You might have seen something about The Sopranos turning 20 over the past week or so. The hit HBO show was the first of its kind in being more like an elongated movie than a television show and inspired several dramas of a similar ilk — from The Wire and The Shield to Breaking Bad.
Tony Soprano and company also inspired Hip Hop lyrics, which is ironic considering how blatantly racist Tony and his underlings often were. Yet, Hip Hop has always had a thing for this thing of theirs, so in honor of the groundbreaking series, here are seven times rappers spit about the Barone Sanitation crew. Grab some pasta and dig in.
Memphis Bleek — “Hypnotic” f. JAY-Z & Beanie Sigel
“Why am I here?/That question overwhelms me/I am a gangsta, Dr. Melfi couldn’t help me”
Analyze This’ Paul Vitti, he is not. Though he hails from Brooklyn, S-Dot apparently has more in common with Jersey-born Tonyƒƒ, who spent countless frivolous hours in therapy with Jennifer Melfi, only for her to realize he was a hopeless case. Maybe he needed someone more like Billy Crystal to help him out.
LTtheMonk — “Tony Sopranos”
“‘Cause on the mic I gotta represent the real rappers/See me feel the Tony Sopranos as the panic attack us.”
LT was one of the few rappers who had something real in common with Tony — they both suffered from anxiety attacks. The difference is LT used the pen for self-exploration, while Tony resorted to screaming at his therapist every time she said something that pissed him off.
Nas — “Get Down”
“He plugged me with a dame who was half-Mexicano/Gave the ass up, I’ma mack daddy Soprano.”
Nas positions himself like Tony when it comes to the ladies and the comparison makes sense. T had a knack for attracting women, whether they were a Russian gumar, his longtime wife or some office girl from Barone Sanitation. Nasir also borrowed from Alabama 3’s The Sopranos theme song “Woke Up This Morning” for his hit “Got Urself A…”
JAY-Z & Beyonce — “Crazy In Love”
“O.G., big homie, the one and only (Oh, no)/Stick bony, but the pockets is fat like Tony Soprano (Oh, no)”
Yes, Jigga had a thing for dropping Sopranos references on other people’s songs. His pockets being as fat as Tony is a striking image. Though the New Jersey crime boss loved to pick on other people for their weight — such as telling Bobby Bacalieri, “Get off my car before you flip it over, you fat fuck” — he himself was too friendly with the cannoli.
Wyclef Jean — “Blood Is Thicker Than Water”
“Time stands still when murders are on the rise/Any last words/Give my regards to Tony Soprano”
This cut, which is on The Sopranos: Music From The HBO Original Series, is loaded with wiseguy references. Wyclef directly references Tony near the end of the song, when his victim apparently won’t give Tony, who presumably ordered the hit, the satisfaction of a melancholy final utterance.
Nines — “Tony Soprano”
“Where I’m from niggas get high off of needles/Have you seen The Sopranos?/My life’s like the sequel.”
Another rap joint named after the skipper. Although this one seems to have more to do with Christopher Moltisanti, a Soprano soldier who struggled with a heroin addiction. There’s no sequel, but a prequel movie is sure to get audiences buzzing.
Gucci Mane — “Brick Fair”
“I got accepted to the mob, now I think I’m Tony Soprano”
Gucci might want to rethink this one. If being accepted to the mob means he’s Tony, that means he has two spoiled kids, an (justifiably) angry wife, a few unstable gumars and a crew of guys he’s constantly quarreling with. Oh, and Gucci’s life could cut to black at any moment.