The 25 Best Rap Verses of the Last 5 Years

5. Jay Electronica "Exhibit C" (2009) (2nd Verse)

Producer: Just Blaze
Album: N/A
Label: Control Freaq Records, Decon Media Inc.

Over a lush, soul-driven Just Blaze production, Jay Electronica starts by detailing his rise to fame: broke, poor, destined for greatness but unsure of its arrival, if it ever were to show up. Of course, by the end of that verse, it does show up, by way of Puffy, Q-Tip, and Nas, all—as he tells it—asking Jay what he's waiting on. But Electronica isn't Other Rappers, and he understands that for a single like this (and a boast like that), it's not enough to say it, he's got to show it, too.

As such, the second verse is the resounding answer to the first: In the first lines, Jay punches bars through the wall, linking Judaism to Islam ("They call me Jay Electronica/Fuck that, call me Jay ElecHanukkah/Jay ElecYarmulke/Jay ElectRamadaan") and then spitting some beautifully pronounced Arabic to top it off ("Muhammad Asalaamica RasoulAllah/Subhanahu wa ta'ala through your monitor"). And sure, certain references (the Verizon guy, Tweetstock) definitely date the verse a little too specifically at times, but with lines like "I'm bringing ancient mathematics back to modern man/My momma told me never throw a stone and hide your hand," it's excusable, seeing as how he produced the distinct sonic quality of a man on a roll, and one who isn't looking back in time (let alone that first verse). —Foster Kamer

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