Tag Archives: Lyrics

Profound Hip Hop Quote #17: Homage to Philly Edition

30 Apr

“Smashing those who stand in my path;
counting ’em down like math.
planning, mapping, rapping them down,
from my part of town! 

—Tuff Crew, “My Part of Town”

Tuff CrewClick here to watch the video!!

It’s the end of the month, and I am still paying homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past who have made an impact on this culture and on me. Who knew there were so many from the late 80s and 90s.  When I think about a rap group  who not only put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level but also put my “town” on the map, I think of Tuff Crew consisting of Ice Dog, L. A. Kid, Monty G, Tone Love, and DJ Too Tuff.  I was in middle school when I was first heard, “My Part of Town.”  Not only were the lyrics and delivery on point, but  what really put this song on my radar was the tantalizing hook.

What is it that makes these specific song so profound?  It’s a combination of the music itself and the content.  Scratching and mixing it up on the “wheels of steel” was highly regarded in the 80s and early 90s, and DJ Too Tuff was a beast on the turn tables enticing all party goers to jump out of their seats and hit the dance floor to prove they were “So damn tuff!” The members of Tuff Crew were culturally and ethnically diverse and commanded the attention and respect of all who listened as they claimed what was theirs while fully displaying their machismo.  It takes courage and confidence to be willing to “smash those who stand in your path” as you represent where you are from and what’s most important to you.

Even though this behavior can potentially have an adverse effect, leading to gang turf  mentalities, it can be positive as well. Most people take pride in where they are from and will even give back to the community or put forth their best effort because they know that they are representing more than just themselves.  They may be representing a street, a neighborhood, a town, a city or even a nation.

Who or what do you represent?  Do you take pride in where you are from? Are you putting forth an effort to improve “your part of town?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Tuff Crew uses a simile  to stress their point about taking out all competition and opposition: “Counting ’em down like math.” Both similes and metaphors are excellent ways to demonstrate a point because it offers comparison to ensure that the lister has a clear understanding, and it also presents the information in a way that requires some critical thinking on behalf of the listener rather than stating it plainly.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #16: Homage to Philly Edition

23 Apr

“Oh Ohhhhhh
You got it!
The glamorous life!”

—Cool C, “The Glamorous Life”

Cool C Glamourous LifeClick here to watch the original video!!

The homage to Philly rappers continues.  There truly are so many talented Philly rappers, past and present, who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  Last week, I discussed Three Times Dope, so of course I must acknowledge EST’s rival at the time, who came out with a song “dissing” EST’s philosophy on “Funky Dividends,”  Cool C (Christopher Roney) with his song “Glamorous Life.”

“Glamorous Life” is definitely a classic party song with a chorus that beckoned all listeners to sing along.  The “oh ohhhhh” is even still utilized by some party goers today, some twenty years later.  Are these specific lyrics actually profound?  Not quite.  But they speak to a deeper societal issue that apparently plagued Cool C later on in his faltering rap career.   Also, so many of us are willing to compromise our ethics and will stop at nothing to attain this appealing “glamorous lifestyle.”

In 1996, Cool C was involved in a botched bank robbery in Philadelphia where he brutally shot a female police officer, Lauretha Vaird, resulting in her death.  Cool C proclaims to be innocent  though the evidence against him proves otherwise.  He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in 2006 but was granted a stay of execution.  “How glamorous is it to take another person’s life for riches?”

What is the “glamorous life” anyway?  Is it wearing only designer clothing, living in a luxurious home, driving a fancy car  and attaining all of the materialistic items you desire?  Of course, I admire those people who have worked hard, paid their dues, and are now reaping the benefits of a fabulous lifestyle where they want for nothing, but what about those who are willing to rob and kill to attain them?

Perhaps you haven’t robbed or killed anybody , but you have been perpetuating the image of this so-called “glamorous life.” Has it caught up with you as a result of the recession?  Naturally, people want to feel good about themselves or simply want to attain the “dream” of having it all: who doesn’t?  But how glamorous is it to have designer clothes but still live with your parents at 40?   How glamorous is it to receive an eviction or foreclosure notice on a place that is well beyond your means or to to have this wonderful place but only have enough money to pay the mortgage and can’t keep the lights or heat on regularly?  How glamorous is it to see your fancy car being towed away by a repo truck or to not be able to drive it because you can only afford the car payments, not the insurance or gas to fill the tank?

