Shyne, last seen hanging around Belize and converting to Judiasm, returned to relevance in true hip-hop fashion, by dissing his former boss, Diddy. And Brother Ali released both a new single and a killer freestyle in anticipation of his first record in three years.
5. "I could go on/ A-Squad, I'm down for life like I put Shawty Lo on," -- Jon Connor, "Straight Up" Lyrics
Jon Connor is quickly becoming one of our new favorite rappers. His energetic delivery, great choice of beats, and clever wordplay all mark him as an artist to watch. Here, he nods to Shawty Lo's first group D4L, of "Laffy Taffy" fame.
4. "I need to know how my co-d/ Conned witness to sacrifice me/ Just so could get away free/ This does not comply with the streets," -- Shyne, "You're Welcome" Lyrics
There is nothing that the rap world loves more than artists sniping at each other. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Shyne would try to get back in the public eye by dissing his former mentor, Diddy, who somehow emerged unscathed after the two went on trial for a December 1999 shooting incident. Shyne reasonably enough has a chip on his shoulder about the 10 years he served in jail, and in this song, makes abundantly clear what he thinks was responsible for the differing outcomes in court.
3. "Pump Makaveli in the car/ Until my girl get in -- her pain in the ass want DeBarge," -- Redman, "Bridging the Gap Freestyle" Lyrics
Reggie Noble has always been one of hip-hop's most original figures. Funny, hyper-energetic, and goofy, Redman fills a gap left by the existence of far too many self-serious tough talkers. Here, he gets in a little joke (at his own expense) about what music plays in his ride.
2. "P, I like ice and I like minks/ Might fuck you up, Mike Tyson verse Mike Spinks," -- Sean Price, "Champions 2" Lyrics
Sean Price has been a regular on our list lately, but we took the risk of overexposure in order to bring you this line. Price alludes to Mike Tyson's famous boxing match where he destroyed his opponent in a still-hard-to-fathom 91 seconds.
1. "I walked around with gats and carried a little shank/ 'Cause the world treat me bad and I couldn't afford a shrink," -- Brother Ali, "4th King" Lyrics
Unlike a lot of people, there's a soft spot here for Rick Ross' song "3 Kings," over which Ali freestyles here. But the Minneapolis rhymer shows no mercy, absolutely destroying the beat by his pal Jake One. This line pulls off the trick of being both funny and serious, with its nod to the sad state of mental health care in the U.S.
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See 15 of the Best Hip-Hop & R&B Albums of 2012 (So Far)
- Nas, Life Is Good
- Elle Varner, Perfectly Imperfect
- Curren$y, The Stoned Immaculate
- Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
- Odd Future, The OF Tape Vol. 2
- Emeli Sande, Our Version of Events
- Ab-Soul, Control System
- R. Kelly, Write Me Back
- B.o.B., Strange Clouds
- Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don't
- Usher, Looking 4 Myself
- Schoolboy Q, Habits & Contradictions
- Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio
- Big K.R.I.T., Live From the Underground
- BJ the Chicago Kid, Pineapple Now-Laters
- Fountain of Youth Faces in Hip-Hop & R&B
- Mariah Carey
- Pharrell Williams
- Jennifer Lopez
- LL Cool J
- Erykah Badu
- Queen Latifah
- Janet Jackson
- MC Lyte
- Toni Braxton
- Smokey Robinson
- Andre 3000
- Aziz Ansari on Hip-Hop Album Covers
- 50 Cent's 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'
- A$AP Rocky's 'Live.Love.A$AP'
- Notorious B.I.G.'s 'Ready to Die'
- Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic'
- Jay-Z's 'The Blueprint 2'
- R. Kelly's 'Double Up'
- Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV'
- Meek Mill's 'Dreamchasers 2'
- Maybach Music Group's 'Self Made, Vol. 2'
- Nas' 'Life Is Good'
- Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'
- Waka Flocka Flame's 'Flockaveli'
Watch "P Diddy Requests Royal Party"