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Black Star




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Black Star Album


Black Star (1998)
1998
1.
Intro
2.
3.
Definition
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Yo Yeah (Skit)
11.
12.
13.
. . .

Intro

[No lyrics]

. . .


[Mos Def]
Against the canvas of the night
Appears a curious celestial phenomena
called Black Star, but what is it?

[Talib Kweli]
Black people unite and let's all get down
We got to have what? We got to have that love

[Mos Def]
What is the Black Star?
Is it the cat with the black shades, the black car?
Is it shinin' from very far, to where you are?
It is commonplace and different
Intimate and distant
Fresher than an infant

[Talib Kweli]
Black, my family thick, like they're striped molasses
Star, on the rise, in the eyes of the masses
Black is the color of my true love's hair
Star's are bright, shining, hot balls of air

[Mos Def]
Black like my baby girl's stare
Black like the veil that the muslimina wear
Black like the planet that they fear, why they scared?
Black like the slave ship that later brought us here
Black like the cheeks that are roadways for tears
that leave black faces well traveled with years
Black like assassin cross-hairs
Blacker than my granddaddy armchair
He never really got no time to chill there
Cause this life is warfare, warfare

[Talib Kweli]
Deep on the front lines, and blacks is all there
Black like the perception of who, on welfare
Black like faces at the bottom of the well
I've been there before
To bring the light and heat it up like "la cocina"
Make without imagine happen but maybe I'm just a dreamer
I love rockin' tracks like John Coltrane love Naema

[M] Like the student love the teacher
[T] Like the prophet love Khadeja
[M] Like I love my baby features
[A] Like the creator love all creatures

[Talib Kweli]
Who acknowledge truth and peace seekers
We on point like heat seekers
Targettin' the black marketing strategists
Run up on em with the heaters
Everybody followin' with no leaders
Feelin' like we killin' ourselves
because I know they can't defeat us
It don't stop 'til we complete this, keep this fly
There's so much to life when you just stay Black and God

[Mos Def]
Blacker than the nighttime sky of Bed-Stuy in July
Blacker than the seed in the blackberry pie
Blacker than the middle of my eye
Black like feh-lah man cry
Some man wan ask "Who am I?"
I simply reply, "The U.N.I., V.E.R.S.A.L. Magnetic"
Work to respect the angelic, climb the mountaintop
and tell it 'til the valley's enveloped
You're full of big chat but you nah know me
I'm dark like the side of the moon you don't see
when the moon shine newly

[M] You know who else is a Black Star? (Who?) Me
[T] You know who else is a Black Star? (Who?) Me
[A] You know who else is a Black Star, who we? (And we)
[A] be shinin' and shinin', when we rhymin' and rhymin'
We be shinin' and shinin', when we rhymin' and rhymin'

[Mos Def]
Now everybody hop on the one, the sounds of the two
It's the third eye vision, five side dimension
The 8th Light, is gonna shine bright tonight
It's the third eye vision, five side dimension

[T] You know the light
[M] Go from the dark
[T] The other way is ass-backwards
[M] It's absurd
[T] Make you wanna crow like a blackbird
[M] That's right
[T] You livin' from your first day to your last night
[T] Sometimes you show your ass like
[M] Lint on your clothes
[T] When you froze in
[A] THE BLACK LIGHT
[M] Dead that
[T] Before you get your head wrapped
[M] Like Badu
[T] We see through your voodoo
[T] Just like Eve's Bayou, you dealin' with that black magic
[M] Try to civilize you
[T] Not walk on by you
[M] Like civil-(lies do get you black listed) it'll
[T] Be unlucky for you like a black cat
[M] A panther
[T] Revolution is the answer
[M] That's what we need
[T] Greed plague my people like the cancer
[M] True indeed

[Mos Def]
Now black people unite, and let's ALL GET DOWN
Now everybody hop on the one, the sounds of the two
It's the third eye vision, five side dimension
The 8th Light, is gonna shine bright tonight
Everybody hop on the one, the sounds of the two
It's the third eye vision, five side dimension
The 8th Light, is gonna shine bright tonight
It's the third eye vision, five side dimension
Equalin' up to eight, light sh

. . .

Definition

[No lyrics]

. . .


