BY SELENE SAN FELICE
In hip-hop, good food signifies the wealth of an OG just as much strippers, watches, weed and money stacks. As Childish Gambino puts it, “Breakfast, lunch and dinner’s for beginners you ain’t even know…Are you eatin tho?” In 1979, Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the first real rap song to launch the genre, and with it came over 30 lines of references to hot buttered popcorn, toast, OJ, collard greens, chicken, peas and cheese. In February, Beyonce brought on a surge in Red Lobster sales with her “Formation” lyrics that also included references to cornbread, collard greens and “hot sauce in my bag, swag.” We’ve compiled some of the best songs to bump in the kitchen and paired them with recipes that would make Rick Ross go “UUUOOGGH.”
Schoolboy Q’s “Collard Greens”
1 Package of Collard Greens
Cooked ham or bacon (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
One onion, chopped
While collard greens are staple of rap culture, as mentioned by Sugar Hill Gang, Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane and many more, Schoolboy Q hints at a different type of green with this reference. These greens might not get you high, but they’re still pretty damn good.
Start by washing one to two pounds of the collard green leaves and removing the stems and centers. Chop the leaves into one inch strips and boil in a pot of water for 15 minutes, then strain and squeeze out excess water. If you don’t mind meat and want a little smoky, savory flavor, sauté and crumble bacon or chopped ham in a separate pan with butter. Throw in two minced garlic cloves and one chopped onion, and after a few minutes add in the greens. Sauté for around 5 minutes, or until everything is hot. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice or red pepper flakes.
Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry” Brie Bites
1 Box of Puff Pastry Shells or Cups
1 Wheel or Triangle of Brie Cheese
Blackberry Jam (or the flavor of your choice)
This song, and really all of Kendrick’s album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), highlights the turmoil of racial injustice today. Unlike most of the U.S., the recipe doesn’t discriminate. You’ll need Puff Pastry Cups, or for a larger serving, try Puff Pastry Shells. Bake them according to instructions on the box, and in the meantime take a wheel or triangle of brie and cut it into half inch cubes. Once the cups or shells are ready, fill them with chunks of brie (cups can fit one or two, but shells can handle three or four). Pop them in the oven for a few more minutes to melt the cheese. Once their out, let them cool and top each with a dollop of blackberry jam.
Action Bronson’s “Brunch”
Half an english muffin
New Yorker Action Bronson gave up his career as a chef to become a rapper, but his love for food still shows in his lyrics. His songs like “Jerk Chicken,” “Ceviche” and “Brunch” have kept heads bobbing and mouths watering, and he runs a culinary video series for Vice called “Fuck, That’s Delicious.”
For Bronson’s Brunch, nothing could be better than a perfectly poached egg. Notoriously hard to make, these are usually left to fancy restaurant chefs who will over-price them when they know you’re desperate for a benedict. Thankfully, even brunch can be hip-hop-hacked. Line a small bowl or cup with plastic wrap and grease with a few drops of olive oil. Add herbs or seasonings to this if you’d like, then crack an egg into it. Tie the plastic wrap into a knot above the egg, so it sits in a little pouch. Boil a pot of water, take it off the heat and drop in the egg-pouch. In a few minutes take the egg out, cut off the knot and unwrap it for a perfectly runny yolk. According to Food Network chef, Jamie Oliver, this is the best trick for poaching multiple eggs at a time. Serve over an english muffin and top with Chance the Rapper’s Sunday Candied Bacon (below). To quote Bronson’s 2011 mixtape, “Bon Appetit…Bitch!!!!!”
Chance the Rapper’s “Sunday Candy”-d Bacon
Combined with “Brunch,” this might be the hottest Action Bronson/Chance the Rapper collaboration since Bronson’s feature on Acid Rap and Chance’s verse on “Baby Blue.” Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Lay out strips of bacon on the sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of pepper and plenty of brown sugar. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the bacon is as crisp and sweet as you like. And that’s it. Easy like Sunday morning.
OverDoz’s “Killer Tofu”
1 Package of Tofu
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
1.5 Tbs Mirin
Half a cup of Dashi
Ginger, daikon (white radish) and sliced green onions (for topping)
Named after the band from the ‘90s Nickelodeon show, Doug, “Killer Tofu” is one of many songs you don’t want to miss from this somehow still underground LA rap foursome. Something else you shouldn’t be missing out on: the culinary wonder that is agedashi tofu. Usually served as a classic appetiser in japanese restaurants, this tofu treat is surprisingly easy to fry up. No need to go out or get it delivered soggy.
Cut a package of tofu (4 to 6 oz) into 6 cubes and drain on paper towels for at least 30 minutes. Make sure you don’t cut the cubes too small or buy pre-cubed tofu–you’ll end up with hard, crunchy dog food. While the tofu dries, mix two tablespoons of soy sauce with 1.5 tablespoons of mirin (or rice vinegar with 1.25 teaspoons of sugar) and half a cup of dashi (or beef or vegetable broth). Boil the sauce in a pan and return to the tofu. Sprinkle the tofu slices with cornstarch and heat oil in a frying pan to 355 degrees fahrenheit. Slide the tofu blocks into the hot oil one at a time. If you plop them in all at once you’ll splatter hot oil and cool it down too quickly. In that case, as Overdoz raps, “Dude, you really f*ckin’ up.” Fry until cubes are golden on each side, drain on paper towels and serve. Pour over the sauce and top with ginger, daikon (white radish) and sliced green onions.
Selene San Felice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org