Hip Hop and Cee Lo In the words of Hip Hop Icons

Something is going to take place after the dice hit the wall and fall to the floor. That’s all. Is the supermarket bagger in drag going to start brandishing a pistol, are you going to win, or are you going to get beat up? If you look over the past of street dice, you’ll see that any of them may have happened. The best description of street dice games may be found in hip hop. So, let’s go further into the game with the assistance of some of the greatest MCs of all time. U-God lays down the law, Kool G Rap provides insight into the game, and Big L cautions about hanging with the wrong crowd at the wrong time. If you want to know how to play Cee-Lo (pronounced “c low”), a popular street dice game, read this primer.

Who or what is “Cee-Lo?”

U-God of the Wu-Tang Clan claims that the underground dice game Cee-Lo was invented in New York. However, Wikipedia and other less reliable sources place the game’s origin in China. S-W-Liù, which translates to “four-five-six,” is the intended name. What do they know, though? Cee-Lo is from New York, Staten Island is Shaolin, and a sword battle is like a game of chess. For this reason, I’ve decided to go with U-God. Here is a quick rundown of the craps rules from the authors themselves.

How to Succeed at Cee-Lo

The finest possible results in a game of Cee-Lo come from rolling three dice against a wall: 4, 5, 6, and then trips. The “kicker” can be compared between pairs. (the value of the pair is irrelevant.) When comparing the two options, “six” is the best and “ace” (1) is the worst. In addition, “aces will send you home broke,” as U-God put it.

The Cee-Lo Approach

Is there a Cee Lo craps method that actually works? Some of the more skilled players might try their hand at dice control. The goal is to toss the dice in such a way that particular numbers have a higher probability of coming up. Proof exists that a flawless throw on a felted craps table can do this, but it’s far more challenging on a gravel sidewalk. You might also cheat by using “loaded” dice, which are intentionally weighted so that a specific outcome is guaranteed. Rolling like Kool G Rap is the finest tactic at your disposal. If you always throw a 4, 5, or 6, you will always win.

Urban Raps

A variant of the standard casino dice game, “street craps” is played in its own right. Bets are placed on whether the shooter will “pass” or “don’t pass” after each roll of two dice. The shooter must place a wager, and if he rolls a 7 or 11, he has passed, and the bets are evened up. Bets on “don’t pass” win if the shooter rolls a 2, 3, or 12. If the shooter rolls a number other than 7 or 2, it becomes the “point,” and the game continues until the point is rolled and the pass bets win or the point is rolled and the don’t pass bets win. You’ll find a video with a rundown of the guidelines down below. The great mystery is whether or not this individual truly constructed a back alley in his garage. He may be the polar opposite of U-God.

Stories from the Dice Alley

Murder Attempt by a Transgender Man

It’s fairly uncommon for disagreements to turn violent during dice games because of the high stakes involved. But this has got to be up there among the strangest tales ever told. A gun, a girl, a love rival, and a transvestite grocery bagger are all involved.


The Dice Game in Harlem, Again


Courtney Colbert showed out his signature technique to the half-dozen lads and men gathered on a street corner in Harlem on a recent Wednesday as orange street lighting blotted out the lingering sunshine.


With the New York Times in mind, On a steamy July night in Harlem, writer Sarah Maslin Nir ventured out to report on the illegal gaming that takes place on street corners. There she met the “almost unbeatable cee-lo roller” Courtney Colbert. Brief yet pleasant tale of urban summertime fun.

Losers in the Big Letter Dice Game



Big L is another Harlem-born legend who, like Mr. Colbert, was likely a street-corner dice player. From a narrative standpoint, this is undoubtedly the finest hip hop song ever written on the perils of dice play. This demonstrates what a skilled rapper Big L was.


Me and my partner were driving down the street, and everything was good.

Black men must be playing dice at the corner store.

My nigga iroc has to crash the lye place, so I parked the vehicle.

And I’m going to play the odds till he gets back.


Death by Dice Game in Big L


Favorites from Philaflava

The forum at Phila Flava would be the obvious place to go if you could only visit one site with queries regarding hip hop. The regulars there are walking encyclopedias, with information on anything from the footwear Bushwick Bill wore when he shot himself in the eye to samples on rare white-label 12 inches leaked from someone’s pick-up truck in ’96. These are the most popular hip hop songs about dice in the Philiflava community. Our appreciation goes out to all that contributed, including grass, Thun, step one, fatboybrandon, Huldrich Bullsh!t, Jaz, Balzac, and Combo7.


The Song of Nas: “Life Is a Game of Dice”

Rollin’ the Dice / Ghostface Killah / The Juks

Main Current: Dice Roll Naughty by Nature: City of Ci-Lo Warren G: Regulate Ice Cube: What They Hitting on, Foe?

Let’s Rock / Lost Boyz Dice

To the tune of “Dice Life” by Blacastan.

The Outro of Eazy E’s “Eazy Duz It”

That, if we’re to believe hip hop legends, is total garbage on the streets. But did I forget any all-time favorites? Is there anyone else I should have brought up? Do you think any anecdotes were left out that belonged there? Probably. If someone thinks of a song or story that belongs here, I’ll make sure it gets added. But I’ll let Rasco summarize for the time being.


Nothing in this world is worth losing your life for.

I haven’t committed any homicide or marital theft.

Brothers tried to play the game of chance twice.

Niggaz acted like crabs, and they got what they deserved.

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