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Prayer Hands: A$AP Rocky

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Prayer Hands: Nicki Minaj

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Prayer Hands: 2Pac

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8. Who Shot Ya? [1st Verse] (1995)

Who Shot Ya?

The Notorious B.I.G. goes straight for the jugular on this verse from the gate. “Who shot ya?/Separate the weak from the ob-solete/hard to creep them Brooklyn streets,” he brags. If the thought of crossing Biggie Smalls ever came across your mind, you better think twice. The Brooklynite let the imposters know up front that you will feel his wrath, should you get the audacity to test him (“Niggaz know, the lyrical molestin’ is takin’ place/Fucking with B.I.G. it ain’t safe”). What made the rhymes hold more resonnece is the suspicious timing when this was released not too long after Tupac Shakur was shot at Quad Studios in Manhattan. The perceived subliminal shot only led to Pac’s own rebuttal, “Hit Em Up,” which later fueled an East Coast/West Coast rap war between the two lyricists.

Monica featuring Rick Ross “Anything (To Find You),” New Life: Deluxe Edition (2011)

Monica

Rozay channels his inner Notorious B.I.G. on this collab (of which an earlier version features Lil Kim, as well). The beat samples 1995’s Biggie anthem “Who Shot Ya?” and Ross kicks a revamped version of a famous Big Poppa line: “Thou shall not fuck with Rozay pockets.” Surely, no one was fuckin’ with the white pants he rocked in the video.

Prayer Hands: Rick Ross

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Prayer Hands: Kanye West

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Throughout hip-hop history, there has been a lot of trends and fads—the Shiny suit, “Molly” rap—mostly occupying a period where these are the things you must do to be deemed "cool." The one thing that has stood the test of time is rappers’ ability to strike awkward poses on camera. Sometimes people just don't know what to do in front of the camera at photo shoots, on music video, and album cover. So they master the five fine arts of poses that every rhyme slinger must know.

Now, XXL decided to highlight a day for each of the five most signature poses in hip-hop artists doing. Today we highlight Prayer Hands.