Passover is just around the corner, so why not focus on the star of the Passover story, Moses? Yes, Moses of the Bible, who parts the Red Sea, who leads the Israelites to freedom, and who has a sister named Miriam who is much cooler than he is.
Do you know who loves Moses? Rappers. Do you know how many references there are to Moses in rap songs? SO. MANY. When I first set out to write this ranking, I thought, how many times could Moses really be mentioned in rap songs? I had already rounded up mentions of Jewish lawyers and “mazel tov,” neither of which were that out of control.
Little did I know that there are so many goddamn songs with Moses in their lyrics. Using Genius’s lyrics search, I typed in “Moses,” and hundreds of results came up. I narrowed them down to only songs that are on Spotify, so you can listen along, and then gave up after I hit 40 songs (and also after I started seeing results on Genius for Ray Bradbury and George Orwell. Did you know Genius has books? I didn’t!).
Anyway, without further ado, here is a ranking of rap songs about Moses, with a handy-dandy Spotify playlist to boot.
Honorable mention: The first Genius result was “My Shot,” from Hamilton, when Alexander Hamilton raps, “We roll like Moses, claimin’ our promised land.” Does this count as a rap song? Maybe! But it’s primarily a musical theater one, so we’re gonna leave it as an honorable mention for now. Thank you, former bar/bat mitzvah dancer Lin Manuel-Miranda.
40. Visionz – Wu-Tang Clan
Coconut juice, walnut colored shoe, ninth annual / Moses lost his sandal hiding the manual
I need to know. Did Moses ever lose his sandals?!?!? I don’t remember that part in the Torah.
39. Make Her Say — Kid Cudi (ft. Kanye West & Common)
And do while I’m sleep, yeah a little osmosis / And that’s my commandment you ain’t gotta ask Moses
Moses released the commandments; Kanye’s commandment in this verse is referring to someone giving him head. Cool, no thanks.
38. Everybody’s A Bitch — King Los (ft. Royce da 5’9″ & Hopsin)
Even though these weirdos hard to please / I got Moses at my show pointin’, goin’, “He depart the sea!”
Royce is rapping that he has weird people attending his show. Then he mentions how Moses parted the Red Sea. I don’t really get this, if I’m going to be totally honest.
37. Above the Clouds — Gang Starr
On the mic like Moses spoke in golden scribe / Survivor of the oldest tribe whose soldiers died
Moses was the first scribe — you know, the Ten Commandments. But the biblical accuracy drops in the second half of the line: Yes, Israelites are an old tribe — but not the oldest — and they had soldiers.
36. Patty Cake — Token
Notice the flow it is so explosive it’s blowing a hole in the ocean like Moses
His rap flow is so explosive it blows a hole in the ocean! However, Moses made a river part, he didn’t blow a hole in the ocean. Nice try, Token.
35. FYM — Joyner Lucas
Still-a pull apart in a rapper head like Moses, mm-hm
Mystikal is rapping that he’s going to split rapper’s heads like Moses split the Red Sea, I think. Unclear.
34. Day One — D.I.T.C.
Phenomenal Moses of rap, I pose a threat
On this verse, O.C. is calling himself the Moses of rap. The leader of rap? A threat to the Egyptians? A bit shaky, but there.
33. Egyptian Luvr — Rejjie Snow (ft. Dana Williams, Aminé)
Yeah, that’s why you gotta smell the roses / We parted ways like she cheated with Moses
On Aminé’s verse, he raps that she and a girl parted ways like she cheated with Moses. A play on parting ways? Moses parted the Red Sea?
32. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Murder, Mo’ Homicide — AZ (ft. Nas)
It’s styles ancient as Moses‘ scriptures / It’s Latin Kings, Black Kufis and White Justice amongst us
Not sure Moses had scriptures? Isn’t he in the scriptures? I am not a rabbi.
31. Shadow Man — Noname
When I die there’s 27 rappers at my funeral / Moses wrote my name in gold and Kanye did the eulogy / Remember all the bashfulness, understand the truancy / Here I stand in front of a college dropout
This is Noname describing her ideal funeral, with 27 rappers and Kanye West giving a eulogy. Also? Moses writing her name in gold. Not sure why gold — if anything, he would write in stone? Still, a great song.
