Skillz Raps Up Hip-Hop’s Golden Age With A Tribute To H.E.R.

For over 20 years, MC/DJ/academic Skillz helped Hip-Hop process its yearly legacy through his Rap Up verses, which typically arrive in late December or early January. In a milestone year, Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary, the Richmond, Virginia veteran takes it a step further, with a song produced by The Roots.

Skillz makes a fun tribute to the symbolic women referenced in Hip-Hop songs through titles and lyrics. “Golden Girls” honors H.E.R. Shaquan Lewis claims he’s written a song that weaves “every female name ever” into one nostalgia-focused track.

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It all started with ‘Bonita’ / That ‘Applebum’ was a teaser / And then she got cold like a freezer / Caught me sharing a slice of pizza with Mona Lisa,” he begins, referencing classics from A Tribe Called Quest and Slick Rick. “Dear Yvette, she a cheater / Gotta treat her like a prostitute and don’t believe her.” He moves to songs by Stetsasonic, Bad Boys, and Public Enemy, while the beat nods to JAY-Z.


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The second verse taps into Lost Boyz, OutKast, and a second nod to LL Cool J. He also uses the concept of “Sally” to weave together Diamond D, Snoop Dogg, and Daddy-O all in one place. Skillz ties in more lyrics by Snoop and LL with Tupac and Rakim.

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The visual references the cues, with lyrics provided. Skillz wears a hat that honors Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Lauryn Hill. From Jaz-O and JAY-Z’s “Hawaiian Sophie,” to Just-Ice’s “Latoya,” to De La Soul’s “Jennifa Taught Me,” to U.T.F.O’s “Roxanne, Roxanne,” to Run-D.M.C.’s “Mary, Mary,” it’s all there—emphasizing Skillz’ point.

Five years ago, Skillz released DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince-inspired I’m The DJ…And The Rapper.