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

…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.

Consider youself lucky, that’s what friends say.
Cause I leave more heads touched, son, than Ash Wednesday.

J-Treds, “Praise Due,” 12", 1998

Picture yourself crushin’ Xzibit with your tough talk?
That’s like Christopher Reeve doing the crip walk.

Xzibit, “3 Card Molly,” 40 Days and 40 Nightz, 1998

Breathe in…inhale vapors from bright stars that shine,
Breathe out…weed smoke retrace the skyline.

Mos Def, “Respiration,” from Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998

Never become so involved with something that it blinds you.
Never forget where you from; someone will remind you.

DMX, “It’s On,” from DJ Clue’s The Professional, 1998

I got 304’s in 310 on Section 8, with multiple 187’s
Sport a Marilyn Manson t-shirt when I die and go to heaven.

Ras Kass, “3 Card Molly,” from Xzibit’s 40 Days & 40 Nightz, 1998

Everybody’s got opinions on the way you’re livin’,
But see, they can’t fill your shoes.

Andre 3000, “Synthesizer,” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998

Infrareds on little people standing with some big heads,
I was Captain Kirk, walkin’ with a black t-shirt.
LAPD, the nurse asked did my knee hurt?
I was in pain, little Martians tryin’ ta take my brain,
Hospitals came, detectives wrote down my name.
I was to blame, my life never been the same.
A true story; I tell ya, it’ll never bore me.
My classmate died, my other friend named Cory
Drinkin’ 40s, he jumped out the project window,
Stabbed himself with a yellow number 2 pencil.

Kool Keith, “Object Unknown,” from DJ Spooky featuring Kool Keith Object Unknown, 1998

There’s so many wack rappers out here, I don’t know where to aim at.

Sticky Fingaz, “Shut ‘Em Down (Remix),” from Onyx’s Shut ‘Em Down, 1998

New York, New York, big city of dreams,
Where there’s nothing but foreign cars, bitches, and triple beams.

Fat Joe, “All Luv,” from D.I.T.C.’s All Luv 12", 1998

If I should die this very day,
Don’t cry…cause on Earth
We wasn’t meant to stay.

Whitney Houston, “My Love Is Your Love,” My Love Is Your Love, 1998. A rare R&B quote exception dedicated to Whitney Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012), who has finally found peace.

Fuck Batman and Robin: I’m robbin’ with a bat, man.

Rock, “Gunz ‘N Onez (Iz U Wit Me),” from Heltah Skeltah’s Magnum Force, 1998

I find it’s distressin’, there’s never no in-between:
We either niggaz or kings,
We either bitches or queens.
The deadly ritual seems immersed in the perverse,
Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts.

Mos Def, “Thieves in the Night,” from Black Star’s Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, 1998

You might win some, but you just lost one.

Lauryn Hill, “Lost Ones,” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998

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

They say it’s lonely at the top, in whatever you do,
You always gotta watch motherfuckers around you.
Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof,
We all must meet our Moment of Truth.

Guru, “Moment of Truth,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

Get wreck in the kitchen like she on the Cooking Channel,
And then hide the heat in the car door…
God damn, she’s a mother-to-be, ya hope for twins,
Give me a whole tribe!
And be as sexy as Janet was on the cover of Vibe.

Sadat X, “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head,” from Brand Nubian’s Foundation, 1998

Holocaust, black man, lose veins, littered with thorns
Back smack you so hard, all your seeds will be formed deformed.
Swarm dorms, sting birds, fling verbs like mean curbs
Strike three, mics flee, I infect em with green germs, ringworm

Holocaust, “Holocaust (Silkworm),” from RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo, 1998

Life is a blast when you know what you’re doin’,
Best to know what you’re doin’ ‘fore your life get ruined.
Life is a thrill when your skill is developed,
If you ain’t got a skill or trade, then shut the hell up.

Del the Funky Homosapien, “At the Helm,” from Hieroglyphics’ 3rd Eye Vision, 1998

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

And to the shorties on the block, tryin’ to twist 40 tops,
Get your act together, do some carpentry with a Black & Decker,
And stop speedin like a Kawasaki…

Prospect, “The Hidden Hand,” from Fat Joe’s Don Cartagena, 1998

It’s war on the streets and a war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs
So the police can bother me…

2Pac, “Changes,” Greatest Hits, 1998 (Rest in power, 2Pac. 1971 – 1996)

Life without knowledge is death in disguise.

Talib Kweli, “K.O.S.,” from Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, 1998

I stay dipped like the first day of school.

Cappadonna, “MCF,” The Pillage, 1998

You don’t wanna hear the truth, so I’ma lie to you…make it sound fly to you.

Cee-Lo, “The Experience,” from Goodie Mob’s Still Standing, 1998

We missed a lot of church, so the music is our confessional

Big Boi, “Aquemini,” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998

Ayyyo, you know what I love (What’s that?)
It’s when motherfuckers assume
That they ass can’t get popped at 12 o’clock in the afternoon.

Billy Danze, “I Luv,” from M.O.P.’s First Family 4 Life, 1998

Squeeze the juice out,
Of all the suckers with power.
And pour some back out,
So as to water the flowers.
This world is ours.

Guru, “Robbin Hood Theory,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

Said she loved my necklace, started relaxin’.
Now that’s what the fuck I call a chain reaction!

Jay-Z, “Money Ain’t a Thang,” from Jermaine Dupri’s Life in 1472, 1998

If you got time to give, I got time to think…
See, it could all change in one eye blink.