30. My President — Jeezy & Nas
By my nephews and nieces, I will email Jesus / Tell him forward to Moses and CC Allah
This song celebrates the election of Obama. Jeezy himself annotated this line:
That’s you putting your business wit with your street knowledge. I’ve been in situations where a lot of big people might be on the email. Jay Z, LA Reid, Kevin Lyles. These are the powers that be. These are the people they’re going to make things change or fix something or a situation. And not to compare them to the other three individuals I’m talking about, but I’m saying these are the three biggest people in this universe that I can think about having a conversation with. And I want to have this conversation with all of them at one time. So I’m going to email Jesus, I’m going to forward it to Moses, and tell him to CC Allah. So make sure we all on this email. So make sure we all understand this message that I’m relaying to y’all. And I just felt like that was one of those bars where it was like, “I’m for real. This shit is serious out here. So I want to talk to these guys.”
I wonder if they’d reply all?
29. Ride Slow – Ab-Soul (ft. Delusional Thomas & Danny Brown)
I’m filthy, I know it’s greedy out here, I told you that / But I made my way through it like Moses did with his staff, relax
Ab-Soul calls himself the Moses of rap, talking about how he’s making it in the rap world, and referencing the staff Moses used to part the Red Sea.
28. The Believer — Common (ft. John Legend)
Soul controllers on the shoulders of Moses and Noah
Not sure what soul controllers means here — is Common referencing the R&B band from the 1970s? — but he’s talking about standing on the shoulders of two biblical figures: Our guy Moses, and everyone’s favorite boat captain, Noah.
27. Sam Peckinpah — R.A. The Rugged Man (ft. Vinnie Paz & Sadat X)
I’ll beat Moses on the head with them stone tablets
Super violent; R.A. The Rugged Man is rapping about all the violence he is going to do, including beating up Moses with his own stone tablets. I mean, Moses did have stone tablets, so? Points for accuracy?
26. NYLON — Machine Gun Kelly
My interior designer put them cameras all around / So let me find out you creeping, I come and split your shit like Moses
Another violent reference to Moses, but this time, not violence directed at Moses, but at anyone who is creeping in Machine Gun Kelly’s house. Threatening! But, nice use of “split” because Moses did split the sea.
25. Writer’s Block — Royce da 5’9″ (ft. Eminem)
Sittin’ on the same boat that Noah built / Floatin’ on the same water Moses split
Another dual Moses/Noah reference! Royce raps that he is in the boat Noah built, floating on the water that Moses split.
24. Big Shot — Kendrick Lamar & Travis Scott
Runnin’ through these waves / Like I’m Moses out the booth
This is from the Black Panther companion album, and on Travis Scott’s verse he raps that he’s running through waves like Moses. Genius Annotation says: “Travis uses the biblical story of Moses splitting the Red Sea as imagery to show how grand his riches are.” I don’t totally understand how “waves” and “booth” are about his riches, but sure.
23. Higher We Go (Intro) — Migos
Flooded my wrist, it’s soakin’ (Flooded) / Split up the waters like Moses (Split)
This verse is classic Migos — with Offset rapping and Takeoff echoing with a related phrase. The waters Offset is referring to, according to Genius, is “his watch and the amount of shine that are given off from the diamonds in them.”
22. Clean Up — Towkio (ft. Chance the Rapper)
What’s your worth? What’s your motive, this shit’ll split an ocean / It split an atom, no I don’t pray to God, I pray to Moses
On Towiko’s verse, he’s rapping about how his lyrics are so powerful it can split an ocean, like Moses, or split an atom (a nuclear bomb). And he says he doesn’t pray to God, but Moses. Different, and fun, even though Moses would be annoyed if people were praying to him, I bet.
21. The 18th Letter (Always and Forever) — Rakim
While you hit trees and coast I spit flows that be ferocious / And with these explosives, I split seas for Moses
Rakim is talking about how great his raps are, saying his flows are so ferocious and explosive, he’s splitting seas for Moses. As the Genius annotation points out, “Rakim spits lyrical bombs which are so powerful that he’ll split the seas for Moses.”
20. Ascension – Gorillaz (ft. Vince Staples)
Don’t stop, bitch, stay focused, they hated on us since days of Moses / Let my people go crazy, them stars falling, don’t chase ’em
Vince Staples raps that they’ve hated us since the days of Moses, but is likely referring not to the Israelites but to the time of slavery — “Go Down Moses” is a popular African American spiritual. In the next line, he also cites a famous Moses line: “Let my people go.” Only in this instance, he wants his people to go crazy.
