Eats, Rhymes, & Life

Featuring: Melissa Reign x Tracy Nova. Photography: imagenix.

“$3.99 for all you can eat,
Well, I’mma stuff my face to a funky beat”
– Fat Boys, “All You Can Eat”

See, smell, hear, touch, TASTE the music. Hip-Hop is a buffet of food mentions. From the jump, rap’s first commercial single from Sugarhill Gang (Rapper’s Delight) includes a full verse describing a meal while eating over at a friend’s house. Food plays a prominent role in rap by being flipped into metaphors for everything from wealth to drugs & guns to sexual advances and more. Concepts of food have stretched from rap bars into full albums such as “Mm.. Food?” by MF Doom. Rappers have even built their own personas off of their gastronomic love, including the Fat Boys, Raekwon “The Chef”, Big Pun, and Action Bronson, to name a few.

In Hip-Hop, how you’re eating is how you’re livin’. To project both wealth and poverty, foodstuffs have been used. There is no shortage of songs that name drop “Grey Poupon,” in relation to their TV commercials of wealth and status – even though the condiment can be found easily in any supermarket next to regular French’s yellow mustard, but just a tad bit more expensive. Rick Ross shows off his extravagance, asking listeners if he’s a narcissist because he awakens to a bowl of lobster bisque (I Love My Bitches). On the flip side, meals have also shown the earlier struggles of the artists like sugar water from Ghostface Killah (All I That I Got Is You) and syrup sandwiches from Kendrick Lamar (HUMBLE.) which are nothing but cereal with tap water, and slices of white bread with maple syrup – bare minimum meals when you can’t afford all the ingredients for cereal & milk and a sandwich.

Artists use slang from the streets in their songs as well as force meaning into regular English as they create new definitions for words and trying to make them stick. The subversive wordplay to cover up criminal activity is a common theme, for example, chicken is defined as a kilo of cocaine, and biscuit, a gun. Former cocaine dealer, Malice of The Clipse, compares himself to a baker, eluding the Feds right in front them (Grindin’). Rappers have been creative in talking about marijuana, replacing it with green foods like broccoli and collard greens. Language is fluid, with new comestibles being used in place of new items, like Lil Uzi Vert’s “chicken with the bleu cheese,” (Bad and Boujee) referring to a kilo and the current US $100 bills with blue counterfeit stripe. In the same song, Offset of Migos states that he is “smoking on cookie,” which refers to the Girl Scout Cookie marijuana strain.

Sex and edibles are closely related with much symbolism, both of which can be found intertwined in rap lyrics. All foods are fair game to becoming a sexual innuendo or a pickup line… you can lick, you can suck, you can taste. Who can possibly forget 50 Cent’s endearing simile professing his love for a woman, “like a fat kid love cake”? (21 Questions)

Food is power. Food is language. Food is sex. Food is knowledge. Hip-Hop is food for the soul. SICK STAR explores foods within Hip-Hop, with “EATS, RHYMES, & LIFE”, a visual menu with food prepared by Executive Chef, Manyak Martin. Makeup by Krystyl Hernandez. Bon appetit.

