For those of us in New York City, this week marked a schizophrenic march towards and away from spring, as the weather vacillated from “Hey, I don't need a jacket!” to “What happened to my jacket? I need it again!” We continued our intrepid fight with Mother Nature in order to bring you another Lines of the Week. The past seven days found Styles P calling out fakers, Action Bronson taking it back to the (extremely) old school, Spice 1 hanging with a legend, Honors English rebelling against fashion rap, and Ab-Soul doing, well, a whole bunch of different stuff. Below, the lines of the week.
5. “And Menace II Society was the movie to watch/I just did the soundtrack, smoking big with the homie Pac” — Spice 1, 'Ghetto Star' lyrics
This track finds the gangster rap originator taking us back through his storied career. Here, he turns a fond memory of getting high with a rap legend into a pun on the Tupac/Biggie beef.
4. “You don't know shit about that murk work/You was just saying killer shit to make the verse work” — Styles P, 'Fuck Dat' lyrics
Styles is perhaps THE king of tough talk, and he calls out all the imposters in his inimitable style with this rhyme.
3. “High-five love, 5'5″, plump/Sell the pussy 'til the shit look like a Ty Cobb glove” — Action Bronson, 'Compliments To The Chef” lyrics
Bronson ends up on this list with stunning regularity due to imagery like this. Mentioning a baseball player whose career began in 1905 is not exactly on the priority list of most artists, whose reference points rarely go back further than the last news cycle or catchphrase.
2. “I am less about the fashion, more about the real shit/Enough about the dress — I mean, Kanye already killed it” — Honors English, 'Insanity Plea (Part 1 and 2)” lyrics
This epic song by Honors is rapidly becoming one of our favorites. Its vision of a lyricist driven mad by today's emphasis on style over substance brings warmth to our cold purist hearts. Beyond the message, though, it's also a font of intense wordplay, as here. The dual meaning of “dress” plays right in to the “killed”/”kilt” pun.
1. “You know I'm hazardous as Ks in pre-K classes/It's straight madness, pumping gas and dropping matches/With your daughter in the baby seat, can you imagine it?/It's no conspiracy, every Soul tape's fabulous” – Ab-Soul, 'Bubble Gum Blues' lyrics
The Black Lip Pastor returns with those rarest of rap songs, an actual duet (with Short Dawg). The two trade lines back and forth with aplomb, playing off of each other's ideas and turns of phrase. But it's this ending section that really kills. The rhymes, the wordplay around “[A]Ks” and “pre-K”, and the Biggie-like violent imagery (remember him tying up your daughter in that Brooklyn basement?) are all superb. The final pun, on the rapper Fabolous' Soul Tape album, cements this rhyme as this week's winner.
Groaner of the week: “You ain't even gotta feel it, that's chin-chinchilla/Flyer than a caterpillar” — Tyga, 'Hit Em Up' lyrics
Someone should really tell Tyga that caterpillars don't…I mean, they eventually become…Ah, never mind. This line is great.