Larry Busacca, Getty Images Next month, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian will be…
- Posted by Nick Flanagan
So JRR Tolkien isn't necessarily 'Lord of the Rings' just because he wrote the book, but RZA's charmingly inaccurate fantasy reference is but one slice of the Wu leader's many geeky interests, ranging from 'Green Hornet' to 'Star Wars' to video games. He's passing it on to his kids, too, telling an interviewer, "I'd rather raise nerds than gangsters."
Canibus had a longstanding feud with LL, but this 2003 stanza might go down as the nerdiest diss in the history of hip-hop beefs. And that's not even considering that it opens with Canibus declaring his visionary status because he "believed light could travel in multiples of C."
Paul Barman goes beyond geek rap, edging into sudoku and word puzzles. The nasally MC has never had a line that hasn't been self-conscious, and one of his nerdier twists is in 2000's 'School Anthem,' a treatise on questioning authority where he flips GZA's "What is the meaning of C.R.I.M.E" into a more academic question.
Following up in 2002 on the certifiably ill and entertaining 'Alphabet Aerobics,' MC Gift of Gab decided to up his vernacular and rap the entire periodic table alongside other lesson plans. Blackalicious' scientific sequel provided a definitive Poindexter moment in hip-hop history.
Before Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar for humanizing pimps, the Memphis rappers adopted a Ministry-like pose of "every day is Halloween," with references to bloody mutilation, witches, the occult and a very random Mortal Kombat video game cry of 'Fatality!' by Gangsta Boo in this epic 1997 tale of not being somebody's buddy.
Using Barenaked Ladies is perhaps a stretch, but they boast better rhymes than Soulja Boy. 1998's 'One Week' mentions cocaine, 'X-Files' and Roman Polanski in one verse alone and elsewhere name drops German composer Bert Kaempfert and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Maybe it's actually kinda hip.
His name comes from the Bernardo Bertolucci film, and he does impressions of rappers battling Marvel characters on this 1999 track, including Dr. Octopus against Busta Rhymes and The X-Men's Storm taking on Lauryn Hill. It's like Rock the Bells held at a comic convention.
Notorious for their Dungeons & Dragons-friendly lyrics and attempts to make open velvet shirts hip-hop certified, Vancouver's Swollen Members slip in some serious nerdiness into this ode to their own badassery. Note to rappers: References to comic books by cult-pop hero Alan Moore will always register a 10.0 on the Geek-ter scale.
With a flow so quick that you can easily miss his myriad references to hell, Armageddon, video games and Space Age chemicals (see "Coat your brain like polyurethane"), Big Pun, in this classic from 1999, was one of the most successful at bridging gangsta toughness and fantastical intelligence.
As Sage bounces between singsongy verses and overly worded raps on this 2007 track, it gets kinda awkward.
That said, the Providence, R.I. MC who wonders aloud "What would Bukowski do?" is definitely playing to the prescription-glasses-wearing never-heard-rap-before set.