While we in the hip-hop media were recovering from the onslaught of new music on the 18th, rappers didn't miss a beat and continued to spit as if their lives depended on it. This week found an excellent mix of the serious, the clever, and, well, Riff Raff. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “My payday caught the nose of your lady/I'm at the beginning of my heyday/Y'all better recognize like ¡Mayday!” — Tech N9ne, 'See Me' lyrics
Tech's verse on his new single is a rhythmic stunner. He speeds up and slows down his delivery with incredible precision. In this couplet, though, he manages to keep that up while shouting out two of his labelmates — ¡Mayday! and Wrekonize.
4. “Goddamn we fucking crazy/I'll pull this pistol, put it on your poodle or your fucking baby/She clutched the pearls, said 'What in the world! and 'I won't give up shit!'/I put the pistol on that poodle and I shot that bitch” — Killer Mike, 'Run the Jewels' lyrics
Run the Jewels is the match-made-in-rap-nerd-heaven pairing of Killer Mike and El-P. This track finds them engaged in Run-DMC style back-and-forth, if Run-DMC had been the house band at the Thunderdome. Mike's verse-ending shooting of a dog is outrageous, shocking, and absurdly funny all at once.
3. “The Good Book said praise/But you so stuck in your ways/You got my image appraised” — Wale, 'Golden Salvation' lyrics
Kanye may have called his album Yeezus, but it took Wale to write a song as God. This tune is from the point of view of a Jesus disillusioned with rappers paying tribute with expensive jewelry while forgetting his message. The wordplay around “praise” here is top-notch, and catches the tune's overall message perfectly.
2. “White boat, white robe — can he be more cleaner?/The oil spill that BP ain't clean up/I'm anti-Santa Maria/Only Christoper we acknowledge is Wallace” — Jay-Z, 'Oceans' lyrics
For a capitalist mogul, Jay-Z's political leanings have proven surprisingly tough to pin down over the years. Just when you think you have him pegged, he'll be an early voice against the Iraq War or provide concise, clear commentary about US foreign policy. Here, he takes an unmistakeable stand against the genocide that accompanied the “discovery” of the New World, and against the folk-hero status of Columbus.
1. “A nice night/My aim is precise/I'm Glen Rice, I'm Glenn Close/It's a close call” — Riff Raff, 'Im In Love With That Money'
From the hopeful to the ridiculous. Riff Raff is an extremely entertaining living cartoon character. This has the unfortunate side effect of making his interviews often more entertaining than his raps. Not so here. On this guest verse, he takes the listener on an unpredictable, wild ride through random sports figures before landing on Glenn Close. How exactly is he Glenn Close? The world may never know…