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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
Infrareds on little people standing with some big heads,
I was Captain Kirk, walkin’ with a black t-shirt.
LAPD, the nurse asked did my knee hurt?
I was in pain, little Martians tryin’ ta take my brain,
Hospitals came, detectives wrote down my name.
I was to blame, my life never been the same.
A true story; I tell ya, it’ll never bore me.
My classmate died, my other friend named Cory
Drinkin’ 40s, he jumped out the project window,
Stabbed himself with a yellow number 2 pencil.
Kool Keith, “Object Unknown,” from DJ Spooky featuring Kool Keith Object Unknown, 1998
I find it’s distressin’, there’s never no in-between:
We either niggaz or kings,
We either bitches or queens.
The deadly ritual seems immersed in the perverse,
Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts.
Mos Def, “Thieves in the Night,” from Black Star’s Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, 1998
Holocaust, black man, lose veins, littered with thorns
Back smack you so hard, all your seeds will be formed deformed.
Swarm dorms, sting birds, fling verbs like mean curbs
Strike three, mics flee, I infect em with green germs, ringworm
Holocaust, “Holocaust (Silkworm),” from RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo, 1998
It’s war on the streets and a war in the Middle East
Instead of war on poverty, they got a war on drugs
So the police can bother me…
2Pac, “Changes,” Greatest Hits, 1998 (Rest in power, 2Pac. 1971 – 1996)