It happens to the best of them. Sometimes it happens in front of a raucous crowd of 20,000. Sometimes it occurs in an intimate setting in front of a small audience of just a few. Sometimes it even happens on live TV. A rapper will open his or her mouth to spit lyrics he or she has delivered hundreds or thousands of times, and they draw a blank.
Kanye West was a victim of forgotten bars during the huge reunion performance with Drake at the Larry Hoover Benefit Concert in December of 2021. During a performance of Drizzy’s “Forever,” Ye was not able to remember his lines from the song and awkwardly laughed off the blunder mid-performance. This wasn’t the first time Kanye blanked out on his lyrics over the years.
Even Jay-Z has whiffed during a show before. Back in 2013 while on the Magna Carta World Tour, Hov forgot lines to the Watch the Throne track “No Church in the Wild.” Jigga uncharacteristically fumbled the lyrics to the syrupy single and was not able to catch the line before the Frank Ocean chorus started back up.
In April of 2021, Lil Baby had a forgetful moment when approached by an employee of Atlanta's Jewelry Unlimited in a parking lot. He was asked to complete a Can Artists Finish Their Own Lyrics Challenge. The Atlanta rhymer was tasked with finishing lines to his single “I’m Straight” off the project, Harder Than Ever. Baby seemed confident at first but totally dropped the ball when it was time to shine.
Bottom line, everybody makes mistakes. Unfortunately for these rappers, there's video evidence to prove it. Check out some of your favorite rappers forgetting lyrics onstage and elsewhere.
Jay-Z2013 Magna Carta World Tour
Jay stopped mid-song during "No Church in the Wild." Awkward.
Kanye West2021 Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert
While performing his 2009 collaborative track "Forever" with Drake by his side at the Free Larry Hoover concert in December of 2021, Ye had a lapse of memory and forgot the lyrics to the song. Kanye laughed it off and was able to recover from his blunder near the end.
Lil Baby2021 Can Artists Finish Their Own Lyrics Challenge
In April of 2021, Lil Baby was challenged by a Jewelry Unlimited employee in Atlanta to finish lines to lyrics from the rapper's single "I'm Straight." For some reason, the Atlanta artist failed miserably.
Lil Wayne2019 Summerfest Festival
Lil Wayne was performing at the 2019 Summerfest in Milwaukee and forgot his lyrics to "In This House."
Drizzy might have been too cold when he forgot his lyrics to "The Motto" for a performance during 2012 New Year's Eve.
Rich Homie Quan2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors
Rich Homie Quan was the laughing stock of the internet for forgetting the lyrics to "Get Money" onstage at the 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors.
Mac Miller2014 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival
Mac Miller couldn't catch his flow on "Suplexes Inside of Complexes & Duplexes" so he tried to freestyle with Jay Electronica at the 2014 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. That didn't work either.
2 Chainz2013 Performance in Nigeria
Tity Boi got distracted by the booty during a 2013 performance in Nigeria. Understandable.
Kanye West2016 Summer Jam
Although he was hype, Kanye slipped up on the lyrics of "Father Stretch My Hands Pt 1" at Summer Jam in 2016.
Will.i.am2011 Performance on French TV
Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.am resorted to reading lyrics off a cell phone in this performance on TV in 2011.
Though 50 Cent played it off well, he clearly forgot the whole first verse of his song "Amusement Park" at the 2007 BET Awards.
Omelly2015 Sway in the Morning Freestyle
In this viral clip, Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers artist Omelly appeared on Sway in the Morning in 2014 and spit a freestyle that featured him forgetting his lyrics and humming his rhymes.
Kid Cudi forgot his own lyrics to the song "Alive" when he came back out for an encore at a 2009 show. "I forgot my own words!" he said. "I really smoke a lot of weed."
Kanye West2009 SXSW Festival
Although it's a classic now, Kanye forgot the words to "Good Life" when he was previewing it at SXSW back in 2009.