What constitutes a truly great rap verse? There are as many different answers as there are fans.
Some rappers write dense, traditionalist bars. Some keep it blunt, reporting reality in stories from the street. Others adopt a manic personality and deliver their lines in character. Some have gifts for punchlines, others vivid imagery; some just have a great voice or distinctive flow. The one constant, at least for the great ones, is an ability to imprint their words in the brains of anyone who hears them. That particular turn of a phrase, just the right combination of rhythm and rhyme that renders the listener helpless in the face of unforgettable art. "You're a slave to a page in my rhyme book," as Nas once put it.
It's a strong word, but one rap fans embrace willingly. We want to be that kind of slave. Here are our wrists, spit us those shackles.
Without further ado, the 25 Best Verses of the Last Five Years.