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Almost two decades on since its premiere on HBO, The Wire has quietly grown in status as one of the greatest TV shows ever produced.

With an unprecedented exploration of five Baltimore institutions – the drug trade, the docks, government, schools, and newspaper – immaculate writing, and realistic characters portrayals, The Wire has withstood the test of time and merged into pop culture, becoming a favourite for a lot of rappers.

Here are 7 of the best rap lyrics referencing the iconic show.

Young Jeezy – “The Real Is Back (Intro)”

Then you know it's D-Money. You know I run this shit
Like Marlo, these ni**as Avon, had my auntie sellin that shit
Like it was avon, y'all know what's real or what's fake, that's on shake

Album: The Real Is Back

Released: May 28, 2011

What’s up with the Avon slander Jeezy? He was the man on the streets and off the streets. Even though Marlo took the crown off him after their war in Season 3, the young kingpin still had to pay respects to him (and send Avon’s sister $100,000) while he was in prison. And when it was all said and done, it was Marlo standing on the corner at the end of the series without half the name or rep of Avon Barksdale.

Eminem – “Drop the Bomb on ’Em”

Oh my God, fuckin' bomboclaat
I'm hard as Kenard, the little boy who shot Omar in The Wire
Tie a whore up with barbed wire, you're nothing but a bra, boy
I'm the real deal, and charbroil her on the bonfire

Album: Relapse: Refill

Released: December 21, 2009

Spoiler alert Eminem! Well, actually what’s the timeframe for spoilers? Omar got popped by Kenard in season 5, episode 8 which aired on February 24, 2008. Eminem dropped this song December 21, 2009. Surely that’s enough time to start revealing spoilers right? I take my first comment back, you’re all good Em.

Freeway & Jake One – “One Thing”

They need to promise death to you snitches
Ain't do it, but you telling on them lying ass ni**a
Don't want no trouble, you Bubbles from The Wire ass ni**a

Album: The Stimulus Package

Released: February 16, 2010

Poor Bubbles was just trying to get by, sell a few t-shirts and get high in peace. He didn’t want any trouble from nobody. It was only after Bodie and his crew beat down his boy Johnny that Bodie went to Greggs, and pretty much setting off the whole series with that one decision.

Lupe Fiasco ft. Young Jeezy & T.I. – Superstar (Remix)

This ain't even mine, this is Lupe's single
And every time I watch The Wire, it's like I just left B-More
Call me Marlo, come be my Snoopy

Album: N/A

Released: September 25, 2007

In a show that’s rife with remorseless killers like Wee-Bey and dead-eyed kingpins like Marlo, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson stands apart as the coldest. While others dispatched their rivals with a detached ruthlessness, Snoop looked like she enjoyed her murders. She thrived as a soldier and wanted everyone to know it.

Fabolous – “Mo Brooklyn, Mo Harlem, Mo Southside”

Slimes that push weight but ain't hit the gym never
Like quarters got red orders
Bags over bags stash house look like hoarders
Avon home tell Marlo these my corners

Album: The S.O.U.L. Tape

Released: April 21, 2011

For Fabolous’ version of AZ’s ’95 classic, he tapped Vado and Lloyd Banks for an assist. Vado references one of the best scenes of the series – when Avon comes home from a prison bid, he’s shocked to see that while Stringer was busy building up a legitimate front for their drug empire, Marlo had taken over all the prime real estate in West Baltimore. Which led us to the classic Avon:

Avon Barksdale: Yeah, I ain’t no suit-wearin’ businessman like you. You know I’m just a gangsta, I suppose. And I want my corners.

“Homecoming”, Season 3, Episode 6 | The Wire

Freddie Gibbs – “Fuckin’ Up the Count”

Damn, Sarah, look, close your eyes (Yeah)
You working a ground stash, 20 tall pinks
Two fiends come up to you and ask for two each
Another one cops three (Yeah) then Bodie hands you off 10 more
But some white guy rolls up in a car
Waves you down and pays for the eight
How many vials you got left? (15)
How the fuck you able to keep the count right
When you're not able to do the book problem man?
Count be wrong, they’ll fuck you up

Album: Shadow of a Doubt

Released: November 20, 2015

Gibbs uses an iconic scene from The Wire – when Wallace helps his little runner with her math homework – to set off his grimy cut off Shadow of a Doubt. This scene is everything great about The Wire – it’s realistic, sad, poignant, funny, all at the same time.

Pusha T – “Pain”

It's no risk without gain
It's no trust without shame
It's no us without 'caine
Push: my name is my name
In the kitchen with a cape on, apron
Trey-eight on, coulda been Trayvon
But instead, I chose Avon

Album: My Name Is My Name

Released: October 7, 2013

Pusha T is obviously a huge Wire fan with an affinity for Marlo Stanfield. I mean, he named his debut album after one of Marlo’s lines, “My name is my name.” Speaking to HipHopSince1987, Pusha explained why Marlo’s words resonated with him so much.

Basically, I tried to pick a title that embodied who I am as an artist. I wanted people to understand like Pusha is everything that I really, really am. Actually, there is a line in “Pain” where I say My Name Is My Name, that line comes from Marlo Stanfield from the series The Wire. It was one of the more prominent catch phrases that he said at the end of that series. He was basically saying, I am who I am, I stand on my name I live this. I really felt that embodied my presence in the rap game.

Pusha T talks “My Name Is My Name” Album, Production Credits and More with HHS1987 (Video) | Vimeo
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