In a recent interview with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden, Papoose broke the origin story of his most well-known record to date, “Alphabetical Slaughter.” Packing punchlines in alphabetical order, the rapper went from A to Z then back Z to A, remaining one of the most skillful displays of lyrical exercise. He explained that the song actually was a work in progress in 1993, when he penned A through C.
“In 1993, I started writing ‘Alphabetical Slaughter.’ Any of my friends could tell you this, I had it from A to C so when I would battle cats in the street, right? If they wouldn’t tap out, I would pull out ‘Alphabetical Slaughter’ and the battle was over,” Pap explained, describing the set of bars as his “secret weapon” in the battle ring.
Papoose said he linked up with DR Period who produced the song and printed it on vinyl in 1998. The record was so popular that even by the time he connected with DJ Kay Slay, people were still hounding him about it so he re-released it on Slay’s 2004 project, The Streetsweeper Vol. 2.
“Everywhere I go, bro. I’m talkin’ about, especially overseas. Forget it. The first thing they say before they say ‘hello’ is ‘Alphabetical Slaughter.’ It’s like a legend by itself,” Pap said of the song’s impact. Even Daniel Radcliffe did his own rendition of Pap’s track on Jimmy Fallon not too long ago, though never gave him his credit.
“So many rappers have tried. And, you know, I respect and appreciate that they try. But, you know, when you’re doing ‘Alphabetical Slaughter’ — and I challenged myself — when you’re doing your As, the Bs, you gotta use all Bs. You can’t say ‘the’ or ‘I,'” he continued. “When you look at it on paper, it has to be written out on paper or you failed.”
Peep the interview below.