The 100 Best Opening Lines in Rap History, Part 1: 100 - 51

The opening shots, salvos, tip-offs, and starter pistols of rap lyrics that made their way into legend.

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Complex Original

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The first words. Whether it's a movie, or a book, or a speech, they have to immediately grab you, draw you in, they're a crucial moment of litmus testing that's either all uphill or downhill thereafter. But with rap songs, they have to do more: They need to cut through the noise, not just of a beat that might overpower it, or a reputation that might precede it, but quite simply, everything that's already come before it. They need to entrance listeners, hypnotize them, begin the first incantations of an unbreakable, two-to-four minute hipnosis. And they also have to make you love whatever it is they're about to do, before they even do it.

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote that "charm [is] a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.” Rappers know this better than anyone: Charm, whether it's by a Tyson-style opening shot that'll break ribs, unshakably violent imagery, or an unforgettable boast, is key to getting listeners to follow them in. And to some degree, all of these lines are (no matter what the content)—if anything—charmers.

These are The 100 Best Opening Lines in Rap History, Part 1. 

Written by Kathy Iandoli, David Drake, and Foster Kamer. 

[Watch tomorrow for Part 2, 50 - 1.]

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RELATED: 25 Things Everyone Thinks About Hip-Hop (But Nobody Will Say)


100. "Don't think I won't hit you 'cause I'm popular/I got P-90 Ruger to pop at ya." - 50 Cent

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99. "Yo honey-dips, summertime, fine Jheri drippin/Seen you picking with a bunch of chickens how you're clicking." - Ghostface Killah

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Song: "Ice Cream" (1995)
Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...

Ghostface's slant-rhyme at the start of "Ice Cream" set it up for all the other Wu members to pick up every flavor of girl mentioned on the track, and like so many other Ghostfaces lines to come, would continue his pattern of complete divisiveness from the first moment, literally: You either already love him or hate him on this track. There's just nothing in between.

98. "Now the funeral is over and all the tears are dried up/Niggas hangin deep on the cut gettin fired up." - Scarface

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Song: "No Tears" (1994)
Album: The Diary

Scarface visceral picture painting of post-funeral mourning being calmed by drugs is visual that manifests in high-definition the moment he utters those words.

97. "I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies, and prisoners." - Nas

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Song: "Memory Lane (Sittin In Da Park)" (1994)
Album: Illmatic

Masterful marketing: In 1994, hip-hop had yet to cross over to the level it would reach in the early 2000s. But Nasty Nas knew the audience-those mentioned herein-and the ones he knew who he wanted to reach: Everyone who had any interest in those people, which turned out, of course, to be everyone. He expressed it with detailed specificity to open his nostalgic "Memory Lane," and take those people-real, unfiltered characters in both hip-hop and urban america-into rap classic status with him.

96. "Playas we ain't the same, I'm into caine and guns." - Pusha T

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Song: "Intro" (2002)
Album: Lord Willin

What the Clipse did for coke rap was nothing short of revolutionary, and as an "Intro," Pusha-T separated himself and Clipse immediately from everything that came before them. As was reiterated on the album's last cut, "I Am Not You," rapper.

95. "Went to Carvel to get a milkshake/This honey ripped me off for all my loot cakes." - Phife Dawg

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Song: "8 Million Stories" (1993)
Album: Midnight Marauders

A journey through 8 million stories starts with the simplest one, but when Phife tells it, it sounds like the beginning of so, so much more.

94. "I used to hit the kitchen lights, cockroaches everywhere/Hit the kitchen lights, now it's marble floors everywhere." - Young Jeezy

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Song: "Thug Motivation 101" (2005)
Album: Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101

If ducking roaches isn't enough to motivate a thug, then what is? Jeezy's entire career epitomized a rags-to-riches rap story, and those few lines were the perfect set up.

93. "This speech is my recital/I think it's very vital." - Run–D.M.C.

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Song: "It's Tricky" (1987)
Album: Raising Hell

Run DMC didn't move mountains by being hyper-lyrical. They were concise to an unprecedented degree: straight and to the point like nothing to come before them and too little that came after them. There's nothing more vital than getting it right the first time, but getting there, of course, is the "tricky" part.

