How is this biggie not there: So we can steam on the way to the telly go fill my belly/ A t-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch's grape
The 50 top rap lyrics about food
Crank up the volume for TONY's list of the greatest grub references ever laid on wax.
Tue Feb 21 2012
Girls, cars and jewelry are well-documented tropes of hip-hop, but anyone who listens to enough rap knows that eating is one of the genre's most pervasive obsessions. From the Sugarhill Gang to Drake, MCs have demonstrated a constant urge to document what's on their plate. Sometimes, food is used as a cultural signifier to describe the rags-to-riches journey, which might start with Hamburger Helper but end with filet mignon. At other times it plays into metaphors of consumption, with artists such as Lil Wayne (who calls himself "the rapper eater") describing the ravenous manner in which they gobble up the competition. And that's not to mention all of the food-related slang in rap: cheese for money, beef for grudges and so on.
To survey the full breadth of culinary references in hip-hop, we've rounded up 50 of the lines that never fail to hit us in the gut. Did we miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment here, or holler at us on Twitter (@thefeednyc) using the hashtag #foodrap.
50. Ghostface Killah, "Apollo Kids" (Supreme Clientele, 2000)
The lyric: "Ayo, this rap is like ziti, facin' me real TV / Crash at high speeds, strawberry kiwi."
Ghost explained this enigmatic couplet in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: "The rap's good because it's like ziti, which was my best food back then. I threw 'strawberry kiwi' on because I'm into experimenting. I was thinking of a style to write without nobody knowing what I was saying except for me."
49. Big Daddy Kane, "Platinum Plus" (Big L's The Big Picture, 2000)
The lyric: "Come in the hood flippin' the chicken-and-broccoli Timbs."
Those would be brown-and-green Timberland boots, a must-have fashion accessory on the streets of late-'90s New York.
48. 50 Cent, "21 Questions" (Get Rich or Die Tryin', 2003)
The lyric: "I love you like a fat kid love cake."
Though purists balked at this corny line, Fiddyâever the shrewd marketerâknew exactly what he was doing: turning a nation of teen girls into gangster-rap fans. It's safe to say that the line dominated the demographic's AIM away messages for much of 2003.
47. Kanye West, "Niggas in Paris" (Watch the Throne, 2011)
The lyric: "That shit cray, ain't it Jay? / What she order? Fish filet?"
We're not sure if this insta-meme boosted McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sales or sent them into a slump. Fertile ground for an infographic, it would seem.
46. Young Jeezy, "Put On" (The Recession, 2008)
The lyric: "Big wheels, big straps, you know I like it supersized / Passenger's a redbone, her weave look like some curly fries / Inside fish sticks, outside tartar sauce / Pocket full of celery, imagine what she telling me / Blowing on asparagus, the realest shit I ever smoked."
...and so on and so forth. Jeezy is a food-rap legendâthis snippet is merely a taster.
45. E-40, "Gouda" (My Ghetto Report Card, 2006)
The lyric: "Aye, I buy the weed man / Hella turkey bags just to put my weed in / Oh, we gettin' chalupa / Wrapped cheese in a rubber band and call it gouda."
It's safe to say that no rapper in history has known the name of more cheeses than E-40. If only he worked at Murray's.
44. The Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize" (Life After Death, 1997)
The lyric: "I can fill you with real millionaire shit: escargot."
If Biggie had written this song today, he might have replaced escargot with "omakase dinners at Masa."
43. LL Cool J, "Milky Cereal" (Mama Said Knock You Out, 1990)
The lyric: "Then there was Pebbles, times was rough / She was turning Trix, to get a Cocoa Puff."
LL sort of betrays the limits of his lyrical agility on this conceptual track, which is full of clunky puns on name-brand cereals. But there are a few choice lines, and we love the bizarre way in which he says "Cocoa Puff."
42. Childish Gambino, "That Power" (Camp, 2011)
The lyric: "MM..Food? like Rapp Snitch Knishes / Cuz it's Oreos, Twinkies, coconuts, delicious."
Here's some meta food rap for you: Gambino (also known as comedian Donald Glover) references the MF Doom album MM..Food? and its track "Rapp Snitch Knishes," then meditates on biracial identity via some gastronomic allusions of his own (Oreo, Twinkie and coconut are slurs for people who are said to be "white" inside despite the color of their skin).
41. Ludacris, "Southern Hospitality" (Back for the First Time, 2000)
The lyric: "Dirty South mind-blowing Dirty South bread / Catfish fried up, Dirty South fed."
Luda would later release an album called Chicken-n-Beer, but it was here that he established his love for Southern-fried delicacies.