Newspapers mentioned in rap songs: A brief history

I love rap music, and I love first-person narrative journalism, for some of the same reasons. Rappers, like writers, tell stories — about the places they’ve been, the things they’ve done, and the people and institutions (newspapers included) that have shaped them.

And while print newspapers certainly face a precarious future, they’re still seen as a totem of success. Make the newspaper, and you’ve made it. (Though it could be for the wrong reasons — in the crime blotter or the obituaries instead of A1.) They also play a vital role in framing how our society views certain people and cultural phenomena.

But instead of think-piecing about how rap and journalism intersect, I decided to go back 20 years and put together a list of almost every instance in which newspapers have been mentioned in rap songs.

DJ Clue and DMX pose with a newspaper featuring DMX (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Paul Wall, “Break ‘Em Off”
Chasin’ paper in the mornin’, call me Houston Chronicle

Lloyd Banks, “Celebrity” (Remix) (Ft. Eminem & Akon)
I don’t subscribe to the News or the Free Press
But homie, I get the paper!

Note: Banks also says “free don’t pay the bills.” Gannett, which owns the Free Press, has installed paywalls at most of its newspapers.

Big Sean, “My House”
I start my mornin’ with the paper
Bitch I’m rich Free Press, hundreds on all the pages

Kid Cudi, “Is There Any Love?” (feat. Wale)
I stayed away from reading The Plain Dealer
Most of my n—-s back in Cleveland were playin’ dealers, uh

T.I., “Get Back Up”
Difference is my shortcomings hit the media
Thanks to TMZ, the AJC and Wikipedia

Chance The Rapper, “Pusha Man”/”Paranoia”
See my face in the streets, in the tweets
And a Reader or a RedEye if you read Sun-Times

Jake One, “Home” (feat. Vitamin D, Note, Maneak B and Ish)
I read Seattle Times, I watch Seattle news
I hope Seattle win, I watch Seattle lose

Billy Woods, “One Thousand One Nights”
Met her through a personal ad
Back of the Times-Picayune

T.K. KAVI, “Blue Dream”
We makin’ big news like the Post-Gazette
But I’m burnin’ through dollas’ like I’m roastin’ checks

X-Raided, “Deuce-5 To Life”
I open up the front page of the Sacramento Bee
And read the article that Dan McGrath wrote about me
He has his own opinion and it’s his job to write it
I say he’s being biased and completely one-sided

Kingpin Skinny Pimp, “2000 Rapdope Game”
Thinkin’ about my meal like the CBS Marketwatch
New York Times and Houston Chronicles
Watch how quick we hit the top
Commercial Appeal and L.A. Times

Drake, “Underdog”
Petersburg veteran
USA resident
In USA Today it ain’t a city I ain’t never been

Snoop Dogg, “From Tha Chuuuch to Da Palace”
Take two and pass it, it will not burn you
From the Long Beach Chronicles to the Wall Street Journal
They all know the G with the Cutlass Coupe
Ask Bill Gates, “Yeah I know the homie Snoop”

Nas, “Who Are You”
Now you could enter the so-called
“White Man’s Society” and go right past them
Looking in the Wall Street Journal for your face
But it’s always absent

Cam’ron, “American Greed”
Fortune 500, we read n—-s
Wall Street Journals and several
American Greed n—-s
Lot of dough to be made, shit

Pete Rock & CL Smooth, “Good Life”
In the big mansion drinking Moet
You read the Wall Street Journal
Later for the comic
Far from dumb because you practice logic

Wale, “Bait” (Remix)
Creeping on the campus in my new Camaro
Cover of the Washington Post, Solbiato apparel

Wale, “LoveHate Thing”
Maybe it stopped me from giving a fuck about opinions
And probably not, but I’m temporarily out of fizzucks
So tell The Post to leave propaganda to politicians

Nas, “Made You Look” (Remix)
Ah, they shooting, look in the barrel
Then he made the front page of the Miami Herald
Or Chi. Tribune, nozzles with silent doom
We in that A-Town Journal-list, filed with goons
You should print my information, quote my rhyme
And keep me in between these New York and L.A. Times

