recently i had the urge to listen to ish's verse from borough check, in my opinion 20 of the illest bars ever put down on wax. not only did i manage to decipher new lyrics (this miraculous happening still occurs even though i must've listened to the records more than anyone alive) but browsing the youtube comments i came across an interesting one from a viewer:
"In my opinion, after Nas, Butterfly is the best lyricist in hip-hop
history. Not to mention that he produced all these gems, and not
including his slang-doctor capabilities."
i've often thought along the same lines, although i try not to think in heirarchical terms when it comes to art. but while arguably greater mcs like the illmatic one and rakim have some kind of manifest-to-all undisputable power, ish's raps to me have reached higher heights than any other rhymesayer alive or not. the poetry is just too sophisticated, too instinctual, the subtleties too... divine. i can't explain it but my mind comprehends high art in this case and for that i'm grateful. simply put, it can take you to places no other rap can. it's in another realm altogether. as time passes this'll become clearer to the world.
if you're working on writing rhymes, poetry, you seriously need to check ish's ish.
to the majority of listeners that may be a big claim, but to the veiled cabal of fans that just 'get' what this man creates, it's a self-evident truth. should you require evidence, however, look no further than his latest recording, the guest raps on vox mod's "iridescent asteroid mists": 20 years in the game and the dude drops 28 (!) bars of blazing fire, sounding hungrier than nas at 19. i got a chance to hang out with him this time last year in brighton and he said of his work, "i know the best is yet to come."
i've attempted to transcribe the lyrics.
talkin of nas, check the possible homage in the first bar: "ain't hard to tell". needless to say, there are surely mistakes and omissions so if you have any contributions hit the comment button below
start it off
that's how we start it off
blast it down
that's how we start if off
alive to tell
my motion strive deep as wells
the wave they swell
made by the slaves, ain't hard to tell
raise the crown
amazed for the new days, blazed in sound
syncopated, related, the high art blastin'
dipped in the passion,
flashy lil clowns (?)
when i hold my rope, squeeze my scope, i hope i choke, my rap gun smokes
fires and retires you and your folk
just to dash your hopes
like a fiend on the slopes
i can't stop
addicted to the slick shit that i pop
no, really: shoulda asked somebody
i blast your party, blowin the hottie (?), nigga i'm on your shorty
and the cake that i bake's straight thorough
i grease you
play you out n twist you like a curl
it's my world
we test you on the shit we quoted
when you fail,
when you get deported,
you __________ your beat, you swore it was heat, but nah it was weak
please, you can't run, my uzi sprays, _________ stays
like __________, i kill your style for fun
there ain't no glitch in my matrix
the _______ is the fakest _______
pop culture say you hot like bitches with fake tits
________ workers, that's all we can fuck wit
forward with the culture angels that'll murk it
hustlers play the angles, they'll hug you then hurt you
cops' illegal searches stash a gat in your work
but it's the thang
that's how we start it off.