92. "The sun don't shine forever/But as long as its here than we might as well shine together." - Puff Daddy

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Song: "Victory" (1997)
Album: No Way Out

There's a tragic undercurrent, of course, to Puffy's opening lines of "Victory" in the wake of Biggie's death, something impossible to forget as Big counts off the beat ("One. One, two. Check me out right here, yo."). But they draw on a sense of epic grandeur-violins, come in-and root it in a partnership that made the track possible, that made so much of everything in hip-hop possible: Big as the talent, Puff on the business. But the tragic reality of what happened aside, there's triumph involved with the fearless acknowledgement of the fact that Bad Boy won't always be hot, they won't always be alive, and their kingdom won't always reign supreme. That takes moxie, which this tracked oozed, as made evident from square one.

91. "I got a letter from the government the other day/I opened and read it, it said they were suckers." - Chuck D

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Song: "Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos" (1989)
Album: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

P.E. held no punches about being anti-establishment. Who knows what was really in Chuck D's letter from the government at the start of "Chaos" (or if there even was a letter)? All he knew was the government were suckers, and that there'd be no lack of clarity in the listener's part on the matter, either.

90. "Dial the seven digits, call up Bridgette/Her man's a midget, plus she got friends, yo, I can dig it." - Opio

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Song: "93 'til Infinity" (1993)
Album: 93 'til Infinity

Souls of Mischief brought the laid back Cali flow to this track, one of hip-hop's most important recordings, which began with the sound of being down for whatever—even if that's talking to shorties with midget boyfriends from whom they may pilfer women off of.

89. "You lack the minerals and vitamins/Iron and the niacin." - O.C.

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Song: "Time's Up" (1994)
Album: Word...Life

Possibly one of the greatest nutritional cautionary tales in rap, which basically goes: You don't have the calcium to pick a bone with O.C. It was the prognosis we kept coming back to.

88. "I was a terror since the public school era/Bathroom passes, cutting classes, squeezing asses." - The Notorious B.I.G.

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87. "I sip the Dom P, watching Gandhi 'til I'm charged/Then writing in my book of rhymes, all the words pass the margin." - Nas

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Song: "The World Is Yours" (1994)
Album: Illmatic

Nas might've been a street rapper—the street rapper's rapper, even—but it was always made clear that he was an intellectual and an introvert; sure, a nasty motherfucker you don't want running up on you, but also, someone with deep thoughts. The opening bars of "The World is Yours"-and Nas's third single, the one that truly catapulted him to rap fame-captured everything that made Nas, Nas. From the extent of his inspirations (booze and Ghandi) to the medium of his expression (Bic-filled notebooks) in one opening salvo, if you didn't know Nas, now you knew. Queensbridge brought it different.

86. "I grew up on the crime side/The New York Times side." - Raekwon

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Song: "C.R.E.A.M." (1993)
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang

Wu-Tang crafted a song about their obsession with money, or C.R.E.A.M. as they put it. Raekwon started the story by explaining his early life could be read in the daily news, only in the wrong part of the paper.

85. "Living off borrowed time, the clock ticks faster." - MF Doom

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Song: "Accordion" (2004)
Album: Madvillainy

Doom's reminder that life is short on "Accordion" sticks from the start of the song to the finish, and even after that. There are a lot of ruminations on mortality in rap; this one, as simple as it was brilliant, just sticks, in the same way things that legitimately make you question your mortality can. The imagery of a ticking clock against one's lifespan is cliche, sure, but somehow, Doom had the gravitas to make it tick louder.

84. "Microphone checka, swinging sword lecture/Closing down the sector, supreme neck protector." - Method Man

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Song: "Da Rockwilder" (1999)
Album: Blackout
Meth and Red had only a little over two minutes to slice up this track, one of the biggest bangers either ever produced, part of which was Meth opening with every word in the dictionary he could possibly use to describe himself, in an ascending syllable-pattern (five, five, six, six) that sticks like super-glue.

83. "When I'm alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall/And in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call." - LL Cool J

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Song: "I Need Love" (1987)
Album: Bigger and Deffer

Love Rap has since evolved into Emo Rap, but when LL proclaimed he needed love, he began his romantic track with some modern-day Shakesperean sonnet.

82. "We fight every night, now that's not kosher." - Large Professor

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Song: "Looking At the Front Door" (1991)
Album: Breaking Atoms

If you hear a line like this coming from your significant other, RUN. You're about to be dumped. Large Pro knew the shape of things to come on this track, so he started with the bad news first.

