The "Most Popular" category usually takes the number one spot, but this week we received a track so lyrically potent that it has to be mentioned first. The "Best Lyricism" category is the highest praise we can give, and R.A. The Rugged Man's latest single 'Learn Truth' deserves nothing less.
Teaming up with former Rawkus Records labelmate Talib Kweli for the first time, the two veteran emcees absolutely slaughtered the delicate, piano-driven instrumental. The track is a brutally unforgiving history lesson that catalogues some of humanity's most devastating mistakes and conflicts throughout the past half-century. By bringing it all up in this way, they're asking that we either learn or accept the truth about our world, and try not to repeat ourselves.
There's much more to hip hop than the club-oriented music that's so widespread right now. It can be used to raise awareness and affect social change, and this is a perfect example.
[Verse 2: RA The Rugged Man]
From Genghis Khan to Vietnam I can smell the napalm
Rape victims, ripped stockings
Redneck clan members doing church bombings
Innocent foetus' being aborted with no options
Human governments ruin 'em
Worrying what weapons could be used to be nukin' 'em
Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem
Slaves treated like property, to Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima to Nagasaki
Adolf Hitler, to every murderous Nazi
To the Gambinos, to the Gottis, to every mafia atrocity
Child pornography, babies starving and dying in poverty
Serbians fighting Croatians in Yugoslavia
Muslim women being raped, up to 40,000 in the war in Bosnia
The 50 million killed in the second World War
The government's poisoning the minds and the bodies
of the babies that are born poor
Airplanes blown up by Islamic extremists
In religion there's always drama
Whether worshipping the profit Mohammed or Jesus
More pox than Napoleon's troops dying from typhus
From the Spanish flu to the black plague to the AIDS virus
Bodies in coffins, political extortions
Racist mobs murdering, Willie Turks, Michael Griffith and Usha Forkins
Check the murder rate, is it human nature to murder and hate?
The Catholic church claimed women were witches
and burned 'em at the stake
Pedophile predators attack
And .38 Berettas used by Ghandi's assassin
16 bullets in Malcolm, It happened uptown Manhattan
And the homicide, Reagan, '80s epidemic of crack
And soldiers in action dying in Iraq and never coming back
We recommend you check out R.A.'s upcoming Legends Never Die album, which drops in a month's time.
Click the badge below to read Talib's verse:
2.) Most Popular: 50 Cent ft. Kendrick Lamar - We Up (Updated Version)
The words to Fif's updated version of 'We Up' were the most popular this week. He chose to remove Kidd Kidd from the track and add another brief verse of his own at the end, with Kendrick remaining. Lyrically-speaking, there was nothing remarkable about the original version, and that hasn't really changed.
How're we feeling about this? Was dropping Kidd Kidd's verse a good call?
Click the badge below to read the rest of the lyrics:
3.) Dopest: Schoolboy Q - Yay Yay
Schoolboy dropped this dealer's anthem on us last Friday, and he absolutely crushes the huge, intoxicating instrumental from Boi-1da. The track is undeniably hype, but Q stays true to the honest, street-wise griminess that we know and love him for. If you weren't excited for Oxymoron before, this single should do the trick.
This is pure, unabridged lyricism, plain and simple - the definition of "going in". All three emcees deliver intense, fast-paced verses over a chilling beat, with the young Jon Connor's contribution being particularly impressive. All three clearly have a deep appreciation for the craft.
This track surfaced on YouTube, and so far its origins are unknown. As dope as it is, it doesn't exactly sound like a typical Talib Kweli track. Thoughts on this one?
[Verse 3: Jon Connor]
Spitting murder, I’m probably not somebody you want to make an enemy of
Every syllable is killin’ ‘em, death is a minimum
Outcome when you lettin’ Freddie with machetes in your living room
I’m living through the visuals, I’m giving you connect with every individual
And they’re just saying that he’s lyrical…
No, nigga, I’m the realest – raised in the jungle with gorillas
Ain’t too many heroes and there’s way too many villains
Niggas goin’ crazy over money, probably need to be committed
They commited to seeing these killings
And walking away like they don’t know who did it
Time ain’t on your side
So be happy when you see the other side of a minute
Half-aware niggas witness homicides when they chillin’
Just another day in my city – just another day in Fly City
Gonna be funny with another nigga’s money
Better make sure a motherfucker die silly, it ain’t pretty
Poverty done got to me, no you can’t take it out of me
Talk is cheap, motherfucker, it’s like I just hit the lottery
Got to be niggas spitting that comedy, not a nominee
Spitting a monopoly ‘til I’m living like Tommy Lee
Shit too real – and these niggas too fake
It’s my time – these niggas too late
My city too real – so I stay like that
And we don’t give no fuck – ‘cause we was raised like that
Click the badge below to read Talib and Gibbs' verses...
