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The 30 Most Lyrical Rap Songs of the Last 5 Years

21. Ab-Soul f/ Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko "Terrorist Threats" (2012)


Ab-Soul grew up in the burbs of L.A. while Danny Brown grew up in the hood of Detroit. As such, these two brilliant wordsmiths' concepts of what constitutes a terrorist threat diverge in fascinating and revealing ways. In this cut off Ab's fourth independent TDE release, the beat is so minimal and abstract that there is no threat of listeners nodding their heads or dancing—nothing to distract from Ab and Danny's dense lyrical mindspray.

Ab opens the track with an obscure reference to the historic figure Aleister Crowley, a nineteenth-century poet and mystic who was dubbed "The Wickedest Man Alive." Ab then goes on to reference Rasta orthodoxy ("Wish I could see out of Selassie eye" aka Emperor Haile Selassie I) and ("Out my window all I see is Babylon") as a pretext for his grand revolutionary aspirations. In the song's chorus Ab repeatedly states his belief that getting all the street gangs together would be an effective way of overthrowing the government.

By contrast Danny Brown has no time to ponder whether Barack Obama is a puppet. He's more concerned with practical day-to-day matters like avoiding homelessness and putting food on the table. "Nose candy rain like Soul for Real/My baby needs some enfamil/ So bags get stuffed like Oprah grill." In other words, it's all real in the field. And terror is where you find it. —Rob Kenner

RELATED: Who Is Ab-Soul?

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