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Why "No Vaseline" by Ice Cube is the Greatest Rap Track in History


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#1 HippityHopHead

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 09:53 PM

Hi all!

My name is HippityHopHeads and I really like rap and rnb of all sorts. I feel this genre (rap) is really underrated in now how it’s changed the world, but people’s perspectives on life.

 

For the first week, I’m going to tell you a story about what I think is the greatest diss track in rap of all time. First, I’m going to talk about why I didn’t pick Hit ‘Em Up by Tupac because I know I’m going to be asked this.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Hit ‘Em Up is probably the 2nd greatest diss track of all time, and in its own ways it had that amazing message that basically said “fuck all our haters, we don’t care”. The thing is, I considered Tupac more of a rap deliverer than lyricist. The way he sings/raps his lyrics is what catch people onto him, and of course his clever lyrics.

 

I feel as though No Vaseline by Ice Cube has much hard-hitting lyrics, on top of that hard-hitting flow that Ice Cube delivers. But it’s okay if people disagree with this one, I completely understand, it’s really hard to pick between No Vaseline and Hit ‘Em Up.

 

Why No Vaseline by Ice Cube is the greatest diss-track in history.

 

No Vaseline may go down as the greatest diss song of all time, but to understand why this song is so important, you have to really understand the background and context.

 

For those of you who don't know, Ice Cube was a part of N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude - one of the greatest rap groups of all time). N.W.A consisted of MC Ren, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy E, DJ Yella, and their manager Jerry Heller. Their biggest songs are Fuk The Police and Straight Outta Compton.

Throughout N.W.A's existence, there have always been contract and money disputes within the group. Some members, like Ice Cube, thought their contracts were being lowballed, or not agreed on. Whereas others, such as Eazy E and Dr. Dre (well, at the beginning at least) said Ice Cube was in the wrong.

 

I've always said that I think Ice Cube is probably the most underrated person in N.W.A. The guy is an absolute madman on the mic, just look at anything he writes. It's Ice Cube, you know it's a hard song.

 

Here's the fucking thing. Ice Cube is probably one of the hardest lyricists in Rap culture, all the big songs N.W.A made were all done by Ice Cube. If I know anything about rap, it's that you never want to start a rap battle with someone who knows how to use words - let alone, WAS IN YOUR GROUP.

 

Well, they fucked up. N.W.A started the rap-feud with then Ice Cube with this line by Dr. Dre in "Niggaz Wit Attitude":

We started out wit too much cargo

So I'm glad we got rid of Benedict Arnold

 

 

 

Oh. My. God.
 

I don’t understand how this was a good idea. At the time, although Ice Cube had left, they were still on friendly terms when it came to a rap feud of any sort. This lyric gave way to what is called No Vaseline by Ice Cube. A song where he lets out every single problem that was evident in NWA.

 

First of all, go listen to it right now. It’s got that awesome old-school flow, hard hitting Ice Cube lyrics, that weird harmonica instrument that just fits perfectly. At not any point in the song does it go off flow, it’s just a relentless assault of perfectly constructed sentences, flowing right off the top of each other. Perfection dare I say.

 

For the purpose of time I will not be analyzing every line, but I will definitely cover the ones that hit the hardest. Let’s start with the first two lines:

Goddamn, I'm glad y'all set it off
Used to be hard, now you're just wet and soft

 

 Once you hear this, you know the other person is getting fucked up no matter what else Ice Cube says in this song. He could literally cluck for the next 6 minutes over the track like a Chicken and still win. You can tell Ice Cube was writing this song before NWA even considered dissing him.

 

Looking like straight Bozos
I saw it coming, that's why I went solo

 

Oof. NWA didn’t want to hear this. Ice Cube was considering a solo career for quite some time whilst he was still in NWA. This confirmed to NWA that he was happy with his decision.

 

I started off with too much cargo
Dropped four niggas now I'm making all the dough

 

You remember that line I said earlier? Yup. This is how you single handedly out-write someone and make them look like a complete joke. Ice Cube make’s reference to Dr. Dre on “Niggaz Wit Attitude”. This always implied his was probably very financially well off in his solo career – this probably stung NWA.

 

White man just ruling
The Niggas With Attitudes? Who ya foolin'?

Y'all niggas just phony
I put that on my Mama and my dead homies

 

The first line refers to Jerry Heller, and how Ice Cube claims that Jerry Heller was financially robbing everyone in the group. In classic Ice Cube fashion, he tells them they are just a bunch of phonies, and he’d put that on anything. Ouch.