What what what, what what, what what, what what
Woaaaahhhhhhh!
One two three, Mos Def and Talib Kweli
We came to rock it on to the tip-top
Best alliance in hip-hop, wayohh
I said, one two tree, Black Star shine eternally
We came to rock it on to the tip-top
And Hi-Tek make the beat drop, wayohh

(Talib Kweli)
RE:DEFinition, turning your play into a tragedy
Exhibit level degree on the mic, passionately
Niggaz is sweet so I bet if I bit I'd get a cavity
Livin to get high, you ain't flyer than gravity
We Die Hard like the battery done in the back of me by the mad MC
who think imitation is the highest form of flattery, actually
Don't be mad at me, I had to be the one to break it to you
You get kicked into obscurity like judo, no Menudo
cause you pseudo, tryin to compete with reality like Xerox
Towards destruction you spiraling like hairlocks, wipe them teardrops
Chasing stars in your eyes, playing games with your lives
Now the wives is widows soakin up pillows, weepin like willows
Still mo' blacks is dyin, kids ain't livin they tryin
_How to Make a Slave_ by Willie Lynch is still applyin
Regardless, the Mos is one of my closest partners
Rockin ever since before Prince was called The Artist
Rocker before Funkmaster Flex was rockin Starter
When 'Pac and Biggie was still cool before they was martyrs
Life or death, if I'm choosin with every breath I'm enhancin
Stop, there comes a time when you can't run

(Mos Def)
What, lyrically handsome, call collect a king's ransom
Jams I write soon become the ghetto anthem
Way out like Bruce Wayne's mansion, move like a phantom
You'll talk about me to your grandsons
Cats who claimin they hard be mad fag
so I run through em like, flood water through sandbags
Competition is mad, what I got, they can't have
Sinkin they ship, like Moby Dick, did Ahab
Son I'm way past the minimum, it's a verb millenium
My rap's the holy gas in your bag, like Palestinians
Ancient Abyssinia, sure to hold the Gideon
Official b-boy gentlemen, long term, never the interim
Born inside the winter wind, day after December 10
These simpletons they mentionin the synonym for feminine
Sweeter than some cinnamon from Danish rings by Entenmann's
Rush up on adrenaline, they get they asses sent to them
(Gentlemen) you got a tenement, well then assemble it!
Leave your unit tremblin like herds of movin elephant
Intelligent embellishment, follow for your element
from Flatbush settlement, kid posseses melanin
Hotter than tales of crack peddlin, makin em WOOP
like blue gelatin, swing like Duke Ellington
Broader than Barrington Levy, believe me
The hot Apache who burn down your chief teepee
You see me?

One two three, Mos Def and Talib Kweli
We came to rock it on to the tip-top
Best alliance in hip-hop, wayohh
I said, one two tree, Black Star shine eternally
We came to rock it on to the tip-top
Because we rulin hip-hop, yes we is rulin hip-hop
Talib Kweli is rulin hip-hop
Say we Black Star we rule hip-hop-ah-ahh-ah-ahh-ahh
Whoahhhh!

. . .


(Child #1) ...and then Jackie Chan just started kickin em
like POW! POW! POW!

(Child #2) Whaaaaa??!

(Mos Def) Alright y'all, alright y'all enough of that
it's time to go to bed y'all
Time to go to bed -- I don't wanna hear that
You know what time it is, you know what time it is

(Children) Uncle Mos?
(Mos Def) Yeeesss?
(Children) Would you read us a bedtime story please?
(Mos Def) Okay, okay. Ya'll tucked in?
(Children) Yeessss...
(Mos Def) Heeeere we go...

