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Desire Thompson

Lights, Camera, Action: 50 Most Memorable Celebrity Cameos In Music Videos

These stars make us miss creative music videos. 

The rollout of music has evolved over the years, but nothing beats a dope visual. After emotional and mind bending formats gave way to music videos in the 80s (thank you Michael Jackson), artists are almost challenged to match a stunning story to their tunes.

Take Kendrick Lamar’s recent video, “DNA.” Directed by Nabil Elderkin and The Little Homies, we meet Kung Fu Kenny, the rapper’s resilient persona directly inspired by Don Cheadle’s character in Rush Hour. The acclaimed actor also had a starring role in the video, with the two going round for round lyrically before he meets his demise. There’s a lot to process, but Cheadle’s presence adds star power and continues the blueprint for celebs stepping outside of their comfort zones.

There are plenty of acts that own the celeb-cameo schtick, like Jay Z, Kanye West and of course the late Michael Jackson, the creator of what many call “mini-movies.” Take a trip down memory lane with these standout cameos by our favorite actors, models and personalities that shined in front of the camera and over the baseline.

Let us know your favorite celeb cameos in the comment section below.

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50. Rihanna, “Paranoid” by Kanye West (2010)

A baby faced Rih dreams of revenge in this underrated avant-garde video.

49. Christopher Walken, "Weapon of Choice" by Fatboy Slim (2001)

Most importantly, the Grammy-winning track features vocals from the legendary Bootsy Collins.

48. Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson & Tiny Luster, “Remember The Time” by Michael Jackson (1992)

The song is also reportedly dedicated to the most glamorous celebrity of them all–Diana Ross.

47. Teyana Taylor, “Fade” by Kanye West (2016)

The video that launched a million revenge body goals.

46. Robin Williams, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1998)

The late comedian appeared in the video to the only a cappella song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

45. Rupert Grint, “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran (2011)

This was cute, in a single, white male kind of way.

44. Kim Kardashian, “Bound 2” by Kanye West (2013)

The visual proclamation to his wife spawned the hilarious parody by James Franco and Seth Rogen.

43. Nia Long, Tracee Ellis Ross and Pamela Anderson, “Touch The Sky” by Kanye West & Lupe Fiasco (2006)

Thanks to this cameo, “Nia Looooooong” might be the only way to say the actress' name these days.

42. Taraji P. Henson, Wood Harris, Bill Duke & Steve Harris, “Testify” by Common (2005)

Henson's performance left us wanting a full blown film from G.O.O.D. Music.

41. Kerry Washington, “Bad Habits” by Maxwell (2009)

Lust has never looked so good.

40. Jennifer Lopez in Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” (1993) and Puff Daddy’s “Been Around The World” ft. Mase (1997)

Back then, Jenny from the block was an ambitious dancer stealing scenes left and right.

39. Stacey Dash, “All Falls Down” by Kanye West (2003)

The political pundit was just one of many memorable cameos in Kanye’s video vault.

38. Zoe Kravitz, “I Know” by Jay Z (2008)

The actress takes on three different lost souls on the Pharrell-produced jam.

37. Shaq, “Vanilla Twilight” by Owl City (2010)

Yea, pretty random.

36.  LeBron James, “Death of Autotune” by Jay Z (2009) 

Directed by Anthony Mandler, the visual featured cameos from James and Harvey Keitel.

35. Tracy Morgan, “Notorious B.I.G.” by Notorious B.I.G. (1999)

Morgan provides the laughs in this classic video.

34. Kylie Jenner, “Come And See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR (2016)

Long story short, Party decided to see Kylie for once.

33 Kevin Hart, “Lean Back” by Fat Joe & Remy Ma (2004)

Hart helps remake the line from Biggie’s “One More Chance” video, which happens to have plenty of memorable music cameos.

32. Blac Chyna, “Rich $ex” by Future (2015)

This random cameo only boosted convos about Angela Kardashian.

31. Djimon Hounsou, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” by Janet Jackson (1990)

The then model was the apple of Janet’s eye in this black and white video.