 

Yella Boy's on your team, so you're losing
Ay yo Dre, stick to producing
Calling me Arnold, but you bent-a-dick
Eazy-E saw your ass and went in it quick

 

Where do we start with this masterpiece? DJ Yella just gets straight up roasted, and Ice Cube tells Dre he should stick to producing not rapping, OUCH. This showed that at least on some level Cube and Dre were probably not bad off relationship wise (I imagine the insults would be a lot worse if they really hated each other – and considering they are friends to this day would imply I’m not far off). Ice Cube always did have respect for Dre’s producing.

 

The bottom 2 lines are about Dre’s diss on him in Niggaz in Attitude. No comment necessary.

 

You got jealous when I got my own company
But I'm a man, and ain't nobody humping me

Trying to sound like Amerikkka's Most?
You could yell all day, but you don't come close

 

This line is really savage. Ice Cube went on to start his own company (Da Lench Mob Records) and was doing well for himself on his own. He implies that NWA is trying to sound like Amerikka’s Most Wanted (awesome album by Ice Cube), but they would never come close to it. They just keep on coming and don’t stop… ouch man, ouch.

 

The bigger the cap, the bigger the peeling
Who gives a fuck about a punk-ass villain?

You're getting fucked real quick
And Eazy's dick is smelling like MC Ren's shit

 

The important line here, punk-ass villain, is about MC Ren’s solo album “The Villain in Black”. A familiar pattern in this song is Cube rapping about how Eazy E and Jerry Heller are robbing people blind in the group, so it’s a reoccurring pattern of just lyrical masterpieces.

 

So don't front, MC Ren
Cause I remember when you drove a B-210

Broke as a mothafucking joke

 

This one needs no explaining. MC Ren got destroyed.

 

Now I could go on and on, hell I only linked the best one from the first and second verse, but you get my point. Even NWA, years later, the members agree they all knew Ice Cube had won the rap feud between them.

 

And that is why I think No Vaseline is the prime example of gangsta rap. Ice Cube destroyed NWA in every single way possible inside and out on that track. Legendary.

 

I'll end with the scene from Straight Outta Compton.

 


Edited by HippityHopHead, 14 May 2017 - 10:03 AM.


#2 Amethyst

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 09:57 PM

I have no idea what you're talking about as I don't listen to rap.

 

But your enthusiasm about the topic left me intrigued and impressed. 



#3 HippityHopHead

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 10:03 PM

I have no idea what you're talking about as I don't listen to rap.

 

But your enthusiasm about the topic left me intrigued and impressed. 

Thank you for the kind words, Amethyst!

DJ On,

Hippity~



#4 Dazz

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:51 AM

It's definitely up there but I don't know if i'd call it the best. Hit 'Em Up is more raw to me, like if they were both aimed at me, that one would hit me the hardest. Then you've got shit like Ether, Nail In The Coffin, and I know it's not the best but even Gucci Mane - Truth is fucking savage in a different way.

 

As far as outside of rap, the Vybz Kartel and Movado beef has brought some great diss tracks. Don't Run/Last Man Standing is one of my favourites, it came after they clashed at Sting in 2008. Then the beef was sparked again last year when Movado dissed Popcaan by saying "Portmore say fi step pass di father go murder di son" Portmore's father being Vybz Kartel. Despite still being in prison on murder charges fired a few lines back at Movado before it escalated into full diss tracks also taking aim at Alkaline. Round Corner being the best imo.



#5 HippityHopHead

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:58 AM

It's definitely up there but I don't know if i'd call it the best. Hit 'Em Up is more raw to me, like if they were both aimed at me, that one would hit me the hardest. Then you've got shit like Ether, Nail In The Coffin, and I know it's not the best but even Gucci Mane - Truth is fucking savage in a different way.

 

As far as outside of rap, the Vybz Kartel and Movado beef has brought some great diss tracks. Don't Run/Last Man Standing is one of my favourites, it came after they clashed at Sting in 2008. Then the beef was sparked again last year when Movado dissed Popcaan by saying "Portmore say fi step pass di father go murder di son" Portmore's father being Vybz Kartel. Despite still being in prison on murder charges fired a few lines back at Movado before it escalated into full diss tracks also taking aim at Alkaline. Round Corner being the best imo.

Hey Dazz,

 

Some great songs you've posted about. I love Ether and would easily put that in my top 5. Alongside Nail in the Coffin we can't forget The Warning by Eminem, he slaughtered Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey on that song.

 

I did not know about the second half of your post (I don't follow those artists particularly) but I'm about to give it all a listen. 

 

DJ On,

Hippity~



#6 Dazz

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:01 AM

Well Eminem can slaughter anyone so that's a given, i'm not much of a fan of his music but I give credit where it's due.

 

For sure, the other artists are dancehall artists so it's on the Jamaican side of things but it's pretty interesting once you get into it. The UK rap/grime scene has always been influenced by the Jamaican clash culture so that's how i've gotten into it. 



