The Top 5 People Rappers Reference

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Are you ever listening to hip-hop and you keep hearing the same obscure references in every song? Do labels force all rappers to drop certain names? Is this the illuminati filtering messages into your brain? Probably not, but lets delve into some of the most-mentioned-names in hip-hop. Exhibit..

A. Socrates

Socrates was a famous Greek Philosopher and one of the founders of Western Philosophy.

1) On Watch the Throne, Jay-Z poses a question that Socrates asked in 400 BC.

2) On his new album, A$ap Rocky nicknames his new car “Socrates”

3) Wale calls himself “Socrates in a prada tee”, Pusha T calls himself a “Young black Socrates”, and Kanye West calls himself “Socrates, but my skin more chocolately”

Why are rappers so obsessed with him? Is it because rap lyrics are an inside look at the human psyche? or is it just because Socrates rhymes with philosophies?

B. Jean Michael Basquiat

Basquiat is a African-American grafiti-artist and painter from New York City.

1) On Watch the Throne, Jay-Z protectively corrects a girl for saying Basquiat wrong, and also luxuriously enjoys his Basquiat paintings while he’s taking a piss.

2) Danny Brown sees Basquiat’s paintings when he’s tripping on shrooms

3) When Rick Ross “kills people,” the wall looks like a Basquiat painting (he also apparently has a Basquiat tattoo on his leg)

4) A$ap Rocky wants to be permanently known as “Basquiat Picasso”

Why Basquiat? In my opinion, Basquiat mirrors hip hop by taking a stereotypically urban thing, like graffiti, and giving it a luxurious and expensive connotation.

C. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a famous, blind and talented singer, pianist and writer.

1) Lets begin with the most tasteless example of Stevie Wonderisms, from none other than YMCB’s resident scholar, Gudda Gudda. “I see me with her, no Stevie Wonder”.

2) Lil' Wayne wants to let you know he Stevie Wonders about his girl (after these silly ymcb references im surprised stevie hopped in the studio with drake)

3) Common alludes to a backstage moment where Stevie gave him some life advice

4) The Game, known for name-dropping, talks about his coma in 2001 and how it made him feel like he was “staring out of Stevie’s glasses”

Why Stevie? Besides the fact that he’s a musical genius, I think rappers use his blindness to express that haters “can’t see them.”

D. Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana, and tragically committed suicide in 1994.

1) Kanye wants to rock flannels all summer like Cobain did

2) Jay Elec-Hannukah spits that “Blow your brain, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana Shit”

3) In the same track he mentions Socrates and Basquiat, Jay-Z referes to Cobain as a fallen king

4) In Lupe’s fierce rant against the music industry on “Lupe’s Back,” he wonders if Cobain blamed the industry for his suicide

5) Ab-Soul contemplates suicide at age 28 like Cobain and one of my favorite MCs, Jean Grae, claims she’s “Cobain, but living”

Why Cobain? In my opinion, rap is a genre filled with suicidal thoughts, and Cobain is the primary reference for those who have been tortured by fame.

E. Spike Lee

Spike Lee is a famous movie director, actor, and knicks fan.

1) Waka Flocka will have your mama at the front row of your funeral, like Spike Lee at a Knicks game, and Future thinks that his music is worth a Spike Lee documentary (debatable).

2) Spike calls his movies “joints,” and Weezy says he just “rolled one like Spike Lee”.

3) In Clique, Kanye thinks that the outspoken Spike Lee is going to kill him for being too ig'nant. In Mama’s Boyfriend, Kanye also mentions Spike’s movie, “Do The Right Thing”

4) Ex-Das-Racist-Member, Kool-AD says he’s the “half white Spike Lee”, and West Coast MC Blu says that he is Spike-Lee, Bruce-Lee and God-lee, all at once.

Why Spike Lee? Because his name rhymes with right thing? I think it is because rappers have an attraction to the dramatic and cinematic, and Spike represents that to hip-hop. Same thing goes for Pitbull always name-dropping Scorsese.

F. Honorable Mentions:

1) Rappers who think their life is like the Truman Show, a movie in which Jim Carrey’s life turns out be a reality TV Show. Rappers being cinematic and paranoid, again.

2) Rappers who refer to cocaine as Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton or Britney Spears.

3) Rappers using Will Ferrell soundbites

4) Rappers rhyming swagger with Mick Jagger (TYBG).

5) Rappers comparing their celebrations to Black Bar Mitzvahs. (Click here for my article on rapper’s obsession with Jewish culture)

Leave a comment if you feel like I missed anything/anyone.
Peace,
Frak