29. Ben Affleck, “Jenny From The Block (Track Masters Remix)” by Jennifer Lopez (2002)

Then-husband Ben had no qualms about being the topic of her This Is Me...Then album or this super 2000s video.

28. John Legend, Anna Nicole Smith, Tracee Ellis Ross, Vida Guerra, GLC & Fonzworth Bentley, “The New Workout Plan” by Kanye West (2004)

Next to MJ, Kanye really enjoyed celeb cameos.

27. Danica Patrick & Dale Earnhardt, Jr., “Show Me What You Got” by Jay Z (2006)

Shot by director F. Gary Gray, the rapper paid homage to the James Bond films, GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and You Only Live Twice.

26. Scarlett Johansson, “What Goes Around...Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake (2006)

Ironically, the song was actually about a celebrity that Justin’s friend was dating.

25. Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls & Jourdan Dunn, “Yonce” by Beyonce (2014)

The new girls of fashion proved they can hang with King Bey in this two-minute clip.

24. Lauren London, “Frontin” by Pharrell feat. Jay Z (2003)

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Mimi Faust also makes a cameo alongside never-aging model Lanisha Cole.

23. Beyonce, “Happily Ever After” by Case (1999)

Bey was just 17-years-old when she played Case’s love interest in this 90s classic.  

22. Kid Cudi, “T.O.N.Y.” by Solange Knowles (2008)

Cudder got quite the surprise in this lovely jam.

21. Solange, “Ice Box” by Omarion (2009)

The same year, Solo played the love interest in Omari’s breakout hit.

20. Usher, “Naughty Girl” by Beyonce (2004)

In an alternate universe, these two would reign as King & Queen.

19. Lala Anthony, Missy Elliott, Toni Braxton, DMX, Lil Kim, Rosario Dawson, Tank, plus many more, “I Miss You” by Aaliyah (2002)

Baby girl’s closest friends and peers came together to honor the singer on her posthumous single.

18. Ciara, Kim Kardashian & Chrissy Teigen,  “MILF$” by Fergie (2016)

Fergie’s comeback game was heightened with a few of her famous friends.

17. Carmelo Anthony, “And I” by Ciara (2004)

Carmelo Anthony played the singer’s love interest from this Goodies cut.

16. Mekhi Phifer, “The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy & Monica (1998)

The ultimate lover's quarrel featured the young actor.

15. Amber Rose, “Massive Attack” by Nicki Minaj (2009)

This outrageous video had a little bit of everything, including a fresh faced Amber Rose.

14. Claudia Jordan, “I Wanna Know” by Joe (1999)

Another 90s jam with the reality star.

13. Bruce Willis, “Stylo” by Gorillaz (2015)

The action legend takes on the band in this suspense-filled video.

12 Kelly Rowland, “Baby By Me” by 50 Cent (2009)

Kelly was the girl of 50’s dreams.

11. Rita Ora, “Over” by Drake (2009) 

The singer was new to the Roc Nation family at the time this video dropped.

10. Trey Songz, “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” by Chris Brown (2004) 

VA boys gotta stick together.

9. Karrueche, “Paradise” by Cassie & Wiz Khalifa (2013)

Welp, who knew?

8. Mos Def in “You Don’t Know My Name” (2003), Method Man in “If I Ain’t Got You” (2003), Derek Luke in “Teenage Love Affair” and Chad Michael Murray in “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)" (2010) by Alicia Keys

Can your fave match the eye candy Alicia Keys had in her 2000s music videos? We think not.

7. Michael Jordan, “Slam” by Michael Jackson (1991)

Legend meets another legend.

6. Quincy and Kidada Jones, “Triumph” by Wu Tang Clan (1997)

The father and daughter make a cute cameo in the group's apocalyptic world.

5. Eva Longoria & Lisa Raye in “Unpredictable” (2006), Ron Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker & Samuel L. Jackson in "Blame It" ft. T. Pain (2009) by Jamie Foxx

Jamie brought out the heavy hitters for his music videos.

