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No Country for Old (Rap) Men: Rap Snafus

Even the sharpest tongues in the game can get twisted

Posted by Robbie Ettelson

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Booking time at a recording studio has never been cheap, so over the years many a budget-conscious rap crew has taken advantage of the cheaper ‘red eye’ rates available in the wee hours of the morning in order to cut down production costs. Add booze, buddah, and broads to the mix and it’s fair to say that the recording booth is seldom free from distractions. With this in mind, the following rap mispronunciations are a little more understandable.

01. Ol' Dirty Bastard 'Damage'

The late, great Ol’ Dirty Bastard aka Ason Unique was always a loose cannon at the best of times, so it hardly caused a tear in the space/time continuum when he flubbed a line on ‘Damage,’ his duet with his former All In Together crew mate GZA/Genius.

‘Some think they be harmin’ this, claimin’ they be bombin’ this/But they still remains anomynous!’

02. MC Shan 'I Pioneered This'

MC Shan was Marley Marl’s main man in the formative days of the Juice Crew, supporting rising star Roxanne Shante on tour and later defending the honour of Queensbridge against young upstarts Boogie Down Productions. The lead single and title track from his second (largely under-appreciated) LP demonstrated that Shan had little time for cartoons in between writing his verses, as he calls the sworn enemy of the Transformers’ ‘Decepti-gone’ instead of the more commonly acknowledged, correct name. I hate to think how he might have mangled Optimus Prime’s name if he’d mentioned the legendary robot/truck…

‘I transform just like a Deceptigone

03. KRS-One 'I'm Still #1'

To be fair, KRS-One was still new to the world of automobiles when he boasted about his new car on 1988 classic ‘I’m Still #1,’ having spent much of his teenage life sleeping on trains and at the library before he met his DJ, Scott La Rock, at a homeless shelter. Ironically, he would later criticise former BDP member D-Nice for driving around New York while he once again chose to ‘drive shoes’, or ‘walk’ as the rest of us mere mortals like to call it.

‘I play by ear, I love to steer/The Alfa Romero from here to there’

04. Jeru The Damaja 'Black Cowboys'

Gang Starr Foundation member Jeru The Damaja got himself involved in a verbal sparring match with The Fu-Gees crew at some early stage in both of their careers, and ‘Black Cowboys’ from Jeru’s second album added more fuel to that particular fire. It also featured an unfortunate mix-up regarding the name of the famous Italian chapel which served as the canvas for Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling mural of 1512.

‘I put MCs on the ceiling like Michelangelo did the Sixteenth Chapel’

05. Greg Nice 'DWYCK'

Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth created one of rap’s most timeless party rocking jams in 1992 when they introduced the world to ‘DWYCK.’ It also featured a memorable performance from Greg Nice, who was responsible for some truly bizarre lines and non-sequiturs long before NORE stamped his own unique brand of rapping nonsense onto the world. In a well-intentioned attempt to remind listeners of Ali’s pre-religious conversion name, it all goes a bit pear-shaped. Luckily, everyone was too busy madly jumping around to that glorious DJ Premier beat to notice.

‘You say Muhammad Ali, I say Classius Clay’

06. Akinyele 'Put It In Your Mouth'

Akinyele was first introduced to the rap world as a member of the ‘Live At The BBQ’ squad, alongside Nas, Large Professor, and Tragedy Khadafi’s original DJ, Joe Fatal. After releasing the superb (if misleadingly titled) Vagina Diner album, the Akafella hit paydirt with the smutty antics of ‘Put It In Your Mouth’, recasting himself as the Rap Game Benny Hill, complete with two straight-to-video movies which were more Porky’s than Juice. It’s unclear if Ak just mangled the word ‘apologising’ so that it could rhyme with ‘swallowing’ or if he just says it like that in everyday conversation. File Nas’ elongated delivery of ‘men-e-straul cycle’ on ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’ under the same category.

‘No time for apologin….girlfriend if you’re swallowin’

07. Raekwon 'Guillotine (Swordz)'

As is often the case, the beat for Raekwon’s ‘Guillotine (Swordz)’ began its life as a skit on another album (in this case, Method Man’s Tical) before it caught someone’s ear and was turned into a full length track. Perhaps the creator of The Purple Tape was so excited about being able to flow over this fantastic loop that he didn’t bother to check how to pronounce ‘stamina’ correctly. Either that or he was knee-deep in a skii’d out adventure, if you get my drift.

‘My Clan done ran from Japan to Atlanta, with stanima/Clingers and gamblers, and gram handlers’

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