the surreal in hiphop lyricism


Well-known member
Staff member
uh yeah, thats the topic, choose your favourite examples
heres two to start with

'im similar to a squirrel'
50 cent

'gorrillas injected with strength of eighty midgets'

'you can catch me in la with a mexican midget'

'run laps around the english channel
neptunes got a cocker spaniel'



party record with a siren
I even got an island of my very own
I got a frog, a dog with a solid gold bone
(special ed - I got it made)

a frog?

farmers! (what?)
farmers! (what?)
(LL cool j - mama said knock you out)

a reference to his hood, but until I found that out it always mystified me

the phantom - exterior like fish eggs
interior like suicide wrist-wears
(pharrell on drop it like it's hot)


could it be the skunk weed that makes us oh so funky?
now hold it let me choose, could it be the booze?
no it's the shoes (the shoes?) It's gotta be the shoes!
(lords of the underground - chief rocka)


"dragging a dead walrus"

dr. octagon, that's my fave bit, but there are loads; Kool Keith has to be the master of rap surrealism

& "our cuban disguise got us looking like we jesus"
Capone n Noreaga - "Stick You"
maybe not that surreal, but it always makes me chuckle.

Yeah, the "farmers" bit always puzzled me too... had a vision of loads of dudes with pitchforks standing around listening to LL.


Old favourites:

Rammellzee and K-Rob Beat Bop - "Lika a RTMs my nose don't care about the rhythm that breaks"

Ultramagnetic Poppa Large - "Pick 'em up pimplehead, pick 'em up picky"

PE Cold Lampin with Flavor

"Ya eatin death cause ya like gittin dirt from da graveyard - ya put gravy on it
Den ya pick ya teeth with tomb stone chips
And casket cover clips - dead women hips ya do da bump with - bones
Nutin but love bones
Lifestyles of the Live-en-dead
First ya live den ya dead - died trying ta clock what I said
Now I got a murder rap cause I bust ya cap with Flavor - pure Flavor"


Bring out the vacuum
I guess there's surreal and then there's ... nonsense. :) Kool Keith definitely tends to the latter, I reckon. Not that it's not hilarious. My favourite from him is on that tune 'Get Off My Elevator' when he goes "Guard your rap mics / My styles shine like zebra stripes" ... mainly just because when I think of zebras I think of a white animal with black stripes.

There's some tune where the MC talks about "going on forever like a sideways eight", which I misheard for ages as "like a sideways ape". :D Hahah. That used to crack me up.

Substituted television scandals
With elephants and pandas
Tell em it's the elegant commando
- Edan, on Count Bass-D's 'How We Met'

What is it about semi-random references to animals??


Well-known member
Not exactly surrealism, but Rakim always has had a great line in mysticism/metaphysics:

I'm gonna relax in my room and escape from New York,
And return through the womb of the world as a thought.
Thinking how hard it was to be born,
Me being cream, with no physical form.


So follow me and were ya thinkin' you were first?
Let's travel at magnificent speeds around the Universe
What could ya say as the Earth gets further and further away
Planets are small as balls of clay
Astray into the Milky Way - world's outasight
Far as the eye can see - not even a satellite
Now stop and turn around and look
As ya stare in the darkness, ya knowledge is took!
So keep starin soon ya suddenly see a star
You better follow it cause it's the R
This is a lesson if ya guessin and if ya borrowin
Hurry hurry step right up and keep followin
The Leader

and the start of the next verse...

This is a lifetime mission, vision of prison
Aight listen
In this journey you're the journal I'm the journalist
Am I Eternal? Or an eternalist?

and then...

I came to overcome before I'm gone
By showin and provin and lettin knowledge be born
Then after that I'll live forever - you disagree?
You say never? Then follow me!
From century to century you'll remember me
In history - not a mystery or a memory
God by nature, mind raised in Asia
Since you was tricked, I have to raise ya
From the cradle to the grave, but remember
You're not a slave
Cause we was put here to be much more than that
But we couldn't see it because our mind was trapped
But I'm here to break away the chains, take away the pains
Remake the brains, reveal my name


To me those words shine like the sun.


party record with a siren
wisdom be leaking out my grapefruit, troop,
I dominate break loops,
giving mics menstrual cycles
(nas - it ain't hard to tell)


Well-known member
i think this one is by lord shafiyq but not sure- its off that egotrip comp anyhow

'you say you're built like a house, i ain't fearin it
how can a house compare to a PYRAMID'

does pharrell really say 'exterior like fish eggs'? i've been puzzling that for months!


party record with a siren
owen said:
does pharrell really say 'exterior like fish eggs'? i've been puzzling that for months!

yep - must be a reference to caviar... the rolls royce phantom is also shiny, black and expensive