Once upon a time not long ago
When people wore Adidas and lived life slow
When laws were stern and justice stood
And people was behavin' like hip-hop was good
There lived a little boy who was misled
By a little Sha-tan and this is what he said
"Me and you kid we gonna make some cash,
Jackin' old beats and makin' the dash..."
They jacked the beats, money came wit' ease
But son, he couldn't stop, it's like he had a disease
He jacked another and another, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder
Set some R & B over the track for 'Deep Cover' (187!)
The kid got wild startin' actin' erratic
He said "Yo, that presidential I got ta have it..."
With liquor in his belly son, he made up the track
But little did he know that his joints was wack
The shiny A & R said "Great new hit G!"
"Whenever you need a loop, yo come get me..."
The kid got amped and he starts to figure
"I'm-a get dough like all-a these otha niggaz!"
So, he's in the studio workin' 'round the clock
For pop radio, jacked the beat to 'Planet Rock'
Was out in the street when he met this sister
Who couldn't sing for shhhh but the mix wit' her sister
Hooked up the track and in excitation
He decided he'd head for the radio station
But (But!) he was runnin' and he made a left
Was skeezin' at top speed and ran into Mos Def
I slowed the young man down and I started: "Yo money,
Yo, why you sellin' lies to our wives and children?"
He ran upstairs up to the top floor
Opened up the door then guess what he saw? (Who?)
JANE the chickenhead radio host
Who be yappin' 'bout beef between east and west coast
He said "This one's a bullet, you got ta give it run!"
The chicken said "Thanks." and spanked it #1
He went outside, was gettin' props all over
Then he dipped into his ride, the 4-point Rover
Raced up the block doin' 83
Some cats with Hennessey saw him at a R-E-D
He winked his eye like his star status mattered
They rat-a-tat-tatted to make his blood splatter
"You rockin' crazy ice and all you do is cling static
And rollin' down to Brooklyn late night is problematic..."
His eyes was bloody red, he hung on every word they said
They told the kid "Back down, that playa shit is dead."
Deep in his heart, he knew he was gone
But he grabbed his 45 and decide to blaze on
Wit' shades on founded had him astounded an'
Before long, the young man got surrounded
Those grabbed the guns, so goes the glory
And that is the way I got ta end this story
He was out chasin' cream and the American dream
Tryin' to pretend the ends justify the means
This ain't funny so don't you dare laugh
It's just what comes to pass when you sell your ass
Life is more than what your hands can grasp
Good Night!

(kids talking)
Knock 'em out the box Mos, knock 'em out Mos
Knock 'em out the box Mos, knock 'em out Mos (3x)

Knock 'em out...

A-nother...Mos Def...Black Star MOVEMENT...
presentation... CRUUUMBS!

. . .


(Mos Def)
Be like yo, let me ask you somethin
I wanna know, I wanna know who you are

*Mos Def singing*
(Mos) Brown skin lady, hey hey
(Talib) Yes
(Mos) Where you goin
(Talib) This goes to the brown skin ladies
(Mos) Brown skin lady
(Talib) Yo, indigineous women of the planet Earth
(Mos) What you doin?
(Talib) Givin birth to the brown skin ladies first
(Mos) Brown skin lady
(Talib) For what it's worth, from me to you
(Mos) How do you feel?
(Talib) From me to you, watchin you
I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, yes, I live the way you move
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like the WAY you move
(Talib) I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, please, won't you do that dance
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like you baby

(together)
And everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing
Everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing, there she is

(Talib)
Fresher than Tony Rebel's vestibules at African street festivals
My incredible women is, plentiful
Over the years I met a few, none of them compare to you
Preparin you to make food bearable, somethin terrible, let's see:
you fruitful, beautiful, smart, lovable, huggable
Doable like art, suitable to be part
of my life, Coppertone, oh you copyright infringement
Pay you bidness ten cents, way back in the day
It's like I'm standin there you know appreciatin God's design
and then you showed up, it's like you read my mind
DAMN SHE'S FINE, I think I add the R-E, in front of that
and see if she D, to get, with a cat like me

(Talib) I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, yes, I live the way you move
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like the WAY you move
(Talib) I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, please, won't you do that dance
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like you baby

(together)
And everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing
Everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing, there she is

(Mos Def)
Ooooh! Daring me girl, look at you!
Comin on the block lookin fresh and brand new
Ooooh! Headwrap cover your hairdo
Pretty feet peekin through open-toed shoe
Ooooh! No limit to what I would do
Make love to you like long interview
Whooh! Is she for real, me like you
Good look champion, win the title
True, many man try invite you
Shot down lyric each time they cyph you
Jewel, what man you get all insides you
Feet they walk way and just that sheik posture
Ooooh! Can't be a next one like you
Famous like tapes made by DJ Clue
I tighten up my game as I approach you
Yo check her she the nectar the bee get close to

...

