A few weeks ago, Twitter went ham over an image posted by XXL referring to Nas as "Esco" -- an alias he commonly used throughout a good portion of the 1990s and early millennium. These days, it seems younger hip-hop fans, as it turns out, are much more familiar with DJ Esco, Future's DJ. As they used their Twitter fingers to collectively say their was a mistake in the name, older heads rebutted. Some simple education is needed. Hip-hop isn't necessarily taught in schools, so finding ways to spread its history is essential.
But not every younger hip-hop head is universally unaware of the culture's past; there is a percentage of the next-gen of hip-hop gatekeepers that not only respect hip-hop history, but showcase it through their lifestyle. They engage in online debates, pack mom & pop shops on Record Store Day to get their favorite rappers' albums on vinyl and do their rap homework because they love this genre.
Whether using references to famous rappers, songs, places, events or combinations of these, there are young artists that have the power to influence others to either dap them for their deep-rooted knowledge of hip-hop trivia or force a Wikipedia-assisted knowledge quest -- nothing wrong with that. Here at XXL, we've taken the liberty of compiling 15 examples of younger artists (all under 30) giving a nod to those who came before them within their rhymes. Whether it's a simple name-drop or a flip of a classic line, hip-hop ain't dead, folks.
"Christ Conscious"Joey Bada$$
The Pro Era head honcho gives a shout out to the late, great Dilla.
"'Cause I'm a microphone killer/ Especially when my head is gone off the liquor
/Specially educated, heavily medicated
/Give me that beat and I'll put you next to Dilla (My nigga)," the Brooklyn native spits.
"Motorcycle"21 Savage Featuring Dreezy
ATL's own 21 Savage pays homage to formerly incarcerated rapper Gucci Mane.
"1017 they need to bring the Wop back, when I get inside that pussy baby I can't stop/I love it when I see them nipples through the crop top," the Slaughter King creator says.
Mac Miller flips a classic Nas reference.
"Somebody told me sleep was a cousin to death
/And following a dollar finds nothing but stress...," he rhymes.
"Dope Sample"A$AP Twelvyy
Twelvyy cleverly name-drops Ma$e's debut and sophomore albums.
"As it sits outside, my whole clique outside
/Black, like we brick outside/It's a cold world (cold world) better buckle up
/Harlem World in this bitch gotta Double Up," the A$AP Mob member serves.
Young Stro gives a shoutout to Rick The Ruler.
"Ruler like the homie with the patch on his eye
/When I arrive it be your demise/
I see a disguise on these guys
/Because they ain't really what they say they be
/You can't be the best if your name ain't me," Stro states.
"Stylin On You"Manolo Rose Featuring Vado, Dave East & Tray Pizzy
Manolo Rose pays homage to the artists that molded him.
"First whip that I’mma cop, I'mma cop me an eight-seater
/Bullet proof the whip, eight goons and 100 heaters
/Turn the music, nigga this is one of our children
/From Onyx to MOP, can’t forget about X/
Niggas dropped the baton off, now I run with it next," he says.
Young Sinatra shows respect by revealing his eclectic taste in hip-hop throwbacks.
"They know who I am
/Bitch bounce, homie smoke a ounce
/Fuck it, make it count
/With my album date announced, I pronounce I'm a killa/Bumping everything from Project Pat to Dilla," Logic raps.
"I Wanna Rock”Kodak Black
Kodak Black gives a nod to Mike Jones’ famous catch phrase.
"I like big blunts and I cannot lie
/Go back with my ex? Why would I do that?/
Mike Jones, they like who that?
/It Lil' Kodak but you knew that
/Get more head than a do-rag
/MJ, who bad?" the Florida native spits.
"Dead or Alive"Jazz Cartier
Jazz Cartier mentions a hit record off of Ja Rule’s debut album.
"I feel like Ja' back in '99/
Niggas see me scream 'Murder'/
I walk around and scream 'Murder'/Nowadays, everybody getting murdered/The judge asked for the verdict, then he looked at the jury," the rapper states.
"No Days Off"Fetty Wap Featuring Monty
Fetty Wap name-drops Master P’s smash song, "Bout It Bout It."
"Your body like a foreign ride, you curvy, yeah
/This ain’t the A, I’m tryna get dirty, yeah
/Like Master P, I’m ‘bout it, I’m bout it', yeah
/Come hop on and ride like you," the New Jersey native shares.
"Trouble on My Mind"Pusha T Featuring Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator takes it way back to 1990s by giving a nod to Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill.
"You niggas coming shorter than a Bushwick Billy costume/On sale during Christmas in Philly," the Odd Future leader raps.
"Get Acquainted"Dave East
Dave East flips a classic line from “Juice" by giving a nod to Tupac.
"Hop out like a rasta, like I just was watching Shottas/
Kicked out of school, I had a razor in my locker/
Felt like Bishop, I'm the one y'all need to worry bout, partner," he raps.
Big Sean talks about his historical chain envy.
“Big was the first one that had it/Then I saw Nas' chain, man, that was Illmatic/Then I saw Kanye's hanging from his gold necklace/Then 'Ye gave me mine, that show you my work ethic,” he rhymes.
"Tell Somebody”Nitty Scott MC
Nitty Scott references Pharaoh Monch’s breakout classic.
"My intellectual property, hip-hoperty, while niggas run monopoly stoppily
/Take my strret cred' and set it and bet it
/You could never do me, even if Simon said it," she serves.
Bishop Nehru makes reference to one of Biggie's most lauded track.
"You say that you're afraid I'm wondering what for/
I only want the best and I'm sure you know I do
/You gave me a chance but even Biggie was given two/
It's true I'm stuck on you, I'm stuck like glue, no one time screw," the New York native spits.