4. Shia LaBeouf, “Elastic Heart” by Sia (2013)

The actor pulled off an emotional performance in Sia's monster hit video.

3. T-Pain, Three 6 Mafia, DeRay Davis & Big Gipp, “International Player’s Anthem” by UGK feat. Outkast (2007) 

The memorable video was the last one Pimp C shot before his death in 2007.

2. Drake, “Epiphany” by Chrisette Michele (2009)

Odd, but fitting.

1. Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, Winnie Harlow, Queen of Creole Leah Chase, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown's mother, Lezley McSpadden, Ballerina Michaela DePrince, Quvenzhané Wallis, Blue Ivy, Jay Z, Chloe and Halle Bailey, twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi, Mama Tina, Richard Lawson, Jay Z’s grandmother Hattie White and Ava Clark, “Lemonade: The Visual Album” by Beyonce (2016)

The amount of black girl magic seen throughout the singer’s modern masterpiece truly gives us life.

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Solitary Alignment: 5 Self-Affirming Reads For Single Ladies On Valentine’s Day

Ahh, the Feast of Saint Valentine—the Hallmark holiday that strikes us with its arrow each year, for better or for worse, depending on your bae status. While the romantic holiday is adored and celebrated by many, if you’re still reeling over, say, your ex’s refusal to commit, chances are Feb. 14 is more of a heartache for you than anything.

But as a wise woman once said, “If they liked it then they should’ve put a ring on it.” So whether V-Day has you scared of lonely or sulking over a lost love, as another wise woman once said, they “would be SUPER lucky to even set eyes on you this Valentine’s Day. That’s it. That’s the gift.” Shout out to The Slumflower.

Sure, having a bae on Valentine’s Day is cool, but so is reminding yourself why you’re just fine without one (cue Webbie’s “Independent”). In fact, single folks have better relationships overall, according to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. You know how the old adage goes: love yourself before loving someone else.

For this Valentine’s Day, VIBE Vixen rounds up a nourishing list of books for our sisters doin’ it for themselves. Consider this your reminder of how badass you are—because you are! Oh, oh, oh. *Beyoncé voice*

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Young M.A. onstage during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 at Fillmore Miami Beach on October 6, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images for BET)
(Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images for BET)

Young M.A., Boogie And Summer Walker Make January's #MusicMonday List

Last year was vibrant and diverse with the number of memorable songs and albums that were released, and now, music fans are looking forward to seeing what 2019 has to offer. With this new series, #MusicMonday, the VIBE staff will be sharing our favorite songs released from the previous month. Below, see our standout songs released during January 2019.

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Young M.A., “Bake Freestyle”

Outside of R&B singers like Jacquees, it’s no longer the trend for artists to take on a well-known beat and make it their own anymore. But Brooklyn’s Young M.A. bodied the instrumental for Jay-Z’s “Dynasty (Intro)” in 2017, and she’s outdone herself with “Bake Freestyle,” her shot at The Neptunes’ iconic beat for the Clipse hit “Grindin’.”

Young M.A. weaves in, out and around of the table-pounding percussion with an acrobatic flow that differs from others who have tackled the beat in years past. Young M.A. is flexing talk of money, baddies, and guns as always, but the quotables are at one of the highest clips we’ve ever heard from her. “White car brown seats, look like a Henny Colada / Made the Audi matte black, license plate say Wakanda / My b*tch said she mad at me, I just bought her designer / And some 30-inch Brazilian, now she thinks she's Chewbacca.” The video is even better, showing a cocky, smirking Young M.A. walking around a fly crib with text and small animations acting as adlibs. “Was looking for a reason to even keep rapping, and finally I found one,” she says near the beginning of the song before pushing her foot on the pedal. That’s good news for rap fans. — William E. Ketchum III

Summer Walker, "Riot"