(Talib)
I don't get many compliments, but I am confident
Used to have a complex about, gettin too complex
You got me, willin to try, looked me in the eye
My head is still in the sky, since you walked on by
I'm feelin high, got my imagination flickerin like hot flames
it's how it seems, you make me wanna ride the coal train to A Love Supreme
My brown lady, creates environments, for
happy brown babies, I know it sounds crazy
but your skin's the inspiration for cocoa butter
You provoke a brother we should get to know one another
I discover when I bring you through my people say TRUE, all I can say
is all praise due I thank you God for a beauty like you

*Mos Def singing*
(Mos) Brown skin lady
(Talib) Yes
(Mos) Where you goin
(Talib) This goes to the brown skin ladies
(Mos) Brown skin lady
(Talib) On the planet Earth today, yes
(Mos) What you doin?
(Mos) Brown skin lady
(Mos) How do you feel?

(Talib) I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, yes, I live the way you move
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like the WAY you move
(Talib) I like the, I like the, I like the, I like the
way you walk, yes, please do that dance
(Mos) I like the way you walk, when you walk on by
I like the way you move, I like you baby

(together)
And everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing
Everybody on the avenue, I know, when they see you sing, there she is

(Mos) There she is, she's a brown skinned lady
Such a brown skinned lady
She's a brown skinned lady
She's a brown skinned lady
She's a brown skinned lady
She's a brown skinned lady

(Talib)
You know what some people put themselves through
to look just like you?
Dark stocking, high heels, lipstick, alla that
You know what?
Without makeup you're beautiful
Whatcha you need to paint the next face for
We're not dealin with the European standard of beauty tonight
Turn off the TV and put the magazine away
In the mirror tell me what you see
See the evidence of divine presence
Women of the, Carribean, they got the, golden sun
I know women on the continent got it
Nigeria, and Ghana, you know they got it
Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique
and Bothswana, to let it speak
about latinas, columbianas
...
Tallenas, of course the Brooklyn women walk that walk
And the Bronx women walk that walk
Honies from Queens walk that walk, NYC, ATL, LA
Cincinnati, the Bay Area...

. . .


(Mos Def)
Yo yo, yo, whassup, yo yo
Yo yo, we gonna, we gonna slow it down
so we can speed it up y'all
Right now I want everybody come to the front
That's right, move forward
I want all the poppers and the breakers, to form this circle
I want all the poppers and the breakers
The writers and the exciters, to get in this circle
and make it real live yo
Cause I'm seein too many stars up in here tonight yo
I'm seein the Rock Steady Crew
I'm seein Ken Swift, I'm seein Mr. Wiggles
I'm seein Modesho, I'm seein Crazy Legs
Man I'm seein the Zulu Nation up in here
I'm seein the Rawkus family, Shabaam Shadeeq, Company Flow
Menelik, I'm seein G-ology, Shawn J. Period
Man this the Black Star movement
Mos Def, Talib Kweli we gon' keep it live
for the b boys and b girls universally
Rock Steady Japan, Rock Steady Europe
Rock Steady New York, yo we just gonna keep it live
all over the world -- get live

(Talib Kweli)
Party people, in the place to be
My name is Talib Kweli
Yo, I got my man on the side of me
Mos Def-initely, and we, are

(Fresh) Black Star
(Fresh) G Young
(Fresh) Hi-Tek
(Fresh) Native Tongue
(Fresh) Shawn J.
(Fresh) Eighty-eight
(Fresh) Ninety-eight
we bout to motivate, come on y'all

(M)
(T)
Here's a little story that must be told
About two young brothers who was put on hold
They tried to stop the goal
We on a spiritual plane
Tried to kill the pride
And destroy the name
We just two bad brothers
Who will never quit
I'm Mos Def
Kweli (WE THE ULTIMATE)
Make sure that you tell
Everybody you know
To get on line
Take a ride
To the Black Star show!
Black Star
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house y'all
Black Star
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house y'all
Black Star
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house y'all
Black Star
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house
Shinin
Shinin, we in the house y'all

. . .


