Recently, the worlds of rap classics and children's literature collided with the online release of "Regulate: the Children's Book." The debut project of the "HipHopChildrensBooks" Tumblr, it's the brainchild of rapper and Soulcrate Music member Wes Eisenhauer who brought Warren G and Nate Dogg's storybook-style rhyme slingin' into the style of an actual storybook, thanks to artist Mark Wagner. Inspired by this innovation, which can be read for free here, we at the Weekly came up with five rap songs we also hope get the children's book treatment.
Eric B. and Rakim – "Paid in Full"
Many consider Rakim to be the single greatest rap artist of all time. Anyone who doesn't simply considers him the second or third best, and anyone ranking him lower than that doesn't exist. Naturally, his work would be a great way to introduce kids to hip-hop. "Paid in Full" with its strong single-verse and excellent message about the merits of hard work should be a part of every young person's upbringing.
De La Soul – "I Am, I Be"
Posdnuos' opening verse on De La Soul's "I Am, I Be" is a landmark goosebump-inducing autobiographical masterpiece whose lush descriptions and emotive wordplay is ideal for creating strong images. A mature look back at one's life, it's the type of honor-shaping mental strengthening great kids stories are made of.
Lil Wayne – "Alphabet Bitches"
In the mid-2000s, Lil Wayne's non-stop flood of material included a handful of remakes of regional New Orleans classics. One of which, PxMxWx's "Alphabet Bitches" was a particularly welcome reboot. Combining the proud tradition of Too $hort's fornication-filled forays with the fun of alphabetical orders, "Alphabet Bitches" is an absolute blast. Due to the graphic nature, we'd classify it for young adults.
Souls of Mischief – "Cab Fare"
While composer Bob James never cleared Hieroglyphics members Souls of Mischief's usage of his classic "Angela" (the theme from TV's "Taxi") for their early-90s demo "Cabfare," citing how cartoonish the sample sounded, we at the Weekly have always found it fun and perfect for a children's book. The different perspectives and questions of morality that arise from the different personalities driving different taxis teaches an interesting examination of how the same profession can create different experiences.
Geto Boys – "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me"
When the Geto Boys consisted of Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill, the rap world had three of the most distinct narrative voices under one banner. Their biggest hit, "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me" accentuated this skill perfectly as, over a loop from an Isaac Hayes score, the three weaved poignant and potent visuals through their verses. From the four-cornered room with candles to the blind, crippled and crazy senior citizens, it's one of the most visual moments of a purely aural medium and ripe for maybe even a pop-up book.