The term glamorous is relative to whom you ask.  Nevertheless, something to consider is once “you got it,” whatever that “it” might be, will you truly be happy?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Cool C employs an excellent technique to engage listeners and party goers in the chorus of the song “Glamorous Life.”  Chants are common in many African cultures and are usually quite rhythmic.  “Oh ohhh….You got it!  The glamorous life!” is by far one of the most memorable examples of a chant from the late 80s early 90s Philly rap vault.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #15: Homage to Philly Edition

16 Apr

“EST is the one that’s so original 
The boy so live should have his name on your cereal 
Instead of Swatch you wear a sinister watch 
Worn by the suckers who be swearin they clock 
Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean? 
Instead of Guess you wear some ES jeans 
Tight around your putang, so when you shake that thang 
Everybody wants you shake it again !”

—Three Times Dope, “Greatest Man Alive”

Three Times DopeClick here to watch the original video!!

This month, I would like to pay homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past and present who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  When I think about a rap group  who not only put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level but also put my neighborhood on the map, I think of Three Times Dope consisting of EST (Robert Waller), Chuck Nice (Walter Griggs) and Woody Wood (Duerwood Beale).

I was in middle school when I was first introduced to this “Acknickulous” trio, and I loved their style while many guys tried to don EST’s hair cut.  As a result of the members being from my neighborhood, the anticipation of possibly meeting them was something else.  Classmates and friends would often claim to be their relatives or neighbors.  These guys really made me feel proud to be from Logan.

Three Times Dope released the song, “Greatest Man Alive ” around 1989, and it was an instant hit and party song.  The beat was booming, and the lyrics and delivery were tight.

What is it that makes these specific lyrics so profound?  It’s the content.  EST was so confident and put forth an entire song full of bravado which was way before it’s time.  In the late 1980s and even early 90s most rappers would simply brag about what type of designer clothing they are wearing lining the pockets of many companies giving them free advertisement in their songs.  But EST cavalierly states that in being the greatest man alive that people should don clothing and even eat cereal with “his” name on the label.  “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ his place!”   Now, almost every rapper has either a clothing or footwear line or perfume or cologne.  The artists are starting to get it!  No if only the rest of us would.

What makes you the greatest “man” or “woman” alive?  Is it what you wear, what you eat or how you present yourself?  Do you follow what the masses do, or do they follow you?  Who’s setting the trends?  EST even embraced being the “unusual” fellow or the “original” while many people just want to fit in with the crowd and sheepishly follow the herd.  Are “you” the greatest man or woman alive?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
EST of Three Times Dope uses a double negative to stress his point which is commonly used in raps songs, “Cause ain’t nobody takin’ my place, you know what I mean?” It is not uncommon for rap lyrics and many types of creative writing, to use a specific type of vernacular or common day speech because it is the voice of the writer or the persona or it has a better flow or sound because of the syllables or meter in the line. Keep in mind that many rappers who are well-versed and considered lyricists tend to familiarize themselves with the standard grammar rules prior to breaking the rules in their lyrics.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #14: Homage to Philly Edition

9 Apr

“The most original, amazing, astounding, miraculous
remarkable, startling, sensational, stupendous
music, that has ever been created
is ours – but believe me it was complicated
But we have done it, so now we can breathe
a long awaited sigh of relief
This isn’t a publicity stunt
It’s the raw untouched, pure, hard brand new funk!”

—DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, “Brand New Funk”


This month, I would like to pay homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past and present who have made an impact on this culture and on me.  When I think about a rap group  who really put Philly on the map on a national and even  international level, I think of DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jeff Townes) and the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) without hesitation.

I was in grade school when I was first introduced to this magnificent duo, and they were actually artists played on the radio who my mom even liked.  Of course, some people may complain that Fresh Prince’s lyrics were squeeky clean or “bubble gum” raps, but what’s wrong with that?  I was a little kid and loved his music.  He got the most air play at the skating rink when I was younger.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince released the song, “Brand New Funk” around 1987.  Even though the song was released during the summer, I will never forget the first time I really began listening to the lyrics rather than simply bopping my head to the beat.  My art teacher would allow students to bring in music to listen to as we worked on our classroom projects, and this kid Bernard brought in DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.  The delivery of the lyrics  had me entranced so much that I learned the song line by line.