19. SWEET — BROCKHAMPTON
Moses with the pen, each line an ocean I can part it at / But that’s too deep
Brockhampton is calling himself a “Moses with a pen,” because, like how Moses parts the Red Sea, he is parting lines. And then he says “that’s too deep,” referring to both Moses’s Red Sea and the deepness of his lyrics.
18. HELL-O — Flatbush Zombies
Watch me turn the crowd into a Spartan scene / Mosh pit, then I’m Moses, part the sea
They’re Moses, they part the sea. But their sea? A mosh pit. Clever!
17. Suplexes Inside of Complexes & Duplexes — Mac Miller (ft. Jay Electronica)
Lightning should strike the stone and then Moses should make a tablet
This is on Jay Electronica’s verse, how in a flash of lightning, the Ten Commandments were presented to Moses.
16. Ballerina — Belly
She just want the Rosé, she don’t want your roses / Watch the oil split the water like it’s Moses
Belly says in his official Genius annotation that the first line means: “The oil, the mud. The syrup. Watch her split. As soon as it hits that bottle, it hits that Sprite, it’s [sic] splits the water. It don’t mix right away. That’s what that line was about.”
15. Frontlines — Diabolic
To the spot where Moses caused the sea to separate / The place that the Prophet Muhammad started to levitate / The exact moment that Jesus rose dead awake / And Siddhartha became the Buddha that regenerates
Lots of references to key moments in world religions: Moses leading the Israelites to freedom by parting the Red Sea; Muhammad meditating in a cave in Mount Hira and an angel revealing the first verses of the Qur’an; Jesus resurrecting; and Siddhartha achieving enlightenment to become the Buddha.
Fun fact, elsewhere in the song, Diabolic raps, “Judgement overturned, held in court like Mordecai,” a reference to the Book of Esther!
14. Walkin’ on Air — Rick Ross
Half you n****s Judas, I’m the son of Moses / Illuminated, resurrected as Selassie / Bob Marley through the trumpets on the day I die
Rick Ross is calling people Judas (the dude who betrayed Jesus), but he’s the son of Moses. Then he quickly switches into Rastafarianism, a religion that Bob Marley followed, which believed Emperor Halie Selassie was the messiah. A hodgepodge of religions!
13. Blasphemy — 2Pac (ft. Prince Ital Joe)
They say Moses split the Red Sea / I split the blunt and rolled a fat one up, deadly / Babylon beware, comin’ for the Pharoah’s kids / Retaliation, makin’ legends off the shit we did
This song was released under Tupac’s alias Makaveli, on the fifth studio album by Tupac, released two months after his death.
Like Moses split the red sea, Tupac is splitting a blunt. And then, he leans into the story of Exodus, saying he’s coming for the Egyptians, “Pharaoh’s kids,” to retaliate for making legends off of what his people did.
12. Israel (Sparring) – Chance the Rapper (ft. Noname)
Fuck the pharaohs and the Pharisees, Moses is back / I don’t need to see a Sphinx to know they noses was black
Okay, not on Spotify but too good not to include. This whole song is about Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestling with the angel (which, fun fact, was my bat mitzvah Torah portion). However, Moses’s story is found in Exodus. Here, Chance calls himself Moses, saying fuck the pharaohs and Pharisees (the Jewish sect mentioned in the New Testament). He also raps that the Egyptians were Black, something that has been erased over time.
11. Lift Me Up — Vince Staples
A prophet just like Moses, if Moses look like Shaka Zulu, my .44 loaded, I’m aimin’ at Nirvana
Moses was a prophet! Here, Vince Staples is comparing himself to Moses — if Moses was more like Shaka Zulu, a Zulu chief and founder of the Zulu Empire. Shaka united his empire through force.
10. Piñata — Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (ft. Sulaiman, Casey Veggies, Domo Genesis, Mac Miller, G-Wiz & Meechy Darko)
And Moses had ten commandments, Huey had ten points / Won’t see my homie for ten, dropped him off at the joint
Moses had Ten Commandments, and Huey Newton, the leader of the Black Panthers, had something called the Ten Point Program. Freddie Gibbs then talks about how his friend is in prison for 10 years. Lots of 10s.
