Rappers try to impress audiences with their tech-savviness. It might seem cool in the moment, but rap feels antiquated once the gadget they’ve name-checked becomes obsolete. Here are 25 rap lyrics about outdated technology.
1. Sir Mix-a-Lot – “Beepers”
Beepers … Beepers … Beepers … Beepers …
Who even says Beepers anymore? We don’t use them, but we still know they’re called “pagers”.
2. LL Cool J - “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”
Walkin’ down the street, to the hardcore beat / While my JVC vibrates the concrete
Nobody uses JVC boomboxes anymore because they are heavy, use too many D batteries, and don’t support mp3s.
3. Sugar Hill Gang - “Rapper’s Delight”
Let’s do it don’t stop y’all a tick a tock y’all you don’t stop
The Sugar Hill Gang brought talk of “ticks”, “tocks”, and other references to clocks to hip hop. That was in the seventies when analogue clocks made sounds; today’s digital clocks are as quiet as snow falling on grass.
4. Wu-Tang Clan - “C.R.E.A.M”
Catchin’ keys from across seas / Rollin in MPV’s, every week we made forty G’s
Nothing says you’re a well-rounded drug dealer like purchasing kilos overseas and then driving around town in a Mazda MPV. This minivan was discontinued in North America by 2006. (This verse is still relevant in Malaysia.)
5. Kool Keith - “The Girls Don’t Like The Job”
Girls know I’m fly — on the A-X-1 new floppy disk
It’s unclear how you’d be able to tell anyone was fly using a floppy disk. Now you’d probably just send a direct message on Twitter.
6. Dr. Dre - “Still D.R.E.”
Still got love for the streets, repping 213
Dre, I have some bad news for you. Compton’s area code changed from 213 to 310 in ’91 and when you’re visiting homies in Long Beach their area code is now 562. In fact repping 213 isn’t that impressive anymore, because it only includes Downtown LA and part of Echo Park. Which is pretty cool, but your dominion now lacks its former breadth.
7. Common ft. Canibus – “Making a Name for Ourselves”
Put this in your CD-ROM / Www dot Canibus dot com
In the late nineties you used to be able to jot down URLs onto pieces of paper and insert them into disc drives. Times have changed.
8. Big Daddy Kane – “Lyrical Gymnastics”
Cause the Kane get more paper than a fax machine
If we’re going to fax at all you’ll do it via eFax. Since this service is paperless, Big Daddy Kane’s lyric would render him penniless.
9. Geto Boys - “We Can’t Be Stopped”
You said the album wasn’t coming out fighter / But when it did you couldn’t find your typewriter
Nobody writes their verses on typewriters anymore, they write raps on their Facebook pages and hope they get enough likes to consider recording it.
10. Outkast - “Hey Ya”
Shake it, sh-shake it / Shake it like a Polaroid picture
Sorry Andre, but the shakeable Polaroid photo was discontinued in 2008.
11. Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious 5 - “Beat Street Breakdown”
To learn from the past and work for the future / And don’t be a slave to no computer
In 1984 people didn’t want to be controlled by technology, which is such a quaint notion, because in 2011 we have totally accepted our fate as the slaves to the computer.
12. A Tribe Called Quest - “Skypager”
A number of importance, I just put it on lock / You leave code ’69″, that means you want some (cock)
Pager code is antiquated, now you could just e-mail your lover sexual positions. (The only pager code I’ll ever miss is 55378008.)
13. Rahzel - “All I Know”
Sam Goody, Blockbustin’ up your H M V
Sam Goody went out of business, Blockbuster has filed for bankruptcy and HMV closed its last American store in 2004. Maybe you should just stick to beatboxing, Rahzel.
14. Canibus - “Levitibus”
Encrypted by a pro-scan modem with a low-band
Seriously who the hell encrypted anything by low-band pro-scan modems anyway?
15. Nas - “New World”
Y2K’s the big scare / Scientists say we ain’t prepared
Hey Nas, there is nothing to be scared of. On Y2K, some clocks flashed for a few minutes but everything was fine.
16. Beastie Boys - “High Plains Drifter”
Cause I’m the high plains drifter the best that you can get / A strapped shoplifter a pirate on cassette
Innovative technology has made pirating music on cassettes far too time consuming by comparison.
17. Eazy E - “Down 2 Tha Last Roach”
Dip to the, dip to the back / Bumpin’ Eazy-E on 8 track
I think this verse was obsolete before he even recorded the song.
18. King Just - “The Scrimmage”
For centuries, me and my kind existed / Off the hook, like a phonebook bitch, we not listed
The saddest part about the extinction of the phonebook is that rappers will never again write songs that include the phrase “like a phonebook bitch”.
19. Kool Keith - “Sexy Girl”
Observin’ your home amateur VHS tape / I love the around the house motion pictures you make
Throw away your VHS camcorders! As we speak, amateur pornography is being shot on webcams, then directly uploaded to the worldwide web!
20. LL Cool J - “1-900-L.L. Cool J”
Hello 1-900-LL Cool J? / Yeah whassup? / Can you please bust a funky rhyme for me? / Yeah I can do that, check this one out honey
1-900 numbers fell out of popularity when people finally realized that paying $3.99/minute to listen to Hulk Hogan wax poetic on the finer points of “Hulkamania” was a huge waste of money.
21. Jay-Z - “I Just Wanna Love U”
Motorola two-way page me
Nobody uses two-way pagers anymore. Rumor has it that Jay-Z is still locked into a contract with Motorola, where he is still contractually obligated to exclusively communicate with the inner-circles of his entourage via two-way pager. (Members of his outer-circle are still contacted by pigeon.)
22. Big Tymers - “Sunday Night”
Trucks with chandeliers / He don’t have America Online up in here
When this song came out, trucks were equipped with chandeliers but not mobile internet access. 3G technology has made it so truckers no longer have to use the computer at the TravelCenter of America on I-80 outside of Salt Lake City to access AOL chat rooms.
23. Magno - “Pop Trunk, Lift, Recline 5th”
Then it’s all the laptops, with the Windows XP / Now a lot of bitches, wanna sex me
Remember the good old days when you could pull chicks simply by upgrading Windows 98 to Windows XP?
24. Twista ft. Raekwon - “The Heat”
Super powers like Morpheus, foresee us like the Oracle / Portable MP3 players let you play what’s recordable
MP3 players are a thing of the past. All of my MP3s are on my smartphone. Referencing the Matrix is also a thing of the past; now we just talk about Jersey Shore.
25. Talib Kweli ft. Jean Grae - “Say Something”
Fuck a Top 8, back up, gimme MySpace you’re not safe
Hey Talib, you won’t have to worry about the politics of who to put in your Top 8 if you finally make the plunge and switch over to Facebook.
Illustration: Weird Al, “All About the Pentiums”