81. "I've been in this game for years, it made me an animal/It's rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual." - The Notorious B.I.G.

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Song: "Ten Crack Commandments" (1997)
Album: Life After Death

If you're about to instruct potential crack dealers on the rules of the game, you'd better assert not just your mastery of the craft, but the definitive nature of it. Biggie's opening salvo claims years of experience that transformed him permanently, and you'd better listen close, because it's not going to get any more instructional than this. He couldn't have been more right.

80. "You wanna front what? Jump up and get bucked/If you're feeling lucky duck then press your luck." - Jeru The Damaja

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Song: "Come Clean" (1993)
Album: The Sun Rises in the East

Jeru started "Come Clean" with target practice, saying that you could try and duck, but chances are, he'll still shoot you. Lose/Lose situation.

79. "Here it is, a groove slightly transformed." - The Fresh Prince

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Song: "Summertime" (1991)
Album: Homebase

Summertime itself provides a slightly transformed groove, though Fresh Prince was also speaking to Jazzy Jeff's switched up production on this classic Summer anthem. It was a welcomed break from the norm, and Will Smith wasn't about to let you go any further into his track without recognizing it first.

78. "We still hustle 'til the sun come up, crack a 40 when the sun go down/It's a cold winter, y'all niggas better bundle up." - Freeway

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Song: "What We Do" (2003)
Album: Philadelphia Freeway

The combination of the crystalline soul beat and Freeway's gruff vocals—along with the ad-libbed assertion that came before it (if he got rocked, this shit was for his kids)—made "What We Do" the perfect storm from the opening bars. Arguably though, it's that concrete-smooth sound of Freeway's sandpaper voice that makes this opener hit so hard, yet sound so smooth.

77. "Through the lights cameras and action, glamour glitters and gold/I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe." - Nas

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Song: "Verbal Intercourse" (1995)
Album: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...

At first it's just the sound of this opening that takes your breath away, the way the words roll out of Esco oh so effortlessly, into the mic, onto the track, into your ears: interlocking consonants, unfolding like verbal origami. On repeat listens, it unfolds in yet another dimension, as the portentous lyrics imply a profound mythology that's only hinted at through Nas' prophecies.

76. "Well it's the MI crooked letter, ain't no one better/And when I'm on the microphone you best to wear your sweater." - Big Boi

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Song: "ATLiens" (1996)
Album: ATLiens

Sure, "ATLiens" is opened by Big Boi the same way he  "Southernplayalisticaddicalmusik" is opened by Big Boi, but that's part of what made it so magical: Like the way Star Wars opens with rolling credits, there was something recognizable and feverishly exciting to hearing those words, since you knew whatever was about to come next was nothing but the finest Outkast product they could deliver. And as we all well know by now, if ATLiens is anything, it's the first of many creative peaks for the gang. We knew what was coming.

75. "Let's get lost tonight/You can be my black Kate Moss tonight." - Kanye West

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Song: "Stronger" (2007)
Album: Graduation

Long before the days Kanye was spotted with supermodels all over the world, he spit about looking for his "black Kate Moss". In doing so, he threw stereotypes out the door, and pushed his desires and newfound ability (to live a lavish lifestyle alongside a supermodel) through it, that Daft Punk beat-as impossible to mistake as it is to shake-thumping all the while. The first single off of Graduation, it was also the first impression that Kanye had changed, super-sized, gone into Hulk mode: Famous rappers simply didn't rap about wanting to "get lost" in anyting but their thoughts, maybe. But then again, famous rappers as we knew them would be changed forever, shortly after that first bar.

74. "Fuck the frail shit/Cause when my coke comes in they gotta use the scales that they weigh the whales with." - Jadakiss

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Song: "We Gonna Make It" (2001)
Album: Kiss Tha Game Goodbye

Jada needs a scale that can fit a whale to hold all of his coke. With the money he'd get from that, of course he's gonna "make it."

73. "It's lonely at the top and whatever you do/You always got to watch motherfuckers around you." - Guru

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Song: "Moment of Truth" (1998)
Album: Moment of Truth

Guru definitely had his moment of truth as soon as he picked up the mic, and laid some shit bare: From loneliness to distrust, he covered all bases of the downside to success within the first bars. Sure, there's plenty more to go into, as he proceeded to explain, but that's what makes this line all the more amazing—how could there be?

