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Young Guns

Street’s disciple, my raps are trifle
I shoot slugs from my brain just like a rifle
Stampede the stage, I leave the microphone split
Play Mr. Tuffy while I’m on some Pretty Tone shit
Verbal assassin, my architect pleases
When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffin Jesus
Nasty Nas is a rebel to America
Police murderer, I’m causin hysteria
My troops roll up with a strange force
I was trapped in a cage and let out by the Main Source
Swimmin in women like a lifeguard
Put on a bulletproof nigga I strike hard
Kidnap the President’s wife without a plan
And hangin niggaz like the Ku Klux Klan
I melt mics till the sound waves over
Before steppin to me you’d rather step to Jehovah
Slammin MC’s on cement
Cause verbally, I’m iller than a AIDS patient
I move swift and uplift
your mind shoot the gift when I riff in rhyme
Rappin sniper, speakin real words
My thoughts react, like Steven Spielberg’s
Poetry attacks, paragraphs punch hard
My brain is insane, I’m out to lunch God
Science is dropped, my raps are toxic
My voicebox locks and excels like a rocket—
Nas on Main Source’s “Live At The Barbecue”

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This is without question the greatest verse ever dropped by a minor. We’ve had plenty of other young MCs that stepped to the plate and smacked a homerun on the first pitch. Young Rakim, Foxy, LL Cool J, Will Smith all dropped classics before their 18th birthdays.

Following Nas, the ranking is not so clear. ” Eric B. Is President” and “My Melody” are both classics and “Parents Just Don’t Understand” set off The Fresh Prince’s long and successful career. But if I have to pick one single verse as the #2 of all time under-18, I have to go with Shyheim and his verse on the famous freestyle with Biggie, Tupac, and Big Daddy Kane (and Scoob and BDK) live at Madison Square Garden.

Yo, this goes out to everybody from Staten Island
Yo, times is gettin hard, word is bond, I swear to God
I even got caught tryin to steal from the junkyard
A born terror, a rebel without a pause
I never had a good Christmas, so who is Santa Claus?
I walk the streets at night with my head down
In this lil town you see clowns that wanna be down
So they get a glock and lick shots to get props
And when shit rocks all you can hear when the shells drop
An old man got shot in the parkin lot
In front of my buildin I hang with his grandchildren
And for the nigga that pulled the trigga then tried to slide
and hide, but he got knocked by the homicide
And this happens everyday around my way
So I pray that I can live another day
—Shyheim on “Madison Square Garden” Freestyle with Big Daddy Kane, Biggie and Tupac

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The kid was 14 years old on stage at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” with not one but three of the greatest MCs ever on stage with him. And he went after B.I.G. and Pac! He painted a picture of the reality for a young kid in the Staten Island PJ’s and he did it with the maturity of a kid who has seem some horrible things at a young age and recognized that he was not a “clown that wanna be down”. I fully believe that if The Rugged Child went on to have a successful rap career, we would look at this verse as right up there with Nas’ BBQ verse.- MikeD

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