Talk That Talk: Top 5 Notable Quotables Of 2011

If you ever find yourself having to explain to an alien what exactly gives Hip-Hop its distinctive voice, all you have to remember is that the power is in the words. Unlike nearly every other genre of music where melody and vocal influxes play a huge factor on the quality of song, a rapper’s biggest assets is what they say and how creatively they can say it. The ability to paint motion pictures with rhyming words isn’t a talent to be taken for granted. It’s a talent worth sculpting an award to from granite.

Until the unwritten moratorium is lifted from allowing emcees to speak their mind on the radio without a dance track in their corner, quality verses will continue to go unheard but TSS Crew are respecting the fresh from five top-shelf speeches of song this year. Salute to everybody carrying on tradition by word of mouth.

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#REMORSE

“And I’ll never let my son have an ego
He’ll be nice to everyone, wherever we go
I mean, I might even make ‘em be Republican
So everybody know he love White people
And I’ll never let ‘em leave his college girlfriend
And get caught up with the groupies in the whirlwind
And I’ll never let ‘em ever hit the telethon
I mean even if people dyin’ and the world ends
See, I just want ‘em to have an easy life, not like Yeezy life
Just want ‘em to be someone people like
Don’t want ‘em to be hated, all the time judged
Don’t be like your daddy that’ll never budge
And I’ll never let ‘em ever hit a strip club
I learned the hard way, that ain’t the place to get love
And I’ll never let his mom move to L.A.
Knowin’ she couldn’t take the pressure, now we all pray”

Kanye West from “New Day” from the album, Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne wasn’t just a one-percenter’s fellate fest over designer garb. Yeezy (and Hov) also spent some pensive time contemplating the context of that wealth, using “New Day” as an open apology letter to a yet-to-be-conceived sons. ‘Ye’s said that his verse is his all-time favorite and why not? When he laments on wax that he’d make his child “Republican, so everybody know he love white people,” listeners know “New Day” wasn’t another excuse to rhyme “killa” with “Margiela.” The medium is the message. “New Day” exemplifies that. — Ryan J.

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#DEPTH

“A mother lost her child, I tried to ease her pain
‘It’s only God’s will,’ she said she felt the same
It’s funny how the sun will up and battle rain
As if the clouds couldn’t stand to see me outside again
Wrote a rhyme that was kind, with some vision to it
Bottom line, it might expand yo mind if you listen to it
Too much shine can dull the soul
If you feel how I feel, then I rap some more
How can the Devil take my brother if he’s close to me
When he was everything I wasn’t but I hoped to be
I get a little honest, and I ask my self
If the time come, will you save me if I ask for help
Send my mind on a journey to the outermost
To document what it had seen, and Cc: me the notes
And ask Kurt Cobain why, ’cause I need to know
He stopped when he had such a long way to go
I saw love in the eyes of a perfect stranger
She overlooked my caring heart in search of a gangsta
Will we ever be together?
Only time will tell
She called my phone and talked to me as her eyes would swell
I put my problems in a box beside my tightest rhymes
Under lock and key, buried deep off in my mind
And when it gets too full, and I can’t close the lid
I spaz on my family and my closest friends
Trade my materials for a piece of mind
I’m so close to Heaven, hell, I just need some time
Who cares about life, and the highs and lows
Maybe I should write another song about pimps and hoes
Cars and clothes, idol gods, golden calves, Louis scarves
I do this for the love, and it’s free of charge
I don’t need jail to be behind bars
This is purely art, in my Grandma’s household this was surely taught
Don’t be naive, yeah, these times is hard
In the midst of all the glamor, hope you find God
I never wished to be the burden bearer
But souls need saving, and it’s now or never
Shock value’s all they wanna see
It’s us against them, and it’s just you and me
Trying to take heed what I say in my songs
Forgive me if I ever, ever steered you wrong
Most people stop for signs, but I’ve driven through it
If it don’t touch my soul, then I can’t listen to it
The radio don’t play the shit I used to love
Or maybe I’m just growing up
I never seen a star on a red rug
If I wanna see stars I just look above…
To the Heavens”

Big K.R.I.T. on “The Vent,” from the album Return of 4Eva

K.R.I.T. is consistently lauded for his beautifully-constructed production (and rightly so) but he can be simplistically dazzling with a pen. He needs just two short lines near the end of the verse to conjure up a layered observation of what it is to mature and change as a Hip-Hop fan. And that’s just one couplet. The first two bars alone pack enough lived-in pain and unsureness to strike a chord with anyone who has had the difficult task of trying to comfort a grieving loved-one or acquaintance. It’s all part of the gripping internal struggle at play here — K.R.I.T. fighting to maintain positivity and perseverance in the face of personal experiences that invite doubt and disappointment. It’s a lyrical feast for those who like their rap a little more contemplative, a little more substantive. — Samir S.

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#DOMINANCE

“Rap warlord, stay on point, like a scoreboard
Coming to get everything I worked for
Never been a church boy, but always knew God
Played the game hard never took nothing likely
Stumbled any nigga trying to fight me, I’m not the pushover type, see
I will come back with thunder and lightning
Played under rain storms, hard times I came from
It’s hot on your side?
Well nigga it’s the same sun
Hustle from the same bag, delivery be A-1
I ain’t never lost one since stolen crumb
I’m
Back on my Herc ish
Lion skin, long club, that’s what I’m working with
Stronger than you other kids, wide-eyed lens
Focused on my weight gain, Lou Ferrigno chisel man
Ain’t nothing really changed, I’m just cleaning up now
Tossing out you weaklings, c-c-coming for you haters
I hear everything you speaking
Raps like high school
That’s why I dropped out, I rather do home school
I’m better not around you, lames be the downfall
To a wise leader and a good friend
I step away before I let you niggas kill my legend
Ain’t a blood type to specimen like him
I must be…Hercules”

Stalley on “Hercules” from the mixtape, Lincoln Way Nights: Intelligent Trunk Music

The Greek/Roman god of tough guy things even had to get his weight up to spot Stalley’s verbal bench press this year. It has become commonplace—and convenient, and complacent if we’re looking to complete the “C” trifecta, for rappers to fatten up their bars with aimless quotes of how much weed they smoke or condoms wrappers they (allegedly) discard throughout the week. There was a time when those bars were reserved for braggadocio of the muscular variety and that time is here once again. Elevate the game. — TC

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