Greatest Rap Lines Ever Vol.1: Big Pun on Twinz

When we talk about the greatest lines in rap history, Big Pun’s bars from his opening verse on Twinz is usually discussed as one of the moments of rap writing sublime.  What is it that makes these bars so special?

Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know
that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddily

Well, to me it was never specifically about the rhyming or the performance.  The rhyming was good(but not special) and Pun’s performance here, while excellent, was at a energy level he’s matched before and exceeded (You Ain’t a Killer?).  No, to me, these bars are amazing because of the limitations he puts on the consonants he’s using.  Notice the repetition of M’s, N’s, L’s, R’s and D’s?

Pun is making sure to repeat these particular consonant sounds to create that overall sonically pleasant aesthetic.   So, I decided to write a little program to calculate the number of unique consonants relative to the total amount of consonants used.  As a number, Pun should display something especially unique in these bars.  Does he?

There’s a total of 40 consonants in that bar and 10 unique consonant sounds.  Roughly a score of 0.25 in this particular metric.  Most other 2-3 bar combinations yield a value around 0.35-0.45.

So, what Pun did IS unique and special.  I’ve tried lots of different 2-3 bar combinations and no other line even cracks the 0.30 barrier.   If you want to test some bars, I made a little thing here so you guys can test your favorite bars and see how it stacks up to Pun’s score of 0.25.

It’s important to not that the consonants he repeats the most (M-N,L-R,D-T) are all what is called Minimal Pairs.  Minimal pairs are very closely related consonant pairs (and if you say it out loud, it’ll be clear why).  Maybe this affects the bars above and is important to take into account but for now seems unnecassry seeing as how those bars stand out without any changes to the formula.

Discuss the Post Here in the Forum

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9 thoughts on “Greatest Rap Lines Ever Vol.1: Big Pun on Twinz

  1. Killa Sin from Y!A says:

    i got .3 exactly using elzhi’s line of:
    And no statistic, to bitch niggaz I’m chauvinistic
    I tote a biscuit, carry arms like shoulder discus

  2. Killa Sin from Y!A says:

    and i got .26 with a Killa Sin line
    “Scat back better snap his nap back for that black
    Pass the stacks to fat cat and find out where the crack’s at”

    • Killa Sin from Y!A says:

      got .28 with another killa sin line
      “Automatically I reign supreme laser beam tracks and graze your brain
      Hit your spleen ricochet and decay exit clean”

      i got .253 using another killa sin line, but this one is longer and im not sure if that ruined it since u said 3 lines max, its 4 lines:

      “all rhymes is mad raw nigga metaphors pour from my jaws lyric sauce
      got high with fly sounds bound the floors
      its war for all you rap acts whos wack come back
      I pack gats n block four fifs to be exact like that thing”

      i erased the last line and did it again and i still got .253.

      heres the song in case u wann hear how it is said.

  3. ICHI says:

    I got a .22 with the GZA on 4th chamber

    I got mouths to feed, unnecessary beef is more cows to breed
    I’m on some tax free shit by any means
    Whether bound to hit scheme or some counterfeit CREAM

  4. Conor says:

    Nas on Weezy’s new album:

    Smack adolescents who ask who the best is
    I’m nasty like gas from a fat man’s intestines
    I pass it, you gaspin’ for breath and you die fast

    made a .28

  5. zach says:

    listen youth. it’s like me holding up the line at the kissin booth. I took her back to the truck she was uncouth. spittin all out the sun roof through her missin tooth.

  6. HopelessRomanticDopestFlowStanzas says:

    RA the Rugged Man has a score of 0.28 from his line:

    “Marksman, skill in killin’, illin’, I’m able and willin’
    Kill a village elephant, rapin’ and pillage a village
    Illegitimate killers, US Military guerrillas”

    Off of Jedi Mind Tricks “Uncommon Valor”

  7. Eric Shipton says:

    .26 for my own lyrics
    War Tac’s, Generic I’m the genocide general
    gentalman with genetically engineered genitals
    Wu Tang letterman since we got the same initials

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