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The Best Hip Hop Lyrics throughout the Decades

Thousands of catchy hip-hop lyrics have been spit throughout the decades. Newer generations prefer to listen to contemporary artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z, but many newer songs include references to old-school rap. This list will only include some of the most unique and most influential hip hop song lyric throughout the decades that you may or may not have heard before. So, let’s get started.

“Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant sh** to me you see”

Artist: Chuck D (Public Enemy)

This line is from a Public Enemy song called “Fight the Power”, released in 1989. The lyrics are self-explanatory and Chuck D goes on to explain in the song that he was racist and that he exploited black music to get rich and famous.

“Real G’s move in silence like lasagna”

Artist: Lil Wayne

The line is from the song “6 Foot 7 Foot” and it’s a clever word play. Incidentally, it is very funny and Wayne tells us how gangsters should be stealthy.

“F*** tha police, comin’ straight from the underground”

Artist: Ice Cube (N.W.A.)

This is a true classic. The song “F*** Tha Police” was released in 1988 and it’s a protest song against racist police officers. This has to be one of the most infamous lines ever said in the history of hip-hop.

“If you’re havin’ girl problems, I feel bad for you, son, I got 99 problems, but a b**** ain’t one”

Artist: Jay-Z

This is from Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” single, but the original hook is actually from Ice-T’s song (also called “99 Problems”) that dates way back to the 90s. It’s been referenced countless times over the decades.

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on his sweater already: mom’s spaghetti”

Artist: Eminem

These lyrics might seem humorous at first, but they are actually about the main character from Eminem’s movie “8 Mile” and the song “Lose Yourself”. It is semi-autobiographical and it’s about Eminem’s early career and breakthrough as a white rapper in the world of black hip-hop artists. The song got countless awards and was #1 on the Billboard chart for 3 months.

“I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death”

Artist: Nas

This is taken from “N.Y. State of Mind” and it is a very thought-provoking line. It compares sleeping to death and it is inspired by the “one eye open” mindset that gangsters and drug dealers often talk about.

“If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?”

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Taken from “Poetic Justice” which was released in 2013, Lamar uses the flower and room metaphor for himself. He is the flower and the room is Compton, a very violent city in southern Los Angeles County. It could also be a reference to marijuana because its flowers grow in the dark.

“I ain’t a killer, but don’t push me”

Artist: 2Pac

Last but not least, this is one of the most famous and most referenced lines ever said in the world of rap. It is a threatening message to anyone who is pushing too hard. 2Pac’s serious tone in the song, “Hail Mary”, shows that he is serious and should not be taken lightly.


These were some of the most famous and best lyrics that were said throughout the decades. Most of these lines have been sung in many different songs across different generations, especially the last one. These lines are unique, original, and thought-provoking and we hope that you enjoyed the list.