The ten best hip-hop lyrics of 2012

Categories: Lists

2 Chainz.jpg
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1. 2 Chainz - Birthday Song
"She got a big booty, so I call her Big Booty."

Don't freak. We're just kidding.

Every year, people say hip-hop is dead, but every year it keeps expanding -- commercially, sonically. thematically -- pretty much in every way imaginable. Although the radio may lead you to believe otherwise, thoughtful, poetic lyricism is alive and well. This year's albums continued to push the boundaries of what is achievable in as much as an hour-plus album to as little as a single line. From new names like Ab-Soul to familiar ones like Lupe Fiasco, there was no shortage of poetic profundity, quick wit and unflinching honesty. Keep reading for a rundown of the top ten lyrics in hip-hop from this past year.

See also:
- The twenty best hip-hop shows of 2012
- The ten best EDM songs of 2012
- The ten worst EDM songs of 2012

10. "Mercy" - Kanye West featuring Pusha T
"Check the neck, check the wrist, them heads turning; that's exorcist.
My Audemar like Mardi Gras; that's Swiss time and that's excellence"

Pusha T steals the show on one of the biggest hits of the year thanks in no small part to these lines. Though Pusha doesn't say anything substantively that hasn't been said a thousand times before, his images are so vivid and easy to picture that they stand out, especially on a mainstream song like "Mercy," which is meant to be easily consumed. Not to mention the effortless-sounding excorcist/excellence rhyme; Pusha makes it look easy.

9. "Bitch Bad" - Lupe Fiasco
"Sure enough, in this little world
the little boy meets one of those little girls,
and he thinks she a bad bitch, and she thinks she a bad bitch.
He thinks disrespectfully. She thinks of that sexually.
She got the wrong idea; he don't wanna fuck her.
He thinks she's bad at being a bitch like his mother."

Problematic though this song may be at times, Lupe brought to mainstream audiences a topic that has for years desperately needed addressing, Whether you agree with the conclusions that Lupe draws or not, the story he tells is compelling nevertheless. In his first two verses, he creates a context in which the "bad bitch" moniker operates for young boys and girls, respectively. Here, they meet -- or don't meet, as Lupe's narrative tells us, and the result is the discordant dynamic between the sexes that has manifested in the hip-hop community today.

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Ian Arnold
Ian Arnold

"Ey Fatty Boom Boom / Hit me with the Ching-ching"

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