Couldn’t you see me and you stretched out in a bikini on the beach in Tahiti?
See, me, I’m very selective even though I could be greedy;
My main objective is to write our names together in graffiti.

Pharoahe Monch, “Shugah Shorty,” from Organized Konfusion’s The Equinox, 1997

Even when I say nothing, it’s a beautiful use of negative space.

El-P, “The Fire In Which You Burn,” from Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus, 1997

Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns,
As I crush so-called Willies, thugs, and rapper-dons.

The Notorious B.I.G., “Kick in the Door,” Life After Death, 1997

You’ve got to realize that the world’s a test,
You can only do your best and let Him do the rest.
You’ve got your life, and got your health,
So quit procrastinating and push it yourself.

Cee-Lo, “In Due Time,” from Soul Food Soundtrack, 1997

Keep my planets in orbit,
Never forfeit or quit,
Move forward…
I talk with the awkward slang,
I walk with the Wu-Tang.

RZA, “Tragedy,” from Rhyme & Reason soundtrack, 1997

Look: if I shoot you, I’m brainless,
But if you shoot me, then you’re famous.
What’s a nigga to do?

Jay-Z, “Streets Is Watching,” In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, 1997

Every little boy wanna pick up the mic,
And try to run with the big boys and live up to the real hype.
But that’s like pickin up a ball, playin with Mike,
Swingin at Ken Griffey or challengin’ Roy to a fight.

LL Cool J, “4,3,2,1,” Phenomenon, 1997

Do some good to the ghetto, Mr. Kris Kringle.
Come and stay awhile, kick it with God’s Angels.
Take and acknowledge my wisdom and understand
That Santa Claus is a black man.

Keith Murray, “Santa Baby,” A Very Special Christmas 3, 1997

Too many songs, weak rhymes that’s mad long.
Make it brief son: half short, twice strong!

GZA, “As High As Wu-Tang Get,” from Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu-Tang Forever, 1997

Cause on the mic, I got more presence than attendance in a class of schizophrenics

J-Treds, “The Fire In Which You Burn,” from Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus, 1997

What good is a beautiful dame with a Rolls-Royce frame, and a Volkswagen brain?

J-Ro, “Likwit Ridas,” from Tha Alkaholiks’ Likwidation, 1997

I’ll ignore you sellin crack, killin people, and keepin it real,
But disrespect me and my adopted fam and die young like veal.

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

…But until then, I’ma shine to the last sin,
Resurrect through the birth of my son, and live again.

Tragedy Khadafi, “T.O.N.Y. (Top of New York)”, from CNN’s The War Report, 1997

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

Some wish that I was gone, cause they know I’ma win…

O.C., “My World,” Jewelz, 1997

Took two drags off the blunts, and started breaking down the flag:
The blue is for the Crips, the red is for the Bloods,
The whites for the cops, and the stars come from the clubs
Or the slugs that ignite, through the night,
By the dawn early light, why is sons fighting for the stripe?

RZA, “A Better Tomorrow,” Wu-Tang Forever, 1997

I would trade my existence to give you breath,
Guess the only guarantees in this life is death.
As I look around seein’ I’m the last one left,
And the things I can’t change I just gotta accept.

Tragedy, “Permanently Scarred,” Against All Odds, 1997

Now if I worry too much about all my have nots,
I might not recognize just what I’ve got…

Mike G., “Jungle Brother,” from Jungle Brothers’ Raw Deluxe, 1997

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

MC’s are just hopeless:
They think record sales make them the dopest!

KRS-One, “Step Into a World (Rapture’s Delight),” I Got Next, 1997. More from KRS…

Stay far from timid.
Only make moves when your heart is in it.
And live the phrase ‘Sky’s the Limit.’

Notorious B.I.G., “Sky’s the Limit,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…

Got the new Hummer in the summer when,
I was a newcomer then,
Drugs and Mac-10s, hugs from fake friends.
Make ends: they hate you,
Be broke: girls won’t date you.

Notorious B.I.G., “Long Kiss Goodnight,” Life After Death, 1997. More from Biggie…

My style is strong like hard lumber;
Cute chicks get the dick,
Ugly bitches get the wrong number.

Big L, “Who Shot Ya Freestyle,” from Tim Westwood’s radio show, 1997. More from Harlem’s finest…

I’ll ignore you sellin crack, killin people, and keepin it real,
But disrespect me and my adopted fam and die young like veal.

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

Now if I worry too much about all my have nots,
I might not recognize just what I’ve got…

Mike G., “Jungle Brother,” from Jungle Brothers’ Raw Deluxe, 1997

It’s all love, but love’s got a thin line
And Pun’s got a big nine,
Respect crime…but not when it reflect mine.

Big Pun, “Off the Books,” from The Beatnuts’ Stone Crazy, 1997

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 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

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