This week, the biggest news in hip-hop was not about a person, but about a building. Brooklyn's Barclays Center, one-half-of-one-percent-owned by Jay-Z, opened for business with eight straight concerts by the rap legend. Another BK rapper, Skyzoo, released his superb album A Dream Deferred this week as well. And, in the realm of sadly predictable news, Beanie Sigel got arrested while he was already facing a two-year jail sentence. Best wishes to Beanie. Come home soon. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “It's not music, this medicine and/I'm not a rapper, I'm a medicine man/More like a gifted holistic mystic/But try to kick my habit and get dopesick” — Prodigy, 'Medicine Man' lyrics
We at RG are of course big Mobb Deep fans, and were saddened when rumors of their split turned out to be true. But if P keeps making music like this, it'll take at least some of the sting away. Just hearing Mr. Shook Ones compare himself to a “holistic mystic” made our whole day.
4. “Nia Long Sky shit/Lauren London my shit/Dream Deferred, that's my word, y'all need to go cop it” — Torae, 'Rap Average' lyrics
Torae here reps for his close friend Skyzoo in the best possible way — by rhyming about him. A nod to both Sky's new album and his fantasy girl of choice makes this one of the best ads we've heard in a long time.
3. “The phone booth can be where you change or where you pump at/My heroes took turns with who would run that/So for all the Pierre Delacroixs, the Man Tans and Sleep-n-Eats/And all the money from hand to hands that we can keep” — Skyzoo, 'Spike Lee Was My Hero' lyrics
Speaking of Skyzoo, in our chat with him, he talked a lot about his love of Spike Lee movies. This appropriately-titled number lays that out in detail. Here, Sky's empathy for the troubled characters in Bamboozled (our favorite of Spike's films) shines through.
2. “They call me eight shows H.O./You can stunt like that when you own the whole place, though” — Jay-Z, 'Barclays Center Freestyle lyrics'
Oh, Hov. Despite owning just a small piece of the Nets, Hov's stunting like he owns the place rings true. If you judged by the billboards all over the city, the Rocawear store in the stadium itself, and the amount of press mentions, it would seem that, for only a small investment, Jay has indeed bought himself a whole stadium in the public imagination. And, well, “eight shows” and “H.O.” is one hell of a rhyme.
1. “Why would you fuck with this South Philly sicko?/Shitbag your stomach, stick a tool through your dickhole” — Beanie Sigel, 'Show N Off Freestyle' lyrics
Beans has long been one of our favorite rappers. His intensity and his knotty wordplay made him stand out even when rapping next to one of the genre's all-time greats, as he did frequently during his Roc-a-fella days. On this recent freestyle, he turns all his recent legal troubles and angst into one of the best (and most painful) threats of all time.
Hot Songs of the Week
[Impose would like to send a tip of the hat to Rap Genius for receiving a $15 Million investment. These are trying times as you determine which Lamborghini to purchase. Test drive them all.]