De La Soul, “Trouble in the Water,” from DJ Honda’s HII, 1998

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

Big Pun • “Drop It Heavy” • 1998

Now what’s the problem?
You ain’t nothin’ like you said on your album.
I thought you was wildin’,
Bustin’ your guns and runnin’ the Island.
You wasn’t violent, you was silent tryin’ to get college credits.
How pathetic…did it to get out of calisthenics.

Big Pun, “Drop It Heavy,” from Show & A.G.’s Full Scale EP, 1998

My first offense was possession of weed,
Now I’m in the major leagues, and
That muthafucka Bill Clinton is a son of a bitch;
Had the nerve to throw out the first pitch.
I’m just tryin’ to get rich like Trump,
The home run king is now in a slump…pass me a hunk.
How the fuck can I stay out the Pen,
When its 1-2-3 strikes, you in?

Ice Cube, “Three Strikes You In,” War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc), 1998. More from O’Shea…

Another day, another burial,
Got you wondering ’bout the day when they bury you.
Tear drops stain the Wally’s that you rockin’,
On the block, candles burn, guns poppin’.

Tek, “Memorial,” from Cocoa Brovaz’ (aka Smif N Wessun) The Rude Awakening, 1998.

Now hear this mixture: where Hip Hop meets scripture,
Develop a negative into a positive picture.

Lauryn Hill, “Everything is Everything,” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998. More from Ms. Hill >

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…

It’s the message in the song that makes you rock on,
Some people go to places where they don’t belong.
Whether wrong or right, a lot of people fight,
But I’m here to bless this mic, aight?

Guru, “What I’m Here 4,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998. More from Guru…

Let me break it down for you again,
You know I only say it because I’m truly genuine:
Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.

Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing),” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998

They say it’s lonely at the top, in whatever you do,
You always gotta watch motherfuckers around you.
Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof,
We all must meet our Moment of Truth.

Guru, “Moment of Truth,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

My first name must be “He Ain’t Shit”
Cause every time I’m in a car
Bitches be like, “He ain’t shit!”

Redman, “I’ll Bee Dat!”, Doc’s Da Name 2000, 1998

I said, ‘What you wanna be?’ She said, ‘Alive.’
It made me think for a minute, then looked in her eyes
…I coulda died.

Andre 3000, “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1),” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998. More from Outkast…

I met a gypsy and she hipped me to some life game,
To stimulate, then activate the left and right brain.
Said, ‘Baby boy, you only funky as your last cut.
You focus on the past, your ass’ll be a has-what.’
That’s one to live by, or either that’s one to die to.

Andre 3000, “Rosa Parks,” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998. More Outkast quotes…

Play the game for my people, stay in charge of your dreams.
Keep your vision focused, get wise, and largen your C.R.E.A.M.

AZ, “New Life,” Pieces of a Man, 1998. More AZ quotes.

Question: Why is that MC’s be wack
And major labels wanna sign that crap?
A-yo…funk that!

Phife Dawg, “One Two Shit,” A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement, 1998. More Tribe 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

You’re living up in Heaven, but I know you’re mad as Hell.

MF Grimm, “Do It For the Kids,” 12”, 1998. More from MF Grimm.

I know you don’t wanna hear my opinion,
There come many paths and you must choose one.
And if you don’t change then the rain soon come.
See, you might win some, but you just lost one.

Lauryn Hill, “Lost Ones,” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998. More Lauryn Hill quotes

From open mics to solutions, I got a collage of answers,
And a 10-point program, just like the Black Panthers:

1: First, respect yourself as an artist
If you don’t respect yourself, then your rhymes is garbage.

2: Make sure your crew is as tight as you
Cause when them niggaz fallin off, they gonna bring you down too.

3: Understand the meaning of MC
The power to Move the Crowd like Moses split the seas.

4: Know your shit and don’t ever be blunted
If you don’t know what your words mean, then your rhymes mean nothin.

5: Kick facts in the raps, and curse with clarity
What’s a curse when language is immersed in vulgarity?

6: We gonna fix industrial poli-tricks
Shit, they made an art form out of ridin dicks.

7: We soldiers for God needin new recruits
So if you rhymin for the loot, then you’s a prostitute.

8: Acknowledge that you need food on your plate
In order to say your grace, make sure your business is straight.

9: We buildin black minds with intelligence
And when you freestyle, keep the subject matter relevant.

10: Every MC grab a pen
And write some conscious lyrics to tell the children.

Talib Kweli, “Manifesto,” from Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1, 1998. More Talib Kweli quotes

We missed a lot of church, so the music is our confessional.

Big Boi, “Aquemini,” from Outkast’s Aquemini, 1998

I’ve been layin’, waiting for your next mistake,
I put in work, and watch my status escalate.

Guru, “Work,” from Gang Starr’s Moment of Truth, 1998

The snake, the rat, the cat, the dog…
How you gonna see ‘em if you livin’ in the fog?

DMX, “Damien,” It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, 1998

We live in a society created by an empire
That’s based on terror…welcome to the One World Era,
A complete interruption to your lil’ paltry-ass life,
That you thought you was livin, and what you been given.

Coolio, “The Park, from Slam The Soundtrack, 1998

Others tell like it is, while I tell it how I would like it to be.

Cee-Lo, “The World I Know,” from Slam The Soundtrack, 1998

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

Mark you for death, won’t even talk that East or West crap.
From Watts to Lefrak, it ain’t where ya from, it’s where’s your gat.

Big Pun, “You Ain’t a Killer,” Capital Punishment, 1998

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