Public Enemy, “A Letter To The New York Post”
Here’s a letter to the New York Post
The worst piece of paper on the East Coast
Matter of fact the whole state
40 cents in New York City, 50 cents elsewhere
It makes no goddamn sense at all
America’s oldest continuously published daily piece of bullshit

Tony Yayo, “Based” (Ft. Lil B)
Madoff in the Feds and he still livin’
Front page of The Post, four billion hittin’

50 Cent, “8 Mile Road”
N—-s know me n—-, ask around in my ‘hood n—-
Read the Daily News n—- you see them talkin’ about me n—-

Sticky Fingaz, “Ghetto”
No toilet paper, somebody used the last you had
No problem, just get a Daily News or a paper bag

Cam’ron, “You Gotta Love It”
You talking ’bout you a ’80s baby
You 37 years old, you was born in 1968, and I open the Daily News
How’s the King of New York rocking sandals with jeans?

Kool G. Rap, “Live and Let Die”
Some say this ain’t the life to choose
Rage is snapped away you get a page in the Daily News

Joe Budden, “6 Minutes of Death”
Cause I’ll murk any n—- that disrespect mine
If it wasn’t Fed time, or lock up or rec time, dude’ll be a Daily News headline

Talib Kweli, “B.D.K.”
I’m 3 wheelin’, through the Wilshire district
Thinking how Big and Pac both died by pistols
L.A. Times called it the Death Row conspiracy
Run up on my 6-4, i’ll take out ya misery

Jay Rock, “Lift Me Up”
Beam on my sunshades
Murder competition till I’m seen on the L.A. Times front page

Slaughterhouse, “Hammer Dance”
In these L.A. Times, I wake up on one
House slippers and coffee, I know the paper gon’ come

DJ Khaled, “All I Do Is Win”
I got a billion reasons you should know my whole name
Got the most paper, Mr. New York Times

Chief Keef, “Make It Count”
Ben Franklin in my pocket
Try to take it put your ass on the front of New York Times

J. Cole, “New York Times”
The New York Times
The New York Times
(Extra, extra, read all about it)

Kilo Kish, “Scones”
Coffee’s dark
Just the way you like
Our New York Times on the Business side

The Game, “100 Bars (The Funeral)”
On the subway, chasing down shop-lifters
All in the streets, talkin ’bout you shot n—-s
Then you went in New York Times, takin cop pictures

Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.”
I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side
Staying alive was no jive

Papoose, “Crooklyn Remake”
New York Times put Nicky Bars on the cover
It read Mr. Untouchable, black brother

Yaki Kadafi, “Where Will I Be”
Pack tail and help this young n—- stack some mail
And crime’s in the New York Times ain’t getting better
And Lord knows this shit won’t last forever

Lil Kim, “Custom Made (Give it to You)”
Take pictures with our nines on the cover of New York Times
Tattoos down our spine with the the picture of a dime

Phase2, “Never Gon’ Stop”
Got me hooked to the flashing lights and papparazzi
Forbes magazine, New York Times and TMZ

Nicki Minaj, “Wuchoo Know (Chin Checka)”
Lemme lemme think what I gotta gotta do
Should I get the black or the chrome 22
Cause if a bird try to get outta the cage
One bitch down New York Times front page

G-Unit, “Eye for Eye”
I have your people pourin’ our liquor and lightin’ candles
You fuck around, I blow your brains on my New York Times
Run home, turn to the sports section and read your mind

R.A. The Rugged Man, “Homecoming Queen”
My last five rhymes, catch ‘em bylines
So in the New York Times, in the city writing rhymes

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  • Rick Vach

    Beastie Boys — Stop That Train

    “And then you read the New York Post, Fulton Street, downtown”

  • MMMo

    “Sat across from a man reading El Diario” Beastie Boys – “Stop That Train”

  • Veasey Conway

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__gqYYGugg
    Lecks Getiton – Paper to Read
    Newspapers mentioned throughout.
    “The article unfolds in the Boston Globe, without the Herald or the Metro when I’m on the road.”