What initially started out as an Instagram post of Summer Walker crooning over an electric guitar has turned into the addictive lead track from her latest EP, CLEAR. While the song's name is the definition of anarchy, Walker's careful delivery of each word places her delicate yet piercing approach to singing on full display. The criminally short song not only leaves the listener yearning for more, but also the Atlanta native's need to satisfy her passion. "You said you want love, babe/ You said you can give it to me just how I, I yearn it/ And you think of roses and daisies/ And I think of passion and fire like Hades." It's the 2019 version of Melanie Fiona's fevered "Give It To Me Right" with lyrics that demand a love that's delivered on an orgasmic platter every single time the two bodies meet. — Camille Augustin

Boogie, “Skydive II”

Anthony “Boogie” Dixon—not to be confused with his sing-songy East Coast namesake, A Boogie wit da Hoodie—is easily one of the most promising penmen hip-hop has right now. From The Reach to Thirst 48, Pt. II right on up to his Shady Records debut, Everythings For Sale, the Compton torchbearer has been consistent in pairing potent, on-the-sleeve reflections with soulful melodies that seep deep into the skin. (He already told us that he’s got a soft spot for R&B.)

“Skydive II,” arguably one of the album’s most entrancing songs, is as much of a poster child for this musical marriage as any. For one, he taps 6lack to be a Frank Ocean plug-in of sorts (in the best way possible). The Atlanta singer’s trippy rap-sung intonations, akin to Mr. Breaux’s on Blonde’s “Nikes,” complement Boogie’s rugged tones. Alongside his decent crooning over airy background vocals, Boogie’s gentle pacing and bittersweet poetry about the fallout of a relationship puts him at eye-level with his listeners. “Mother of my skies, why you always gotta intervene?/Father of my Time, don’t you got some more to give to me? Anything?” Ever the thoughtful emcee, he’s unafraid to let the proverbial tears fall where they may. — Stacy-Ann Ellis

Lil Duval and Ty Dolla $ign, "Pull Up"

While his first hit single “Smile (Living My Best Life)” went further than expected by hitting the Billboard Hot 100, Lil Duval’s music career doesn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. While I’m not a fan of his by any means, I do have to say, his feel-good track is guaranteed to put me in a great mood. The infectious beat and the incredibly well-placed vocals of featured artist Ty Dolla $ign makes the intoxication of the nearly-four-minute song undeniable. It’s too early and (too brick outside) for a summer anthem, but had this dropped months from now, this could have been a front-runner. — J'Na Jefferson

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A Timeline Of J. Cole And Kanye West's Challenging Relationship

It's hard to label J. Cole and Kanye West's situation a beef. Traditionally, feuds in rap have always played towards one subject coming after the other, lyrically and later, physically. But Cole's observations of Kanye are kin to someone realizing their favorite auntie is lame and misguided. As a youth, you may have been inspired by her carefree disposition, only to realize her trips out of town were just to Virginia Beach and her fondest concert memories only include Summer Jam sets from 2004.

Kanye isn't that lame, but several of his anti-groupthink moves have only pushed him further into a shadow of the man we thought we knew. It's a challenging thought to someone like Cole, who like many, has been widely inspired by the super producer. It's a thought not lost on Cole with the release of "Middle Child." Cleverly released in the middle of the week, the Dreamville titan is confident in lyrical nature while sharing his perspective on an artist he once admired.

"Middle Child" is something of a declarative statement for Cole. As an older millennial, the rapper exists within a unique position on hip-hop's timeline. No longer a rookie but not enough stripes to be considered a veteran, Cole enjoys the space of being at the center of the genre's rich history.

But "Middle Child" isn't without a few rewind moments, including the potential digs at West.

"If I smoke a rapper, it’s gon' be legit/It won’t be for clout, it won’t be for fame/It won’t be ‘cause my sh*t ain’t sellin’ the same/It won’t be to sell you my latest lil' sneakers/It won’t be ‘cause some ni**a slid in my lane."

While it may seem like Cole has inserted himself into Drake's battle with West, Cole's observations of the super producer go back to the days when Twitter had a favorite button.

The stars would rightfully align with him signing with 'Ye's "big brother," Jay-Z under the Roc Nation umbrella. From there, Cole and Kanye's paths would cross musically but that didn't stop Cole from being a voice of the people several times about West's involuted career.

