Lyric Riffs

Jun 21, 2018

It’s bubbly ’til it’s bubbles we see/Drinkin’ like Dean Martin is nothin’ to me/The spirits is somethin’ I can’t part and it’s fun to be me/So cheers, here’s to the Kanye production this eve

from White Label lyrics by Nas

This deep in Nas’ pedigree has been firmly established, but it wasn’t always that way. He had to slowly make his way up the mountain, and he’s stayed true to his vision through self-discipline and practice. His ascent was possible through a series of well calculated moves, a game of chess that has demanded his full attention. He’s made it, but had to fight every step of the way.


Jun 21, 2018

I’m lookin’ in Longevity’s eyes/I play with Infinity’s mind, Forever’s my guy/My pedigree above your ass, you’ll never see I/I love the past, but see, where I’m goin’ I get to fly

from Simple Things lyrics by Nas

Nas’ ability to capture the small moments is what’s separated him from his contemporaries. He can pull inspiration from anywhere because he always has his radar up. It’s a skill that informs his writing and he’s looking to keep those legs fresh. By appreciating the small moments he’s able to slow down and absorb the environment around him, a zen state of mind that has defined his career.


Jun 21, 2018

How in the hell the parents gon’ bury their own kids/Not the other way around?/Reminds me of Emmett Till/Let’s remind ’em why Kap kneels

from Cops Shot the Kid lyrics by Nas

No mistaking the thesis: cops are hunting black people and not even the kids are safe. Nas scales back and delivers a straightforward rap. Not much has changed since Emmett Till and it’s why Colin Kaepernick has taken it upon himself to bring awareness to the masses. Kanye kicks a solid verse, but in the end it’s the samples of Slick Rick and Richard Pryor that provide the necessary backup.


Jun 21, 2018

Cut the fat from the meat/Extract the weak, bon appetit/No bacon, brothers is swine/It’s so hard to trust ’em ’cause my hustle is mine

from Adam and Eve lyrics by Nas

Nas gets biblical and flips through the pages of his genesis. He’s telling stories of his upbringing and reminding himself that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He’s a product of his environment, but it was his ability to rise above while never forgetting that has made all the difference. Knowledge is power and he’s accrued a wealth of it by keeping his eyes and ears open.


Jun 21, 2018

When the media slings mud, we use it to build huts/Irrefutable facts, merciful, beautiful black/Beloved brother, you fail to embarrass him, harassin’ him/To my life, your life pales in comparison

from Everything lyrics by Nas

Nas offers up a simple formula for success. Whenever adversity enters the equation a person has to take it and transform it into something meaningful. The transference of energy is invigorating and provides a boost when things get stagnant. For Nas the criticism fueled his fire and propelled him to new heights, a situation that demanded that he dig deep and be his own source of inspiration.


Jun 21, 2018

All this money we gettin’/Could be gone in a minute if we don’t invest it/We long-term affected/Watch who you gettin’ pregnant

from Bonjour lyrics by Nas

As a master storyteller Nas has taken listeners all over the world and now he’s decided to stop in the south of France to enjoy the fruits of his labor. While there he decides to soak in the glory, but still can’t help but think about how far he’s come. Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined this level of success, and he’s making sure that he maintains perspective throughout it all.


Jun 21, 2018

To Catholics, Moors and Masons (motherfuckers!)/John Hanson was not the first black pres to make it/Abe Lincoln did not free the enslaved/Progress was made ’cause we forced the proclamation

from Not For Radio lyrics by Nas

Nas kicks off his eleventh studio album by reasserting his core values, the ones he’s stuck by for the length of his career. It can be taken in multiple ways: he’s been able to thrive despite his style not being radio friendly, and he’s dropping the type of knowledge that would shock the mainstream. It’s never been about the glitz and glamour, but rather the pursuit of knowledge and excellence.


Jun 21, 2018

You can see us on the ave, chop it up as always/Stand up Queensbridge, now the world know us/Everybody sayin’ my humility’s infectious/I just want my kids to have the same peace I’m blessed with

from Simple Things lyrics by Nas

Nasir Jones takes a stroll down memory lane and finds value in all the simple things in life. It sounds like an old man thing to do and it is, which is Nas’ way of celebrating a career come full circle. His journey is putting him in a grateful mood, but he’s also leaving nuggets of wisdom so his kids will have an idea on how to navigate life when things get tough. He’s also talking about artistic integrity and how it’s important to maintain your principles. The beat is stripped down and the tempo is set at a mild pace, which is a cakewalk for Nas who unfurls his rhyme book yet again like it were an ancient Sanskrit scroll.


Jun 15, 2018

I got Carter III on repeat/Back shots to the beat of (a milli’) on you/Got me acting like you got a milli’ on you/You say I’m the GOAT, yeah the billy on you

from Bed lyrics by Nicki Minaj

One of the sauciest divas in the game prepares her super king-sized bed for some late night debauchery. She’s about to erupt with desire, demanding that her sugar daddy come over so they can rock each other’s body into the wee hours of the morning. All the erotic elements are in place: a bowl of juicy strawberries, lacy lingerie and of course Tha Carter III on repeat. She’s got a check list of things she wants to do to him and she plans on executing each one with surgical precision. Minaj’s aggressive drive to the rim is complimented by the sultriness of Ariana Grande who is spelling out the lucky guy’s name on the bed. There’s no mistaking the call, sex is what they want and they’ll accept nothing less than the best.


Jun 15, 2018

Lose your shit and boogie all night/Like nobody’s watching/We don’t care who’s watching/Feel good and boogie all night, yeah

from Boogie All Night lyrics by Chic

Chic makes a triumphant return to the stage, reinvigorating a groove that is as fresh today as it was when they were getting their “Le Freak” on over forty years prior. Very little has changed, which is a good thing as they’re iconic sound is a standard that defined a generation. Smashing the dance floor is their top priority, and the message is simple: boogie like no one is watching. The statement is a little cliche, but it’s the rhythm bubbling underneath that makes it vibrate with intensity. Nile Rodgers is the executive chef and with his clean riffing he juliennes the beat into thin slices. NAO‘s Minnie-like vocals glide over it with ease and her request to get any and everyone on the dance floor is in a word: irresistible.



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