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Meaning of the song ‘Rapp Snitch Knishes feat. Mr. Fantastik’ by ‘MF DOOM’

Released: 2004

“Rapp Snitch Knishes” by MF DOOM, featuring Mr. Fantastik, is an assertive track, hitting hard on the controversial topic of snitching culture within the rap industry. The lyrics showcase an allegory of rappers who mouth off too much about their criminal activities, ending up as ‘rap snitches’ and potentially ruining their careers and personal lives. The song criticizes these artists for their loose lips, ultimately questioning their authenticity and commitment to the game.

The song opens with a casual dialogue between MF DOOM and Mr. Fantastik, setting up the main discussion about ‘rap snitches.’ They’re disgusted by rappers who spill secrets, not just in their lyrics but also in court, becoming their own star witness. The phrase ‘star witness’ reflects those who testify against themselves or their companions in legal trials, which according to street rules, is a serious violation of trust and loyalty.

The line “Type profile low, like A in ‘Paid in Full'” references a film based on the lives of three notorious drug dealers in Harlem in the ‘80s. The life they lived demanded a balance between flashiness and discretion, similar to what a successful rapper has to maintain, emphasising the importance of keeping a low profile.

Mr. Fantastik’s verse is an examination of himself as an artist and a figure in the game. He draws connections between his success (“long dough like elastic”) and his authenticity (“True to the ski mask, New York’s my origin”), making it clear that his origins have shaped his approach to the industry. The criticism of the ‘snitch’ continues when he sights a scenario of a cowardly figure who ends up getting his friend incarcerated due to his loose lips, painting a vivid picture of the consequences of betrayal.

The song then circles back to the chorus, reiterating the main theme of calling out ‘rap snitches.’ The last verse takes a more abstract approach with MF DOOM using imaginative metaphors to paint the chaotic picture of the rap game. The mention of “tell ’em, tell it on the mountain hill” could be a reference to the biblical phrase ‘shout it from the mountaintop,’ again criticizing those who can’t help but broadcast their actions. References to Middle East heat and hitting trees is an obvious nod to the struggles and indulgences in the game.

The song ends on a humorous, yet pointed note, connecting the act of ‘rap snitching’ to a grandma’s bootlegging operation, underlining the absurdity and potential wide-reaching damage of a rapper’s indiscretion. In the end, “Rapp Snitch Knishes” serves as a biting commentary on the lack of discretion many rappers have, highlighting the importance of authenticity and street loyalty in the hip-hop game.

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