By: Branche Fujiwara
Rappers have always had a reputation for being wordsmiths. Whether your favorite rapper is fresh off the block, or fresh from the university chances are he or she has an affinity for words. Contrary to popular stereotypes, the majority of rappers are well read, far ahead of the technology curve, well travelled, and …actually know what they are talking about.
With a rap album containing dozens of thousands of words, sometimes even our very favorites get it wrong. Whether a mispronunciation, an unproven fact, or just downright incorrect information, it proves that our superhero mc’s are human. Let’s see how hard you were listening when these rappers were dead wrong!
JERU THE DAMAJA
Song: Black Cowboy
Lyric: “I put MC’s on the ceiling like Michelangelo did the Sixteenth Chapel”
Jeru the Damaja was referring to artist Michaelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel considered to be the greatest painting ever. Unless unbeknownst to us Michaelangelo painted 15 ceilings before this one, Jeru got it wrong. Don’t let this be a deterent as Jeru the Damaja has Hip Hop classics throughout his catalog and some of the most socially aware lyrics ever recorded.
2. Mary J Blige
Song: Family Affair
Lyric: “Up in this dancery We got ya open, now ya float in, So you gots to dance for me
Don’t need no hateration, holleratin In this dancery”
Now we understand and appreciate poetic license but we have yet to find out what a dancery is. Our closest guess is some kind of room where baby dancers are babysat and or raised.. a nursery for dancers maybe? As for hateration and holleratin, we hope Mary J Blige doesn’t think we are haterating or hollerating on her because we love her!
Song: Microphone Fiend
Lyric: “Music orientated So When Hip Hop was originated fitted like pieces of puzzles complicated”
Now in this particular case we are admittedly nit picking. The words oriented and orientated can be used interchangeably however according to writingexplained.org
Although there is no real difference in meaning or function between the two words, there is clearly a better choice, and that is oriented.
Oriented is a more straightforward, clear word form, and Garner’s Modern American Usage calls orientated a needless variant. Rakim is still the God Mc.
4. Greg Nice
Lyric: “You say Muhammad Ali I say Classius Clay”
Now many people throughout the years have called out Greg Nice in regards to his famous lyric “Dizzy Gillespie plays the sax” (since Dizzy Gillespie was very famous for being a trumpet player). However in Greg Nice’s defense he recently cleared up the issue in a recent interview by informing the world of Dizzy Gillespies early days as a saxophone player. After learning that Dwyck was a late night studio session where Gang Starr and Nice and Smooth were partying (as WC from Westside Connection rested on the studio couch), we realize this was probably just an amazing freestyle that was just too good not to keep even with Greg Nice calling the greatest of all time “Classius Clay”.
Song: Party Up
Lyric: “Staring at the roof of the church, preachers telling the truth and it hurts”
DMX has created songs that never get old. His song “Party Up” is having a recent resurgence from being on the new Ghostbusters soundtrack. The only trouble with this line is, if you’re inside of a church you’re staring at the ceiling not the roof. A minor oversight, from a classic Rap lyricist.
Song: Super Thug (What What)
Lyric: “We light a candle, run laps around the English Channel”
While this is one of the most popular opening lines in a rap song that still has whole clubs singing it verbatim (probably while jumping around in excitement) it’s technically impossible to run one lap let alone multiple laps around the English Channel or any channel on Earth. Channels are bodies of water bigger than straits that connect two larger bodies of water especially two seas.
7. Busta Rhymes
Song: Everything Remains Raw
Lyric: “There’s only 5 years Left”
For a whole generation of Hip Hop listeners wether it’s underground or mainstream it’s hard to understand the hype that surrounded the 1990’s changing into the 2000’s. Whole corporations scrambled to hire computer programmers who could advise them on what to do when every computer in the world switched to 2000’s. People stockpiled food, made doomsday predictions, I stopped paying my bills (figured if every computer in the world was going to mess up I wasn’t going to be that sucker out there paying my phone bill one week before) and then just like that…Happy New Year 2000’s. We were still here and jeans were just as baggy.
Busta Rhymes ruled this era of Rap, collaborating with everyone from A Tribe Called Quest, to Janet Jackson as his Flip Mode Squad toured the world and ruled the charts. At the end of his cutting edge classic “Everything Remains Raw”, Busta emphatically screams “THERES ONLY 5 YEARS LEFT!” a harsh warning of the world ending. Busta would go on to reference this year by year leading up to the full song “One Year Left”.
When it comes to remaining and being a fixture in rap for 25 plus years Busta is flawless. When it comes to making predictions as to when the Earth (A planet that is 4.53 Billion years old) will have its mass extinction Jurassic Park style, I’m going to roll the dice with Nostradamus.
8. Rae Sremmurd
Song: No Flex Zone
Lyric: “It’s been five days since I Laid down, Kool Moe Dee Five Chains on”
Kool Moe Dee was known for his leather suits, Iconic sunglasses, battle lyrics, and really was one of the first rappers who had an image that was so unique it was unmistakeable. Where as Kool Moe Dee’s rap peers such as Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, and even his most fierce competitor LL Cool J were all known for there custom signature jewelry, he was known for his classic lyrical battles in the streets and on the charts.
In every artists defense, how do we know to find these small lyrical mishaps? We’ve obviously heard the songs and poured over the lyrics meaning, we love it all flaws and all. It reminds us that sometimes the energy of the rap itself is what needs to be captured. Sometimes the vibes too good, the feelings too amazing, keep the record button rolling, lets press it up and ship it out!.