Enjoy a somewhat brief history of Cole and West's challenging relationship.

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Cole's Debut Mixtape The Come Up Features Freestyles Over Kanye-Produced Beats

In May 2007, Cole's introduction to the game came with help from his favorite producers. More than half of the mixtape was produced by the then 22-year-old with the others being his favorites from future collaborators like Salaam Remi and West. Four tracks (“School Daze,” “College Boy,” “The Come Up,” and “Homecoming") are beats produced by West.

Cole Features More Kanye-Produced Beats On The Warm Up

In June 2009, Cole's breakout tape The Warm Up birthed classic tracks like "Grown Simba" and "Lights Please" but it also continued his admiration for West with three interpolations: "Last Call" gives an ode to the Late Registration track of the same name, "Dollar And A Dream II" borrows a bar from "Can't Tell Me Nothing" while "Get By" and "Knock Knock" are West's productions for Talib Kweli and Monica, respectively.

Cole Signs To Jay-Z's Roc Nation

In addition to signing with Jay in the spring of 2009, Cole is featured on The Blueprint 3's prophecy track, "A Star is Born" produced by Kanye West. As the story goes, Cole attempted to hand Jay his CD by waiting outside of his studio. It took two years and a listen of "Lights Please" to convince Jay to sign Cole. With the help of  Mark Pitts, now President of Urban Music at RCA Records, Cole's life changed for the better.

"I get a get a call from Mark Pitts and he’s like, 'Yo ni**a, Jay just hit me. He said he got something big for you.' I was like, 'Oh sh*t, what you mean?' He said, 'He got this Kanye track… something about a star is born…some sh*t about a star.' I thought, from his explanation, because you can tell he wasn’t too clear on it, I thought Jay just had a joint for me," he recalled to Complex in 2009. "I thought it would be mine, and I was on some sh*t like, 'Ahhh, I don’t like being told ‘get on this’ or whatever. But I’m like, 'Damn!'"

Cole Has The Breakout Verse On G.O.O.D Friday's Cut, "Looking For Trouble"

The concept of G.O.O.D. Fridays in Nov. 2010 is something I can't wait to share with my future spawn. The brilliant tactic to release master collaborations every Friday to coincide with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy included many heavyweights like Yasiin Bey, Lupe Fiasco and Cam'ron, but it was rookies like Big Sean, Teyana Taylor, CyHi The Prynce and Cole that would shine the brightest.

Cole, in particular, would own his verse on "Looking For Trouble," a posse cut with Pusha T, CyHi The Prynce, and Big Sean. The song was such a fave Cole included it as a bonus track on Friday Night Lights, his follow up to The Warm Up.

J. Cole Reacts To Kanye West Comparisons

While promoting his debut studio album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, from 2010 to 2011, Cole would go on to big up Kanye. Speaking with Karmaloop in 2010, the rapper reacted to the comparisons.

“If it feels like that, then that’s great. I would love to be as successful as he has been, putting out hits and making hits consistently that still represent him. All his hits, you would never look at him like, ‘Aw, why you make that?’ It all felt like Kanye West, which is dope.”

He also expressed how he wanted to work on a joint project with West.

“I’m such a Kanye West fan,” Cole told Vulture. “I would love to work with him on a major scale. Not just a song here or a song there I would love to do something extraordinary with him, but I feel like I gotta step my game up and kind of earn my spot before I can worry about that.”

A year before, Cole would continue to pay homage with his verse on Young Chris' "Still The Hottest."

Uhh, what if somebody from the ville that was ill Got a deal on the hottest rap label around But he wasn’t talkin bout coke and birds It was more like spoken word Can’t you see I’m putting it down

Cole's Debut Single "Work Out" Includes A Sample Of 'Ye's "The New Workout Plan" J. Cole - Work Out from the ghettonerd co. on Vimeo.

Keeping it in the family, the Roc lineage continued on Cole World with Cole sampling West's "The New Workout Plan" for "Work Out," his official debut single in June 2011. The track hit platinum status and peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard charts in 2012.