9. Made of Glass — Lil Yachty
Red roses, gold skin with your hair / Parted like Moses, I love watching your poses
This song is all about a girl Lil Yachty is in love with, but mainly it’s an unrequited love. On this verse, he talks about what she looks like, and says her hair is “parted like Moses,” which is just a very unique way of talking about someone’s hair part. Props, Yachty.
8. Two Nas songs! They were from the same album, so it just felt right to group them together:
Every Ghetto — Nas (ft. Blitz)
Cause animals sense weakness, sharks smell blood in water / Ishmael, Moses and Job knew the divine order
Nas is rapping about the divine order, the order of things in the universe, and talks about how three Biblical figures — Ishmael, Moses, and Job — knew it, and knew their place. Doesn’t really dive into anything about Moses, but just knowing that God is all-powerful.
Stillmatic (The Into) — Nas
I know the streets thirst water like Moses / Walkin’ through the hot desert searchin’ to be free
The only Moses lyric on here to not mention the Red Sea, or parting the Red Sea, but to focus on another part of the story of Exodus: the Israelites wandering in the desert.
7. Spread Love — Mick Jenkins
This ain’t no poser shit, on some Moses shit / You can see it swimming through the flow
Mick himself annotated this lyric on Genius, writing, “This isn’t a scam. He’s really trying to spread love through the people. The Moses line is a reference to the Biblical figure, who famously through the power of God split the sea in half to allow a pathway for the Israelites to escape through, much like Mick is providing escape routes for the people today.” Nice!
6. Final Hour — Lauryn Hill
And then amend it, every law that ever prevented / Our survival since our arrival documented in The Bible / Like Moses and Aaron / things gon’ change, it’s apparent
Hill is rapping about all the laws that have systematically oppressed Black Americans, then switches to talking about how their arrival is documented in the Bible, like Moses and Aaron leading the Israelites to freedom. Points for mentioning Moses’s brother Aaron!
5. Sidewalks – The Weeknd (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
Homeless to Forbes List, these n****s bring no stress / I feel like Moses, I feel like I’m chosen
The Weeknd is rapping about going from being homeless to being on a Forbes list, feeling chosen. Guess who else was chosen? Moses!
4. Last of a Dying Breed — Ludacris (ft. Lil Wayne)
And I’m a MC, I move the crowd like Moses / Like the Red Sea, I wear red like Roses
The entire hook is “MC means move the crowd,” so Lil Wayne is playing on this, like Moses, who moved the crowd through the Red Sea.
3. New Good Flow. 1 — Kanye West, Pusha T & Ghostface Killah
Did Moses not part the water with the cane? / Did strippers not make an ark when I made it rain?
This is in Kanye’s verse. Yes, Moses did part the water with a cane (commonly referred to as a staff). The second half is actually a clever biblical lyric: When God decides to destroy the world, he instructs Noah to build an arc in preparation for the 40 days and nights of rains. So, Kanye implies, strippers made an ark — arcing their backs as they danced — when he made it rain (with dollars).
2. Mortal Man — Kendrick Lamar
How many leaders you said you needed then left ’em for dead / Is it Moses? Is it Huey Newton or Detroit Red? Is it Martin Luther? JFK? Shooter — you assassin / Is it Jackie? Is it Jesse? Oh I know it’s Michael Jackson — oh
On “Mortal Man,” Lamar raps about how influential leaders have been betrayed. Moses’s betrayal? As he gets the Ten Commandments, the Israelites start to worship a golden calf. Literally going against commandment number 1. Moses also never actually gets to the promised land, but dies before they get there. Sad.
1. Moses — French Montana (ft. Chris Brown & Migos)
Okay, this whole song features lyrics like…
I’m feelin’ like Moses, I’m all in the ocean, I’m partin’, divided up in it like Moses
And a chorus…
Got a hunnid bitches with me, feel like Moses
Got a hunnid killas with me, feel like Moses (olay, olay, haaaa, olay, olay)
I got a yacht on the water, feel like Moses (yeah, olay, olay, olay, olay)
Got a hunnid bad bitches, feel like
I mean, the whole song is about Moses. It’s called “Moses.” Thus, the top spot.
Header Image: Charlie Heston in the Ten Commandments; of French Montana by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for iHeartMedia; of Kendrick Lamar by Kim Metso/Wikimedia Commons, of Migos by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Savage X Fenty Show Presented by Amazon Prime Video, of Kanye West by Jason Persse/Flickr, and of Lauryn Hill by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage.