There are so many ‘GREATEST RAP VERSES OF ALL TIME EVER’ lists out there, and they all feature rappers like Tupac, Biggie, Eminem, Nas and other rappers that dads and those insufferable ‘I only listen to old school hip hop’ listen to. It’s 2016. We shouldn’t really give any shits about rappers entering the dangerous ‘heritage’ stage of their careers, because there are so many current rappers doing incredible things in hip hop.
We thought instead of throwing the nostalgic shit into your eyes, why not shout out some underappreciated verses? Here’s a list of some we thought were a million and fifty nine percent flamey.
1. Hannibal Buress’ Verse on Open Mike Eagle – ‘Doug Stamper (Advice Raps)’
We all need handy little tips to help us through everyday life. Hannibal Buress (a comedian, not a rapper) takes to the mic to tell us wash our hands after touching our genitals, go to free porn sites instead of paying for porn, and also not to buy certain cars (YARIS!) because they’re girls’ cars.
Rather modestly, he checks himself in a sidenote, saying “actually if you can only afford one of those cars because those are compact cars and they’re very affordable, then get that, don’t let me judge your life. But that other stuff, I mean that other stuff.”
Great advice, Hannibal.
2. Kendrick Lamar’s Verse on A$AP Rocky – ‘1Train’
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most overrated rappers in the game and THAT ‘Control’ verse was overhyped trash (don’t @ me). That’s not to say he doesn’t come with the flames, though.
On A$AP Rocky’s ‘1Train’, he spat a misanthropic verse with a flow that rocks back and forth as if it were birthed in a mental institution. With an increasingly twitchy and violent delivery, he steamrolls his path to suicide via slit wrists or jumping off a cliff.
Fuck ‘Control’ because this verse is like an entire movie within 16 bars. Miss me with your battle raps.
3. DOOM’s First Verse on Gorillaz – ‘November Has Come’
DOOM’s status as the underground king of hip hop is set in concrete. The metal-faced rapper isn’t about to break into mainstream culture like Killer Mike and El-P have, but he’s well-known by hip hop heads as a rhyming machine.
There’s no greater example of this than on Gorillaz’s ‘November Has Come’, where he effortlessly mutters his first lines with an internal ‘ABCD’ rhyming pattern while calling out talentless rappers, within just 18 words.
He still has the rest of his first verse and his second verse to go, but he’s already blowing minds within the space of around 6 seconds. Amazing.
4. Scrufizzer’s Verse on Danny Brown – ‘Dubstep’
To be honest, I fucking hate dubstep (aside from that Skrillex track ‘Bangerman’), so when I saw this track on the Old album playlist I was more than sceptical. Fast forward a year or three and I can now say I love dubstep, the song at least. The addition of Scrufizzer makes for an unlikely, yet compatible collaboration that blends well with the often goofy-sounding Danny Brown, who I consider amongst my favourite rap artists.
The running themes throughout the track are well dressed in double entendre, slick wordplay and well timed adlibs, and this is underpinned in Scrufizzer’s expertly delivered verse. I can only sit and envisage Scrufizzer ingesting an invincibility star before he spits his hard hitting verse, because he sounds ready to run through a defence consisting of Yaya Toure, Dennis Rodman and Gary’s Blastoise (who I fainted on Pokemon Blue ten years ago).
5. RZA’s Verse on Wu Tang Clan – ‘Tearz’
36 Chambers is pretty much the flawless rap album of the 90’s, closing track ‘Tearz’ got lost amidst a sea of meth, cream, swordfighting and RZA’s opening verse on the track is in my opinion, one of the best verses on the album.
Graphically describing the real life consequences of the everyday environment in empoverished Long Island, whilst so many in the hip hop were glamourizing drug fuelled violence, RZA’s verse vehemently speaks of the consequences and it will never fail to send a chill up my spine. You can hear the anguish in his voice as he bares all, there’s no talk of shooting or stabbing or fighting, just poignant reflection of the reality of being from a bad ends and the perfect close to a perfect hip hop record.
6. Robb Banks Verse on Denzel Curry – ‘Threatz’
‘Threatz’ is perhaps the ultimate underrated hype tune of 2013, whilst everything was still up in the air over the slow dissolution of Raider Klan Denzel Curry absolutely smashed it with N64, with ‘Threatz’ being the standout tune.
Whilst Yung Simmie and Denzel’s verses are far more technically proficient (Robb Bank$ was derided back in 2013 for munching far too much Xanax before doing this verse) Robbs contribution works just as well. Bank$’ off kilter, grandiose, xan’d out flow perfectly complements Denzel and Simmie’s declarations of mad fucking hype.
7. El-P’s Verse on Mr Muthafuckin’ eXquire – ‘The Last Huzzah (Remix)’
We can all count to sixteen, which doesn’t exactly make the concept of El-P’s verse on ‘The Last Huzzah’ sound particularly extraordinary, especially since it succeeds heavyweight verses from Despot, Danny Brown and Das Racist (;_;). However, the way El weaves these numbers into his anarchic narrative boast a multi-layered complexity.
As El pushes further into the verse, it becomes increasingly destructive and intricately lyrical with the latter half seeing him transform 11 into “El’ll vent on you harder than Fukushima breezes”, divide 14 into “That’s why I chug 7 and 7’s till I’m fucking homeless” before concluding with this accurate lyrical firebomb:
“And every time you think my fifteen minutes of fame are up
I’ll spit another sixteen to prove to the world I fucking own it”
8. Killer Mike’s Second Verse on ‘Reagan’
The second verse of ‘Reagan’ see’s Killer Mike furiously take aim at the lasting effect Ronald Reagan’s policies have left on America for the last three decades. Throughout the verse Mike dissects the war on drugs becoming a front for police on black crime, exposes the prison system profiteering of prisoners in a way that is comparable to slavery, and reveals how succeeding presidents continued to be capitalist puppets.
After laying out the devastating effect of Reagan’s reign on America he leaves you with a simple yet evocative line that’s impossible to argue with, “I leave you with four words: I’m glad Reagan dead.”
9. Kool AD’s Verse on Hot Sugar – ‘Leverage’
It’s understable that Kool AD’s sleepy flow would go unnoticed on ‘Leverage’, especially in comparison to Hot Sugar’s hard knocking beat and Fat Tony’s tongue twisting flow. However, his verse actually manages to expertly switch between spaghetti rap braggadocio and intricate rhyme schemes.
Within the verse he nonchalantly compares rapping to “putting letters together like Scrabble”, references old fables with “Hurdling hurdles and hares and turtles” and masters the humble brag with “Yes I’m aware I’m a fool/Sexy and arrogant too”. Actually paying attention to Kool AD’s verse makes it easy to see how he surpasses his co-stars without ever sounding committed to doing so.
10. Earl Sweatshirt’s Verse on OFWGKTA – ‘Oldie’
Earl Sweatshirt came home from Samoa , he could still rap, blah blah blah. We’ve heard the story a million times, and we were all ecstatic when he made his return on ‘Oldie’ with the obviously superior verse.
Everyone realised something in Earl had changed. It was like he’d had gone away to rap boot camp led by Drill Sergeant MF DOOM rather than a boarding school. Coming through with some crazy rhymes and metaphors, Earl spat:
“Fuckin’ All-American terrorist/crushin’ rapper larynx to feed ’em a fuckin’ carrot stick/and me? I just spent a year Ferrisin’/and lost a little sanity to show you what hysterics is.”
He may have lost a little sanity, but he gained some sort of voodoo rap powers that have led to two phenomenal albums in Doris and IDLSIDGO.
Nathan Butler, Connor Cass, Richard Lowe, Mark Palmer.