The Hip-Hop Recipe Book


The hip-hop world and the culinary realm have always been closer than you might think. Maybe it’s just that food is a handy metaphorical tool for romantic conquest and desirability, or that the jump from eating sardines for dinner to sippin’ champagne when you’re thirsty (like Biggie proclaimed) is a universally understood shorthand for getting really, really rich, but good food and hip-hop lyrics have often gone hand in hand. Consider that the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” often thought to be the first cohesive hip-hop song, has a whole section devoted to a bad meal at a friend’s house (“The macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed/ And the chicken tastes like wood.”)

Perhaps because the new Kanye West and Jay-Z single is titled “H.A.M.” and there’s now an entire Tumblr dedicated to changing Yeezy lyrics into food-related rhymes, we got to thinking about what culinary tips we can pick up from rap songs. So, without further ado, a compendium of recipes and and cooking instructions culled from hip-hop lyrics.

Nas’ Fried Chicken

As interpreted from “Fried Chicken” [ft. Busta Rhymes]:

Chef Nas reminds us that fried chicken “gives me heart disease, but I need you in my kitchen.”

1. Wash in a shower, drag in Gold Medal flour 2. Dip in buttermilk then “rub in” a pan of hot oil for about half an hour 3. Lay down on a paper towel waitin’ 4. Serve with red hot sauce (Louisiana style)

“Like Greeks with their souvla or Italians with their tomato pasta/Or roti is to a Rasta, trappin’ me, you and your friend mac and cheese.”

Biggie’s Big Brunch

From “Big Poppa”:

On “Unbelievable,” Biggie lays it down for all you doubters: “Biggie, also known as the Bon Appetit… I got 357 ways to simmer sautée.”

Though he doesn’t give us many specifics, the following meal is what Biggie recommends to fill your belly:

1. A T-bone steak 2. Cheese eggs 3. Serve with Welch’s grape

But beware: in a different song, Biggie warns: “If I worked in a restaurant/I’d shit in the food and feed it to you.”

dead prez’s Vegan Sampler

From “Be Healthy”:

First, a list of things dead prez don’t eat: “No meat, no dairy, no sweets /Only ripe vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole wheat.” Not to mention “I rarely drink water out the tap, ’cause it’s filthy.” Mostly, it seems like his diet is weed and orange juice. But here’s his recommended menu for a vegan buffet:

1. Barbecued tofu 2. Lentil soup (mental fruit, plus ginger root which is good for the youth) 3. Curried falafel 4. Fresh vegetables in Ital stew 5. Sweet yam fries with the green calalloo

“No fish, though, no candy bars, and no cigarettes.” That sounds healthy, but not much fun. We might risk Biggie’s restaurant after all.

Jay-Z’s Triple Chicken Brooklyn Delight

From “Girls, Girls, Girls”:

Jay-Z has a bit of a sweet tooth — check out his candy bar-filled rider — and he often uses food puns (“that’s food for though, y’all can clean the plates), but he gets most explicit about his highfalutin tastes in “Girls, Girls, Girls.” According to the song, Jay-Z’s ideal meal would be:

1. Fried chicken 2. Curry chicken (“Damn, I’m getting fat”) 3. Arroz con pollo 4. French fries 5. Crepes

“An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate.” Indeed, that much chicken in one meal is definitely some sort of destruction. Perhaps of the artery-blocking variety?

MF Doom’s Dessert Tray

If the dude has an album called Mm..Food, you know that he’s a goldmine of rap-related cooking tips. But it appears that Mr. Doom is all about the breads, cakes, and cookies: “Word to the baker/Peace to all the hard-working gingerbread makers” he says in Potholderz. Baking seems to be his true passion — and specifically, the baking found at your local gas station or bodega. But there’s a caveat: He has a tough anti-cracker policy: “Don’t mess with the Ritz Bitz, Wheat Thins, Saltines, Triscuits/ Matzos and Cheez-its.” Nay, these are the carbs that make MF Doom happy:

1. Chips Ahoy (Double Chocolate Chunk) 2. Famous Amos 3. Twenty-five-cent aatmeal cookies 4. “Even the Oreo (No matter what the weather)/ Always kept dipped in milk and stuck together”

Got any favorite culinary tips from rap lyrics? Leave ’em in the comments!