By Maurice Bobb
Kanye West knows how to get people talking. After taking to Twitter Saturday (July 20) to declare that the second verse of Yeezus’ “New Slaves” is the best rap verse of all time, fans immediately challenged the Chicago native’s lyrical hubris.
But even as many lament the rapper’s claim, comparing his line, “You see there’s leaders and there’s followers, but I’d rather be a d-ck than a swallower,” to the litany of hip-hop quotables in the annals of rap history, one need only explore ‘Ye’s own discography for better verses.
We didn’t go too far back for this one, opting instead for recent verses, since Yeezy’s critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, for example had a few. One that really stands out is the second verse of the stadium status anthem, “Power.”
“Power“: “F–k SNL and the whole cast/Tell them Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass/More specifically they can kiss my asshole/I’m an asshole? You n—-s got jokes/You short-minded n—–s thoughts is Napoleon/My furs is Mongolian, my ice brought the goalies in/And I embody every characteristic of the egotistic/He knows, he’s so f—-ing gifted/I just needed time alone with my own thoughts/Got treasures in my mind but couldn’t open up my own vault. My childlike creativity, purity and honesty/Is honestly being crowded by these grown thoughts/Reality is catching up with me/Taking my inner child, I’m fighting for custody/With these responsibilities that they entrusted me/As I look down at my diamond encrusted piece.”
Another stellar verse from MBDTF was the first verse of “Dark Fantasy.”
Dark Fantasy: “I fantasized ’bout this back in Chicago/Mercy, mercy me, that Murcielago/That’s me, the first year that I blow/How you say broke in Spanish? Me no hablo/Me drown sorrow in that Diablo/Me found bravery in my bravado
DJ’s need to listen to the models/”You ain’t got no fuckin’ Yeezy in your Serato?”/Stupid, but what the hell do I know?/I’m just a Chi-town nigga with a Nas flow/And my bitch in that new Phoebe Philo/So much head, I woke up in Sleepy Hollow.”
And let’s not forget when ‘Ye got all introspective on the third verse of Graduation’s “Big Brother,” his ode to Jay-Z.
Big Brother: “Have you ever walked in the shadow of a giant?/Not only a client, the Presidito, hola, Hovito/The game gettin’ foul so here’s a free throw/I was always on the other side of the peephole/Then I dropped “Jesus Walks” now I’m on the steeple/And we know, “New Jack City” got to keep my brother/But to be number one I’mma beat my brother/On that “Diamonds” remix I swore I spazzed/Then my big brother came through and kicked my ass/Sibling rivalry, only I could see/It was the pride in me that was drivin’ me/At the Grammys I said, “I inspired me”/But my big brother who I always tried to be/When I kicked a flow it like pick-and-roll/Cause even if he gave me the rock, it’s give-and-go/I guess Beanie’s style was more of a slam dunk/But my sh– was more like a finger roll/But I had them singles though/And them hoes at the show gonna mingle, yo, heh, y’all know/I told Jay I did a song with Coldplay, Next thing I know he got a song with Coldplay/Back in my mind I’m like “Damn, no way”/Translate, espanol “No way, Jose”/Then I went and told Jay Brown/Shoulda known that was gonna come back around/Shoulda talked to you like a man, shoulda told you first/But I told somebody else and that’s what made shit worse.”
What do you think is Kanye West’s best verse of all time?