By Jennifer Swann
In Macklemore's forthcoming single, "Can't Hold Us," he raps, "Nah they can't tell me nothing," thus continuing a long line of rappers to whom one can not tell nothing.
It makes one wonder: Why are people always trying to tell rappers something? Why do the rappers refuse to listen? Why all the double negatives? To find out, we embarked on an important anthropological study, which also took us to the world of country music.
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10) The Alkaholics "Can't Tell Me Shit" It all started with '90s L.A. hip-hop duo The Alkaholiks, who once toured with Ice Cube and Too Short, but have since merged with New York rap crew The Beatnuts to form a mega-group called - wait for it -- Liknuts. (Rest assured, the merge hasn't changed their affinity for album art featuring 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor.) Here's their 1993 single, "Can't Tell Me Shit," featuring the lyrics: "You can't tell me shit / You can't tell me a hot damn thing / You can't tell me shit / You can't tell me shit."
9) Celly Cel "Can't Tell Me Shit" In 1996, Vallejo, Calif. gangsta rapper Celly Cel released the gem, "Can't Tell Me Shit" on his second album, Killa Kali. We won't spoil the chorus for you, but we will give you a hint: It involves the not telling of anything to someone.
8) Dizzee Rascal "U Can't Tell Me Nuffin" Fast forward to 2007. London-born rapper Dizzee Rascal gave the refrain a new tune -- and a new spelling -- with his single "U Can't Tell Me Nuffin.'" Clever!
7) Haystak "Can't Tell Me Nothing" Circa 2000, Southern rapper Haystak was jumping on the can't tell me nothing bandwagon -- er, tractor? -- with this single, which we commend for its clarity in spelling, and for explaining specifically what you can't tell him nothing about: caskets, hard times, nickels and dimes, being confined and doing time. Noted.
6) Honey Cocaine "Yo Own Thang" Seattle rapper Honey Cocaine made headlines in early January when her ex-boyfriend, rapper Freddy E, killed himself and tweeted the events leading up to his death. In her song "Yo Own Thang," Honey Cocaine addresses her haters in the first line: "Can't tell me shit, cause I don't care bitch."
5) Chris Brown "Oh Yeah!" Chris Brown sings the line "your friends, can't tell me nothing" twice in his 2012 single "Oh Yeah!" That's an awful lot of times for a song whose lyrics mostly consist of the words "oh yeah, oh yeah." The rest of the lyrics are pretty lame, but don't try telling Chris Brown that. You can't.
4) Rihanna "Numb" You can't tell Rihanna, though, even less than you can't not tell Chris Brown nothing. (Or something.) In "Numb," her recent collaboration with Eminem, the first slowed-down, auto-tuned words out of her mouth are "I don't care, can't tell me nothing."*
3) Travis Tritt / Tim McGraw "Can't Tell Me Nothing" Back in 2002, when country singer Travis Tritt was rocking a mullet and fixing up his 1986 Harley, you couldn't tell him nothin' about nothin' (especially if it was about how drinking and smoking will kill you.) Tritt's anthem was so popular that it was re-recorded and released by Tim McGraw four years later. But like Tritt says, "talk is cheap and free advice / is worth the price you pay." So don't tell him nothing.
2) Nikki Minaj "Beez in the Trap" If there's one thing we've learned about the alter-egoed rapper behind songs like "Stupid Hoe" and "Super Bass," it's that "bitches ain't shit, and they ain't sayin' nuthin.'" OK, we still don't know what that means, and frankly she shouldn't try to tell us because she can't tell us nuthin neither.
1) Kanye West "Can't Tell Me Nothing" The Tell-Nothing King himself Kanye West tops our list for his 2007 sing-along, "Can't Tell Me Nothing." There's a bit of a twist, though: Uncertainty. "Then you can't tell me nothing, right?" he asks. But if there was doubt he quickly sets the record straight: "Uh uh, you can't tell me nothing."
*Fun fact: Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing" lyric "let the champagne smash / let that man get cash" is sampled in Rihanna's "Numb," #4 on this list.
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