Hip-hop and barbecue have a long, storied history together. Massive New York City block parties were at the center of the genre’s early growth, while some of the West Coast’s most notable music videos have taken place around a public park grill. The two are inseparable, making BBQ as integral to hip-hop culture as dookie chains and adidas Superstars. So, we’ve studied several rhyming experts to determine the secrets to throwing an epic cookout. These emcees have not only dropped ‘cue-inspired lyrics, but they have also set the example for how to get the most out of your gathering.
From underrated chicken parts, to the summertime anthems that should grace any BBQ soundtrack, follow these rap-inspired tips to achieve barbecue greatness.
Grilling meats? Don’t be afraid to throw them right onto the f*cking fire.
As part of his travels for F*ck, That’s Delicious, Action Bronson travels to Cape Town, where he comes across local barbecue institution Mzoli’s. While there, Bronson has an epiphany: “You take the meats [you pick at Mzoli’s]… you bring it back into this place where a man is standing in front of an entire, humungous pit with fire, coal, whatever, wood—[and he] throws the f*cking meat right on it.” The joyous look on Bronson’s face indicates the Queens rapper left the establishment more than satisfied. Skip to the five-and-a-half-minute mark to hear all about it.
Wings and breasts are great, but don’t underestimate the power of thighs.
Earlier this year, Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul gave us some powerful grilling tips that are just as relevant now as they were during the Super Bowl. When the subject of chicken came up, he directed us to look to an underutilized part of the bird: the thighs: “I love chicken thighs because they stay juicier than chicken breasts and they’re WAY cheaper,” Paul said. Better take him at his word.
The trillest steaks have two layers of seasoning.
Recently, Bun B assisted a Houston news crew in preparing the perfect steak in anticipation of the Rodeo Houston BBQ cook-off. The Texas emcee was just the man to do the instructing, as Bun’s a noted and knowledgeable gourmand. On the subject of steaks, he drops a strategy all chefs—amateur and pro alike—should take to heart: “We’ve got to put two sets of seasoning on: first, we’ve got to put the pre-seasoning—that’s to make sure the steak is going to cook up good and make sure the seasoning’s going to go inside of the meat—and then we hit it with that real rub, right? That real heat and seasoning.” (Photo: Flickr)
Don’t hate on veggies.
In addition to professing his love for thighs, DJ Paul also sticks up for ‘cue’s often under-recognized—and frequently hated—dish: vegetables. While your aunt’s soggy, struggle corn-on-the-cob comes to mind when you think about veggies at a cook-out, Paul reminds us that there’s potential for greatness. “You got to have vegetables—vegetables on the grill are better than anything,” he says enthusiastically. After seeing this recipe, we believe him.
Get creative. Don’t be afraid to throw in everything plus the kitchen sink.
Trick Daddy has been one of hip-hop’s best cooks for a while. The Miami native regularly uploads both videos and pictures that demonstrate his soul-food skills and hilarious kitchen banter. In the below video, Mr. Slip-N-Slide shows that you can throw damn-near everything in your kitchen into one, giant baked-bean casserole and it’ll come out tasty.
Remember: Every occasion needs the perfect beverage.
Killer Mike—in between speaking out on social issues and heading rap’s most powerful duo, Run The Jewels—spoke with us last year about champagne culture in the South. The Atlanta emcee detailed how he discovered his preferred bubbly, Moët-Chandon, and where he and his friends eventually got the beverage to catch on: “So at 16, 17 years old… we’re buying Moët in the club. And then we started buying it at the liquor store by the case and we started popping it off at barbecues. Eventually, the whole neighborhood was on it.” You should probably heed his advice and do the same—even if your chosen champagne isn’t on Moët’s level. (Photo: Flickr)
The soundtrack is absolutely crucial to an enjoyable barbecue.
Los Angeles hip-hop has embraced barbecue culture for a long time. Nipsey Hussle schooled us on the finer points of L.A. hip-hop barbecue, noting that no soundtrack is complete without one essential SoCal anthem: “[The Dove Shack’s “Summertime in the L.B.C.”] was one of the biggest records in L.A. That’s classic shit. It’s a picnic anthem. You probably wouldn’t have even heard of it if you weren’t in L.A. It’s just classic barbecue, L.A. picnic music.”
Of course, never forget the most important maxim: Make sure your cookout is one for the ages.
This goes without saying: Make your barbecue the biggest celebration your block or neighborhood has seen in recent memory. Ensure that everyone leaves with a lasting impression of your festivities, much like anyone who heard an 18-year-old Nas on “Live At The BBQ” knew the Queens, New York, rapper was destined for greatness.