Your introduction to hip hop probably involved a CD (remember CDs?) with a “Tipper Sticker” on it. You know the one — black and white, big capital letters, “Parental Advisory.” Looking back, those stickers really should have said “Parental Advice,” because hip hop taught you everything you needed to know about being a dad. Instead of censoring hip hop from your kids, fire up these tunes and let the legends spit knowledge. Just do everyone a favor and don’t try to rap them yourself.
The Notorious B.I.G. on supporting your kid’s dreams:
“While we out here, say the Hustler’s Prayer:
If the game shakes me or breaks me
I hope it makes me a better man,
Take a better stand,
Put money in my mom’s hand,
Get my daughter this college plan so she don’t need no man.
Stay far from timid,
Only make moves when your heart’s in it,
And live the phrase ‘Sky’s the limit'”
— “Sky’s The Limit”
Kanye West on providing for them:
“I don’t know I just want it better for my kids.
And I ain’t saying we was from the projects
But every time I wanna layaway or deposit
My dad’d say, ‘When you see clothes, close your eyelids.’
We was sort of like Will Smith and his son.
In the movie — I ain’t talking ’bout the rich ones.
‘Cause every summer he’d get some brand new harebrained scheme to get rich from.
And I don’t know what he did for dough
But he’d send me back to school with a new wardrobe.”
Jay-Z on being an individual:
Nobody built like you, you designed yourself.”
— “A Dream”
Run DMC on how they’ll eventually realize you were right all along:
“One thing I know is that life is short,
So listen up homeboy, give this a thought:
The next time someone’s teaching why don’t you get taught?
It’s like that (what?) and that’s the way it is.”
— “It’s Like That”
Nas on the blessing and curse of daughters:
“They grow fast, one day she’s your little princess
Next day she talking boy business, what is this?
They say the coolest playas and foulest heartbreakers in the world,
God gets us back, he makes us have precious little girls.”
Talib Kweli on arming them with knowledge:
“I give them the truth, so they approach the situation, with ammunition
keep nothing away, they hear everything, cause they know how to listen
Teach them the game, so they know they position, so they can grow
And make decisions, that change the world, and break old tradition”
The Wu Tang Clan on imparting simple truths:
“Leave it up to me while I be living proof
To kick the truth to the young black youth.
But shorty’s running wild, smoking sess, drinking beer
And ain’t trying to hear what I’m kicking in his ear.
Neglected for now, but yo, it gots to be accepted
That what? That life is hectic.
The Beastie Boys on why you can (and should) keep them humble:
“I’ve got friends and family that I respect.
When I think I’m too good, they put me in check.
So believe when I say I’m no better than you,
Except when I rap, so I guess it ain’t true.
— “Ch-Check It Out”
Outkast on young love:
“Forever never seems that long until you’re grown
And notice that the day by day ruler can’t be too wrong.”
— “Ms. Jackson”
Eminem on why your kid could could do worse than him for a role model:
“I’m like, ‘Guidance? Ain’t they got the same moms and dads
Who got mad when I asked if they liked violence?’
And told me that my tape taught ’em to swear —
What about the makeup you allow your 12-year-old daughter to wear?
So tell me that your son doesn’t know any cuss words
When his bus driver’s screaming at him, f—king him up worse
(‘Go sit the f—k down, you little f—king prick!’)
And f—k was the first word I ever learned
Up in the third grade, flipping the gym teacher the bird.”
— “Who Knew”
CeeLo Green on talking to kids about your ex:
“I’m writing a letter to my baby, I’m writing a letter to my son,
Tell him things done got too crazy but it’s not over, it’s not done
I told your mamma I don’t love her, it made her trip and now she gone
So I’mma be the better one, I’mma be the better one
But I just wanna see my son.”
—“Letter to my Son”
Ja Rule on what’s really important in life:
“Degrade yourself never cuz I’m teaching you better
Life ain’t all about cheddar, diamonds, and leather.”
—“Daddy’s Little Baby”
Royce da 5’9” on enjoying childhood:
“Have fun as a child, yo them years is precious
The future brings fear and stresses as the year progresses.”
Slick Rick’s medical opinion on where babies come from:
“Most agree it’s kinda amazin’ folks are born from where we pee at.”
—“It’s a Boy”
Lil Wayne on looking up to your father:
“And I be stuntin’ like my daddy, stuntin’ like my daddy
Stuntin’ like my daddy, I be stuntin’ like my daddy
I’m the Young Stunna, stuntin’ like my daddy
Stuntin’ like my daddy, I be stuntin’ like my daddy.”
—“Stuntin’ Like my Daddy”
The Game on what the delivery room is really like:
“Running through the maternity ward, out of breath, sweating
I swear to God every minute’s starting to feel like a second
I seen Hell staring down the barrel of a Smith and Wesson
My son’s ultrasound the closest I ever been to Heaven.”
—“Like Father, Like Son”
Ed O.G. on showing up for your kid:
“You see, I hate when a brother makes a child and then denies it
Thinking that money is the answer so he buys it
A whole bunch of gifts and a lot of presents
It’s not the presents, it’s your presence and the essence
Of being there and showing the baby that you care
Stop sittin’ like a chair and having your baby wonder where you are
Or who you are — fool, you are his daddy.”
—“Be a Father to Your Child”
Yelawolf on celebrating Father’s Day, every day:
“Happy Father’s Day
No matter how you getting paid
You hustle hard, you show the way
Happy Father’s Day.”