Osama bin Laden in lyrics: An overview
In the past decade, Osama bin Laden became not only one of the most wanted men in recent history but also a handy metaphor. His ruthlessness became shorthand for a certain heartless clarity of vision that lyricists -- mostly rappers -- employed to describe a specific character type -- nearly unseating fictional drug kingpin Tony Montana, Al Pacino's "Scarface" character, as the name-drop of choice for angry rappers.
Once the initial shock of 9/11 had passed, Bin Laden started popping up in rhymes. Below are some of the more memorable usages (though we certainly missed some):
My life crazy like Obama's
you talk slick well I'm Osama
Bin Laden, what's happenin' I get it crackin'
-- Swizz Beats, from Kanye West's "Lord, Lord, Lord":
Hard body ... got the heart of a killer
Young God in the building 'bout to start a religion
'Bout to call Bin Laden up and order some missiles
Bring 'em straight to your block go to war with you ...
-- Lil Wayne, "Hard Body"
It's the return of Bin Laden, grab your armor
Smash pretty boy ..., crush they karma
-- Cappadonna, from Ghostface Killa's "9 Milli Bros."
The president just put a bounty on his head
He doesn't care if he's alive or if he's dead
We'll send commandos there to pump him full of lead
There must be 50 ways to get Bin Laden
50 ways to get Bin Laden
-- Weird Al Yankovic, "50 Ways to Get Bin Laden"
Things just ain't the same for Osama,
So much drama,
Since the World Trade bombings,
And the Pentagon got the whole world calling
Me to kill all of Congress, like...
The strangest things can happen to an Afghan
When people get wrapped up in Islam and Allah,
Then some ... fly planes and wreak havoc,
Then go drop the blame on Bin Laden.
-- Eminem, from "Osama Bin Laden Diss"
Osama thought we'd never find him
But even little children know
Santa knows who's been real naughty
In those hard Afghani mountains capped with snow
-- Bob Rivers, "Osama Got Runover by a Reindeer"
Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?
-- Daryl Worley, "Have You Forgotten?"
Osama, yo' mama didn't raise you right
When you were young she must have wrapped yo' turban too tight
She should have kept you home on those Arabian nights
It's plain to see - you need to stay out of those fights
-- Ray Stevens, "Osama Yo Mama"
We built the great twin towers into the sky
But Osama brought them down, and made us cry
If he thinks he can live now, he must be high
-- Afroman, "Osama Must Die"
Public enemy number one feel like Bin Laden
five, four, three, two, one
I'm about to blow up
See me off in platinum
I'm gettin' toed up
-- Young Jeezy, "Handle My Bizness"
Rumor has it "The Blueprint" classic
Couldn't even be stopped by Bin Laden
So September 11th marks the era forever
of a revolutionary Jay Guevero
-- Jay Z, "The Bounce"
Way up in them Cali Hills, burnin' like the sunset
A ... with an attitude, take it outta context
Riding with them big things, lookin' like a bomb threat
Bin Laden beard, Afghan in a bomb vest
-- Rick Ross, "Blow"
Did we miss a classic? Chime in below in the comments.
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Newspaper front pages and article clippings are posted on a wall inside a staff office at the White House in Washington on May 2, 2011, the morning after President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden. Credit: Jason Reed / Reuters