As the RG camp recovers from an exhausting and successful SxSW, we somehow stopped sneezing and coughing long enough to bring you the best in this week's music. In between sips of hot tea, we managed to hear Nitty Scott, MC get on her 19th-century steez, Roc Marciano bring his rhyme density to mind-blowing levels, Black Milk reminisce on his hardscrabble childhood, 2 Chainz try to introduce some new slang into the lexicon, and K. Dot take the homophone to new realms. Below, the lines of the week:
5. “This is Ziplock fresh, catch a whiffington/This is Emily Dickinson on that piffington” – Nitty Scott, MC, 'Bars for Days' lyrics
We at RG have an ever-expanding interest in poetry (see our poetry-and-literature branch, Poetry Brain). Thus, Nitty's namedropping of one of America's greatest bards caught our attention. Plus, the image of a la-la-puffing, modern Emily had us cracking up.
4. “Once I left that front door, I could have been out of here/Bullets flying is the norm, so most kids walk without a fear/Friends dying is the norm, so they walk without a tear” — Black Milk, 'Sunday's Best/Monday's Worst' lyrics
This epic number by Detroit's finest gives us a vision of the best and the worst of the artist's memories. This section of the latter is particularly attention-getting in what it both says and doesn't say. How the kids get to walking “without a fear” in dangerous situations says more about the costs violence inflicts on people than any number of cautionary tales.
3. “Floors is all marble, the clothes is all barber/That mean they trimmed down and tailored to fit proper” — 2 Chainz, 'News for You (Remix)' lyrics
Whether or not the phrase “clothes is all barber” ever catches on, you have to give 2 Chainz credit for so brazenly trying to create a new catchphrase. We intend to start saying it immediately, regardless of the weird looks we're certain to get.
2. “Since a pupil, I was branded with the stamp of approval/Blow the hammer like a bugle; bitch, it's all strudel” — Roc Marciano, 'The Professional' lyrics
This line is masterfully constructed. There are the traditional rhymes, of course — “pupil,” “approval,” “bugle,” “strudel.” But it's the assonance of “branded,” “stamp,” and “hammer” in between them that really makes the segment come alive. And, of course, using the word “strudel” in any context at all is always a huge plus.
1. “Told niggas when I was 16 that I'd write a 16/To put a nigga right on the big screen/In the paddy wagon with six teens/Should have been in the pen but now my pen write with morphine” — Kendrick Lamar, 'Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe (Remix)' lyrics
Kendrick Lamar managed to hold his own against the greatest of all time this week. On this remix, he teamed with Jay-Z, and multiple lines from both of them could have topped our chart. This example was particularly notable due to the homophones — 16 (years of age), 16 (bars), and “six teens”. To top it off, he works in yet another homophone with “pen” as in the writing implement, and “pen” as in prison.