Within the niche of hip-hop ad libs — those trademark phrases tossed out by your favorite rappers as delicious garnish to the surf and turf they’re serving you — there is an even smaller categorization: the rap laugh. For reasons we can certainly guess at (their wealth, their power, their ability to rhyme words very well), rappers love breaking out in spontaneous, if often ominous, laughter. And while, like the mysteries of the Higgs boson, the question as to which MC laughs best might never be satisfactorily answered over the span of our lifetimes, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk it out. So now, as merely a humble, small addition to the fiery debate, we here at Grantland pay tribute to four rap-laugh titans: Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and Jadakiss. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
With all due respect to cackle pioneer Jadakiss, I strongly believe he was knocked off his throne when Young Jeezy officially burst onto the scene in 2005 with Thug Motivation 101: Let’s Get It. Jeezy’s simple but triumphant “ha-ha” giggle is great because it’s often an agent of happiness within lyrics that are anything but happy. This might just be me, but every time he does it, I imagine Jeezy throwing a pile of money in the air, à la LeBron and the pregame chalk, with the biggest smile on his round face.
Thug Motivation 101: “Hit the kitchen lights (lights), now it’s marble floors everywhere (HA HA)”
*Jeezy MTV Cribs Money Throw*
Standing Ovation: “Now I’m ya favorite rapper’s favorite rapper (aye). Now I’m ya favorite trapper’s favorite trapper (HA HA)”
*Jeezy “I’m Really Popular” Money Throw*
Hustlin’ (remix): “Two million records sold and I’m still talkin’ white shit (HA HA).”
*Jeezy Money (and/or cocaine) Throw*
Get Throwed: “Hit the brakes, hit the lights, and wow, there go them bricks (HA HA).”
My Hood: “Even when I’m on the road the gangstas stay in touch. Why you think they love me so much (HA HA)”
*Jeezy Money Throw, with cash landing in hoods across America*
I Luv It: “I ain’t want the four-door, I copped the motherfucking coupe (HA HA!)”
*Jeezy Car Dealership Money Throw*
I Luv It: “All the real niggas either dead or in jail. And if you’re looking for me homie, I’m in the A-T-L (HA HA)”
*Jeezy Not in Jail or Dead Money Throw*
Streets on Lock: “I was born in the Field, raised in Atlanta. Pop busted a nut here so I was made in Atlanta (HA HA)”
*Jeezy Potential Daddy Issues Money Throw*
At times, Jeezy’s laugh might be overshadowed by some of his other notable ad libs:
‘yurrrrrrn’ (car noise)
But none are more important than his laugh. At this point, it’s gone beyond an ad lib and is simply a lyric. It’s not an aside in a verse, it’s one of the most important parts of his songs. If you don’t believe it when Jeezy claims to be The Street Dream, just listen to him laugh. He most certainly is.
— Rembert Browne
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