“Give me my motherfucking money, bitch.” – Natty, age 3
(Writer’s Note: I am white. I am not sure if this is a relevant fact, but it is a fact. Do with it what you will.)
I don’t sell drugs. It’s not that I wouldn’t, I just can’t. I don’t believe I have the necessary skill sets to be effective in drug dealing. Dealers need to be tough. They need to be good with money (i.e. good with math). And they need to not do drugs.
I am none of these things.
BUT, I am a lover of hip-hop. The way it sounds, the way it feels…even just the way the artists say certain words inspire a geek-out reaction for me. So…there is an innate, immediate, inexplicable mental reaction that I have from certain songs or albums. It’s always more a fantasy, not even realistic…but it is undeniable.
And that reaction is that it makes me want to sell drugs.
I realize I am treading on dangerous ground here. Rap is often made by black persons. Not always, but fairly often. Additionally, I do not believe the drug culture is specific to any race or creed. Everyone who does drugs loves drugs, and THAT is what drives the drug empire in the world.
But I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that sometimes…sometimes it sounds fucking dope to sell drugs when the said narrative is accompanied by ill beats and a dude who sounds amazingly cool. So. with all that being said, here is my list of the Five Rappers(s) who kinda made me want to sell drugs.
1. Notorious B.I.G.
Holy shit. Just the way his flow fell on the beat sounded like someone counting money. No. Wait. It sounded like one of those money counters. The ones that sounded like a dude shuffling cards. Biggie was effortless. It never seemed like he was breaking a sweat (even though if you know what he looked like, you’d just assume he was sweating, constantly) but he managed to drop a wealth of knowledge on a generation of heads. He was almost shouting, but you simply got the impression he was just calmly stating, “THIS SHIT IS WORTH LISTENING TO.” Also important: He was one of the first rappers to illustrate and live the persona of the internally conflicted. To me, this is an essential writing tactic of a true hip-hop artist. Also, this one time, he said: “You don’t have to say shit/ I’ve been robbing motherfuckers since the slave ship!” That was sick.
Sample tune: “Things Done Changed”
At first, the beat sounds charming, almost happy. But soon – very soon – it becomes apparent that, while things used to be happy, things are indeed not happy.
2. Wu-Tang Clan
Totally not one rapper, but these guys’ rhymes made me want to do shit of which I was totally not capable. This is really one of those groups that didn’t necessarily want to make me sell drugs; it’s never entirely clear whether they support the game that they (mostly) met through. But they DID make me want to be in a gang. Not a real gang. I mean, I don’t want to brag, but I’ve seen quite a bit of the television program “Gangland.” And if that show has taught me only one thing, it’s that white people need an unneccesary amount of definitions for pretty understandable words (Seriously! “The Wire.” I thought you all you honkies watched that!). But if it’s a second thing, it’s that I could not make it in a group that required an application process more complex than, “Question 1: When was the last time you did something for the first time?” But these homies had serious skill, and the beats from RZA have shaped the way I bob my head. Seriously. I fucking love every album from these dudes. Even the ones that kinda suck.
Sample tune: “C.R.E.A.M”
Honestly, this song wasn’t really a pro-dealing cut. But the way Rae says shit like,” A young tooth, rocking the gold tooth and ‘Lo goose, Only way I began to G off was drug loot,” made me want to find my nearest dope house and rob it. Instead, I probably just went to Arby’s. Side note: when I first realized what C.R.E.A.M. stands for, I was sitting in the Sagamore Parkway Payless parking lot and I was like, “HEY GUYS, GUESS WHAT?”
3. Gucci Mane
Just a quick note: “Trap God,” including mixtapes, is Gucci’s 27th studio release. 27th. That is a staggering, staggering, fucking STAGGERING number considering the dude started eight years ago. That is far beyond prolific, even in comparison to music’s greatest contributors. In his first eight years, Elvis recorded and released ten albums. Ten. THAT DUDE IS A BITCH. So what if he was in the army? He was a racist, anyway.
Like Son of Hilljack’s creator, Matt Bailey, I really wasn’t made aware of Gucci until he co-starred in Harmony Korine’s 2012 masterpiece, “Spring Breakers.” But since then, I have found his (for some reason, questionable) flow is the first one that feels like drug dealing. It’s shortened, minimized, gruff, both full of dialect and dialectic, and beautiful to boot. Such a rare artist, Gucci is able to convey a wide array of viewpoints and mindsets. But in the end, “Trap God,” would be an AMAZING soundtrack for a huge coke deal gone right. I do not want a coke deal gone wrong.
Sample tune: “Street Nigga”
This guy is believable. Like, I believe this guy.
4. Snoop Doggy Dogg
Yeah, that’s what I call him. Sorry, but I’m not referring to Snoop, or Snoop Lion, or the new spokesman for Overstock.com. I’m referring to the guy formerly known as the Artist I Used to Give a Shit About. Before he would literally do ANYTHING for money, Calvin Broadus made selling dope sound smooth. It wasn’t shitty and painful, like a piece of Brillo Pad you scratch against your hand before smoking crack, it was beautiful and liquid, like the state of the steel being formed to make the Brillo Pad you would use to smoke crack. He never seemed like the Tony Montana type of dealer, one who would exact precise revenge on any of his enemies. Snoop seemed like the kind of guy who would watch you rip him off, spit a few sick bars and then tell Suge Knight to fucking murder you.
Sample tune: “Deep Cover”
Never has murdering an undercover police officer sounded so fun. I do not support killing police informants, but if I was a guy who did, I probably would support this song. Snoop’s verse is the highlight, by far, and that includes the painstakingly uninteresting opening. So much exposition. Snore. Remember, I don’t support killing officers of the law, ever.
Okay, first off: Fuck Jay-Z. I don’t mean this in a hyperbolic sense. I seriously, realistically and honestly think Jay is a fucking joke. Okay, yeah, “Reasonable Doubt,” is a dope, dope, dope album. Even parts of, “The Blueprint,” are great (not the KRS album; THAT whole album is fire). But this guy has not tried in probably ten years. And yet, despite his reliance on a stupid fucking laugh and his tongue twist (you know, like, “Tiggity-tongue twist, I diggity-done that”), Shawn Carter has somehow gone from shitty Brooklyn coke dealer to being biggest rap star on the globe, married to Beyonce, worth $500 million, and owning the Nets. This makes me insanely jealous, and who the fuck wants the Nets? No one, that’s who. But this rags-to-riches story makes petty drug dealing seem worth being a goddamned imposter. Get off that throne, Jay-Z. No one likes you. You straight up ruined, “Suit ‘n Tie.”
Sample tune: Fuck Jay-Z. He doesn’t get a song.