What is it that makes these lyrics so profound?  Two words:  vocabulary enhancement!  I have always loved learning new words, and “Brand New Funk” helped me to expand my vocabulary.  In many of Fresh Prince’s songs, I’d learn a new word.  There was something “miraculous” about his style.  He was beyond simply using slang and a handful of curse words.  He is one of the reasons I started writing raps.

When is the last time your vocabulary was enhanced as a result of listening to a rap song?  Do you ever look up words recited in rap songs that you don’t know, or do you just sing along never knowing what you’re actually saying?  Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince released many catchy songs throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but this song in particular will always be a classic to me.  How “stupendous” is it to be able to dance to a rap song with a “funky” beat and get a vocabulary lesson simultaneously?

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Fresh Prince employs a couplet rhyme in these lyrics; however, some of them are actually slant rhymes focusing on the assonance (vowel) sound within the word, such as “breathe” and “relief” or “stunt” and “funk.”

Profound Hip Hop Quote #13: Homage to Philly Edition

2 Apr

“PSK, we’re makin that green
People always say, “What the hell does that mean?”
P for the people who can’t understand
How one homeboy became a man
S for the way we scream and shout
One by one I’m knockin you out
K for the way my DJ kuttin
Other MC’s, man, they ain’t sayin nothin
Rockin on to the brink of dawn
I think, Code Money, yo time is on”

—Schooly D, “PSK, What Does It Mean?”

When people think about the origins of hip hop music, they immediately think of New York.  Of course, much respect is due to New York; however, there were and are many talented rappers who hail from Philadelphia.  This month, I would like to pay homage to some of the Philly rappers from the past and present who have made an impact on this culture and on me.

I was in grade school when Schoolly D released the song, “PSK, What Does It Mean?” in 1986, yet I will never forget the first time I heard it.  While I was outside playing, this guy walked by with a huge boom box on his shoulder with the base blaring for all to hear.  The instrumental was alluring, and the way the guy was rapping over the beat was so mesmerizing; I couldn’t help but bop my head and try to sing along to the catchy hook.  Even though the song was not played within my household, I heard it booming from people’s cars and radios at school, in the neighborhood and at the park.

Are these lyrics the most profound; not quite, but it’s the hidden message behind the entire song that is extremely notable. When I was very young, I learnt about acronyms and thought it was so cool that this guy was using them in a song.  Years later, I learned that PSK did not stand for what I thought it stood for: according to the song.  It actually represented the Park Side Killas, a street gang from West Philadelphia.  I grew up in a neighborhood called Logan, in Northwest Philadelphia and was only a naïve sheltered child, so I knew nothing about  gangs nor West Philadelphia.

In researching further, I found that Schoolly D’s song  is often recognized as one of the most influential gangsta rap songs and played a significant role in the molding of future gangsta rappers such as NWA and Ice-T.  PSK is a perfect example of how some people become so attracted to the beat that they either do not take the time or just are not mature enough to know what the song is really talking about.

When is the last time that you did more than listen to the beat an actually analyze the song?  Do you just automatically sing along or hop out on the dance floor without knowing what the artist is really saying?  Even though I do consider the song to be a classic, Schoolly D taught me a valuable lesson; a song is more than a solid beat and words.  Dig deeper to find the true meaning.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
An acronym is a word created from the first initials in a series of words such as PSK which means Park Side Killas.

Sonnet #6: Who I Am

1 Apr

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzMy life is much more meaningful with you

the evoker of qualities in me.

A life-long bond what I want to pursue;

unleash who I truly am and be free.

Love how you accept me: no exceptions

make me feel proud to be in my own skin.

Focused on us, not people’s perceptions

eternally grateful my dearest friend

Love how you poke fun at my little quirks,

listen to my never-ending stories.

Easy on the eyes is one of the perks.

My love’s intense; fret not about furies.

On my life you left a permanent mark.

Honor and love overflow in my heart.

By Anonomz aka Tanya Harris
Written for and Inspired by SPF

Profound Hip Hop Quote #12: Special Women’s History Month Edition

26 Mar

“It’s been three weeks since you’ve been looking for your friend
The one you let hit it and never called you again
‘Member when he told you he was ’bout the Benjamin’s
You act like you ain’t hear him then gave him a little trim
To begin, how you think you really gon’ pretend
Like you wasn’t down then you called him again”

—Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”

Oftentimes, I hear both women and men utter disparaging remarks about the other in regard to behaviors and treatment and that they’re only after “one thing.”  But do people acknowledge their own roles as enablers in the way they are being spoken to or treated.  For example, some women will say guys are nothing but dogs.  Even though I do not necessarily agree with that statement, let’s analyze it for a moment.  If guys are dogs, there is no denying that they still come in different breeds and will require proper training based on their breed.  Also, I ponder over why these very same women who claim that men are dogs allow these “dogs” to take them for walks instead of the other way around.  They say, “A dog is always going to be a dog,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Curiously, some women never stop these “dogs” who are “barking up the wrong tree” then seem so surprised when they receive ill treatment, are used or are only sought after for sex when the “dog” made his intentions clear from the beginning.

