Zilla Rocca‘s New Year’s resolution for 2008 is to slap more kufi’s.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good gangster rap album.  It not only manages to scare the bejesus out of old white people who are running for public office, but gangster rap also shares specific qualities not found in any other genre or subgenre of music.  How do you know if that new album you just bought/boosted/shared illegally is an authentic slice of gangster pudding cake?  Just following my trusty guide!  Below is a list of five songs titles you will find on most, if not ALL, gangster rap albums.  Eat a dick!

 1.  “Gangsta Shit”


If the best hip hop music is based on the theory that “less is more,” what can possibly top any song called “Gangsta Shit?”  According to AllMusic.com, there are 52 songs with this titled, with artists ranging from The Game to Tony Touch to Hollertronix (how ironic, right you guys?).  If you go out on a limb and enter “Gangsta Sh*t,” you have artists like Diddy, Outkast, B.G., Do or Die, Scarface, and Snoop Dogg to add to the mix.  The only difference between a rap song called “Gangsta Shit” and “Gangsta Sh*t” is that Tipper Gore approves of the latter.

 WHAT TO EXPECT:  Menacing strings, minor chord keys, hectic hi-hats, references to Scarface, Godfather, Goodfellas, Sopranos, etc., someone paying “homage” to 2pac, no actual gangsters present on the song

ALTERNATE TITLES:  “Tax Evasion Shit,” “It Fell Off a Truck Shit,” “Heavily Influenced by Al Pacino’s Career Choices Shit.”

 2. “My Life”


Ahh…the burden of being a gangster rapper.  Not only have you survived this long to make a mixtape, but in your trial and tribulations, you’ve managed to see some horrific stuff.  And what better way to express YOUR singular, individual experiences than naming a song called “My Life.”  Apparently, Freaky Zeeky, C-Murder, Kool G Rap, DMX, Geto Boys, Shaky Slick, Shotty Capogne and hundreds of others have a lot in common.

WHAT TO EXPECT:  Downtempo R&B drums, shrill female vocals on the hook, outside musicians to play the Triton, somber rappin’, “the realest shit I ever wrote.”

ALTERNATE TITLES:  “My Best 2pac Impersonation,” “Even Gangstas Get the Blues,” “What My Ghostwriter Has Been Through.”

 3.  “Ride With Me”


Starting in the late 90s, more and more rap albums had songs with titles similar to this one.  Mostly, it was a clubby, car stereo track whereas the rapper was telling a chick to get into his car and just “let herself go” so to speak.  Lately, in the post-Pac/DMX era, “Ride With Me” has served as an invitation to the listener so that we may come along for the psychological journey through the mind of a gangster rapper.  Both are never recommended if you are a) a woman without a proper martial arts background or b) a man who feels kinda weird about another man commanding you to “ride” with him.  Unless that man is Hunter Thompson, I’ll pass.

WHAT TO EXPECT:  For the ladies, some hand claps, that “bounce,” rhymes that rhyme the same words together, heavy bass, tambourine/triangle hits, and overt invitations to defile themselves.  For the bros, a trip through the struggle.  BORING!

 ALTERNATE TITLES:  “Get Out of My Dreams, Get into My Car,” “Carpool Pimpin’,” “Cardio is Overrated,” “What’s Wrong with a Couple of Guys Goin’ for a Ride on an Emotional Journey?”

4. “I Miss My N*gga/Soldier/Homie/Dog/Weedcarrier”


There’s nothing wrong with penning a song for a fallen friend, but just like “My Life,” it begins to lose credibility when everyone is lazily using the same song title.  A good way to write this song is what Bone Thugs did with “Crossroads.”  That video had the bad-ass angel of death who was taking people under like Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.  We even got to experience probably the most touching, yet un-rhyming, rap of all time when Wishbone said, “Why’d they kill my dog, and man I miss my Uncle Charrrrlllles, y’all”

WHAT TO EXPECT:  R&B hook from a male singer, strings/keys, just enough humanity to conjure actual emotions, some random cursing to keep it “real.”

 ALTERNATE TITLES:  “Tears in Mothafuckin’ Heaven,” “I’ve Been Meaning to Get Another Tattoo,” “If I was White, They’d Call me Emo For This One.”

5.  “Fuck You”       


This is tricky, because this song title either announces a gangster rapper’s displeasure with someone or it’s a declaration of what said gangster rapper is planning on doing to a woman who is clearly not trained in martial arts.  See, it’s the former when Cam’ron is saying it on Confessions of Fire and the latter when Dr. Dre and Devin the Dude are letting it out on 2001.  Either way, it’s the opposite of subtle, which is the definition of gangster rap.  And Sauce Money once made an entire album with this theme; he bitched out though and called it Middle Finger U.  Fuck him.

WHAT TO EXPECT:  For the ladies, some sweet nothings whispered into your ear over a nice thick 808 sprinkled with some TV-MA talk from T-Pain/R.Kelly/Akon on the hook.  For the fellas, an adrenaline rush and the hip hop equivalent of watching Twisted Sisters’ video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the first time circa 1986.

ALTERNATE TITLES:  For the guys:  “There’s Only 7 Nuggets in This Box, Potna!,” “KOCH Ain’t Returnin’ My Calls,” “SERENITY NOW!”.  For the ladies:  “Let’s Have Some Intercourse in This Mothafucka,” “I’m a Grower, Not a Shower,” “Let’s Do It Before 50 Needs More Yogurt.”                             

 And there you have it.  Are there better song titles on most gangster rap albums?  You betcha.  But these mainstays have graced CD’s from the bus-pass totin’ east coast thugs, to the pen-n-pixeled dope boyz in the dirty-dirty, all the way out to the west coast loc’s with Easter Sunday hair.                     

MP3: Zilla Rocca-“I Never Loved Her”

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