songs about being poor rap


On "Words I Never Said," Lupe Fiasco looks outward.

He talks about how money or the lack of it cast its shadow over his young life. "Be an officer? "Untitled" was not the original title for Nas' ninth studio album. In this cautionary tale, KRS tells the story of a poor kid who is looking to provide for his family during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Biggie contends that the woman he put his trust in was only getting in his bed for the bread, telling a tale of woe that explains why he’s jaded about love. "Best political writing of the year, period.". He was engaged, unapologetic and uncompromising in his indictments of the inner-trappings of this country that kept people of color and poor people marginalized from both upward mobility and some basic civil rights. When Hurricane Katrina pummeled Louisiana and massive flooding submerged New Orleans, the George W. Bush administration was criminally slow to react.

But what might sound like flaunting and taunting on the surface is also a celebration of a success against the odds. Money means everything to you when you don’t have it.

The Geto Boys take turns admonishing the government for various injustices — police brutality, mass incarceration, the war on drugs — and charging them with the executions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Fred Hampton.

As a New Orleans native himself, Lil Wayne offered  "Georgia... Bush" as a response to and condemnation of America's commander in chief.

The story starts with a treacherous woman who is dating a baller—but she’s not in it for love, she’s in it for his money.

Though the lingo and flow differed from the popular East and West Coast rap records at the time, its catchy hook resonated with rap fans to give it nationwide appeal. “Damn, why she wanna stick me for my paper?” On Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s single “Get Money,” Biggie and Lil’ Kim engage in a battle of the sexes that’s as much about hurt feelings as it is about material items. "The new plantation, mass incarceration/ Instead of educate, they'd rather convict the kids/ As dirty as the water in Flint, the system is," he raps. To claim anything other than that points to a lack of understanding of hip-hop's history rather than a reflection of its culture. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. (A guest verse from Ruthless Records’ boss Eazy-E didn’t hurt either.). Its power did not lie in Cole's lyrical prowess, though the skill was there. "The Point of No Return," Geto Boys, 1996.

"I'm the type of n***a throw a party when the flag burn/ I'm at the point of no return," Willie D raps. "Wesley's Theory" is a reflection of the pimping of black artists exploited by the entertainment industry. Pitchfork may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers.

Kendrick raps on "Hood Politics," equating well-known street gangs with politicians on both sides of the aisle. "Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors/ They disorganized my people, made us all loners/ Still got the last names of our slave owners." The song is an obvious choice, but the entire album is this brilliant, genre-bending manifesto with bars as smart as they are powerful. And thanks to the stickiness of Method Man’s hook and the popularity of the track, “C.R.E.A.M.” became one of the most beloved slang terms for money popular culture has ever seen.

2Pac's skill with and fervency for addressing the racial and economic disparities in black communities across America is inextricably tied to his ranking as one of the greatest rappers of all time.
The hook of "That's just the way it is" is a reminder that this cycle of oppression persists.

Much of the criticism surrounding Jay-Z's new record Magna Carta Holy Grail pointed to Jay-Z's insistence on continuing to rap about his wealth. "Woo! To suggest that Eminem's mediocre bars were anything other than tepid demonstrates a a shamefully low bar for the craft of hip-hop and for what constitutes bravery. The “self-made millionaire” Lil Wayne borrows the chorus from the aforementioned “Get Money” on this Carter II cut, making the case for “money over bitches” with a barrage of cash-centric bars. It glares at the oppressive systems in place dead on. All rights reserved.

"Love a black woman from/ Infinity to infinity (You ain't a bitch or a ho)," the hook goes. Joey Bada$$ dropped this politically-charged song on the day of President Donald Trump's inauguration, and it deals closely with inequity, mass incarceration and even the Ku Klux Klan.

No, the album that dove headfirst into the state of America's race relations, with an album cover that featured Nas' bare back with whipping scars in the shape of a letter "N," was initially named "N****r." In hip-hop, everyone knew the album's real name and that "Untitled" was merely a placeholder, indicative of America's penchant to erase its racial history rather than to confront it.
"All we wanna do is be free," J. Cole says in conclusion. "Mathematics," Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey), 1999.

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