The phrase "suicide, it's a suicide" was first used by rapper KRS-One in the song "Moshitup" (Just-Ice feat. KRS-One) in 1987. It has since entered into hip hop music as a meme, and has been used by artists such as Ice-T, Gravediggaz, Redman, Fabolous, Ras Kass, Jay-Z, Jedi Mind Tricks, Snoop Dogg, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Krayzie Bone, and Pusha T. It serves as a good example of the intertextual nature of the genre, where quoting older works serves as a form of homage to other artists.
The phrase was first used by Boogie Down Productions's KRS-One in 1987. an early socially and politically conscious East Coast rapper. He co-produced Just-Ice's album Kool & Deadly, and contributed vocals on the track "Moshitup". KRS-One is vegetarian, and used the phrase to warn against the dangers of eating pork:
...haven't you seen the way this animal lives
why I tell you, suicide, it's a suicide, biddy-bye-bye
suicide, it's a suicide...
The phrase has gained popularity because it just "sounds cool and dangerous". Use of the line serves as an insider's reference to KRS-One, as the phrase is further repeated.
The line made its way across to West Coast rap in 1991, when Ice-T used it in the song "Ricochet" from the film by the same name. Two years later it was repeated on fellow West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg's track "Serial Killa" – from the album Doggystyle – by RBX. It has since been used by – among others – Scarface and Redman in different songs both titled "Suicide", by the group Gravediggaz on the single "1-800 Suicide", and by Nelly on Fat Joe's hit single "Get It Poppin'". Welsh comedy rappers Goldie Lookin Chain, who also quote KRS-One's "Sound of da Police" in "Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do," appropriated the phrase for their song "Self Suicide." In 2008, Fabolous used it on "Suicide" from his Gangsta Grillz: There Is No Competition mixtape. The phrase also entered into mainstream pop music in 2008 when it was used by Jay-Z on the remix of Coldplay's single "Lost!" (titled "Lost+"). Nas also used a variation of the phrase in the song "Nah Mean" on the album Distant Relatives, using the word genocide instead, presumably referring to Darfur. LL Cool J did a song "Homicide" using a variation of this phrase too in his 2000 album G.O.A.T.. In his track "Suicide" released on his 2013 album My Name is My Name, Pusha T also echoes the lyric.