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge an exceptional female lyricist and vocalist who is still revered by true followers of hip hop music.  Even though people are still awaiting a follow-up CD to Lauryn Hill’s “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” she will always be one of the most powerful female rappers of the 90s.  Even in 2011, many female artists aspire to have rhyming skills and a stage presence that she has.

In “Doo Wop (That Thing),” Lauryn Hill drops knowledge about a circumstance that occurs more frequently than most would like to admit: relationship misconceptions.  When people enter relationships, the hope is that they will make their intentions known.  Nevertheless, there are people who ignore the signs and pretend that they didn’t know what the “deal” was until everything starts to unravel.  How can you make a person love you let alone like you when he (or she) has made it clear that he (or she) is only there to dog you or use you?  Most people know that sleeping with a person is not the answer, yet they find themselves traveling down this route anyway then wondering how they ended up stranded on the highway of love and desertion.

Take heed to what people tell you and show you early on in a relationship rather than ignoring the signs; then you may be able to avoid heartbreak in the future.  As Lauren Hill says, “You act like you ain’t hear him then gave him a little trim.  To begin, how you think you really gon’ pretend.  Like you wasn’t down then you called him again.”  Too often do people, not just women, compromise their values, ethics and standards to be with this guy or girl who has made his or her intentions clear: a relationship with a rock solid foundation is not the objective with these people, so why think that is what you will receive?  If you want more out of a relationship and want to be treated with a certain level of respect, you must first treat yourself with respect, and accept nothing less from those with whom you come in contact.

Women’s History Month is drawing to a close.  Don’t let it go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Lauryn Hill abbreviates the word “remember” to “member” for dialectical and meter  purposes.

Profound Hip Hop Quote #11: Special Women’s History Month Edition

19 Mar

“Truly when I get involved I give it my heart
I mean my mind, my soul, my body I mean every part
But if it doesn’t work out, yo it just doesn’t
It wasn’t meant to be you know, it just wasn’t”

—MC Lyte, “Paper Thin”


Relationships can be wonderful and even magical at times, but they do take a lot of work and must have a solid foundation to be everlasting.  Do you play games in relationships, or do you take them seriously.  Perhaps the person with whom you are in a relationship with is playing games as you give it your all to make it work.  Sometimes we give everything to people who do not deserve it at all or are simply not ready for it.  When this occurs, do you stay in the unhealthy relationship or move on with your life?

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge a spectacular female lyricist who not only paved the way for female MCs who preceded her but also held her own in the presence of many male contenders.  MC Lyte aka Lana Michelle Moorer is one of the most powerful female rappers of the 1980s and 90s.  Even in 2011, many female artists aspire to have rhyming skills and a stage presence that she has.

In “Paper Thin,” MC Lyte raps about a predicament that several people find themselves in all too often: a relationship quickly unraveling because of infidelity.   Even though both men and women cheat, it is usually the woman who decides to stay in the relationship and work it out despite witnessing all of the signs that suggest his cheating ways will not be a thing of the past.  MC Lyte refuses to tolerate such behavior and proclaims that she will not be in a relationship where it is not an equal partnership.  She is willing to give her all, but she is also willing to walk away from a toxic relationship if it just is not meant to be.

Perhaps we all need to be more discerning when deciding to give our mind, body and soul to that “special” someone.  Have you ever tried to force a relationship to work when it apparently had run its course?  As MC Lyte says, “But if it doesn’t work out, yo it just doesn’t.  It wasn’t meant to be you know, it just wasn’t.”  If you find yourself in this predicament, why not use this time to feel more comfortable with yourself and know who you truly are before giving all of yourself to the next “special” someone.  As a result, you could eventually find yourself in an everlasting relationship with not just that “new” someone else but with yourself.

Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
MC Lyte use the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.

