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The Ten Commandments of Rap

Laying down the laws of the hip-hop game with The Legendary K.O.

The Fifth Commandment: Thou Shalt Rock Hot Beats

Jackson:Number five suggests callin' Kanye or Dre's real producer / a hot track can overshadow the fact that you suck / see careers of rappers Ja Rule and his buddy Young Buck.

Randle: It's all about the beat. You can turn on The Box right now, and out of the top ten, eight of 'em will be wack rappers, but all of them will have good beats. Or in the case of "Laffy Taffy," I don't understand either one.

The Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt Hit the Bowflex

Jackson: Down on your luck? Is your esteem lacking fo shizzle? / Step six hit the gym bitch get buff and all chiseled / Work out incessantly -- sit-ups and push-ups, become da man.

Randle: That's kind of a bonus. Maybe if you could take your shirt off onstage, it would move you ahead three or four spaces. At the end of the day, it's all about the women. If women aren't buying your records or you don't have women in the clubs listening to you then you don't have much going.

The Seventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Flash Bling

Jackson:You need some fake jewelry and shit / though gettin' robbed can either end or start your career right quick / the more bling the better dumb as that shit may be...

Randle: Right when you get into the game you have to get a starter chain or a starter grill. Now these kids can't go out and get a $12,000 grill, so they go out to Sharpstown and get a $200 grill that they have to pull out every night. And you have to clean your teeth so they don't turn yellow or green. And before you set foot on the stage for the first time, you have to have at least a skinny-ass chain, some type of ornament on your chest.

The Eighth Commandment: Thou Shalt Honor 'Pac and Biggie and Keep Them Holy

Jackson:Now everybody needs a hero some nigga to try to copy / Step eight suggests Pac you know a thug nigga with a hobby / Everybody loves 'Pac and thereby has ripped his whole steez / check out the West, South, Midwest and the East / You can't go nowhere without feeling that nigga's presence...

Randle: Make as many references to 'Pac and/or Biggie as you can. Even better -- play six degrees of separation to show how close you were to either one of them. But if you truly, truly want to be a legend, and this is true of all music, you've got to plan to die early. Look at 'Pac and Biggie -- if they'd been around three or four more years, they both would have fallen off.

The Ninth Commandment: Thou Shalt Bust a Cap In Somebody's Ass

Jackson: Number nine should have been number one to me / If you ain't been to jail shoot a nigga first thing / Along with your story some jail time would help / Like 50 cent even a boot camp would do just swell.

Randle: Gotta do jail time, especially after a successful album. This ensures that your next album will outsell that one.

Nickerson: Any press is good press. Get stabbed, robbed, shot, whatever. Get arrested. DUIs are good, driving with a gun in the ride is a favorite. Get a divorce, beat up somebody, do whatever it takes to make people go buy your CD.

The Tenth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Be a Smarty Pants Jackson: And last but not least the most important thing to do / be able to read and rhyme simple words...You ain't got to be good -- hell most rappers suck.

Randle: If it doesn't have a hot beat, the song itself has to be so ridiculously simple that you'll feel guilty that you don't like the song 'cause everybody else likes it. Like "Chain Hang Low." It's the worst song since "Laffy Taffy," and everyone likes it. I don't understand why. So you need either a hot beat or to just put everything on a first-grade reading level so that everyone could potentially like that song.

Nickerson: Make sure that you are not that good. Talent brings more problems. You might get acclaim but not the fame. The better you are the more likely you are to get left on the shelf for the latest pop hit. GET MONEY! That is the theme of your entire music career. Fuck earning respect musically; if you have money you can buy respect. You can never have enough money. If you don't have it, refer to the First Commandment. LIE!" john.lomax@houstonpress.com

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