And we started off as kids, stomachs’ touching our ribs,
In them streets all night like we ain’t have nowhere to live.
– Meek Mill, “Cold Hearted,” Dreams Worth More Than Money, 2015
Reporting live from the project benches:
Hella caine, dope in cellophane, dirty syringes,
Heron zombies street-walking on three-week binges.
Clientele look like the Thriller vid in 3D lenses.
Beanie Sigel, “Keep Dealing,” from Pusha T’s King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude, 2015. More from the Broad Street Bully…
It was Saturday night and I was feelin kinda funny,
Gold around my neck, pockets full of money.
Schoolly D, “Saturday Night,” from Saturday Night! – The Album, 1986
People ask for God, ‘till the day He comes,
See God’s face…turn around and run.
God sees the face of a man,
Shaking his head, says “He’ll never understand.”
Dice Raw, “Understand,” from The Roots’ …and then you shoot your cousin, 2014. More lyrics by The Legendary Roots Crew…
Crazy frustration, about my lovin situation;
When patience was a virtue…but I wasn’t used to waitin.
Black Thought, “Silent Treatment,” from The Roots’ Do You Want More?!!!??!, 1995. More Black Thought quotes.
You heard about, through word of mouth,
Big Bird is out, he’s in the house.
He’s turnin’ up, with Snuffleup,
They’re really gettin’ their hustle up.
They stick together like Velcro,
There Grover go, there’s Elmo.
And Cookie Monster there, look he likes
To take selfies with his cell phone.
They got a homegirl named Abby,
Her last name is Cadabby,
I showed her my report card,
She said, ‘Not too shabby!’
They got all types of cool kids there,
It’s lots of fun if you live there,
One thing I keep forgettin’ about Sesame Street…
How do you get there?
Black Thought, “Sesame Street Theme,” with Jimmy Fallon, Sesame Street Gang, and The Roots, 2013. Performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
My days getting shorter, my nights getting longer,
My cell getting smaller, my son getting taller.
I exercise my mind, my body getting stronger,
But my blood getting colder, heart getting harder.
My chances for appeal getting slimmer,
My skin getting brighter, my hair getting thinner.
See, when you stressed out, you could age fast in here,
I done seen weak niggas not last a year.
So before lights out, I write my kids every night,
Kiss the stamp on the kite,
And say a prayer…I hope it lands safe in these flights,
I pray they sleep safe through the night.
Try to teach my son right, give him some jewels,
But it’s hard to raise my boy from this visiting room.
Many cells turned to prisoner’s tombs,
I just pray I don’t die in here,
And last night I almost cried a tear.
Beanie Sigel, “Have Mercy,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, 2009
I chop ‘em into salad and my name ain’t Caesar.
Black Thought, “@15,” from The Roots’ Rising Down, 2008
I ain’t the captain of the yacht, but I’m on the boat;
I ain’t acting what I’m not, knowing that I don’t.
You niggaz acting like you will, but I know you won’t.
Man, I read between the lines of the eyes of your brows,
Your handshake ain’t matchin your smile…
Beanie Sigel, “Feel it in the Air,” The B. Coming, 2005
I refuse to abuse my savings and loans,
So if you want some ends, baby, you best go get your own.
Now I said it once before, and I’m a say it again:
Best believe you won’t receive no dividends.
E.S.T., “Funky Dividends,” Three Times Dope’s Original Stylin’, 1988
The principles of true hip-hop have been forsaken,
It’s all contractual and about money makin’.
Black Thought, “What They Do,” from The Roots’ Illadelph Halflife, 1996