72. "Yall niggas dreamed it, I seen it/Body warm, heart anemic." - Cam'ron

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Song: "I Really Mean It" (2003)
Album: Diplomatic Immunity

Cam's raps weren't an act, they were based on the life he actually lived. And whether or not you thought he was a cold motherfucker with no soul, or just another rap act, the fact of the matter was: Cam is human, and an argument for humanizing himself in the form of a boast is the kind of lyrical dexterity that seperates him from the would-bes who still, to this day, only dream it.

71. "That's you with that bad ass Benz (Ha)/That's you that can't keep your old lady 'cause you keep fucking her friends (Ha)." - Juvenile

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Song: "Ha" (1998)
Album: 400 Degreez

Juvenile's "Ha" was his first major crossover, the lead-off from his multiplatinum album 400 Degreez, and it started with an irregular boast that could only come from a southern gentlemen with a talent for sarcastic humor: Not only does your Benz suck, but you can't even hold down your lady. Unless, of course, he was talking about himself: Maybe he's the one with the Benz, you thought, who brags about fucking all of his lady's friends. You'd be the one finding out after this line, like everyone else, because turning the track off from this point forward was simply a non-starter.

70. "Rappers steppin to me, they wanna get some." - Big Daddy Kane

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Song: "Ain't No Half Steppin" (1988)
Album: Long Live The Kane

Endlessly requotable, Big Daddy Kane set up "Ain't No Half Steppin" with a nonchalant description of his endless stream of hopeless challengers, throwing down a first impression about first impressions: You want to step to Kane? Then you were really looking for something, and damned if you weren't about to find it.

69. "Coming up I was confused, my mama kissing a girl." - 50 Cent

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Song: "Hate It Or Love It" (2005)
Album: The Documentary

Way before he got shot nine times, 50 Cent had a fucked up life. He's detailed his family history in his songs and most of it was pretty ugly: His aunt killed his dog and never said sorry, his uncle was a wino, and his mother Sabrina Jackson was killed when he was only 8. Thanks to this line, the one thing most rap fans probably know about Sabrina Jackson is that she was a lesbian, maybe one of the first acknowledgements of such a family life in a rap song, and by far and away one of the most memorable.

68. "Can I hit in the morning? Without giving you half of my dough." - Jay-Z

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Song: "Can I Get A..." (1996)
Album: Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life

We're sure plenty of ladies at Jay-Z concerts quote these lines in unison with Hov himself, but would probably smack the everloving shit out of any man who asked them the same question. Because a question that translates to, "Can I have sex with you without having to pay for it," ought to be reserved for prostitutes. And yet, It meant so much more to so many people, introducing them to the idea of how Jay handles his dealings with women: By way of rhetorical questions about the price we all pay for intimate relations, whatever each listener's "half of my dough" really is.

67. "Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin/I came to win, battle me that's a sin." - Everlast

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Song: "Jump Around" (1992)
Album: House of Pain

In come the horns! And then, the screechy-reverb sample! And then, a bunch of white guys changing rap as a pop form forever with these so-stupid-they're-beautiful words: The p-on-p alliteration, telling us where to pack it, because Everlast is here with the correct rhymes, so let him begin. And so he did, and will: on radio, in movies, and at bar mitzvahs and weddings for the rest of eternity.

66. "MC am I people call me Milk/When I'm bustin up a party I feel no guilt." - Milk Dee

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Song: "Top Billin" (1987)
Album: What More Can I Say

Milk Dee's cadence stole the show on "Top Billin'" as a more-than-just-textbook example of how a few simple syllables matched with the Yoda-style wordflip can innovate as surely as deftness or complexity ever could.

65. "Close your eyes and imagine, feel the magic, Vegas on acid/Seen through Yves Saint Laurent glasses." - Kanye West

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Song: "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" (2005)
Album: Late Registration

"Diamonds" was Kanye West's iridescent move to the radical, the widescreen, towards cinematic blockbuster rap music. And the opening line, the stylish Vegas acid trip, proposed a world not gritty and real, but escapist, and one only Kanye West could imagine: the blending of the psychedelic, hedonistic, and purely blinged out.

