I Love Hip-hop, But...Part I

I love hip-hop and rap. The more hardcore the better. I’ve been listening to Biggie Smalls since I was Small Smalls. I remember having to readjust when Tupac Shakur changed his name to Makaveli, and announcing to my family that I wanted to change my middle name to same. I have and always will heart NWA’s music so much that I want to make bad decisions with it and not even get pissed when it doesn’t call me back the next day.

But I’m not one of those people who extolls on the merits of hip-hop and rap as poetry. It’s not poetry. It is its own genre. And, like in any genre, there is good stuff and there is terrible stuff. As a writer and as a lover of hip-hop and rap, I cringe at the terrible stuff. And there is a lot of it. Today, with the help of rapgenius.com, I’d like to present you with some of the biggest terrible hip-hop lyric offenders:

Dorrough’s Ice Cream Paint Job: (On his car) “Got screens on the back, watchin Saved by the Bell, got a house by the bayside.”

Come on. Dude. I mean, it’s clever. Saved by the Bell was set at Bayside High School. But that’s a reference you are not supposed to get, much less make. And not because you are black, but because you are cool. And because the only people who are supposed to get references like that are people like me, and I am not cool. See? I describe things as cool. That’s very not cool.

Jay-Z’s 99 Problems: “You know the type; loud as a motorbike, but wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight.”

Um. Word? WTF is a fruit fight? Like a food fight, except with only fruit? Do those happen? Is there ever that smartass who brings a tomato just waiting for someone to be like, “Hey! This is a fruit fight! No vegetables!”, just so he can be all, “Actually, a tomato is a fruit, look it up!” and totally shame the other fruit fight participant?

I get what you are trying to say. He’s all talk, but when it comes down to it, he wouldn’t back any of it up. Got it. But can we say this in a way that doesn’t make it seem like you go hard with a motherf***ing kiwi?

Lil Wayne’s A Milli: “I’m a venereal disease like a menstrual bleed.”

Lil Wayne: either you don’t understand basic reproductive health, or you don’t understand how to make a proper simile. Which is it?

Lil Wayne’s All Alone: “I love my ni**as, no homo, that’s why I hope they all get cheese like DiGiorno.”

Can we not with the whole no homo thing? The funny thing about saying stuff like no homo is that it actually makes it seem like what you really mean is yes homo.

It’s like my second cousin who says stuff like, “Listen, I don’t want you to think I’m being racist here, but I really can’t stand Barack Obama.” Well, I wouldn’t have thought it was racist if you hadn’t included that bizarre clause at the beginning. Same thing here. Plus rhyming homo with DiGiorno is just lazy and hunger-inducing.

Ganksta N-I-P’s Horror Movie Rap: “It’s Christmas time, happy New Year, G. A dead pig’s head makes a good-ass Christmas tree.”

There’s a whole lot going on here. First of all, it’s a rap about Christmas, which is never okay under any circumstances. Second of all, I am sad for your children on Christmas. Third of all, maybe you mean like a dead actual pig, like the animal, not like, a cop. Like in Lord of the Flies. But I don’t think that’s what you mean. Although that would be a sick William Golding allusion.

Kanye West’s Gone: “Says she want diamonds, I took her to Ruby Tuesdays. If we up in Friday’s, I still have it my way.”

Side note: This one is really painful for me. This is one of my favorite songs. It samples Otis Redding, it features Cam'ron and Consequence. I love it. But there’s a whole lot of dumb going on in this song.

Ye, wrong restaurant. Take it from someone who knows her mediocre affordable casual chain restaurants. T.G.I.Fridays =/= Burger King

“My dawg worked at Taco Bell, hooked us up plural, fired a week later the manager count the churros.”

Again, while I’m risking letting on that I know too much about shitty restaurants, Taco Bell does not serve churros. They serve cinnamon twists.

“But looking back now, I should’ve gone to the crib and rented ‘Gone With the Wind,’ cause I’d have gone in by 10.”

Classic cinema reference? Nailed it, Cons.

Master P’s Do You Know: “If you don’t bring back my mothafcking money or my mothafcking dope, you can forget about Christmas n**ga, cause you ain’t gon’ even see New Years.”

Master P is not exactly known for his lyrical genius (Make ‘em say uhhh…), but this particular line goes farandabove.gov. Part of me has always wanted to live in Master P’s world. I saw his episode of MTV Cribs with his son, Lil Romeo. Dude’s house looks like one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces pre-2003. But, according to this lyric, living in Master P’s world would also mean that New Years comes before Christmas. I can live with that.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya: “For any emcee in any 52 states, I go psycho killer Norman Bates.”

I defy you to try to make sense of anything ODB says or does. He’s unfigureoutable. In one of his criminal hearings, he called a female prosecutor a “sperm donor”. After getting caught by police with twenty vials of crack cocaine, he requested that the officer, “make the rocks disappear.”

In ODB’s America, it is socially acceptable for a millionaire to take his thirteen children in a limo to pick up their welfare check, it’s not rude to crash Shawn Colvin’s Grammy acceptance speech to rail against Puffy (railing against Puffy is always okay in my book), and there are 52 states. Maybe he’s making a political statement by numbering Puerto Rico and Guam among US states. But it’s doubtful.

Also, the stupidity of this lyric is almost cancelled out by the sick Alfred Hitchcock reference. Almost.

Yungstar in Lil'Troy’s Wanna Be a Baller: “I gots to get better man, it gots to move on, switched from Motorola to a PrimeCo phone.”

The problem with name-checking technology or brand names in a song lyric is that it dates your song (see: Biggie Smalls, re: Coogi sweaters). And songs about cell phone carriers from the late 90s/early 00s do not age well. Did Kyocera not fit into the rhyme scheme?

The Notorious B.I.G.’s Juicy: “Phone bill about 2G’s flat, no need to worry, my accountant handles that.”

Maybe Biggie should have taken a lesson from Yungstar, and switched phone plans. Get on that unlimited talk ish.

Kanye West’s Jesus Walks: “I’m just tryin to say the way school need teachers, the way Kathie Lee needed Regis, that’s the way I need Jesus.”

Okay, Yeezy, in this extended metaphor, are you saying that you are comprable to Kathie Lee Gifford, and Jesus is comprable to Regis Philbin? I get that. I always thought Jesus would come back as an overly-tanned, shiny-tie-wearing, Final-answer?-asking old man.

Drake’s Thank Me Now: “Shout out to my city, though I hardly be in town.”

Your absence is understandable, because, hey; it’s Toronto.

Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow: “Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is, black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow.”

What you meant to say, Wiz, was that the Steelers suck.

That’s all for now, but join me again next time for more cringe-inducing hip-hop and rap lyrics. If you don’t know, now you know.