It’s not about a salary, it’s all about reality.
KRS-One, “My Philosophy,” from Boogie Down Productions’ By All Means Necessary, 1988
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I never want a jheri curl up under my hat,
The woman in my bed has got to be strictly black,
I never want money if my lyrics are wack,
So I must…rock…the mic.
Now, yo: Juice Crew’s the family, Slick Rick’s a friend of me
And Doug E. Fresh, Stet, KRS and Public Enemy.
Blahzay-blah, you know who you are:
The red, black and green, the sun, moon and star.
Knowledge of self is being taught here on after,
Peace in the name of I, Self, Lord and Master.
I come to teach and preach and reaching each
With the speech every leech I’ll impeach.
Drop science and build with math,
And the dumb, deaf and blind’ll feel the Wrath…of Kane.
Now it’s my turn, and I am concerned
About idiots posing as kings.
What are we here to rule?
I thought we were supposed to sing.
And if we oughta sing, then let us begin to teach.
Many of you are educated…open your mouth and speak!
You were put here to protect us.
But who protects us from you?
Rap is like a set-up…a lot of games,
A lot of suckers with colorful names.
‘I’m so-and-so,’ ‘I’m this, I’m that.’
But they all just wick-wick-wack.
I’d rather make one righteous dollar on my level
Than make a million dollars spittin’ rhymes for the devil.
Believers of Jesus be denouncing Satan on every level,
But every Halloween they’re dressin’ like devils.
I don’t understand the difficulty, people;
Love your brother, treat him as an equal.
Take a look at the police and how they treat you,
Take a look at these corporations that cheat you.
Democrats and Republicans are all see-through.
Now we votin for the lesser of two evils…
Man, don’t let ‘em deceive you.
This is an autocracy, not a democracy,
But to call this a democracy without mock interest
In the laws of society? That’s called hypocrisy.
Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal,
MC’s spit rhymes to uplift their people.
So you think that hip-hop had its start out in Queensbridge?
If you popped that junk up in the Bronx, you might not live!
Rebel, renegade, must stay paid.
I am the manifestation of study,
NOT the manifestation of money.
Therefore, I advance through thought,
NOT what’s manufactured and bought.
…Cops just surrounding me with pistols everywhere.
They put me in the backseat of their car handcuffed,
Pushed out them chests like they’re big rough and tough.
A cop come and said ‘You’ll never sell your guns now.’
I said ‘It doesn’t matter, you’ll sell them anyhow.
You take the guns from me, you sell them for a fee;
Anyway you put it, they’ll get in the city!’
Too many MC’s take that word ‘emcee’ lightly;
They can’t Move a Crowd, not even slightly.
I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan, and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man.
You got to have style, and learn to be original.
Yo Premier, why these rappers so soft?
They corny ass raps be makin me doze off.
Teach the student what needs to be taught.
‘Cause black and white kids both take shorts
When one doesn’t know about the other one’s culture,
Ignorance swoops down like a vulture.
Ignorance is a poison and knowledge will nourish.
Rap is something you do, Hip-hop is something you live.
Do you ever think about when you outta here?
Record deal and video, outta here!?
Mercedes Benz and Range Rover, outta here!?
No doubt, BDP is old school, but we ain’t goin’ out!
Are you tired of lyrical liars, passing fliers,
Wannabe MC’s, but really good triers,
Tripping over mic cords, getting you bored,
A total fraud, this kind of thing I can’t afford!