Do real rappers rap?

Pop, jazz, and classical.
Feb. 28 2006 6:59 AM

Enjoy Coke!

Two cold-blooded rappers who insist they deal drugs. A lot.

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Your race is betrayed
On the bottom of the food chain, I spit on your grave
You the modern day African capturing slaves
How you live with yourself? You can't escape your face
I put it in the street, they can't escape the taste

There's a dark irony here: Who is the one "capturing slaves," after all? Is it the snitch who helps district attorneys fill prison cells, or is it the dealer who amasses a desperate clientele of addicts? It's a dense moment—one that the pronoun "you" leaves ambiguous—that highlights the album's stone-faced insight into an inner-city economy where black success depends on the exploitation other blacks.

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Malice finally acknowledges some psychic trauma, if not regret, on the very last song. "Cruising in the drop and still I feel/ As if I'm nothing more than a hamster in a wheel," he admits.

Enough with the women, they don't see past the chain
I don't see past the ass, two can play the game
Gotta thank God for 'caine, I guess that's the twist
'Cause if I never sold, my rhymes would sound like this

Then he goes silent. It's probably the most haunting moment on the album.

Jonah Weiner is Slate's pop critic.