Cole Switches Release Date For Born Sinner To Compete With Yeezus 

Speaking on MTV's now-defunct RapFix Live, Cole explained his decision to move his release date for Born Sinner to directly compete with Yeezus in May 2013.

"This is art, and I can't compete against the Kanye West celebrity and the status that he's earned just from being a genius," Cole said. "But I can put my name in the hat and tell you that I think my album is great and you be the judge and you decide."

In addition to outselling West, "Forbidden Fruit" also included the first of many digs to the producer.

When I say that I’m the greatest I ain’t talking about later I'mma drop the album same day as Kanye Just to show the Boyz the man now like Wanyá And I don’t mean no disrespect, I praise legends But this what’s next

Kanye And Cole Work On Unreleased Music Together 

From 2015 to 2016, Genius points out the two finally began working side by side on music...for other artists. The two shared co-producer credits on Pusha T’s King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude track “M.P.A.” Pigeons And Planes reported the two also worked on Yasiin Bey's final album in 2016 including a track titled "Assalamualaikum." Sadly, we haven't heard much about the album or track since.

Cole Releases "False Prophets" With Thoughts On Kanye And Wale

Before the release of 4 Your Eyez Only in 2016, Cole released the mini-documentary Eyez with two tracks, "False Prophets (Be Like This)" and "Everybody Dies" in Dec. 2016. The former would go on to highlight two important people in his life — Wale and Kanye West.

While Wale and Cole have remained friends (Wale released a response titled "Groundhound Day"), West remained quiet.

Kanye Tells Charlamagne Cole Is Always Dissing Him

Charlamagne made the claim during an April 2018 episode of  "The Breakfast Club" citing "False Prophets" as a reference to possible jabs. "He said he feels like J. Cole is always dissing him in records," Charlamagne said. He also pointed to specific lyrics on Cole's 2014 song "No Role Modelz," in which he rapped: "Now all I’m left with is ho*s from reality shows / Hand her a script, the b***h probably couldn’t read along." Charlamagne said Yeezy thinks it was a reference to his wife Kim Kardashian.

"Who else out here is in love with people from reality shows like me," Kanye allegedly questioned, according to the show host. As previously reported, despite feeling subliminally attacked by J. Cole, Charlamagne asserts that Kanye isn't taking it too hard.

"[Kanye] didn’t say it in a malice way at all, he was laughing about it."

Kanye Screenshots And Tweets Personal Conversation With Cole

Days before Kanye boasted that "slavery was a choice" in May of 2018, he released a stream of consciousness on Twitter that also included a phone conversation with J. Cole. “I’m posting this but not as a diss to J. Cole. I love J. Cole,” Kanye tweeted.

Cole Felt Used By Kanye West After His Phone Call Was Leaked On Twitter

After finding out their conversation didn't stay private, as Kanye screenshot the call and uploaded it on Twitter, Cole expressed to Angie Martinez his disappointment in Kanye. "He called me, but I would've never posted that or tell him to post that," he said.

"That made me feel a certain type of way. I told him that. He apologized, for the record. I told him that it felt like you just used my name in that very quick conversation for social media and to keep your thing going or whatever you were doing. It felt like it wasn't sincere because of that."

Cole's Video For "Work Out" Is Wiped From YouTube

Weirdly, the popular video for "Work Out" is removed from J. Cole's VEVO page over a copyright issue, possibly in November of last year. A raw unedited version of an alternate video is now the only visual on the platform. The alternate video features Cole in a club setting and was uploaded in 2011.

Cole Releases "Middle Child," Comments On Kanye's Feud With Drake

Reuniting with Elite nine years after creating "Who Dat," Cole revises his spirited lyrical banter while addressing his views on Kanye's feud with friend and collaborator Drake.

But I'd never beef with a ni**a for nothin' If I smoke a rapper, it's gon' be legit It won't be for clout, it won't be for fame It won't be 'cause my sh*t ain't sellin' the same It won't be to sell you my latest lil' sneakers It won't be 'cause some n***a slid in my lane

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