An admission at the outset: these aren't the five worst rap lyrics of all time. This list consists of mostly well-known, primarily well-respected hip hop artists. The thing is, we don't listen to bad rap, and neither should you. Bad rap is, like, really bad, and there's TONS of it.
Also, we aren't ranking the dumbest hip-hop lyrics ever. That would be like making a list of people Hitler was mean to. There have been 6 million lyrics across the brief history of rap so dumb that they should be punishable as crimes against humanity. Sometimes rap lyrics are so dumb they're ingenious, and we love those lyrics like a fat kid loves cake.
So what criteria are we using to judge these lyrics? That will be explained as we examine each of the offending phrases. For now, let's just acknowledge that there is an unspoken contract between rappers and their listeners, which boils down to this: "While I'm listening to rap, I want to feel like we are both cool and like we are both bulletproof. Don't say anything that's going to fuck up either of those illusions for me." The following lyrics from some of our favorite rappers, embedded as MP3s below (the little black bars), violated that contract in spectacular fashion.
5. "Girls, Girls, Girls"
Mami's a narcoleptic, always sleepin' on Hov',
Gotta tie the back of her head like Deuce Bigalow.
As a rapper, part of your unspoken contract states that you are only permitted to reference or show interest in three movies: Scarface, Carlito's Way
and The Godfather
. There is also the Wu Tang Clause that states that a certain type of East Coast rapper is permitted to quote kung fu and blaxploitation films, but that's it. All other cinema is off limits.
And this quote is a perfect example of why that law exists: as any rap video will show you, most rappers have awful taste in clothing, jewelry and cars, so in all likelihood they have bad taste in movies too.
This mouth turd, from the fourth track of what is an otherwise sparkling outing from Hov, confirms what we always feared: were it not for the incessant Pacino quoting, Jay-Z would probably be dropping quotes from Police Academy 4
and Three Men and a Little Lady
(and yes, we are making the argument that Rob Schneider is the Steve Gutenberg of our decade).
Also, please note that from a song that is abhorrently misogynistic, and invokes almost every single racial stereotype in the book (literally every single one: black, white, Asian, Indian-dot, Indian-feather, stewardess-we challenge you to create a racial stereotype to which he doesn't refer), we chose a line about
. Why? Because rappers are allowed to be misogynistic racists. They're just not allowed to acknowledge that they watch Rob Schneider movies.
4. "Keep Ya Head Up"
I give a holler to my sisters on welfare,
Tupac cares, (and don't / even if) nobody else care.
There is a clause in the rapper's social contract stating that on each album, the rapper is allotted a single song that discusses feelings and emotions. Of course, he must immediately go back to bragging about murdering people, lest he end up in PM Dawn territory. Tupac was among the best in the history of rap at going from empathetic good guy to violent thug without missing a beat, and "Keep Ya Head Up" is among his most popular sensitive guy songs.
So why does this lyric make the list? Well, if you delete this line, the entire song comes off as an ultra-sincere meditation on the plight of single women. However, by claiming that he's the only man in the world who cares about single women, he stumbles into the realm of "pathetic guy saying anything to get laid." We're guessing it was written during or immediately following one of Pac's longer stints in prison, because, to borrow a phrase from The 40-Year-Old Virgin
, he is clearly putting the pussy up on a pedestal. With this line he momentarily became the rap equivalent of your buddy who's willing to throw you under the bus to impress a girl he just met. Only Pac seems to be willing to throw all of his buddies, and every other guy on the face of Earth under the bus with the outlandish claim that he is the only person in the world who cares about women on welfare.