Cause if you hung with nine broke friends, you’re bound to be the tenth one.

Parrish Smith, “It Wasn’t Me, It Was the Fame,” from EPMD’s Unfinished Business, 1989

You don’t want your kids to hear songs of this nature…
But you take em to the movies to watch Schwarzenegger!

Bushwick Bill, “Talkin’ Loud Ain’t Saying Nothin’,” Grip It – On That Other Level, 1989

You wanna know my occupation?
I get paid to rock the nation.
I go to work.

Kool Moe Dee, “I Go To Work,” Knowledge is King, 1989

Think, just blink and I made…a million rhymes.
Just imagine if you blinked…a million times.
Damn, I’d be paid…I got it made.

Special Ed, “I Got It Made,” Youngest In Charge, 1989

Parrish Smith aka PMD • “So Wat Cha Sayin?” • 1989

People round town talkin’ this and that,
Of how we sound like The R, and our music was wack.
Dropped the album Strictly Business, and you thought we was bold.
Thirty days later…the LP went gold.
So what you sayin?

Parrish Smith aka PMD, “So Wat Cha Sayin?,” from EPMD’s Unfinished Business, 1989

King Sun • “It’s a Heat Up” • 1989

Your whole alphabet in four seconds.
Now rewind it, play it again, and check it:
It’s correct. Well, what do you expect?
My mental capabilities are too high-tech!

King Sun, “It’s a Heat Up,” XL, 1989

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…

I heard you rhyme a few times, each time you blew it.
You’re soft, you can’t go off, I knew it.
Let’s be realistic, I’m not egotistic;
But you, your crew…just not that artistic.
Point blank: your song stank.
I know you want the truth, so let’s be frank.

Chill Rob G, “Let the Words Flow,” Ride the Rhythm, 1989.

I’m outspoken; my language is broken into a slang,
But it’s just a dialect that I select when I hang.

Special Ed, “I Got It Made,” Youngest in Charge, 1989. More from Special Ed…

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

You were put here to protect us.
But who protects us from you?

KRS-One, “Who Protects Us From You?” from Boogie Down Productions’ Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop, 1989

Don’t clock anybody, let them all clock you,
Don’t be down with anybody, let them all be down with you.
Stay self-managed, self-kept, self-taught,
Be your own man; don’t be borrowed, don’t be bought.

Heavy D, “We Got Our Own Thang,” Heavy D & The Boyz’ Big Tyme, 1989

Nobody put the crack into the pipe,
Nobody made you smoke off your life.
You thought that you could do dope and still stay cool?
Fool…you played yourself.

Ice-T, “You Played Yourself,” The Iceberg: Freedom of Speech…Just Watch What You Say, 1989