#7 Kaddict

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:13 PM

I'm not huge into this genre much, but I am def more into the hyphy scene (Mac Dre, E40 etc) than the rest of the subgenres.

I know maybe people think its too mainstream, but my favorite pac song is changes. Especially with today's atmosphere, even more applicable than when he dropped it.

 

Also, damn it feels good to be a gangsta, one of my favs.



I don't really know much about different diss tracks. Although more in the rock genre, I would say Foo Fighter's "I'll Stick Around" is pretty good. Also, Sweet home alabama was an early mild one.



#8 HippityHopHead

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:13 PM

Well Eminem can slaughter anyone so that's a given, i'm not much of a fan of his music but I give credit where it's due.

 

For sure, the other artists are dancehall artists so it's on the Jamaican side of things but it's pretty interesting once you get into it. The UK rap/grime scene has always been influenced by the Jamaican clash culture so that's how i've gotten into it. 

Hey Dazz!
 
I did know a little about the Jamaican side a little... bit. Not too much. The music isn't really for me but I do understand the importance of it to the culture. Definitely interesting though, thanks for telling me Dazz! I'm going to poke around and see if I can find something I vibe with.
 

 

I'm not huge into this genre much, but I am def more into the hyphy scene (Mac Dre, E40 etc) than the rest of the subgenres.

I know maybe people think its too mainstream, but my favorite pac song is changes. Especially with today's atmosphere, even more applicable than when he dropped it.

 

Also, damn it feels good to be a gangsta, one of my favs.



I don't really know much about different diss tracks. Although more in the rock genre, I would say Foo Fighter's "I'll Stick Around" is pretty good. Also, Sweet home alabama was an early mild one.

Hey Kaddict!
 
I agree, I do prefer the hyphy scene in rap as well! Run DMC, DMX, Ice Cube, pac, N.W.A are my favorite "hype" artists. Everytime I hear a song by one of these artists I'm instantly in my zone ready to go :)
 
Changes by Pac is an amazing song. I'm not a believer in the whole mainstream-not mainstream debate, because the way I look at it is, if an artist is doing good for themselves. then to me, you've made it in the rap game. I don't care if one song has 100 million views and is considered "mainstream", if that song is dope and I'm vibing with it, it's going straight to my walk man for my morning runs. As long as the artists love what they do, and someones fucking with it, to me their doing something right in the world. Only positive vibes :)
 
A great example of that is like Screamo music. I really do not understand the music or enjoy it at all, I still understand the importance of it to the Rock (or metal? not sure) culture. Either-way,the groups happy and their making people happy. Everyone's happy, let em enjoy their music!! :)
 
 
Sorry.. I kinda ranted. Hah. Changes was one of the first songs I've heard by pac, and I've got too say definitely one of his more "low-temp songs". It's a song where pac just takes you for a ride you know, their isn't any hate in that song, just pure problems that pac witnesses in his life, which he goes on to reflect in his music. Awesome.
 
I won't claim to know anything about Rock, but I do enjoy the song I'll Stick Around actually. I have very few rock songs on my walkman (I have to really be in a rock mood) but i'd play it sometimes.


#9 Dazz

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 06:55 AM

Changes was also the first Pac song I heard, had me all in the feels. But the backing track was familiar, then when I was watching daytime TV while I was sick from school I realised Animal Hospital used the same piano bit. Ghetto Gospel was the second, and as much as I love it there's always something off with it. Every time I listen to it I can't help but notice how slowed down yet high pitched Pac's voice is, and it just doesn't sound right, they fucked with it too much, everything else is good though, Elton John kills it as always. My mans.

 

As far as modern rap, Migos all the way. I wasn't a fan at first but they've grown on me, now i'm a huge fan. They've been absolutely killing it, hit after hit, best group out right now for sure. Best adlibs, arguably best flows, bounce off each other so well during freestyles. Lyrically not the greatest but they can make a song out of anything.

 

I haven't listened to Kendrick's new album yet, been waiting until i'm in the mood to get drunk and listen to it in it's entirety. Big Sean has been sneaking his way into my eyesight, the two recent tracks i've heard have been really good. Jump Out The Window, and Sacrifices, check them out for sure. Travis Scott has also been coming out with some good shit. Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert are very hit and miss for me, mostly miss but I like what they're doing.



#10 Kaddict

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 01:32 PM

@HippityHopHead

 

Killing it with 0 posts and 3 rep points. Fuggin undefined amount of reps per post. Not bad.



#11 Futurama

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 02:00 PM

I usually just use lube, lotion, spit, or the natural juices of the Va Jay Jay when I do it...but if you're saying no Vaseline....




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