64. "I got you stuck off the realness/We be the infamous you heard of us, Official Queensbridge murderers." - Prodigy

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Song: "Shook Ones Pt. II" (1995)
Album: The Infamous

Listeners can claim they loved the Mobb for their 'lyricism,' the beats, their on-wax personalities, or how true to hip-hop's core values they kept it. But Prodigy knew better. It wasn't these vague red herrings; it was the realness, the pursuit of that authenticity phantom, the new and artful ways that Prodigy and Havoc managed to convey the dark truths of who they were, where they came from, and what they've set out to do.

63. "I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence." - Drake

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Song: "Headlines" (2011)
Album: Take Care

A surefire mark to tell the truly arrogant from the moderately arrogant is a careful use of self-deprecation to conceal the cockiness they feel inside. Enter Drake, who doesn't just know this, but uses it in an opening shot to manifest a device of sorts: One the one hand, the arrogance is overpowering to the point of giving listeners the initial impression that he really is that arrogant and cocky. On the other hand, we know Drake as someone with pronounced insecurities who's made them clear. The opening line of "Headlines" was a question on both ends as much as it was as declaritive statement. That's something.

62. "It ain't hard to tell/I excel then prevail." - Nas

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Song: "It Ain't Hard To Tell" (1994)
Album: Illmatic

Despite his rhetorical intricacies, his eye for narrative detail, his thoughtful, meditative observations, you can't get past the thing that first grabbed you about Nas: he just did this kind of thing so much better than everyone else. "Excel" is almost an understatement, a word used in academia that surely doesn't do great rap justice; "prevail" might seem like one too, until you consider the full threat the world posed to him. But then again, that's Nas, isn't it? Giving humdrum words power they've never had before, that they could only have in rap.

61. "While I'm watching every nigga watching me closely/My shit is butter, for the bread they wanna toast me." - Jay-Z

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Song: "Can I Live" (1996)
Album: Reasonable Doubt

Jay-Z's opener for the song that would become one of pop culture's go-to defense when being assailed involved him watching the watchers, keeping an eye on those praying on his downfall. But in traditional Jay-Z style-or the one he further established with this line-he never sounded paranoid, just smooth, a point he makes apparent in comparing himself to 'butter' in the face of death threats.

60. "I came in the door, I said it before/I never let the mic magnetize me no more." - Rakim

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Song: "Eric B Is President" (1987)
Album: Paid in Full

At first glance, as words on paper, it doesn't feel like much. But sometimes, the simplest phrases can be the most memorable. Rakim's first lines on "Eric B is President" became the framework for so many other rappers in the years to come, and it all began with Rakim's literal entrance: an addiction to the mic that will never be kicked, despite the way he could (like addicts always will) argue otherwise.

59. "Queens get the money/long time no cash/Caught up in the hustle where the guns go blast." - Prodigy

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Song: "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)" (1995)
Album: The Infamous

The beginning of this line hits like a prayer, a darkly spiritual invocation for the continued wealth and prosperity of Prodigy's neighborhood. But it's counterintuitive: Prodigy's neighborhood is the hood. It's wealth and prosperity, in this situation, is the darkness, which is where the second part of the line comes in, a stark reality of theenvironment, the deadly playing field from whence the prayers come.

58. "I be that pretty mothafucka/Harlem's what I'm repping." - A$AP Rocky

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Song: "Pe$o" (2011)

A$AP Rocky's introduction into contemporary hip-hop history began with the unsual boast that'd become an entry point for him to the current rap landscape, and for people who didn't know who Rocky was to become immediate converts and fans: After years of rappers priding themselves on things other than their looks-or, at least, physical features other than flawlessness, like brute strength and/or, for that matter, dick size-Rocky proclaimed himself Harlem's "pretty motherfucker," making his distinctly fine features an atypical hip-hop calling card.

57. "When I was sleeping on the train, sleeping on Meserole Ave out in the rain/Without even a single slice of pizza to my name." - Jay Electronica

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Song: "Exhibit C" (2009)
Album: Exhibit C EP

One of the most quietly dark lines on this list, that, like so many others, puts you right in the author's shoes with a few brief words. But while many a rapper will rap from coming from nothing, being homeless and destitute is an altogether different thing, one you're not going to hear referenced too often. Herein, Jay is sleeping in both a literal and figurative sense: he's asleep but he also lacks "knowledge of self." The song, which explores his spiritual awakening and how he turned his life around, all begins here, with the most square-one setup possible: With nothing to lose, on Meserole Ave.

