Cleverest turn of phrase in rap/hip hop?

Ma, Ma–look what i did, Ma. Look what i did to my hands, I broke 'em.
You gave me the stone, gave me the chisel, didn’t say how to hold 'em.
Didn’t say to give away every piece of the puzzle ‘til i was left with nothin’.
But i took it upon myself to crush it up and distribute the dust.

– Sage Francis, Sea Lion.

One of my favorite rappers.

I wracked my brain trying to choose both a Biggie and some more Wu, but I couldn’t choose. I was so eager to post something in this thread, that I went with some stuff that was in my regular rotation right now.

“Me and Gutter had two spots,
The two-for-five dollar hits, the blue tops,
Gotta go, Coolio mean it’s gettin’ ‘Too Hot’
If Fay had twins she’d probably have two 'Pacs,
… Get it, Tu-Pacs?”

Notorious B.I.G. - Brooklyn’s Finest

Consider the gangsta and macho world of rap. Consdier that Tupac had just made one of the most bitter, bile-spewing diss records ever, directed at Biggie, bragging about how Tupac slept with his wife. What did Biggie do in response? Made a pun about it. He would have probably been a Doper.

Glad to see Sway in here already, although I was going to post another verse:

Hype Boys
Hype Boys
Everyone’s a killer, drug dealer with a nine miller
That’s not sensible, and I can sense the bull
That’s why these rappers couldn’t see me comin’
Even if they were vaginas, with spectacles
And I’ve got the testicles to testify the truth
Half of these rappers are only gangsters in the booth

Comic timing while rapping? Nice work.

Dead in the middle of little Italy, little did we know that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddly

It’s right near the start

I got more rhymes than Abe Vigoda.

All of the Beastie Boys rhymes are sick yo!

Running from the law the press and the parents
“Is your name Michael Diamond?” “No, my name’s Clarence!”

  • “Shake Your Rump,” Beastie Boys

Rappinin’ is what’s happenin’
Keep the pockets stacked and the hands clappenin’!

“Da Mystery of Chessboxin’,” Wu-Tang Clan (ODB)

“Well I’m a sire, I set the microphone on fire
Rap styles vary, and carry like Mariah”

Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ - Wu-Tang Clan (Inspectah Deck)

I always liked this line from Talib Kweli in Black Star:

“My rhymes are like shot clocks, interstate cops and blood clots,
My point is your flow gets stopped.”

I also liked the first track on Nas’ latest album, “Queens Get The Money”:

Let us make man in our image, spit it,
I’m Huey P. and Louie V. at the eulogy throwing molotovs for Emmett
You ain’t as hot as I is
All of these false prophets is not messiahs
You don’t know how high the sky is
The square mileage of earth or what pi is
I’m the shaky hand that touched George Foreman in Zaire
The same hand that punched down devils that brought down the towers

I’m sure there are others that are not in the front of my mind right now.

Brother Ali is an albino rapper. In his song “When The Beat Comes In” he raps:

Shake awake the walking dead Lazarus
With off-the-head narratives, it’s embarrassin’
I mean I’m the albino but y’all pale in comparison

From Notorious B.I.G.'s “Warning”:

There’s gonna be a lot of slow singin’ and flower bringin’
If my burglar alarm starts ringin’

My favorite one-liner from him is “my name is in the middle of equality.” I’m sure he probably thought of it when he was 10, but it’s clever to me.

They censor any drug or gun reference on the radio these days. One of the more interesting censored lines I’ve heard though is from Notorious B.I.G.'s “Juicy” where he raps:

Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade

Now of course this came out in the 90’s and was a reference to the first WTC bombings. After September 11th, they actually censor the words “World Trade” when they play this song now.

I saw Notorious last night, and that line was (creatively) censored in the movie, too.

That really fascinates me. I guess to people who don’t know the timeframe of the context it could seem much cruder than it really was. I wonder if 20, 30 years from now they’ll decide enough time has passed that they can de-censor it again.

What’s in your alleyway
Recycling bins or bullet cases?

From “Rise” by Flobots. I like it because it immediately puts a picture in your head.

From the brink of madness comes one
desolation to the souls of the weak have begun
Heart of a jackal, murder when i break man-shackles
shatter with sound with both splinter crackles
25 gun salute, you stand resolute
pick up your chest, dead brute
we set the standards, suckers wanna ban us
for cavorting round a hardcore banner

25 Gun Salute - Gunshot

The best of British.

What’s interesting is how it tries to redact the World Trade Center from culture. Far more disrespectful than BIG’s line, as it denies that it existed and had a history and was a part of the culture.

This is the Soul-Jam victory chafer
Your whole camp quick to see anger
but behold tramp pick the remainder
That old damn trickery changed the game
Put it in danger, givin it major fame
My task is tryna’ excell past
The hell masks that glamour and glitz can sell cats
And through the foul trash absorb the shell blast
Like I was the most bombed hotel in Belfast! BOOM!

I’m partial to Biz Markie:

Ah yeah
Now check it out
I would walk into the bathroom to take a crap
I sit down, and then I write me a toilet stool rap
Whether I’m constipated or have diarrhea
I always come out with a funky fresh idea

“Toilet Stool Rap”


From “I’m Bo Yo” - Bo Burnham

You’re playing with your breasts, excuse me, can I try it ma’am?
You’re pushin’ em together like a titty Venn Diagram
His “New Math” is much funnier but doesn’t qualify for the thread.