These days, many rappers rightfully hold Black Thought as the pinnacle of lyrical greatness. And while it's rare to see an emcee capable of going toe-to-toe with the legendary Roots frontman, Big Pun did exactly that back in 1998 on his Capital Punishment standout "Super Lyrical." Given that yesterday marked the twenty-first anniversary of Pun's death, it feels appropriate to highlight one of his crowning moments, a duet that still pleases hip-hop heads to this day.
As the title might suggest, Pun and Thought spend the majority of the three-and-a-half-minute cut firing off nonstop bars, with the former showcasing some of the most effortless multisyllabic rhyming the game has ever seen; unsurprising, given that this is the mind behind "dead in the middle of Little Italy." "The savage, the strong, The marriage and bond of havoc and song," he spits, vivid in his linguistics. "This massacre's on as if Picasso laced you / There's lots of hateful skeletons locked in the closet of my castle of Grayskull."
Never one to be outdone, Black Thought rises to the occasion with a bout of decisive rhyming, proving the true malleability of words. "Newfound ways of ripping shit up, I develop, Your squad chest swell up, still you're miniature to me," he raps. "Naturally I bring the extremity." With the final verse reserved for some back-and-forth spitting, "Super Lyrical" deserves a special place in the history books as an equally-matched duet. Rest in peace to Big Punisher -- may his spirit live on through his incredible penmanship.
Ayo, peace Roots, East Coast ni*gas reppin' the streets most
With heat, toast, and keep close more Phillies than Pete Rose
These those ni*gas that'll lift your mentals
Lyrics'll twist your temples into pretzels
Like the Triumph instrumental