Explains my complex about bein' too complex
Cause, lyrically I could be Talib Kweli
But at the end of the day, who would pray for me?
Pray For Me by QuayChronicles

A major allusion simultaneously to both Talib Kweli, of Black Star fame, and Jay Z, of whom Quay is a self-admitted stan

On Jay-Z’s “Moment of Clarity”, Hov raps:

If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be
Lyrically Talib Kweli

To which Kweli later replied on his own song “Ghetto Show”:

If lyrics sold, then truth be told
I’d be as rich and famous as Jay-Z

Jay-Z himself recently explained the rationale behind his own lyric in his book Decoded:

Kweli is a great MC — as is Common — and they’ve both carved out impressive careers without big records. They’re great technical MCs, but there is a difference between being a great technician and a great songwriter. I deeply respect their craft, but even the most dazzling lyrical display won’t translate to a wide audience unless it’s matched with a big song.

Quay seems to acknowledge this as well, and ends the track by expressing this problem of dichotomy. He admits that he feels lyrically as strong as Kweli, but also worries if the depth and technical proficiency of his own lyrics sometimes interferes with the accessibility of his music by bogging the listener down too deeply

For more discussion from Quay himself on these feelings of his own artistry, check out this revealing and introspective post on his blog

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It's a foreshadow for more of a raw battle
Slaughter time, and guess who's selected to round up the cattle
22 2's/44 4's by QuayChronicles 16

Quay is about to murder his competition. Note the violent language here seems to harp upon Biblical imagery of sacrifice and altars.

These lines also might be a fairly explicit shout-out to the hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse (composed of Joe Budden, Royce Da 5'9", Crooked I, and Joell Ortiz), of which Quay himself is a huge fan

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MCSmith 95 Purged Moderators by Rap Genius Editors

MCSmith joined Rap Genius in its earlier days, when its characteristic exegesis of lyrics was very much in an infancy state. In 2010 and 2011, MCSmith was a driving force behind explaining many Lupe Fiasco songs for the site, and his expansive annotations were instrumental in ensuring Lupe earned the title King of Lyrical Trickiness

By 2012, however, MCSmith’s activities here were fewer in number, as he increasingly began to focus on his own songwriting and supporting his own music clique. He still freelances here occasionally, but his time now is largely consumed with managing the Oklahoman hip hop collective Publish or Perish

He now goes by the name of “Black Smith” and has since released his own debut rap project, the “Shadow of Death” EP

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But her eyes were so starry Pound of Flesh / Paris Tokyo 2 by Lupe Fiasco

“Pound Cake” samples Ellie Goulding’s opening track off her 2012 album Halcyon, “Don’t Say a Word”. In a subtle but clear nod, Lupe acknowledges the track is genuinely hers and alludes to her earlier hit “Starry Eyed” before proceeding further.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJHqN_ND7xI

It isn’t the first time Lupe’s shown appreciation for Goulding’s music. His own version of the already-popular Bassnectar-remixed “Lights” gained a considerable amount of attention

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December 21st, 2013

I believe the starry reference is talking about princess peach from the Mario game Universe, which ties into the next two lines about Mario.

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But in reality an artist is supposed to be supported by easels
But in the meanwhile, I'm just supported by evil
Truth Or Truth, Pt. 1 by Slaughterhouse

Royce mentions easels (a device that holds the canvas in place for an artist to paint on) here as a reference to how an artist is supposed to be supported by his work — that it acts as a way of expressing his emotions. In common with the line “this’ll be the realest shit I ever Wrote” he could be saying that his previous songs haven’t been truthful, and haven’t actually supported him because they’ve been lies: he needs to get to point where his art can actually support him emotionally.

“I’m just supported by evil” is also reference to Eminem supporting Royce (and the rest of Slaughterhouse) as Eminem is also known as ‘Evil’. See: Hell: The Sequel

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And to say I ain't nice you gotta be cashews Bad News (Nobody's Somebody) by XV

If you don’t think XV is good at rapping, you must be crazy.

Note the pun in this line: “Cashews,” a type of nut, here being used in place of the slang term for crazy, “nuts”.

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A breathe of fresh air is rare — I'm breathing dirty steam Pursuit Of Cream by Chamillionaire

Chamillionaire shows his disdain for the current state of the rap game: instead of enjoying “a breath of fresh air” (a new artist with promise and potential whose music goes outside the box), all he’s experiencing is the stale, corrupted air of an industrialized environment (the current music industry and the proclivity for artists to simply mimic one another with no sense of artistic originality)

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Looked down and I told my shadow we'd make the perfect team Pursuit Of Cream by Chamillionaire

An amazing line poetically demonstrating that Chamillionaire is essentially a one-man army

The line could also be slyly referring to the psychological unconscious being “the seat of creativity”, which would match well with the lines that directly follow…

Read more about this psychological “shadow” aspect here: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/45971

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Attaching explosive devices ‘cause they keep stealing their lands
In the name of freedom
Ayesha Says (Intro) by Lupe Fiasco

The ironic key to this line is the phrase “In the name of freedom”.

The topic in question is the Israeli government’s “ethnic cleansing” of Palestine, and how citizens are responding violently (i.e., suicidal bombings) to what is unlawful seizure.

Unfortunately, the situation itself is the product of a war that has been going on for decades (and that, truth be told, originated centuries ago), and shows no sign of resolution any time soon. The crisis in the Middle East is very much a stalemate.

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Time to raise hell, Satan ain't my son 100 by Big Sean (Ft. James Fauntleroy, Kendrick Lamar & Royce Da 5'9")

Sean continues the religious imagery of the last several lines by punning on the term “raising hell” as both the everyday idiom about causing trouble just for the fun of it, and disavowing Satan the fallen angel who now resides in Hell and has become God’s classic adversary

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