Over the last few years there has been a rather serious drought in decent rap music with many of the big names having moved into more of a producing/mentoring role as they approach 40. Like many types of music, decent artists come in waves with droughts that can last several years in the middle. This is for a number of reasons, so the ebb and flow of album purchases with the various genres is likely monitored very closely by record label executives who try to determine how much money they might be losing by having too many lackluster performers on the payroll. All this said, it seems like the current dry spell is about to come to an end.
Recently I picked up Royce Da 5'9"s recent single, Writer's Block, and it's been on my daily playlist ever since. Like everything rap, the 4 minute 35 second track is all about how awesome the artists are while everyone else sucks. Unlike the more recent stuff, though, the lyrics are much more logically written and put to a very strong back beat. Having listened to the single several dozen times in the last few weeks I think I can safely say that this is the greatest track Royce has ever been on.
Here are a few of my favourite lyrics from the piece:
I ain’t calling names cause all of y’all the same, plus,
I’m the king, all my past pain all done changed up.
All these plains, all these lames, since the Slaughter’s came up,
Cause they know they hands tied, feet ball and chained up.
Translated: "Nobody can tell the difference between any other rapper, and they are all very bad at what they do. To make matters worse, they're unable to adapt to the changing styles that are being brought to the genre by better-supported artists."
My shit is powerful, literally sick, trust me nigga,
It’s ugly to kill a thing if the bigger I get.
The more disgusting and fuckin’ disfigured it gets,
Niggas expect me to go pop, oh, stop.
Y’all about the champagne, I’m about the toast.
Translated: "I am awesomesauce. You're waiting for me to disappear, but forget it. You want to reap the rewards of success, but I want to savor it."
I, only fuck with mailmen with heroin from Boca,
Niggas that’ll smoke you while you staring in your postbox.
Only incense he enlightens when he’s thinkin’,
While that sinks in, I got a Brinks ink pen.
I’m back, mutha fucker!
Notice the flyness on the cover of the XXL.
I’m back from the dead like Tobey Maguire from the Brothers,
How y’all realer? If I said it, I did it.
If I didn’t, I seen it first-hand like a car dealer.
Give up the throne, your lease up, I am the Mona Lisa,
That decoded Da Vinci Code, you throwin’ your piece up.
Is a waste of fake like a phony B-cup.
Translated: "I get my drugs from the best source. You can keep that cheap crap. And, while you're pissy about that dis, let me show you how I move my money from place to place; it's in a Brink's truck. I'm on magazines. I'm back on tour. I'm back in the game. All I did was show up, but you fools have to work every day to get noticed a little bit. Give up your delusions of grandeur. I said it before, I'm the best there ever was, is, and ever will be. Your skills are about as real as a stuffed bra."
Later, in the second verse he drops this line:
I roll like the end credits in movies, y’all just got scripted.
Translated: "I'm done, and you haven't even started yet."
The endless disses that permeate darn near every rap track is what brings me back time after time. There's something about hearing somebody being insulted in rhyme that is irresistibly magnetic. Like a moth to a flame.
My voicemail is full, got bitches screamin’ inside of envelopes,
And they tryna mail ‘em to me, tryna reach my phone.
I don’t know which one is harder,
Tryna not to take your bitch or tryna get rid of my own.
Translated: "Everybody wants to to talk to me. To make things worse, I'm not only trying to get rid of all the women that want to have sex with me, but I'm trying not to attract the cheap women you hang around with."
Dis after dis. I love it.