Top Ten Greatest Rap-Acronym Anthems
Kanye West and Jay-Z's Lex Luger-produced "H.A.M." is a creative union of the two biggest currently recording rap stars in the world -- as the lead single to the duo's upcoming Watch the Throne project, it's a feisty statement of intent. But more importantly, it's a fresh edition to the canon of wonderful rap songs tagged with (usually) brilliantly bad acronyms. With "H.A.M." Fever still in full effect, here are 10 of rap's biggest acronym-based anthems.
Kanye West and Jay-Z, "H.A.M."
Just when you think rap's livestock lexicon is suitably comprehensive -- beef! chicken! pig! the humble goat! -- two of the genre's biggest cash cows come out "hard as a motherfucker" in a full-on rant directed at . . . hatin'-ass motherfuckers. Although with references to great white sharks and vultures (coupled with the declaration "Fuck the pig"), it seems Jigga's hinting at his involvement in the underground exotic-eating scene.
Wu-Tang Clan, "C.R.E.A.M."
RZA's disorderly mob of rappers are besotted with the art of the acronym. The Clan's name itself breaks down as either Witty Unpredictable Talent and Natural Game or the more nefarious We Usually Take All Niggas' Garments; for years, Raekwon and Ghostface were touting a project titled R.A.G.U. (Rae And Ghost United), while GZA has even dropped acronyms in rhyme ("Protons Electrons Always Cause Explosions"). But "C.R.E.A.M." is their crowning glory. Defined by the husky-voiced Method Man as "Cash rules everything around me," it's a remarkably sensible-sounding phrase for a crew more often specializing in esoteric slang. (See also: "B.I.B.L.E.", Killah Priest's elegiac solo song tacked on as a bonus cut on the CD version of GZA's Liquid Swords.)
Killer Mike feat. Big Boi and Sleepy Brown, "A.D.I.D.A.S."
"All day I dream about sex," declares Atlanta rapper Killer Mike on a song that hits all the traditional sex-rap notes. There are reassurances about the rapper's virility (though KM cops to tapping his grandfather's Viagra supply). There's a safe-sex message ("keep my weapon covered"). Disdain is cast on child predators ("Over 18 only 'cause baby I'm no perv"). And there are disclaimers against homosexuality, here courtesy of Outkast member Big Boi's observation, "No, I don't ever recall seeing a man turn up pregnant." Unfortunately, despite the ditty's jaunty, radio-friendly sound, it failed to catapult Killer Mike into the mainstream. Naming himself like a felonious rap character from an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit probably didn't help his cause.
Mobb Deep man Prodigy's recent contribution to hip-hop has been his winningly mentalist all-caps missives, which usually weave commentary about the Illuminati into wild insults fired off toward random lists of rappers. (Sample blast: "WHO THE FUCK REALLY LIKES ANY OF THESE OTHER RAP MU'FUCKAS? YOU REALLY LISTEN TO FAT JOE? YOU REALLY LISTEN TO CASSIDY? SHEEK LOOCH [sic]? MAX-B?") But his 2000 solo album is an underappreciated gem of a project with some enduring acronym action of its own. In a move showing the pomp of a young Donald Trump, the currently incarcerated P anointed himself the "Head Nigga In Charge," which at the very least shows more ambition than rappers insisting on calling themselves CEOs of their own fleeting record labels.
A hard-as-nails quartet of rappers from the Queensbridge housing projects, Screwball received brief notoriety toward the end of the '90s with an ode to assassinating then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, "Who Shot Rudy?" On the boldly uncouth "F.A.Y.B.A.N.," veteran rapper Poet dominates mic duties and charmingly declares, "Fuck all y'all bitch-ass niggas!" over a ruggedly funky DJ Premier production. Sadly, group member K.L. passed away three years ago, although the boom-bap appeal of their Y2K: The Album still endures.