“When it comes to beats, well, I’m a fiend, I like my sugar with coffee and cream” - Beastie Boys, “Intergalactic Planetary”
“I am a god, So hurry up with my damn massage, In a French-ass restaurant, Hurry up with my damn croissants” - Kanye West, “I Am A God”
“Ooohh la la ah oui oui, I say Muhammad Ali, ya say Cassius Clay, I say butter you say Parkay” - Greg Nice, “DWYCK"
R.I.P. J. Dilla
“I drink a Boost for breakfast, an Ensure for dessert, Somebody ordered pancakes, I just sipped the sizzurp” - Kanye West, “Through The Wire”
“No barking from the dog, no smog, And Momma cooked a breakfast with no hog” - Ice Cube, “It Was A Good Day”
“Now honeys play me close like butter played toast, From the Mississippi down to the East Coast” - Notorious B.I.G.
“You caught an attitude, you need food to eat up, You scream I’m lazy, you must be crazy, Thought I was a donut, you tried to glaze me” - Rakim, “Eric B. For President”
Mm..Food?
“I used to live in the P’s, now it’s a crib with a gate, Rollie got charms, look like Frosted Flakes” - Cardi B, “Bodak Yellow”
Mm..Food?
“Oooh, I love eatin’ my cereal, when I’m watching my cartoons” - Supernatural, “Breakfast Club”
"Raindrop, drop top, Smokin' on cookie in the hotbox, Fuckin' on your bitch, she a thot, thot, cookin' up dope in the crockpot" - Offset, "Bad and Boujee"
“I’m the type of guy that says, “the puddin is delicious”"- LL Cool J, “I’m That Type Of Guy”
“Tell her, "Girl, like Doritos, that's nacho cheese." Tell her friends, "Like Fritos, I'm tryin' to lay." I can't only have one and I ain't tryin' to wait” - Kanye West, “Lollipop (Remix)”
“And here I am, known for giving heavy back aches, Grown and living off of Little Debbie snack cakes, Supposed to be checking e-mails, All I got is messages from ass naked females” - MF Doom, “Mm.. Food”
“Mm Food like Rapp Snitch Knishes, Cuz it's Oreos, Twinkies, coconuts, delicious" - Childish Gambino, “That Power”
"The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice, I say the darker the flesh, then the deeper the roots" - Tupac, "Keep Ya Head Up"
“Patty cake, patty cake, I'm the baker's man, I bake them cakes as fast as I can, And you can tell by how my bread stack up, And disguised in this rap so the Feds back up” - Clipse, “Grindin’”
"Break bread with the enemy, but no matter how many cats I break bread with I'll break who you sendin' me" - DMX, "X Gon' Give It"
"But there's no dollars for nothing else, I got beans, rice, and bread on my shelf" - KRS-One, "Love's Gonna Get'cha (Material Love)
“Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips” - Kanye West, “Last Call”
“Ayy, I remember syrup sandwiches and crime allowances, Finesse a nigga with some counterfeits, but now I’m countin' this” - Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
Life is Gucci.
“How bout we start, with a salad, a fresh bed of lettuce with croutons, Later we can play a game of chess on the futon” - Dead Prez, “Mind Sex”
“Lobster and Céline for all my babies that I miss, Chicken fingers, french fries for them hoes that wanna diss” - Drake, “Jumpman”
“You see me with a bitch like Vanna White at the benefit for battered wives, Lightly battered yam, I squeeze a lemon over lamb” - Action Bronson, “Flip Ya”
“You see me with a bitch like Vanna White at the benefit for battered wives, Lightly battered yam, I squeeze a lemon over lamb” - Action Bronson, “Flip Ya”
“This that Grey Poupon, that Evian, that TED Talk, ay, Watch my soul speak, you let the meds talk, ay” - Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”
“Escargot, my car go, one sixty, swiftly” - Notorious B.I.G., “Hypnotize”
“I love your sushi roll, it’s hotter than wasabi” - Drake, “Bedrock”
“I love your sushi roll, it’s hotter than wasabi” - Drake, “Bedrock”
“Blunt tip, Orange like caviar, wildin’ out, fishtailin’ Subaru rally car” - Rick Ross, “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”
“These other breezies who fuck for bottles of Riesling and bowls of baked ziti” - T.I., "Fancy"
“Am I really just a narcissist, ‘cause I wake up to a bowl of lobster bisque” - Rick Ross, “I Love My Bitches”
“Yeah, living the raw deal, three-course meal, Spaghetti, fettuccine and veal” - Puff Daddy and The Family, “It’s All About The Benjamins”
“A-yo, we at the weedgate, waiting for Jake, We want eight ravioli bags, two thirsty villains yelling bellyaches” - Ghostface Killah, “One”
“A-yo, we at the weedgate, waiting for Jake, We want eight ravioli bags, two thirsy villains yelling bellyaches” - Ghostface Killah, “One”
