Even if you’re dealing with a fascinating, appalling affair like the American drug wars; even if you’re digging into the under-appreciated criminal side of things; you need a demonically inventive lyricist to make the day-to-day business of slinging weight seem to be interesting, let alone a rhapsodic practice. (That, or you need David Simon’s creative team.) Not because Drugs are Bad (although some of them are), but because Modern Business, even a violent, fluid modern business like selling lots of drugs, is fundamentally boring, at least to most people who care about what lyricists do in the first place.
Coastal-Intellectual-Approved, and working over the beat from Mobb Deep’s “Cobra,” here is a since-disbanded band of bandits, the Re-Up Gang, which includes Pusha T and Malice from Clipse, one of the greatest hip-hop duos American civilization has yet produced. Most of the 2005 mixtape it’s from (We Got it 4 Cheap, Vol. 2) is worth bumping in your Civic.
You can stop listening around 3:45, because that’s when Pharrell shows up to remind everyone that he has never been able to rap. The track also contains the usual strains of paranoia, brutality, profanity, and nihilism that rap music about the drug game usually does. Otherwise it might not have been as good.