5.) Most Positive: Mann - Freezetag
We can always count on Yump Daniels to bring that positivity with his verses, and 'Freezetag' is no exception. He's actually described this one as a public service announcement. The track is honest, reflective and self-aware. However you feel about it, only a fascist could hate on the message here.
[Verse 1: Mann]
Young Man childhood ain't too far behind
Patiently waiting til all his stars align
Having the hardest time trying to keep balance being an artist
And being righteous without being a target
If I say too much they'll Shakur me, surely
I'm in it to secure the security
Of my family financially
But I really need some answers please
Reading all these books got me feeling antsy
Finding new truths feeling like it can't be, can it?
Just one anointed spirit on this big planet
What make you think I can vanish
Some will never understand it
Now I'm writing songs trying to ignore what I know
Before that's all I knew fuck bitches, get dough
But it's more than just that
And once your into it there is no looking back
Ignorance is bliss
I used to think that was some silly shit
But now I see thats what it really is
I wish I was a kid again
Homework was my biggest problem then
Just wanted to go outside and just kick it with my friends
Live how ghetto kids do
Broke ones had the most fun, never no issues
Imagination made up for the lack of money we had
The most creative , ten different ways of playing freeze tag
Think back when every thought was pure
Every day was exciting every Idea was yours
But now were so tainted by the worlds influence
Its been going on for years, this is what they been doing
They run the fucking earth with the proper endurance
And we got to rock with it we ain't got the insurance
Dont go against the current
Conform to what you learn
Dont ask whats really going on thats none of your concern
Whats the word?
Fuck the sheriff, the cop, fuck the crash and the ghetto bird
No love for authority figures
How we supposed to be a minority the majority is us
Why you put us in a position meant for us to give up
Just building more of these prisons, for more of these niggas
Oh, I get it
Ya'll on a mission, different agendas
We trying to live, ya'll trying to kill us
And I'm conflicted whether or not to let this song drop
Man I just want to live a life with a long plot
And its not like me saying this means its gone stop
But you know its bad when your haunted by your own thoughts, the evils
Click the badge below to read the rest:
"The Bullitts" is singer, songwriter, producer, and filmmaker Jeymes Samuel's musical pseudonym. This track is to appear on his upcoming debut album They Die By Dawn & Other Short Stories, and is accompanied by a short film of the same name. Although this track may have been making the festival circuit beforehand, we just caught wind of it this week.
We haven't heard much from Yasiin in a minute, and even less from Jay Electronica, of course, so this epic track was a welcome surprise. Hardly a beat, the instrumental recalls Sergio Leone's spaghetti western scores, and the two emcees get spiritual on the track, accompanied by a chilling spoken hook from Lucy Liu (the rapping starts around the 2:00 minute mark, by the way).
[Verse 2: Jay Electronica]
My grandmother told me never, ever go to sleep in the church house
Wear a shirt and a tie to the courthouse
Look the judge in the eye like a man
Not a thug, not a lamb, not a slave or a church mouse
You a king, you a god, you a holy L
Get out this hole and give these ma’fuckas holy Hell
So, over time I’ve perfected my rhymes, and
That’s why I shine like I climbed out the Holy Grail
Mainstream dropout, White Widow, cottonmouth
Out in Queens park with a crew of dirty stop-outs
London bridge is falling down
The bullets licking shots on the parliament grounds
And we battle every scoundrel, every henchman, every hound
Get lassoed by the sound, ran across the desert then shackled to the mount
Click the badge below to read Yasiin's verse:
7.) Most Faded: Freddie Gibbs - The Color Purple
Despite the fact that this track is very lo-fi and belligerently tagged for the first 30 seconds, it's hard to go wrong with Gangster Gibbs. The musical progression, which is simultaneously scatterbrained and chill, feels like stumbling through a particularly lifted trip (whoever mastered this track must've been pretty faded as well). It complements Gibbs' drug-addled verses nicely - he's in such a state on this one that he even sings a bit at the beginning.
How does this track make you feel?