56. "Yo sit back, relax, catch ya contact, sip ya con-gi-ac." - AZ

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Song: "Affirmative Action" (1996)
Album: The Firm: The Album

Despite sounding like he didn't know how to pronounce cognac, AZ made his opening shot the gateway drug to "Affirmative Action." The song's buildup and AZ's vivid descriptors quickly establish him and his cohorts as mafioso types, ones who can afford to "sit back" and watch their money pile up. No longer are they stick-up kids involved in project shootouts who sip Dom P and will "beat a priest for a cross piece." Instead, they're sophisticated dons who still react like rockwilders.

55. "Noooooooow here's a little story I got to tell/About 3 bad brothers you know so well." - Ad Rock

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Song: "Paul Revere" (1986)
Album: Licensed to Ill

One of the most perfect examples not just of how a story rap should start-and that referenced a long line of story raps before it-but of how comic storytelling can work. The Beastie Boys rewrote history on "Paul Revere," a story that has nothing to do with the actual Paul Revere's midnight ride except for the horse, who's named after the panicked American patriot. And that horse, of course, is used to stick up a town, do the sherrif's daughter (with a whiffle ball bat), and cause complete mayhem. Ad Rock's shouted opening was the kind of delivery that gripped listeners by the throat, a no-nonsense assertion that didn't just take to center stage but stole it, the main idea so perfectly conveyed: We've got some shit to say, and wow, are you in for a treat.

54. "Yo bitch I fucked your friend, yeah you stank ho/I seen her on the elevator, honey grabbed my Kangol." - Ghostface Killah

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Song: "Wildflower" (1996)
Album: Ironman

Embittered misogyny has never been so bold. Does it even matter what comes after this line? All it takes is a few words, and you're either hooked, or have already changed the track. Sometimes, the first cut has to be the deepest, and so goes Big Ghost, uncompromising ruffian that he is, as he explains to you that not only are you a "bitch" and a "stank hoe" but he's also had sexual congress with your friend after she grabbed his hat. Sometimes, you hate your best friends. Ghostface knows your mascochistic impuleses better than anyone.

53. "I see death around the corner, gotta stay high while I survive/In the city where the skinny niggas die." - 2Pac

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Song: "Death Around the Corner" (1995)
Album: Me Against The World

This ended up being unfortunately prophetic, but Pac's meditation on paranoia took "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," and amplified it. Pac brought it a heightened sense of realness that wasn't there before. The opening lines were so striking, because they explained everything in literal terms: in a city where the meek are the most vulnerable, the only way to deal with fear of death is by getting high.

52. "Hey, you, get off my cloud/You don't know me and you don't know my style." - Method Man

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Song: "Method Man" (1993)
Album: Enter the Wu-Tang

Method Man was the obvious charismatic star of the Wu-Tang Clan for a grip of reasons, from his effortless delivery to his on-screen charisma. But early on into the Shaolin's run-up on rap, he was also heavy on the pop culture references, like his callback to the Rolling Stones' "Get Off of My Cloud" in the opening bars to his self-titled solo cut, which were oh-so-crucial in making him a household name that still to this day goes far beyond rap. You didn't know him and his style when this song started, but these first few vocals foreshadowed the distinct idea that you most definitely would by the time he was done.

51. "I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven/When I woke I spent that on a necklace." - Kanye West

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Song: "Can't Tell Me Nothing" (2007)
Album: Graduation

For any self-made man who broke the rules and succeeded on his own terms, there's an unquestionable arrogance that comes along for the ride. "Can't Tell Me Nothing"-arguably the greatest Kanye West song, full stop-is both the soundtrack to that feeling, and a fully-realized recognition of the psychic cost of it. In the opening lines and the prelude to all of the ruminations on this idea to come, 'Ye revists a familiar theme: His inner-demons battling each other, fighting over whether to follow his most virtuous ideals or submit to superficial pleasures in order to soften the perpetual pain of crippling self-conciousness, as he dreams of greater things, and then finds himself, on waking, still drawn to earthly, stupid, superficial delights, and laying bare a crucial truth to who he fundamentally is: Someone with a weakness that more often than not wins out over what he knows to be right.

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