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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
I only drink Cristal, or Imperial Moet,
No more weak ass Rose, that’s why the game too sweet.
We don’t wear tight ass clothes, we don’t do down South beats,
That ain’t New York–I restore our identification,
‘Cause dick-riding never been a form of transportation.
Troy Ave, “Cigar Smoke,” New York City, 2013
MCs get a little bit of love and think they hot,
Talkin bout how much money they got…all y’all records sound the same.
I’m sick of that fake thug, R&B-rap scenario, all day on the radio,
Same scenes in the video, monotonous material.
…Y’all don’t hear me though:
These record labels slang our tapes like dope.
You can be next in line and signed, and still be writing rhymes and broke.
stic.man, “Hip-Hop,” from Dead Prez’s Let’s Get Free, 2000
It’s drones over Brooklyn, you blink, you could get tooken,
And now you’re understanding the definition of ‘Crooklyn.’
Pigs on parade, but bacon fryin’ and cookin’,
Cause kids’ tired of dyin’ and walkin’ round like they shooken.
Killer Mike, “DDFH,” from El-P + Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels, 2013
You dudes is noodles, I got more ziti to bake.
You dudes is cake, I keep two biscuits on the waist.
Razor blades under the tongue, I will eat your face,
Appetite for destruction, I am starvin’ today.
Got a money hungry lawyer that’ll eat the case,
And that’s just food for thought, don’t let it go to waste.
Jay-Z, “U Don’t Know (Remix),” The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, 2002
Music business hates me cause the industry ain’t make me,
Hustlers and boosters embrace me and the music I be makin.
I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars…
They criticized me for it, yet they all yell ‘HOLLA!’
If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.
Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense,
But I did five mil…I ain’t been rhymin like Common since.
Jay-Z, “Moment of Clarity,” The Black Album, 2003