Gotta love the artistic integrity of Rakim. He spells it out – this rhyme took him time to craft; the live performance is a mere recital of what has already been written.
In an age where rappers are reluctant to expose the craft in writing lyrics, it is refreshing to see a pioneer like this regaling the crafting process. His mic skills are explicitly rooted in poetry.
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Simply put, there would be more room in the packed party scene if other MCs played the background and stopped trying to take prominence.
Compound syllable rhyming that still sounds fresh in the 21st century. Rakim knew what he was doing.
The age old dilemma of the hiphop listener: to listen to the well-crafted words of the lyricist or just dance along to the beat and work up a sweat?
Worth noting that Rakim was one of the first MCs to pilot lyrics that went beyond party-starting. As such, he must have been acutely aware of the conflict between crowd-rocking and jewel-dropping.
Nas is notorious for ‘painting pictures’ with his lyrics. A vigntette is a pictoral scene. (Rappers, take note and step your vocab game up)
The kind of forward thinking, sober planning that an adult mind understands is of benefit. This is not a ‘live fast die young’ mindset. This is reflective (as alluded to in the previous line).
Nas is literally talking about being reflective here, making the mirror reference a particularly apt metaphor.
Peek at you… Pik-a-chu…? Love a good homonym.
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Another true story. I once heard my songs being played out of a classroom during lunchtime. Unprompted!
To undelrine the newschool-ness of my style, I throw references to modern technology and media.
Note: ‘youtube blow’ is a SLIGHT exaggeration. But to me, a coupla thousand views is fairly major.