Hip-Hop Saved My Life
Lyrics Lupe Fiasco

Featuring: Nikki Jean

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[Intro]
Dedicate, dedicate
This one right here goes out
To my homie with the dream, nah mean?

[Verse 1]
He said: "I write what I see
Write to make it right, don't like where I be
I'd like to make it like the sights on TV
Quite the great life, so nice and easy"
See: now you can still die from that
But it's better than not being alive from straps
Agreed, a Mead notebook and a Bic
That click when it's pushed and a wack-ass beat
That's a track that's weak that he got last week
Cause everybody in the stu' was like: "That's that heat!"
A bass-heavy medley with a sample from the 70s
With a screwed-up hook that went "stack that cheese"
Something something something, "stack that cheese"
Mother, sister, cousin, "stack that cheese"
He couldn't think of nothin', "stack that cheese"
He turns down the beat, writer's block impedes
Crying from the next room, a baby in need
Of some Pampers and some food and place to sleep
That - plus a black Cadillac on Ds
Is what keep him on track to be a great MC

[Hook: Nikki Jean (2x)]
One you never heard of, I
Push it hard to further the
Grind, might feel like murder, but
Hip-Hop you saved my life

[Verse 2]
Reps North-side, so he rocks them braids
1100 friends on his Myspace page
"Stack That Cheese" got 700 plays
Producer made him take it down, said he had to pay
Open mic champ 2 weeks in a row
Ex d-Boy with a b-boy flow
Glow like Leroy, you should see the boy go
Got a daddy serving life and a brother on the Row
Best homie in the grave, tatted up while in the cage
Minute Maid got his momma working like a slave
Down baby-momma, who he really had to honor
Cause she was his biggest fan, even let him use her Honda to
Drive up to Dallas, went to open up for amateurs
Let him keep a debit card so he could put gas in it
Told her when he get on he gon' take her to the Galleria
And buy everything but the mannequins, ya dig?

[Hook: Nikki Jean (2x)]
One you never heard of, I
Push it hard to further the
Grind, might feel like murder, but
Hip-Hop you saved my life

[Verse 3]
His man called, said: "your time might be now
They played your freestyle over 'Wipe Me Down'
They played it 2 times, say it might be crowned
As the best thing out the H-town in a while"
He picked up his son with a great big smile
Rapped every single word to the newborn child
Then he put him down and went back to the kitchen
And put on another beat and got back to the mission of
Get his momma out the hood, put her somewhere in the woods
Keep his lady looking good, have her rolling like she should
Show his homies there's a way other than that flippin' yay
Bail his homie out of jail, put a lawyer on his case
Throw a concert for the school, show the children that it's cool
Throw some candy on the Caddy, chuck the deuce and act a fool
Man it feels good, when it happens like that
Two days from going back to selling crack, yessir

[Hook: Nikki Jean (2x)]
One you never heard of, I
Push it hard to further the
Grind, might feel like murder, but
Hip-Hop you saved my life

Hip-Hop has saved my life [x4]

Song facts

This is a heartfelt song that tells the story of an underground rap artist, his personal problems, and his struggle and desire to achieve success. It was revealed on MTV that the song was based on rapper Slim Thug's career but as well dedicated to Bun B.

"With 'Hip-Hop Saved My Life,' I attempted to make 'Kick, Push,' but for rappers," he explained to MTV Base. "To give a real basic play-by-play of the life of a rapper before he makes it — if he ever makes it, because you can get stuck in that and be trying to make it for the rest of your life."

The genesis of the track came when the Chicago lyricist went to Houston for a show. The rapper said the town was "spaced-out," in terms of the distance between things, and it gave the city a feel as if there wasn't much to do. So UGK legend Bun B picked up Lupe and led him on a tour of H-Town.

"He had his wife Queenie with him, and I was just sitting back, soaking it all in, and I was just thinking, 'How can I pay Bun B back?' " Lupe recalled.

The result was "Hip-Hop Saved My Life." The track is a three-part narrative following a rapper putting together a track from scratch, going through the struggles of performing at open-mic sessions, then hearing a freestyle of his make it on the radio.

When Lupe filmed the video in Houston, Slim Thug — who makes a cameo in the clip — approached the MC and asked if the song was about him.

"My DJ first heard the record when Lupe's album came out," Slim Thug told MTV News. "I went on iTunes and bought it and was surprised it had a lot to do about me. I don't think it's entirely about me, but he took pieces of my hustle and put it in the song. We might not have the same type of rap style, but I respect him. I knew a lot of people that liked him when he first came out and checked him out, and he was jammin'. And anyone that's jammin' is all right with me. When he came to shoot the video, I got the call from Dr. Teeth, who directed it, and I was down. I brought some of my cars, you know, with the candy paint, and we did it."

"It is based on Slim Thug," Lupe revealed. "I was with him when we shot the video, and he was like, 'Yo, is this song about me?' I didn't know at the time, but there was a situation in Houston where they were trying to figure out who the song was about. Was it about Slim Thug? Was it about Chamillionaire? And it was about Slim Thug, but [then] I dedicated the song to Bun. I called him up and said, 'Yo, Bun, I've got a song for you, check it out,' and he was the first person to hear it. I sent it to him and he was like, 'Yo, it's all good.' "

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