The past seven days, now known as International Yeezy-On-Buildings Week ™, brought us publicity stunts, seizure-inducing SNL stage sets and, oh yeah, even some music from the mercurial and brilliant Kanye West. But there were plenty of great tunes coming from other directions as well. Directions, West — see how we did that? Anyway, the lines of the week:
5. “For real, though, I'm vicious on the M-I/See, I used to make rhymes gripping on the semi” — Styles P, 'Lean On Em' lyrics
Styles P, as we learned in our interview with him a few months back, has hidden depths beyond his “hardest out” image. This line, with the pun on “see” and the letter “c” — which would finish spelling out “mic” — is a great blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit of wordplay.
4. “Let me put something poetic into plain English/I'd rather die than to not be distinguished” — Cee-Lo, 'Special Education' lyrics
This line puts us in mind of one of our other favorite rap lines, Hov's classic “I'd rather die enormous than live dormant.” For that reason alone, it would make our list. But its gorgeous poetic nature (working in the word “poetic” certainly doesn't hurt matters) makes us incredibly glad that Cee-Lo put away the cat and the big chair and returned to the recording booth, at least until the next season of The Voice.
3. “You're acting all Machio; Ralph/But I'll eat all you cats; ALF” — The Lonely Island, 'SEMICOLON' lyrics
If any rapper ever again uses the so-called “hashtag rap” format after this song-length parody of it by the Lonely Island guys, they deserve whatever mocking they get. L.I., with an assist from Solange on the hook, take the played-out device to task. This rhyme is a highlight for us because of the ALF reference (for you young'uns, he used to have an insatiable and always-denied appetite for cats).
2. “You see it's broke nigga racism/That's that 'Don't touch anything in the store'/And there's rich nigga racism/That's that 'Come here, please buy more/What you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?/All you blacks want all the same things'” — Kanye West, 'New Slaves' lyrics
“New Slaves” has got everyone talking. From its calling out of private prisons to its “Strange Fruit”-inspired imagery, the tune has something to engage and challenge almost any listener. This section, while perhaps less noted by the media, is equally as subtle and challenging. Kanye points out the common racism underlying the vastly different treatment afforded poor and rich blacks while shopping. The experiences may be polar opposites, but the stereotyping and dehumanization involved remain the same.
1. “Sitting heavy like spaghetti in the belly of a wise guy/Who let these G's out the pi-sty?” — Lupe Fiasco, 'Animal Pharm' lyrics
Every once in a great while, a line comes along that makes us exclaim out loud, G-chat our co-workers with a quote, etc. This is one of those. The opening image is classic, but the pun on “pigsty” is one for the ages.
Hot Songs of the Week:
Beyoncé – Grown Woman Lyrics
Lupe Fiasco – Animal Pharm Lyrics
2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa – We Own It (Fast & Furious) Lyrics
Kanye West – Black Skinhead Lyrics
Kanye West – New Slaves Lyrics
The Weeknd – Kiss Land Lyrics
Wale – Love Hate Thing Lyrics