Profound Hip Hop Quote Week #10: Special Women’s History Month Edition

12 Mar

Yes, I’m blessed, and I know who I am
I express myself on every jam
I’m not a man, but I’m in command
Hot damn, I got an all girl band

—Salt n Pepa, “Express Yourself”


How comfortable are you with expressing yourself? Sometimes this task can prove to be difficult for women.  How does a woman successfully express herself while gaining the respect she deserves from her male counterparts without being perceived as overly aggressive or too emotional?  Should women even care about how they are perceived when they are expressing their “true” selves?

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge two great female lyricists who truly paved the way for female MCs who preceded them.  Salt (Cheryl James Wray) and Pepa (Sandra Denton) are one of the most powerful female rap duos of the 1980s and 90s.  They addressed issues such as being independent, love, partying and enjoying life  and even practicing safe sex.

In “Express Yourself,” Salt n Pepa encourage the listeners, both females and males, to be themselves and not feel the need to assimilate or to follow behind others just to fit in with the crowd.  Specifically, in the lyrics provided, Pepa rejoices in knowing how blessed she is and declares, “I know who I am.  I express myself on every jam.”  Do you know who you are, or are you a mere carbon copy of what you think people expect you to be?  Pepa also acknowledges that she does not have to be a man to be “in command”  without bashing men.  Instead, she acknowledges her own achievements in having an “all girl band.”

We are all “blessed,” in one way or another and mustn’t be afraid to express our “true” selves.  Women, especially, must hold their heads high and be proud of who they are.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that you are original?  There is no one in the world like you.  Even if you have an identical twin or a doppelganger (out there somewhere) your personalities and fingerprints are not alike.  So why would you not want to be you?  Your uniqueness is what makes you special.  Knowing that I am special with unique talents and gifts has definitely helped me  with embracing the idea of expressing my “true” self.  Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without expressing yourself by paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Salt n Pepa use the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.  However, she does employ  an internal rhyme in the second couplet focusing on the assonance of the “and” sound: “man,command,” “damn” and “band.”

Profound Hip Hop Quote: Week #9 Special Women’s History Month Edition

5 Mar

Who said the ladies couldn’t make it, you must be blind
If you don’t believe, well here, listen to this rhyme
Ladies first, there’s no time to rehearse
I’m divine and my mind expands throughout the universe

—Queen Latifah and Monie Love, “Ladies First”


Are you a lady who is empowered or has empowered others?  Do you know any powerful women who have or are presently paving the way for others?  Perhaps this person is your grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, teacher, colleague or mentor.

In honor of “Women’s History Month,” I would like to acknowledge one of the great female lyricists to command respect as an MC and a person.  Queen Latifah, aka Dana Owens, may only be known to some as an actor, or a Cover Girl model who occasionally releases a jazz and R & B compilation.  Nevertheless,  there once was a time when she was a force on the microphone as a rapper.  Over twenty years ago, Queen Latifah teamed up with London rapper, Monie Love, to give women a voice and to acknowledge how far we have come and why we are deserving of respect from our male counterparts.

Queen Latifah implores the listener to not simply accept what others say but to create her own destiny.  “Who said the ladies couldn’t make it, you must be blind.”  Most people have heard the old cliche phrase, “Sometimes people are their own worse enemies.”  Unfortunately, many women give up or choose to use their sexuality instead of their brains before they even get a chance to enter the game of life because they do not think they are capable of meeting their goals or being respected as women because of brainwashing and conditioning.  Even though women may need to assert themselves in a more fastidious way than their male counterparts at times, this does not mean that they cannot or will not be victorious.

We are all “divine,” but women must also recognize the power of the mind.  It starts with a thought; then it will manifest itself throughout the universe.  Be positive, embrace your “womenhood,” and do not allow anyone to suggest that you should come second; take care of yourself first.  If you are a man, embrace the women in your life.  Support them in their endeavors; give them the respect they deserve.  Just think, Queen Latifah’s song, “Ladies First” started out as an idea and became a classic empowerment rap anthem for ladies.  It has definitely impacted my life and a multitude of others.  Don’t let this Women’s History Month go by without paying homage to those women who have impacted you directly or indirectly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts

~Anonomz aka Tanya Harris

Bonus English Lesson:
Queen Latifah uses the standard couplet rhyme for these specific lyrics.  However, she does employ  a slant rhyme for the first couplet focusing on the assonance of the sound: Blind and Rhyme.  The long “I” sound resounds.