We watched a small part of our childhood die this week, as Naughty By Nature finally (and viciously) split up. The recent sniping between Treach and Vin will forever cloud our memories of middle-school dance moves to “O.P.P.” and “Hip Hop Hooray”. But we managed to find the strength to move on from this tragedy and bring you our Lines of the Week.
5. “Cash I get it, grab it; feel the punishment from the savage/Legend lyrical lord — they call you Uncle Ad-lib” — Treach, 'Tall Midget' lyrics
Speaking of Naughty, our #5 entry this week is Treach's rather vicious dis of his now ex-bandmate. He plays on Vin's long-time second-banana status with this rhyme.
4. “Glamour with a panoramic view for me to scan her/I love this sister like I'm Tony Montana” — Common, 'Fine China (Remix)' lyrics
Scarface is by far the most common movie for rappers to reference, for reasons we've already talked about at length. By now, most shouts to the movie tend to feel recycled and tired. But Common manages to make giving props to Tony Montana feel new and fresh by mentioning an unusual angle — Tony's rather intense (and creepy) overprotectiveness of and love for his sister.
3. “Money can't buy happiness, but that shit can support it/'Cause what's a family of five if you can't even afford it?” — Logic, 'Young Jedi' lyrics
As folks who spend all day looking for triple entendres and polysyllabic rhymes, we can often forget the value of a good simple pun. Young Sinatra reminds us here, with wordplay around “five” and “aFOURded.”
2. “Where I'm from, little kids been shooting since laser tag/By the time they 20, they martyrs or someone's baby's dad/Cops wanna kill me 'cause I'm darker than a paper bag/Parked the latest Jag by the police sergeant and made him mad” — Crooked I, 'Underdogz' lyrics
Long Beach's finest throws a lot of ideas at us in these four lines. The sadness and violence of his native city, police racism and violence, his success as revenge for past and present slights and, most notably, the sad history of the so-called paper bag tests that continued through at least the 1950's.
1. “They keep us at sea level so I’m staying on my A game/They local like the C when I express like the A train/My a-alikes take what I write, use it to maintain/We be alike and see alike, cause we got the same brain” — Talib Kweli, 'Ready Set Go' lyrics
As with Logic's entry this week, the puns and wordplay here are top-notch. The abecedarian plays on “C” and “B” are fantastic and, as New Yorkers, we can never resist a good subway joke.
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