Famous First Words: 55 Of Rap’s Memorable Opening Lines

You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Attention spans are as fleeting as ever in this world of instant gratification and 140 character limits. A rapper can gain or lose fans in just a few seconds, which is why it’s so important to hitthe track hard. Over the course of Hip-Hop’s history, a few songs have become iconic based solely on the opening lines. In no ranking order, here are 55 songs whose opening lines are unforgettable.

1. 2Pac “Hit ‘Em Up” — “First off, f*ck ya b*tch and the clique you claim…” – You half expect him to follow up with “therefore.”

2. Rakim “Paid In Full” — “Thinkin’ of a master plan, ‘Cause ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand…”

3. OC “Time’s Up” — “You lack the minerals and vitamins, Irons and the Niacins, F*ck who that I offend, rappers, sit back I’m about to begin.” – Omar prescribes your recommended daily allowance of boom bap.

4. Snoop Doggy Dogg on “Nothin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” — One, two, three and-to-the fo’/ Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the do’…” – Simple lyrics that introduced arguably one of rap’s most dynamic duos.

5. Lady Of Rage on “G Funk Intro” — “I’m sippin’ on Tanqueray, with my mind on my money and my mouth full of ganj-a/ R-A-G-to the muthaf*ckin’-E, back with my aggin S-N-Double-O-P…” – After this verse and the popularity of Snoop’s debut, no one needed to ask this Lady her name ever again.

6. Andre Nickatina “Smoke Dope & Rap” — “I smoke chewy like a muthaf*ckin’ nut…”

7. Belo of Do or Die on “Po Pimp” — “It waaas….seven double-O PM, fly low to them hoes in the BM, Sipppin’ Seagrams, crewin’ on a weed stem, touchin’ on my fo’ fin….”

8. Ghostface Killah “Wildflower” — “B*tch I f*cked yo’ friend, Yeah you stink hoe…” – His E-Harmony profile description.

9. Twista “Kill Us All” — “Standing in the midst of a hundred thousand haters, dynamite and C-4 strapped around my waist, Bloody tears in my eyes, hit the switch making sure any m*therfucker in the vicinity blow away and die…” – Visually, this opener is as good as it gets, especially on an album named Kamikaze.

10. The Notorious B.I.G “Warning” — “Who the f*ck is this pagin me at 5:46, in the mornin crack of dawnin, now I’m yawnin, wipe the cold out my eye, see who’s this pagin me and why…”

11. Ice Cube on “Straight Outta Compton” — “Straight outta Compton, a crazy motherf*cker named Ice Cube…”

12. MF DOOM “Beef Rapp” — “Beef rap, Could lead to gettin’ teeth capped, Or even a wreath for mom dukes on some grief crap…”

13. 2Pac “Hail Mary” — “I ain’t a killa but don’t push me, Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to getting pussy…” -To the end Pac was defiant. One of the hardest lines in the history of music.

14. Brother Lynch Hung “Situation On Dirty” — “I got that nigga fo’ about fo’ zones, had to get dirty though…”

15. Cam’ron “Stop Calling” – “Well I’ma tell you straight up homeboy cause it’s a cold world/Your wife, I call her ol girl’, her head make my toes curl…” – Cam obviously believes in honesty being the best policy.

16. Lil Wayne “BM JR” — “Murder capital, only key to survive is kill, If the elements don’t murder you, the riders will…” – One of Weezy’s hall of fame records started off with a bang.

17. Ma$e “I Need To Be” — “How many n*ggas out remember the, First time they try to take a girl virginity…” – In high school (or junior high), we all had this kind of pressure.

18. Freddie Gibbs “National Anthem” — “Back when I was younger, very ambitious but often blinded by my hunger, some say I dream too big and my dream gon’ take me under…”

19. Prodigy on “Survival of the Fittest” — “There’s a war going on outside, no man is safe from…”

20. Jay-Z “Dead Presidents Pt. 1” — “While others spit that Wonderama sh*t, me and my conglomerate shall remain anonymous, Caught up in the finest sh*t…”

Famous First Words

21. Slick Rick “Children’s Story” — “Once upon a time not long ago, Where people wore pajamas and lived life slow…” – Hip-Hop + nursery rhymes = the art of storytelling.

22. Nas “One Mic” — “Yo, all I need is one mic, one beat, one stage, one n*gga front, my face on the front page…”

23. Eminem “Insane” — “I was born with dick in my brain, yeah, f*cked in the head, My stepfather said that I sucked in the bed…” – Em called this a rhyme gone wrong and it’s one of the most appallingly clever lines he’s opened with.

24. Big Boi on “Myintrotoletyouknow” — “Time and time again see I be thinkin’ about that future, Back in the day when we was slaves I bet we was some cool ass n*ggas…”

25. Yelawolf “Pop the Trunk” — “Meth lab in the back and the crack smoke peels through the streets like an early morning fog…”

26. Kanye West “Stronger” — “Let’s get lost tonight, you can be my Black Kate Moss tonight…” – If there was ever a signifying moment when the fashion world became formally engaged with rap’s unruly persona, this was it.