And I know that you smoke
I know that you broke
On that dirty sprite with ice, you know that good purple potion
I wrote this shit for my homies who checked out before me
I blow this doja, smoke away, ‘cause every day we be on it
And we know it - crack a seal, pop a pill
Now we rollin - drop my top and grip the wheel
I’m slow motion - stack a hundred dollar bills
I can’t fold it, nah - I can’t fold it, nah
And yo, I hope you know that I’m thuggin’
Hope you know that I’m rollin’ dope
Styrofoam stay muddy, pourin’ up ‘til I overdose
Smokin’ on those Woods
We don’t fuck with them Swisher Sweets
Only mess with them gaudy bitches
Them bougie bitches don’t interest me
Hope she know she gon’ get it
Hope she know she gon’ give it up
Say she stay with a nigga
Hope she know I don’t give a fuck
Know I stay with that pack
Sixteen and that wax
Throw it up as we blow it up
And blow big dope in that ‘Lac
Click the badge below to read the rest:
8.) Best Vehicle References: Stalley ft. Scarface - Swangin'
This is MMG understudy Stalley's first official single, featuring Houston veteran Scarface and produced by the Block Beattaz. Coming up under Ross' wing clearly has its perks.
Over a relaxed instrumental, both emcees vividly describe their respective whips and the faded adventures they have in them. They both go into great detail, be it cherry red paint with gold flakes or French antennas. Stalley refers to his car as "a pimp's cathedral" at one point.
[Verse 4: Scarface]
Glass 84s gleamin' under my ride
A summertime vibe, it’s 1995
Back when DJ Screw had the city slowed down
Three in the morning, drank was pourin' out
Back to take you back to where you couldn’t ride... slam
‘Cause the elbow killer comin’, tippin’ up the ave
And catch a nigga slippin’, then beat you for your shit
And put a bullet in your head, leavin’ your people sick
That’s why I be trippin’ when I see ‘em ridin’ Vogues
I whisper to myself “boy, these niggas don’t know”
Flaked out boat paint, they Hollywood hoppin’
With French antennas and that pop, doors poppin’
Click the badge below to read the full lyrics:
9.) Honorable Mention: Freeway - Hot New Hip Hop
Freeway and producer Alex Lustig were the first collaborators in our new "In The Booth"original music series, and this track was the result. Freezer is an ever-confidant lyricist, and he delivers an anthemic hook and two succinct but solid verses about his dedication to the streets. A down-tempo, piano-driven instrumental from Lustig complements the imagery.
Stay tuned for more "In The Booth" original tracks.
You are tuned to the truest, got to come with the newest
You know I come with them Rugers if I don't come with my shooters
...used to hang on the street, bang on the streets
But they all turned to geeks 'cause they just bang on computers
Shootin' up cyberspace, but I'm much wiser
I shoot unto my rival spot, divide the place
Flush my rivals out, then supply the place
I'm like Drumma Boy with the bass, it bump constant
Haters can't stop it
If you try, I cock back, put the burner to your eye then pop it
Yes, I ride for the prophet
Got no time for them snakes or them guys with the gossip
Click the badge below to read the rest of the lyrics:
10.) Limp Bizkit ft. Lil' Wayne - Ready To Go
This is probably the biggest "No Comment" yet. We're pretty much speechless.
Limp Bizkit are now officially signed to Birdman's Cash Money Records. Their first single features Lil' Wayne and was apparently produced by Polow Da Don. It'll be included on their upcoming album, Stampede Of The Disco Elephants.
That is all.
Stay tuned for next Friday’s Lyrics of the Week, folks. Thanks for joining the discussion.
[Verse 1: Fred Durst]
Back, it's the motherfuckin' rock god
I'm so poker-faced, ladies going Ga-Ga
That's right it's Freddy D, the public enemy
You know, the one to have Britney drop it to her knees (ooh...)
I don't give a fuck, I probably never will
Bitch get at me if that ass is like Jessica Biel's
Who down with me tonight? You know I'll treat you right
You shake for me until they turnin' on them ugly lights
Throw them fingers up, and finger-fuck the sky
She like the way we pump it, I call her pumpkin pie
I ain't about to lie, I came up in it high
You got a problem and I'll bust you in your fucking eye, player
Baby you're a rockstar, I know who the fuck I am
40 million records later, I am still the fuckin' man
I came to rock, all she wanna do is roll
Now she at my house sliding up and down that pole
Click the badge below to read Tunechi's verse:
HNHH's Lyrics of the Week breaks down the most noteworthy bars of the past seven days into ten categories that will rotate according to the type of content that drops.
There's quite a bit of repetition in the game these days, and specific lyrics tend to get overlooked. This is an opportunity to take a closer listen and really consider what these artists have to say. We encourage your opinions.
Keep in mind, these are the most noteworthy words of the week, not necessarily the best.
This series is brought to you by our collaborators at gotbars.com, currently one of the most efficient providers of the latest hip-hop and R&B lyrics. Get familiar and create an account with them to continue the discussion directly: