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Back in the days when I was a teenager,
Before I had status, and before I had a pager,
You could find The Abstract, listening to hip-hop,
My pops used to say it reminded him of be-bop.
I said, ‘Well daddy don’t you know that things go in cycles.
The way that Bobby Brown is just ampin’ like Michael.
It’s all expected, things are for the lookin’,
If you got the money, Quest is for the bookin’.
Q-Tip, “Excursions,” from A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, 1991
This one’s for you, and I truly hope you hear me,
Through all your travels, I’m wishing you a peaceful journey.
Heavy D, “Peaceful Journey,” from Heavy D. & the Boyz’ Peaceful Journey, 1991. Damn…RIP The Heavster, gone too soon and joining Trouble T-Roy in the afterlife. 1967-2011.

Dres (Black Sheep) • “Black with N.V.” • 1991

Now, harmony is a total love of things
For those who are inclined or better yet like to sing.
But piece of mind it is my right for the spark will ignite
Till I can catch a cab at the town at midnight,
Till I can be myself and not be thought as worse,
Till I can buy a slice from Howard Beach to the ‘Hurst.
Till I can get the pill without fear of eject,
And occupations which I seek I can have if I select.
Now, if I so select and reach out to make touch
How can you say that I ask for too much?

Dres, “Black with N.V.,” from Black Sheep’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, 1991

Always knew that I would clock G’s,
But welcome to McDonald’s: May I take your order, please?
Gotta serve ya food that might give you cancer,
Cuz my son doesn’t take no for an answer.
Now I pay taxes that you never give me back;
What about diapers, bottles, and Similac?
Do I have to sell me a whole lotta crack
For decent shelter and clothes on my back?
Ice Cube, “A Bird in the Hand,” Death Certificate, 1991. More from Cube…
Having that gang war?
We want to know what you’re fighting for.
Fighting over colors?
All that gang shit’s for dumb motherfuckers.
But you go on thinking you’re hard…
Come to New York and we’ll see who gets robbed.
Take your jheri curls, take your black hats,
Take your wack lyrics and your bullshit tracks.
Now you’re mad and you’re thinking about stomping?
Well I’m from the South Bronx…Fuck Compton.
Tim Dog, “Fuck Compton,” Penicillin on Wax, 1991.
These days you can’t see who’s in cahoots,
Cause now the KKK wears three-piece suits.
Chuck D., “Rebirth,” from Public Enemy’s Apocalypse ‘91…The Enemy Strikes Black, 1991. Baseball legend Hank Aaron has been flooded with hate mail after his comments about racism in America last week. "We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country,“ said Aaron. "The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts.”