By Chris Yuscavage
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day may only come around once every year, but that doesn't mean that our favorite MCs haven't done their part to keep the Civil Rights leader's name alive in their rhymes everyday. And while we'll be the first to admit that not every MLK reference is designed to help spread his original message — hey, sometimes a hot punchline is just a hot punchline, right? — there are a handful of rappers that have used Dr. King's name in their lyrics over the years.
So in honor of the 26th annual MLK, Jr. Day, RapFix gathered a bunch of our favorite MLK rap references to offer up a 21-quote salute to the man that single-handedly helped change the face of America. More than 40 years after his tragic death, Dr. King's name still rings bells.
The Source: Lil Wayne on "Playing With Fire"
The Lyric: "Assassinate me, bitch, 'cause I'm doing the same sh-- that Martin Luther King did/ Checkin' in the same hotel in the same suite, bitch"
The Source: Common on "I Have A Dream"
The Lyric: "Hold the same fight that made Martin Luther the king, I ain't usin' it for the right thing"
The Source: Jay-Z on "What We Talkin' About"
The Lyric: "And now that that's that, let's talk about the future/ We have just seen the dream as predicted by Martin Luther"
The Source: Black Thought during a 2009 BET Awards Cypher
The Lyric: "See, my eyes focused where the prize be/ I'm like Martin Luther King, you like Rodney"
The Source: 50 Cent on "Cocaine Dreams"
The Lyric: "Let's toast and have a sex on the beach/ These n---as quotin' my lines like a Martin Luther King speech"
The Source: Drake on "Uptown"
The Lyric: "Now she's famous and the paparazzi starts to shoot her/ I drop two black cars, I named 'em Malcolm X and Martin Luther"
The Source: Erick Sermon on "Erick Sermon"
The Lyric: "I have a dream like Martin Luther King/ That one day, yo, I can do away with the pitiful and critical wack MCs"
The Source: Snoop Dogg on "Gangbangin' 101"
The Lyric: "I'm Dr. Martin Luther King with two guns on/ Huey P. Newton with Air Force Ones on"
The Source: Big Daddy Kane on "I Get The Job Done"
The Lyric: "Like Martin Luther King, I shall overcome/I get the job done"
The Source: Young Jeezy on "My President"
The Lyric: "We ready for damn change so y'all let the man shine/ Stuntin' on Martin Luther, feelin' just like a king"
The Source: Lupe Fiasco on "BMF (Building Minds Faster)"
The Lyric: "I think I'm Malcolm X, Martin Luther/ Add a King, add a Junior"
The Lyric: "Like Martin Luther King, I will do my thing/I'll say it in a rap 'cause I do not sing"
The Source: Ludacris on "Do Your Time"
The Lyric: "I'd dream that I could tell Martin Luther we made it/ But half of my black brothers are still incarcerated"
The Lyric: "Martin Luther, the martyr, the trooper, hate killed him/Noble Peace Prize winner, they duplicate your feeling"
The Source: Meek Mill on "Make 'Em Say"
The Lyric: "Before I met Tip, I was a king, Martin Luther"
The Source: Redman on "Mic, Lights, Camera, Action"
The Lyric: "Set up shop and group your team/ 'Cause they ain't doin' what they did to Martin Luther King"
The Source: J. Cole on "I'm Comin"
The Lyric: "I'm here to get you higher, baby, so this here's the booster/ I'm tryna be the king, n---a, this that Martin Luther, sh-- is crucial"
The Source: Game on "Dreams"
The Lyric: "Cause Martin Luther King had a dream, Aaliyah had a dream, Left Eye had a dream/ So I reached out to Kanye and I brought you all my dreams"
The Source: Lil' Kim on "Whoa"
The Lyric: "Stand behind Martin Luther King, but I'm more like Malcolm X"
The Source: Saigon on "Don't Do That"
The Lyric: "I get it on like Martin Luther King and do the damn thing"
The Source: KRS-One on "Attendance"
The Lyric: "Another thing, don't ever show me another ring/ Remember you Rudy Ray Moore, I'm Martin Luther King"
What is your favorite MLK-inspired rap lyric of all-time? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!