“Aye, this rap is like ziti, facing’ me real TV, Crash at high speeds, strawberry kiwi” - Ghostface Killah, “Apollo Kids”
“I don't wanna trip, but truth is, Girl the way you cook a steak, remind me of those strips in Ruth Chris” - Fabulous, “Into You (Remix)”
“Paper chasing, tell that paper, "Look, I'm right behind ya, Bitch, real G's move in silence like lasagna, People say I'm borderline crazy, sorta kinda, Woman of my dreams, I don't sleep so I can't find her” - Lil Wayne, "6 Foot 7 Foot"
“Gettin' funky on the mic like a ol' batcha' collard greens” - Snoop Dogg, “Nuthin’ But A G Thang”
“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti” - Eminem, “Lose Yourself”
“I mean the macaroni's soggy the peas are mushed and the chicken tastes like wood” - Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight”
"I would hit the scene for a second and bounce, Admit I did live a little bit, sweet pickle dick, Freaks licked on it, lips I dripped on it, Sex, I shot pearl necklaces on necks and tits, Traveled half the world, wish I traveled the rest of it" - Nas, “Live Now”
"Old school players to new school fools, ’Kast keep it jumping like kangaroos, But skew it on the barbie, we ain't tryin to lose, Say, "I be got, damn it, they done changed the rules" - Outkast, “Skew It On The Bar-B”
“Six-deuce every time, I never had the Heinz, Fifty-seven can’t ketchup (catch up) to mines” - JAY Z, “Maybach Music 2 (Lost Verse)”
“Countin’ that paper like loose leaf, yeah, Gettin’ that chicken with bleu cheese, yeah” - Lil Uzi Vert, "Bad and Boujee"
“Countin’ that paper like loose leaf, yeah, Gettin’ that chicken with bleu cheese, yeah” - Lil Uzi Vert, "Bad and Boujee"
“Oh luxury, Chidi-ching-ching could buy anything, cop that, Oh collard greens, Three degrees low, make it hot for me, drop that” - ScHoolboy Q, “Collard Greens”
“I don't need no doctor, I don't need no shrink, All I need is broccoli and a 40-oh to drink, Smokin that broccoli now, takes me out, Smokin that broccoli now, takes me out” - E-40, “Broccoli”
“I need a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets, That know how to cook cause a nigga like to eat, Spaghetti, shrimp and steak and I'll adore you, I’ll treat you like milk, I'll do nothing but spoil you” - Lil Flip, "Sunshine"
“I need a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets, That know how to cook cause a nigga like to eat, Spaghetti, shrimp and steak and I'll adore you, I’ll treat you like milk, I'll do nothing but spoil you” - Lil Flip, “Sunshine”
“Chicken for lunch, chicken for my dinner, Chicken, chicken, chicken, I’m a finger lickin’ winner” - Q-Tip, “Ham ’N’ Eggs”
“So we can steam on the way to the telly, go fill my belly, A T-bone steak, cheese eggs and Welch’s grape” - Notorious B.I.G., “Big Poppa”
“It’s just me and la cucaracha tonight, Cold pizza with hot sriracha” - Chance The Rapper, “I Am Very Very Lonely”
“I’ll do whatever it take, I love you like a fat kid love cake” - 50 Cent, “21 Questions”
“Two-door preference, Roof gone, George Jefferson, That white frost on that pound cake, So your Duncan Hines is irrelevant, woo” - Pusha T, “Mercy”
“Yo, I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake, on my life, man, fuck's sake, If I did, I'd ménage with 'em and let 'em eat my ass like a cupcake” - Nicki Minaj, “Only”
“Cake, cake-cake, cake-cake, 500 million, I got a pound cake” - JAY Z, “Pound Cake”
“Having daydreams, tongueing you down with, uh, vanilla ice cream” - LL Cool J, “Hey Lover"
“So we gon' do everything that Kan' like, Heard they'd do anything for a Klondike, Well, I'd do anything for a blonde dyke” - Kanye West, “Stronger”
“Watch these rap niggaz get all up in your guts, French-vanilla, butter-pecan, chocolate-deluxe, Even caramel sundaes is gettin touched, And scooped in my ice cream truck, Wu tears it up” - Method Man, “Ice Cream”
“Whipped cream with cherries and strawberries on top, lick it don't stop, Keep the door locked, don't knock while the boat rock, We go-bots and robots, so they got to wait til the show stop” - Ludacris, “What’s Your Fantasy?”
“Watch these rap niggaz get all up in your guts, French-vanilla, butter-pecan, chocolate-deluxe, Even caramel sundaes is gettin touched, And scooped in my ice cream truck, Wu tears it up” - Method Man, “Ice Cream”
“Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M., Get the money, dollar dollar bill, y’all” - Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.”