27. Ghostface Killah on “Ice Water” — “Yo, yo, Check out the rap kingpin, the Black Jesus, I know a few n*ggas sniff coke, it cause seizures” – So random, it actually makes sense. Kiss the ring, you lackeys.

28. Lupe Fiasco “Little Weapon” — “Little Terry got a gun, he got from the store, He bought it with the money he got from his chores, He robbed candy shop told her lay down on the floor, Put the cookies in his bag took the pennies out the drawer…”

29. Run on “King Of Rock” — I’m the king of rock, there is none higher, Sucker MC’s should call me sire, To burn my kingdom, you must use fire, I won’t stop rockin’ till I RETIRE…”

30. LL Cool J “I Need Love” — When I’m alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall, and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call…”

31. KRS-One on “Criminal Minded” — “Criminal minded, you’ve been blinded, Looking for a style like mine, you can’t find it…”

32. Rakim “Microphone Fiend” – I was a fiend before I became a teen, I melted microphones instead of cones of ice cream…”

33. Inspectah Deck on “Triumph” — “I bomb atomically, Socrates’ philosophies and hypothesis can’t define how I be droppin’ these…”

34. Eminem “My Name Is” — “Hi kids!, Do you like violence?, Wanna see me stick Nine Inch Nails through each one of my eyelids?…”

35. Kanye West “Barry Bonds” – “Dude!, Fresh off the plane, konitchiwa b*tches,Turn around another plane, my passport on pivot, As for what I did it, that assh*le done did it…” – Have a toast for the douchebag because talking sh*t in two languages has never sounded so easy.

36. The Notorious B.I.G. “Juicy” — “It was all a dream I used to read Word Up! magazine…”

37. AZ on “Life’s A B*tch” — “Visualizing the realism of life and actuality, F*ck who’s the baddest a person’s status depends on salary…”

38. Jay-Z “Public Service Announcement” — “Allow me to reintroduce myself, My name is Hov…” – Only Jay-Z has the gravitas needed to pull off literally reintroducing himself.

39. Black Thought on “What They Do” — “Lost generation, fast-paced nation, Word population confront their frustration…” – A reminder to slow down in this fast-paced world.

40. Dr. Dre “F*ck You” – “I just wanna f*ck bad bitches, all them nights I never had bitches, Now I’m all up in that ass bitches” — Obviously Andre’s doctorate wasn’t in Women’s Studies.

Famous First Words

41. Mobb Deep on “Shook Ones Pt 2” — “I got you stuck off the realness, we be the infamous you heard of us, Official Queensbridge murderers…” – P’s free come March. It sure would be nice to hear this hunger again.

42. Curren$y “Elevator Music” — “Number four Jordan soles to the floor, steppin through the elevator door select the level that i wanna be on/ one push of the button, be gone…”

43. Royce Da 5’9″ “Shake This” — “1977, July 5, conceived immaculately was me, my mom’s gift…”

44. Lil B – “Like A Martian” — “I’m gon’ f*ck yo’ b*tch n*ggaaaaa…”

45. Big L on “Da Graveyard” — “Big L be lightin n*ggas like incense, Getting’ men lynched to win tits, I’m killin’ infants for ten cents…” – Harlem’s still shook by L’s ghost.

46. Lauryn Hill “Lost Ones” — “It’s funny how money change a situation, Miscommunication leads to complication…” – Lauryn cuts the cord, sealing her legend and subsequent downfall.

47. Kool G Rap “Streets of New York” — “In the streets of New York, Dope fiends are leaning for morphine/ The TV screen followed the homicide scenes…” – 1980s Empire state of mind.

48. Phife Dawg on “Scenario” — “Ayo Bo knows this, (What?!) and Bo knows that (What?!), But Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap…”

49. EPMD “You Gots To Chill” — “Relax your mind and let your conscience be free, And get down to the sound of E-P-M-D…”

50. Juvenile “Ha” — “That’s you wit’ that bad *ss benz Ha?!, That’s you that can’t keep ‘ol lady cause you keep f*ckin’ her friends ha?!”

51. Method Man “Bring Da Pain” — “I came to bring the pain hardcore from the brain, Let’s go inside my astral plane”

52. Main Source “Lookin’ At The Front Door” — “We fight every night, and that’s not kosher, I reminisce with bliss of when we was closer”

53. André 3000 on “Skew it on the Bar B” — “The common denominator, the n*gga numerator, Never know who the hater, n*ggas cater to your ego”

54. A Tribe Called Quest (Q-Tip) “Electric Relaxation” – “Honey check it out you got me mesmerized, With your black hair and yo’ fat ass thighs”

55. ODB “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” — “Shimmy Shimmy Ya Shimmy Yeah Shimmy Yeh!, Gimme the mic so I can take it awwayyy…”- Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it.

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