Word Up: Hip-Hop Through The Wire

Word Up: Hip-Hop Through The Wire

Listen to some hip-hop music that references "The Wire."

The Wire is a critically-acclaimed T.V. show, probably one of the greatest ever. Although it didn't have a large audience while it aired, its fan base has since grown ten-fold, and many fans of the show are within the hip-hop community.

For those who are unfamiliar with the HBO crime drama, let me give you a little background: it's set in Baltimore, Maryland, and focuses on the illegal drug trade and police system within the city. Throughout the five seasons we also get a look into the seaport system, the city government and school system, while remaining extremely true to life.

We recently found out that Michael K. Williams, who portrayed one of the most polarizing characters on the show, Omar Little, will soon be taking on the role of Ol' Dirty Bastard in the Wu-Tang Clan member's biopic.

References to The Wire abound in rap, whether it's comparing oneself to a character from The Wire, or lines about simply watching the show. So today HNHH takes a look at some of the best references to The Wire within hip-hop songs (eleven to be exact, in no particular order). Beware that if you haven't seen the show, some of these lines may spoil it for you. Feel free to add other references to the comment section, we obviously didn't get them all!

Sean Price- Stop

Sean mentions Omar's homosexuality as an insult in these lines off "Stop." Omar was one of the most infamous characters off The Wire, and we haven't really seen a character like Omar since.

"Raise the nine, never give you bozos love/Omar from The Wire, youse a homo thug" [0:29 mark]

 

Lloyd Banks- Without My Glock

When Avon and Stringer Bell both betray eachother in Season 3, damn that was intense! Stringer wants to be a legit business man, but Avon just wants to be a gangster. In the end Stringer gets got, and Avon gets arrested.

"Ya own boss'll set you up like Avon and Stringer Bell" [2:08 mark]

 

Skillz- Don't Act Like You Know Feat. Freeway

The Wire tells a fictional story, but the characters develop so well over every season that you really feel like you know them, and this makes them seem real. Nonetheless, Skillz reminds us that Michael is just an actor on The Wire.

"And these youngins wanna to act like Michael on The Wire/‘til they realize that Michael just an actor on The Wire" [0:59 mark]

 

Royce Da 5'9- Meeting the Bosses

Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell were kings of an empire for a period of time in The Wire, but they aren't able to hold on to it, and soon the young'ns take over; the same can be said of the rap game.

"The soldiers, the hitch men, fighting for the dough/ Allow me to give it to you, right from the door/Walking through the steps of the rise and the fall hall/Of an empire, coming to the floor/Through the wire like Avon and Stringer" [0:29 mark]

 

Lupe Fiasco- Superstar Remix Feat. Young Jeezy, T.I.

On Lupe Fiasco's remix, Jeezy gives us a line about watching The Wire, and another character many grew to love because she was so gangster, Snoop.

 "And everytime I watch The Wire, it’s like I just left B-Mo/Call me Marlo, come be my Snoopy." [0:33 mark]

 

Eminem- Drop The Bomb On 'Em

Em makes two dope references to The Wire here.  First he mentions Kenard, who most people probably don't even know was the young kid who shot Omar. When Kenard shot Omar I had an "ohmygodwhatthefuckjusthappened" moment. The second reference, another to Stringer Bell, is a little play on words.

"Im hard as Kenard/The little boy who shot Omar in The Wire" [0:22 mark]

"Stringer Bell boy/My name rings bells for itself" [2:48 mark]

 

Lil Wayne- Nightmares of the Bottom

Even Weezy F has watched The Wire. Stringer Bell seems to be a favourite to mention among rappers, and Lil Wayne gives us another mention on "Nightmares of the Bottom."

"But they all on my wire like Stringer Bell" [3:18 mark]

 

Curren$y- Run Dat Shit

Former YMCMB member, the Hot Spitta, let's us know that he is also on that Wire tip. Marlo was a young g, not a man of many words, but he definitely got shit done.

"Marlo on the screen, yeah bitch we on The Wire." [2:37 mark]

 

Red Cafe- Paper Touchin' (Remix) Feat. Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Fabolous

Red Cafe's "Paper Touchin' Remix" got two references, one from Red Cafe and the other from Fab. Red Cafe quotes the show's theme song, which was used for the series' opening credits, with different covers each season. 

"The Wire said ‘keep the devil in the hole’"  [1:16 mark]

Fabolous, on the other hand, takes us a deeper into the show as he spits about his young'ns who aren't afraid to do the job, just like that little boy (Kenard) did to Omar.

 "Oh naw, I aint who to go hard wit/my young boy’ll do the job like the Omar hit (sheeeeitt…)" [3:51 mark]

 

Raekwon- Mean Streets Feat. Inspectah Deck & Ghostface Killah

Although most mention The Wire in reference to how the show portrayed reality, here Ghostface references the fact that it is actually fake. Ghostface Killah claims he will do the shit which The Wire only portrays on T.V.

"Real talk, it’s not that bullshit from The Wire" [3:42 mark]

 

Lloyd Banks- Score

Marlo was indeed the hardest on the street. He was catching bodies by the dozen, and then having them thrown up in deserted houses. Man, Marlo even had Proposition Joe killed. Banks uses Marlo's name to portray that he is just as tough.

"I'm the hardest on the street, I go Marlo on the beat" [1:29 mark]

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