While most rap lyrics come and disappear fairly rapidly in popular culture memory, a handful of rap songs, however, have made their way into the popular vocabulary and are here to stay such as these 10 most famous rap lyrics. The classic tunes from long-time rap stars, including Eminem, the Wu-Tang Clan, Tupac Shakur and Grandmaster Flash, granddaddies of the rap scene, also have famous lyrics on the list.
- "I just want to be famous, but, be careful what you wish for." "Almost Famous" by Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers. Eminem offers these lyrics as a warning that life as a rap artist looks glamorous, but it has a downside that most people don't realize when they're looking at the money, fame and lifestyle.
- "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds." "Stan" by Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers. Eminem asks some serious life questions in this famous rap song. The lyrics mirror the raw emotion of some of his most ardent fans.
- "I twist darts to the heart, tried and true." "Triumph" by the Wu-Tang Clan. This modern "Canterbury Tale" exposes the talk of each group taking care of business in the neighborhood. Each has memorable lyrics that make up the most famous rap tune.
- "Don't Push me 'cause I'm close to the edge. I'm tryin' not to lose my head." "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash. A lyric on the most famous rap lyric list also applies to general life. It's a rare person who hasn't at least thought about the same question.
- "I see no changes. Wake up in the morning and I ask myself, "Is life worth living or should I blast myself?" "Changes" by Tupac Shakur. An introspective question that now is legend as a famous rap lyric. Too bad Tupac never found the ultimate answer.
- "Come on, shake it. Shake it like a Polaroid movie." "Hey Ya!" by OutKast in 2003. Although the message behind these lyrics is just plain fun, the lyrics, and the catchy tune, continue in popular memory. The Polaroid reference is probably lost on younger listeners who were born far too late to do the action required for proper distribution of chemicals from early instant camera photos.
- "I put on for my city, on, on for my city." "Put On" by Young Jeezy. The Def Jam label brings Young Jeezy on this tune that represents for the local people you know. The chorus asks the city to identify on the east, south and west sides. Even though YJ has a big house and deluxe cars, he claims he's still part of his city.
- "Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit. Maybe it's beautiful music I made for you to just cherish." "Renegade" by Eminem and Jay-Z. Challenging parents, schools and mainstream radio stations, Eminem confronts the wave of protest dealing with the rap music genre. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, according to the pair, and the fame of this lyric continues on.
- "Your grind and my grind ain't the same, dawg. I'm the catalog, you're the same song." "Close Edge" by Mos Def. The famous rap lyrics of this song essentially challenge people to do their own thing, but there's a dig at the end. Mos Def believes his deal has more cred than anyone else. The other dawgs, however, may have a beef with that.
- "Close like Starsky and Hutch, stick the clutch. Dare I squeeze three at your cherry M3?" "Hypnotize" by Notorious B.I.G. This famous rap lyric gives a nod to 1960s television as well as car culture, a tough thing to do in the same song. Mix in a little sex appeal and you've got a memorable rap lyric. B.I.G., also known as Christopher George Latore Wallace, could lay down a lyric track.
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