Rap and watches in 2020: All the best song references

From spending a milli on a Mille to a Patek that had Drake's wrist going nuts

2020 was a pretty good year for rap. From Run the Jewels to Meghan the Stallion, every corner of the genre bumped with exciting releases. Meanwhile, rap’s love affair with great watches was only further cemented, with MCs boasting about the typical litany of Pateks, Milles and Rollies. But among the bevy of references made for braggadocio’s sake, a few stood out.

For our part, I also dove deep into Kanye’s watch collection after spotting him wearing a gold Ikepod on the cover of GQ, surveying his journey from G-Shocks to the Cartier Crash. Yeezy aside, let’s take a look at a few of the best rap lyrics that referenced watches this year.

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Life Is Good”, Drake and Future

Virgil got a Patek on my wrist going nuts
[Guys] caught me slipping once, okay, so what?

Back in 2018 I surmised that we’d reached “peak Patek”, but I clearly underestimated hip hop’s penchant for the Calatrava-clad company. Back in January, I even wrote about this lyric from Drake as a bit of “omnichannel marketing”, with Drake posting an IG of a watch from designer Virgil Abloh before releasing a record with a lyric mentioning said watch the next day. It’s a blacked-out Patek Nautilus Annual Calendar, with some green things on it to make it more unsightly. There are an estimated 2,000+ emeralds set in this ref. 5726 to help make it go nuts. Like most Drake singles, this one bounced through my head for longer than the average Jack Forster jam (working on the weekend like usual, I’d hummed to myself while typing up the latest Rescapement newsletter), but the Green Monster was a bit much for my *refined* tastes.

Rating: negative 2,000/10

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Wolves”, Big Sean and Post Malone

Picked myself up and turned my back to the breeze, oh-ohh
Spent a milli' on a Mille, mama look at me (Ooh)

Lucky for us, Posty gave us a look at his watch collection earlier this year. Honestly, I kind of love Malone, and his watches perfectly suit his Bud-Light-sipping, Gucci-croc-wearing, monotonous crooning: there’s a Rainbow Daytona, a couple Pateks, and a lot of diamonds. As for this lyric itself, it’s pure Posty: boasting about his millions, but still looking to his mama for love and support. His melancholic voice only adds to the pain we hear through the Milles.

Malone’s collection has at least a handful of Richard Milles, with the highlight of the bunch his RM-52 Tourbillon Skull “Asia Edition”. Of his RM-52, Posty told GQ: “this is my most expensive watch. One million dollars. I feel weird saying that. It’s cool because now I have shit to talk about in my songs, so that’s part of it too.” Never one to disappoint, he proceeded to reference the Mille in this feature on Big Sean’s Detroit 2.

Rating: RM-52/10

JU$T, Run the Jewels (Feat. Pharrell)

“Raw, I'm uncut in my hourglass
Don't watch it spill to the bottom half
You see the piece, now run it fast…
Comin' up through the fence
Offshore outta Port-au-Prince
Louverture left his fingerprints

In one of the biggest bangers from Run the Jewels’ RTJ4, Ju$t beckons its listeners not to watch the hourglass spill to the bottom half. The whole track ponders the relationship between money and meaning, and how the former can distort value systems. In the final rhyme above, RTJ collaborator Zack de la Rocha invokes Louverture, a key leader of the Haitian Revolution, but wonders what it’s all for…a mere [Royal Oak] Offshore? Heady stuff, but it’s no surprise that one of the most thoughtful hip-hop albums of the year also dropped one of the best watch references of 2020.

Rating: RTJ4/10

Patek”, Future and Lil Uzi Vert

I had to get a Louis, a bag or two
It is no one that is bad as you
We got new Pateks on Pateks, too

In “Patek”, Future and Lil Uzi drone on for nearly 6 minutes, stringing together dozens of designer references that seemingly have nothing in common but for the fact that Future and Lil Uzi can afford these things and you can’t. Among them: new Pateks on Pateks, a “Rollie that’s got ice and the bando right”, and an “Audemars filled with ‘guetties’” (baguette diamonds, presumably). Lil Uzi has long been obsessed with Patek, releasing a song called “New Patek” last year. This track is no better.

Rating: 0/10

Do It on the Tip”, Meghan The Stallion

“I need a [guy] with a Patek and a TEC on him (Ice, ice, ice)
Big d*ck, Chrome Hearts, and baguettes on him”

2020 was Meghan The Stallion’s year. While “Savage” was played everywhere, but mostly on TikTok.com, a few songs on her debut studio album made references to Pateks and Rollies, as most rappers are wont to do nowadays. In “Do It on the Tip” she raps that she needs a guy with a Patek and a long d**k. Lucky for her, it is my experience that guys with (big, blinged-out) Pateks often are big d**ks, though not necessarily well-endowed in the manner in which Ms. The Stallion demands. Lucky for Meghan, she’s got enough money to buy her own damn Pateks.

Rating: 6.9/10

Timeless”, Benny the Butcher

Came from high-risk hazards, you know, Pyrex glasses
A long way to the Presi' from the Timex Classic

In Benny the Butcher’s rags-to-riches “Timeless”, he brags about levelling up to a Rolex President from a Timex Classic. It’s a solid reference in a dope song, but honestly it’s a bit overshadowed by a vintage Lil Wayne flow in the second verse. Nonetheless, we congratulate Mr. The Butcher on his Presi’.

Speaking of Rolex Presidents, one of the best all-time rap lyrics is still when A$AP Ferg brags about his Presi “Plain Jane” in “Plain Jane”. Ferg seems to “get” watches perhaps as much as anyone: he brags about having his Rolex President with no diamonds (i.e. “Plain Jane”), jumping into Genius comments himself to add: “When you add diamonds on to your watch, you lower the value of it. This is like an investment. If I ever go broke, I could really just trade this in and I’ll be good. But once you add the diamonds and you start flooding it out, it just ruins the art. It’s like taking a Picasso and just saying, ‘You know what, I think I should add green on it.’ (DRAKE: PAY ATTENTION!) You don’t need to do none of that. You keep that Picasso the way it is.” Amen, Ferg. Not to be outdone, in the song’s remix, Nicki Minaj joins Ferg to brag about her Patty (Patek) Plain Jane. Pure class.

Rating: 8/10

Finally, the question everyone is surely asking: after a decent 2020, is Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne from 2011 still peak watches-in-rap? Of course, the answer is yes. A reminder of just a few lyrical highlights (in addition to the ridiculous watches Jay-Z and Kanye can be spotted wearing during this time), and a reminder that there’s no better gift than Ye and Jay gifting you a GMT-Master II for working on their album:

Got a broke clock
Rollies that don't tick-tock
Audemars that's losing time
Hidden behind all these big rocks

-“N** in Paris

Here’s to another year of great watch references in rap in 2021.


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