The only excuse we can come up with is that this is Kanye's point. As he says in the song, "they say you can rap about anything except for Jesus." By the time he raps that line, he's already proven them wrong on both points. You can rap about Jesus and make it cool. But you can't rap about anything because you sure as shit can't rap about Kathy Lee Gifford.
2. "What's Beef?"
Don't they know my n---a Gutter fuckin' kidnap kids?
Fuck 'em in the ass, throw 'em over the bridge.
Ummm ... What?
Did you just say...
When we first heard this line, we reacted like Chris Parnell upon hearing Ron Burgundy tell San Diegans to go fuck themselves: 'Why Biggie? Why!? You were our hero and now you have to go and ruin it with your poop mouth!'
Don't get us wrong, violence in rap is, for the most part, acceptable across the board. Whether you're talking about slapping a woman (Eazy E, "Boyz N Da Hood"), shooting a cop (Ice T, "Cop Killah'") or cutting off and mailing someone's body parts to them (Jay Z, Nas, Biggie-All The Time) we're all for it. The violence is all part of trying to get ahead in the game, and that, for some reason, is okay.
But bragging that you hang out with people who rape children? Well, that crosses just about every line that rap has been tip-toeing up to this point in time. Saying you're friends with Pablo Escobar? Bad ass. Saying you're friends with the Atlanta Child Strangler? Ummm, not cool, really in any circles. Firing off shots in a crowded lobby (Nas, "NY State of Mind") is great, we just don't want to hear how you like fucking hitch hikers with a buzz-saw before turning them into a skin suit (Biggie, "The Album He Probably Would Have Made Were He Still Alive").
1. "Rapper's Delight"
The Chicken Verse (too long, too much badness, just listen to the damn thing)
A non rap fan attempting to rap is one of the most embarrassing things most hip hop fans will ever have to endure. More often than not, it will start with a parent or a republican friend making the argument that all rap sounds the same and that rhyming a bunch of words together would be easy. They'll inevitably begin their impromptu free-style with a ridiculous approximation of beatboxing that sounds something like an asthmatic cartoon character. Things get worse with the verse, which will go something like, "Yo I went to the store, the store was a bore, yo G I'm hard core." They'll probably end the performance with their arms crossed in an exaggerated b-boy stance that they saw on the cover of a Run DMC album in the late '80s.
Why do we tell this story when talking about "Rappers Delight"? Because the song that is often credited with launching the entire art form also houses one of the genre's darkest secrets: its longest verse was written by your mother. There's really no other excuse for the rambling, fourth grade poetry project cluster of words that is the Chicken Verse. It spends about a minute and a half criticizing the rapper's friend's mother's homemade chicken dinner. We know we're in trouble right off the bat with the opening line, 'have you ever been over your friend's house to eat, and the food just ain't no good?' You half expect him to follow that up by blowing into the mic and saying, 'This thing on? Anyone? C'mon people work with me here.' Instead, he goes into a detailed account of what exactly is wrong with the food (the macaroni's soggy, the peas are all mushed and the chicken, well, it tastes like wood, in case you're scoring at home).
Thank Christ hip hop took its cues from an earlier verse of the song, where one of the rappers spits cool sounding gibberish and brags about having fucked Lois Lane. Just think: rather than the driving cultural force it is today, rap could have been a long forgotten avant-garde offshoot of professional food criticism.
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