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Six examples after the jump.
The first 50 or so times I heard Biggie's "Ten Crack Commandments" I took it at face value as a how-to guide for aspiring career drug slingers. Eventually, though, I finally heard it for what it is: a list of ways things can go very wrong very fast for someone living on the corner, with the strong suggestion that the complete list is much, much longer.
Pusha-T and Malice are notorious for their single-minded focus on rapping about the cocaine trade, but they never shy away from acknowledging not only the negative effects that it has on innocent bystanders in the community but also the psychic damage that a dealer with even the barest shred of humanity endures.
Anyone can write lyrics about doing dirt, but few performers project the dead-eyed glare of a street-level sociopath the way that Prodigy and Havoc of Mobb Deep did at the beginning of their career. "Cradle to the Grave" portrays criminals driven by a powerful nihilistic urge mixed with an overwhelming fear of the other guys out there who are just like them.
If you walk away from Freddie Gibbs's "Thuggin" video amped to get into a life of crime, you probably felt the same way after watching The Wire, which makes you either a total psycho or a complete idiot.
Ghostface Killah has a million and a half songs about making and selling crack—including "Kilo," which is probably the most cheerful drug-slinging song of all time—but his portrayal of it as an endless series of hassles overlaid with an acute knowledge of how things end for the average dealer makes it less than effective as propaganda.
Everyone I asked for suggestions for this list said "something by O.D.B." Apparently he's as widely known as a symbol for the human cost of the crack epidemic as he is for being one of the most unique rappers of all time, which is just fucking grim.