From open mics to solutions, I got a collage of answers,
And a 10-point program, just like the Black Panthers:
1: First, respect yourself as an artist
If you don’t respect yourself, then your rhymes is garbage.
2: Make sure your crew is as tight as you
Cause when them niggaz fallin off, they gonna bring you down too.
3: Understand the meaning of MC
The power to Move the Crowd like Moses split the seas.
4: Know your shit and don’t ever be blunted
If you don’t know what your words mean, then your rhymes mean nothin.
5: Kick facts in the raps, and curse with clarity
What’s a curse when language is immersed in vulgarity?
6: We gonna fix industrial poli-tricks
Shit, they made an art form out of ridin dicks.
7: We soldiers for God needin new recruits
So if you rhymin for the loot, then you’s a prostitute.
8: Acknowledge that you need food on your plate
In order to say your grace, make sure your business is straight.
9: We buildin black minds with intelligence
And when you freestyle, keep the subject matter relevant.
10: Every MC grab a pen
And write some conscious lyrics to tell the children.
Talib Kweli, “Manifesto,” from Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1, 1998. More Talib Kweli quotes