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Hip-hop references are a central part of hip-hop music. These allusions are typically to popular culture, but can include varied other topics as well. Hip-hop references serve to illustrate points (frequently through exaggeration), shock, and to complete rhymes. Some are overtly political, while others simply give credit or express dismay.

For the purposes of this entry, this category is distinct from hip-hop music insults, which are often made in a similar manner. To be manageable, simple references to places, money, sex, drugs and alcohol are also excluded.


Entries are alphabetized by artist, then song title.


Sierra LeoneEdit

"People ask me how we wearing diamonds/When there's little kids in Sierra Leone/Losing arms for crying while they're mining" "Going Hard", Talib Kweli

"Good Morning, this ain't Vietnam, still/People lose hands, legs, arms for real/Little was known of Sierra Leone/And how it connect to the diamonds we own" "Diamonds Are Forever (remix)", Kanye West


"Rollin with my baby/Grippin on a toy that you won't find in KayBee" "Breathe", Fabolous

"Trunk full of coke, rental car from Avis/Momma used to say, 'Only Jesus can save us!'" "Jesus Walks", Kanye West


"Me and my crew stay tight like the X-Men/I gets mean and then I turns into the Wolverine/Then I grab the mic and blow the spot to smithereens" "Amazing", Grand Puba

Criminal Justice System/Law EnforcementEdit


"And at home I got a call from Tony Rome/The FBI was tappin' my telephone/I never live alone/I never walk alone" "Louder Than A Bomb", Public Enemy

"J. Edgar Hoover and he coulda' proved to 'ya/He had King and X set up/Also the party with Newton, Cleaver and Seale" "Welcome To The Terrordrome", Public Enemy


"I've got to formulate a plot or I end up in jail or shot/Success is my only mothafuckin' option, failure's not" "Lose Yourself", Eminem

"Much love to my brothers in tha pen/See ya when I free ya/If not, when they shut me in" "Holla If Ya Hear Me", Tupac Shakur

Current EventsEdit

OJ SimpsonEdit

"Now that I got that out my system/Watch me stab up the track as if my name was OJ Simpson" "The Hop", A Tribe Called Quest

"Tonight, we're gettin' off like OJ" A Tribe Called Quest

September 11thEdit

"There's no mountain I can't climb/There's no tower too high/No plane that I can't learn how to fly" "My Dad's Gone Crazy" Eminem

"More pain inside of my brain/Than the eyes of a little girl inside of a plane/Aimed at the World Trade" "My Dad's Gone Crazy" Eminem

"This reality rap/Gets inside the mentality that/Terrorize you like a cowardly act" "Going Hard", Talib Kweli


"Yo, the things I'm seein' on the news is insane/A stock broker shoot his kid and throw himself in front of a train/A mother leave her baby home for two weeks all by himself/Two years old, eatin' ketchup and mustard, cryin for help" "I Try", Talib Kweli


"I got sick lyrics like multiple sclerosis" "Everything Remains Raw", Busta Rhymes

"Take your diamonds and throw ‘em up like you bulimic/Yea the beat cold but the flow is anemic" "Diamonds Are Forever", Kanye West

"The drug games bulemic its hard to get weight/To niggas money is homo its hard to get straight" "We Don't Care", Kanye West

(Other) Hip Hop SongsEdit

"I heard it said the revolution won't be televised/But in the land of milk and honey there's a date you gotta sell it by" "The Revolution", Talib Kweli

"Well mama, I know I act the fool/I'll be gone 'til November I got packs to move" "Jesus Walks", Kanye West

Hip Hop ArtistsEdit

Lil Bow WowEdit

"Niggas sayin they goin' murder 50, how?/We ridin 'round with guns the size of Lil Bow Wow" "Wanksta", 50 Cent

"You see you, your career is done like Johnny Carson/You get me vexed, I do like Left, I start an arson" "The Hop", A Tribe Called Quest

Historical FiguresEdit


"I know that you got a job Ms. Cheney/but your husband's heart problem's complicating" "Without Me", Eminem

"Writin' rhymes since Daddy Kane and Biz Mark was on Prism/I gotta brave heart like the one named Shirley Chisholm" "Baby Phife's Return", A Tribe Called Quest


"R&B niggaz lie to mother, sister, and daughter/To have sex disguised as lovin in the rain/Their words are more hollow than Halloween" "Wonce Again Long Island", De La Soul

"I rip it in a minute cause I'm gifted/Like Christmas" "Build Ya Skills", KRS-ONE


"Rap mags try and use my black ass/So advertisers can give 'em more cash for ads...fuckers" "99 Problems", Jay-Z

"Calling out these racists, at Rolling Stone/Spin, Details and other places, KRS is The Source/Fuck these magazines leadin' hip-hop off course/You'll print about black mayors, black senators/Why you ain't got no black editors?/Everytime I do an interview in Rolling Stone/They sendin' me a writer that look like he is Home Alone/Ignorant of the culture and the microphone" "Bulworth", KRS-ONE


"It's the The Taking of Pelham 123/if you want a doo doo rhyme then come see me" "Sure Shot", Beastie Boys

"This opportunity shrivel away/Like Tom Hanks in Castaway" "Beautiful Struggle", Talib Kweli

Music LabelsEdit

"The label want a song about a bubbly life/I have trouble tryin' to write some shit/To bang in the club through the night/When people suffer tonight/Lord knows I try" "I Try", Talib Kweli

Musicians (general)Edit

"Little hellions, kids feelin' rebellious/Embarrassed, their parents still listen to Elvis" "Without Me", Eminem

"Though I'm not the first king of controversy/I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley/To do black music so selfishly/And use it to get myself wealthy" "Without Me", Eminem

"Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant shit to me you see/Straight up racist that sucker was" "Fight The Power", Public Enemy


"Bad enough we on welfare/They try to put me on a school bus with the space for the wheelchair" "We Don't Care", Kanye West

"You know the kids gone act a fool/When they cut the program for afterschool" "We Don't Care", Kanye West


"When they do up the contracts/In fact/now I drop science like 3-2-1 Contact" Black Sheep

"It's a small wonder like Vicky/Why I'm picky/'Cause niggas suck like hickies" "Hater Players", BlackStar

"Lookin' stupid like it's Friday and they Urkel" Grand Puba

"Our growing pains get way deeper than Mike Seaver's" "I Try", Talib Kweli

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