The 100 Best Opening Lines in Rap History, Part 2: 50 - 1

9. "Don't call it a come back/I've been here for years." - LL Cool J

Song: "Mama Said Knock You Out" (1991)
Album: Walking with a Panther

LL Cool J knew he needed to prove he could keep up with a rapidly-changing hip-hop landscape. He also realized that so much of success is dependent on the perceptions of your audience. He had to pre-empt the suggestion that he'd ever had a moment of weakness; why would he need a comeback if he'd been dominant the entire time? Thus, the opening line to "Mama," one that's become ingrained not just in the verbiage of hip-hop, but of popular culture, too, displays the kind of touch for putting a bug in the ear of every human with a decent grasp of the English that LL made a name for being great at.

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