Once again Tree resurrects this series after another long break!

This is not my favorite song on the new I.B.TREE tape, but it might have my favorite chorus all year.  Other rappers would sound like they were auditioning for the audiobook of The Hood Phrase Book if they tried to rap this chorus – “My bitches is perfect / My niggas is awesome / My mama’s amazing” but Tree can make you feel the depth and profundity of these sentiments in ways no one else could. Glad this refrain had no rhymes in it so I’d have an excuse to write about it here.

Tree – All Dat

This whole tape is such a breath of fresh air after having only the somewhat hit-and-miss #Treestyles to get us through 2015 (at DRIVE SLOW we just pretend Trap Genius didn’t happen).  I’ve heard haters griping that they’re disappointed by the project because Tree did not rap and produce the whole tape.  It’s unclear if this complaint is driven by some kind of rigid purism they imagine must be in place for good music, or if there are people out there that think Tree sounds bad over other people’s beats, but either way I totally disagree and think the pairing is quite complimentary and brings out some of the greatest Tree moments we’ve seen in years.  The mumbling, crossing-the-bar complexity of “Heard Nothing“, the mounting emotional intensity in the verses of “Kinfolk“, and the compelling storytelling of “Couple Nights” are right up there with the strongest points of Sunday School I & II or The MCTREEG EP.  I mean people do realize that half of Sunday School II was produced by other people, right?

Check out the whole project here, and take a moment to relish the unrhymed beauty of the opening track before falling in love with the rest.



Tree gave me a great reason to resurrect this series from two years ago.

Tree – Well



This is a real interesting one in that it slices right between the seriousness of parts 1 / 2 and the comedy of part 3 in a way that’s pretty hard not to grin and nod to.

The Pharcyde – She Said

This isn’t the only Labcabincalifornia track to feature a clear departure from rhyme in the chorus.  In fact, I think most of the choruses on Labcabincalifornia don’t rhyme.  Let’s get to the bottom of this:

1.  “Bullshit“:  “You gotta get on up off of that bullshit, stop fightin’ that feelin’.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

2.  “Pharcyde“:  “Imani, Booty Brown, Fatlip, & Slimkid Tre (x3), We do it this way (x2)” – Rhymes

3.  “Groupie Therapy“:  [no chorus, just Queen Latifah samples] – Doesn’t Rhyme

4.  “Runnin“:  “Can’t keep runnin’ away.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

5.  “She Said“: “And she said it’d be good if you’d stay with me tonight, so I granted her wish.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

6.  “Splattitorium“:  [no chorus, just chatter] – Doesn’t Rhyme

7.  “Somethin’ That Means Somethin“:  “Gotta spit somethin’ that means somethin.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

8.  “All Live“: “All the way live!  (baby baby baby baby baby baby)” – Doesn’t Rhyme

9.  “Drop“:  “Drop.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

10.  “Hey You“: “Hey You!  Can I take up a moment of your precious time to realize and define the whole truth?  Hey you!  Yeah take up a moment and clarify this for you.” – Rhymes

11.  “Y?“:  “Tell me why… Be like that, it just be like that.  Baby tell me why it’s gotta be like that.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

12.  “It’s All Good!“: “It’s all good baby baby.” – Doesn’t Rhyme

13.  “Moment in Time“:  “And we go round and round.  Life is just a moment in time…” – Doesn’t Rhyme

14.  “The Hustle“:  “Some do it illegal, brothas just want more than their equal, tryin not to get caught up in the evil, this goes out to all my hustling people… just do it do it do it… do it do it do it…” – Rhymes

15.  “Little D“: [no chorus, just an interlude]

16.  “Devil Music“:  “Every time I step to the microphone I put my soul on 2 inch reels that I don’t even own.”  – Rhymes

17.  “The E.N.D.“:  “This ain’t nothin’ but the E-N-D, follow me into the sun and let your soul be free.  The E-N-D, The E-N-D, The E-N, The E-N, The E-N-D.”  – Rhymes

18.  “The Emerald Butterfly” [bonus track]: “Feelin’ high…  I’m the emerald butterfly.”  – Rhymes

19.  “Just Don’t Matter” [bonus track]:  “Don’tcha ever try to get with this, it just don’t matter you’ll still get dissed.”  – Rhymes

20.  “Heart & Soul” [bonus track]:  “Heart and soul, that’s what it’s all about.  Heart and soul, let your spirit out.  Take control, of everything about you.  [something I can’t understand], that’s without a doubt.”  – Rhymes

So towards the end we get a little string of rhyming choruses, but I still count 11 out of 17 tracks (20 including bonus tracks) with non-rhyming choruses just on this one album.  Incredible!  I’m gonna go find Guiness’s phone number.



So far we’ve only seen how these wonderful departures from rhyme can be used for dramatic effect, but we shouldn’t forget that they can be equally useful for comedic effect, as ODB will show us here.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Got Your Money



For part 2 of this new series, we’ll turn to someone else’s part 2, previously featured in this post which was published when his part 3 came out.

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Pt. 2

This moment very much reminds me of Chance‘s, it comes at a very crucial moment in a very dark song, adding some serious weight to an already heavy mood.  Gives me the shivers.  Stay tuned for more, they won’t all be this dark.


I’ve been looking for an excuse to do a series like this for a while now, and I think I just got the perfect opportunity.

Chance the Rapper – Acid Rain

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a rapper craft an deliberately unrhymed cadence, but it is the first time I remember hearing a rapper perform such a maneuver and then call attention to it.  “Rhyming” is used synonymously with “rapping” in many rap circles, but in the long history of hip-hop some of the most eloquent, funny, powerful, and memorable lines have come when “rapping” departs from “rhyming” at a key moment.  Now that I have a quote from a rapper to title the series, we can begin revisiting some of those beautifully choice moments.  Chance’s stanza

Stressin’, pullin’ my hair out, hoping I don’t get picked;
all this medicine in me hoping I don’t get sick;
making all this money hoping I don’t get rich;
‘Cause niggas still getting bodied for foams.

makes it impossible to miss the gravity of that final line.  Check RapGenius if you need some deeper explanation on the slang, and stay tuned here for more choice departures from the norm.

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