An oldie, but a goodie… if I do say so myself.
A couple of years ago, I performed a rap that I wrote, entitled, “What Does It Mean to Be Black?” In a nutshell, it’s about a smart black kid who doesn’t associate well with the other black kids at school, due to the fact that he works hard in his classes, doesn’t listen to a lot of rap music, doesn’t wear the latest urban fashions, etc. When he gets teased for this, he gets into a fight and gets arrested.
When the kid goes to court, however, the judge sees the kid as just another black kid getting into trouble with the law, which confuses the kid to no end. At school, he’s being teased for not being black enough, but in the courtroom, the judge sees him as fitting a “black” stereotype of being a troublemaker. In the end, all of this leads the kid to ask the question, “what does it mean to be black?”
Good question. And here’s my answer…
Rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli, formerly known as the hip-hop duo Black Star, just released a new music video for the track entitled “History,” which is the newest single off of Mos Def’s latest studio album, The Ecstatic.
The video, directed by Coodie & Chike, is very simplistic with its B&W production. At the same time, however, it’s the perfect complement to the profound lyricism of the track.
I’m not going to write a lot about this, but I will put up some of the lyrics from Talib’s verse in the song. He raps:
…me and my people got history,
These rappers dumb it down considerably,
We “Get It Poppin’” like a hit chorus,
The flow is historic, they can’t get rid of us,
Ubiquitous, and we lay the law like Leviticus,
Ten years ago, we made history, so they missing us…
Check out the video here at Hypebeast.
I know I’m mad late with this. And for that, I apologize. A friend of mine actually put me on to this album a few months ago, but I’m just now realizing this album’s greatness.
Viva la Hova is a mashup album putting Jay-Z’s lyrics over Coldplay’s music. Honestly, there’s no way that I couldn’t like this album. First of all, I love mashups. Second, I love Jay-Z’s music. Third, I love Coldplay’s music. So this was a win-win-win for me, which I realized when I first downloaded the album.
But then the album got caught up in the continuous flow of music that was being imported into my iTunes, and after listening to a few tracks, I forgot about the album for a while… until last night.
“…illusions of oasis makin’ you look twice…”
The title, and the line above, are from one of my favorite songs of all time: “Thieves in the Night,” by the hip-hop duo Black Star. The duo, made up of rappers Talib Kweli and Mos Def, only released one album before the rappers went solo. That album, however, was filled with classic tracks, including the one I just mentioned.
Anyway, I was listening to the album today in its entirety, and when that song came on, I had to put it on repeat about five times. So, since it moved me so much, I thought I’d share the lyrics with you guys. Enjoy.
“Give me the fortune, keep the fame,” said my man Louis,
I agreed, know what he mean, because we live the truest lie,
I asked him why we follow the law of the bluest eye,
He looked at me, he thought about it,
Was like, “I’m clueless, why?”