Rappers are never shy when it comes to boasting about their brain smarts. Countless rap songs have been based around the simple-but-egotistical premise of a rapper asserting their lyrical brilliance and worldly intelligence. But they don't always get it right, with even worldwide icons like Jay-Z, Outkast and Run-DMC copping to some gross lyrical inaccuracies in their rhyme vaults. Here then is a run-down of the ten most cringe-worthy lyrical blunders in hip-hop history.
The Hollis, Queens trio of Run-DMC may have revolutionized the music world with their team-up with aging rockers Aerosmith on "Walk This Way," but when it comes to the annals rock history it seems that Run, DMC and the now-deceased Jam Master Jay were snoozing through class. On the otherwise storming "The King Of Rock," they boasted how "There's three of us but we're not the Beatles." Because there's John, Paul, Ringo and... oh, right!
Remember Chingy? He was the rapper who rolled with Nelly, scored a summer smash with the song "Right Thurr," and then promptly disappeared from public life. Before the St. Louis rapper fell off the rap map though, he found the time to declare his love for all ladies, whether they were "Black, white, Puerto Rican or Haitian/ Like Japanese, Chinese or even Asian." Undiscriminating? Yes! Ethnically confused? Most definitely.
Master P's No Limit empire was a hip-hop phenomenon, helping to put Southern hip-hop on the map. But at No Limit's super-successful peak, P seemed too preoccupied with spread-sheeting the labels millions upon millions of album sales to stay grounded in day-to-day reality. As he confusedly explained to an imaginary foe "If you don't bring my m*****f****n' money or my m*****f****n' dope/ You can forget about Christmas, n***a, 'cause you ain't even gon' see New Years." Don't count on that Christmas card showing up any time soon.
These days the rapper Common has etched out an image as some sort of positive, cultural hip-hop scholar (who also happens to sport an array of ever more ridiculous hats). Back in the late-'90s though, his rap smarts weren't quite as honed, as he teamed up with the artist Canibus to issue the lyrical warning that, "I'm your worst nightmare squared/ That's double for those who aren't mathematically aware."Except, as any rudimentary lesson in mathematical square roots teaches, the formula isn't quite as elementary as that.
Taking a cue from Run-DMC's Beatles gaff, party-rocking golden-era hip-hop duo Nice & Smooth set off their euphoric "Funky For You" song with the opening gambit, "A-yo, Dizzy Gillespie plays the sax!" Except as any amateur jazz scholar knows, be-bop pioneer Dizzy jammed on the trumpet. Even more bizarrely, Nice & Smooth then went on to collaborate with fab five boy group New Kids On The Block.
Foxy Brown appeared on the rap scene as Jay-Z's sassy female prodigy who liked to talk about designer clothes brands and cast herself as somewhat of a hip-hop gangsta's moll. But when it came to rapping about the nefarious world of high-powered drug sales herself, Foxy tallied up this doozy of a mathematical blunder:"32 grams raw, chop it in half, get 16/ Double it times three/ We got 48, which mean a whole lot of cream/ Divide the profit by four, subtract it by eight/ We back to 16." (Cheat sheet: If you follow the math correctly, you end up with four.)
"Watched Star Wars just to see Yoda." So rapped lovable rap buffoon Biz Markie on the Big Daddy Kane song "Just Rhymin' With Biz." Except as any Skywalker fanatic knows, the pint-sized sage Yoda didn't make an appearance in the original Star Wars trilogy until The Empire Strikes Back, which appeared a good three years after the series kicked off.
The song "Hey Ya!" saw the Atlanta-based hip-hop duo Outkast sail to the top of the mainstream pop charts, largely thanks to a '60s pop style beat and Andre 3000 deciding to ditch rapping for singing. It's a combination that proved uplifting and infectious, although Andre's repeated refrain to "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" is a fast-track to ruining any instant pics. So popular was Andre's advice that Polaroid actually issued a consumer warning asking people to refrain from shaking those snaps!
In the early-'90s Warren G teamed up with hip-hop crooner Nate Dogg and scored a mega-hit with his g-funk anthem "Regulate." The G-Child's overnight success must have muddled his thoughts though, as his debut album included the primary school-level spelling slip-up of him asking "What's next?" before clarifying with, "What's N-X-E-T." D'oh, indeed.
Jay-Z rules the modern rap kingdom, and has even snagged himself an r&b superstar wife in Beyonce. But despite Jigga's ambitions of global domination, he isn't quite all powerful enough to re-route the order of the natural world's geometric patterns. When trying to allude to the threat of his .38 revolver on the song "It's Hot (Some Like It Hot)," Jay famously rapped, "38 revolve like the sun 'round the Earth." If the boast were true, it would have seen a pretty radical shifting of the way the universe works. Street smarts will only get you so far, Jay.