(Talib Kweli)
So many emcees focusin' on black people extermination
We keep it balanced with that knowledge of self, determination
It's hot, we be blowin' the spots, with conversations
C'mon let's smooth it out like Soul Sensation

We in the house like Japanese in Japan, or Koreans in Korea
Head to Philly and free Mumia with the Kujichagulia TRUE
Singin' is swingin' and writin' is fightin', but what
They writin' got us clashin' like titans it's not excitin'
No question, bein' a black man is demandin'
The fire's in my eyes and the flames need fannin'
The fire's in my eyes and the flames need fannin'
The fire's in my eyes and the flames need fannin'

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

(Vinia Mojica)
Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'

(Talib Kweli)
Yes yes come on, yes yes
Knowledge Of Self is like life after death
With that you never worry about your last breath
Death comes, that's how I'm livin', it's the next days
The flesh goes underground, the book of life, flip the page
Yo they askin' me how old, we livin' the same age
I feel the rage of a million niggaz locked inside a cage
At exactly which point do you start to realize
That life without knowledge is, death in disguise?
That's why, Knowledge Of Self is like life after death
Apply it, to your life, let destiny manifest
Different day, same confusion, we're gonna take this
hip-hop shit and keep it movin', shed a little light
Now y'all bloomin' like a flower with the power of the evident
Voices and drums original instruments
In the flesh presently presentin' my representation

With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
With that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

(Vinia Mojica - these parts overlap)
Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'

(Talib Kweli)
The most important time in history is, NOW, the present
So count your blessings cause time can't define the essence
But you stressin' over time and you follow the Roman calendar
These people into cloning, like Gattaca, you can bet
they tryin' to lock you down like Attica, the African diaspora
represents strength in numbers, a giant can't slumber forever
I know you gotta get that cheddar whatever
Aiyyo I heard you twice the first time money, get it together
You must be History, you repeatin' yourself out of the pages
You keepin' yourself depleatin' your spiritual wealth
That quick cash'll get your ass quick fast in houses of detention
Inner-city concentration camps where no one pays attention
or mentions the ascension of death, 'til nothing's left
The young, gifted and Black are sprung addicted to crack
All my people where y'all at cause, y'all ain't here
And your hero's using your mind as a canvas to paint fear
With, broad brush strokes and tales of incarceration
You get out of jail with that Knowledge of Self determination
Stand in ovation, cause you put the Hue in Human
Cause and effect, effect everything you do
and that's why I got love in the face of hate
Hands steady so the lines in the mental illustration is straight
The thought you had don't even contemplate
Infinite like figure eight there's no escape..

From that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
From that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
From that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination
From that what? (Knowledge Of Self) Determination

(Vinia Mojica)
Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'
Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'

Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'
Things I say and do, may not come quite through
My words may not convey just what I'm feelin'

What I'm feelin', what I'm feelin', ooooh, what I'm feelin'...

. . .


[Talib Kweli]
Yes..
Every day somebody ask me where all the real MC's is at?
They underground
There's mad talented cats underground with that raw shit
Yaknowwhat'msayin? Bringin them raw skills
YaknowwhatI'm sayin?
Really, to me..

It's a Small Wonder, like Vicki, why I'm picky
These niggas suck like hickies
and still get the shit they slip in like Mickies
I'm sick of the hater-players, bring on the regulators
With the flavors like a farm team fucking with the majors
Like a river how I run through it, I do it so cold
Freezin up your bodily fluids, your style is old
You runnin your mouth, but don't really know what you be talkin about
You should retire, get that complimentary watch, be out!
Yo, with the quickness, so swift you miss this lyrical fitness
Now get this, these emcees wanna test me like litmus, bear witness
I'm like shot clocks, interstate cops, and blood clots
My point is, your flow can stop!
By all means, you need more practice, take that ass home
Everybody lookin at you, fish tank syndrome
In full effect, I stay catchin lyrical rep
And keep it blacker than the back of your neck
What you expect, that shit's hollerin
Cause we developin the followin
Gettin played like stone love tapes and dollar vans
Order reverse your universe so your demise is first
Before your rise it gets worse
You need a night nurse like Gregory
Beggin me - stop it hurts! - is what you say to me
Like that's supposed to mean somethin?
You the one I seen frontin in the club
Your act I don't buy it, I got the dub
Come on everybody, come on just show your love
Come on everybody, come on just show your love
Come on everybody, come on just show your love
Come on everybody, come on just show your love
Come on everybody, come on just show your love

Chorus: *chanted in background*

Wo-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-uh-oh *repeated 4X*

[Mos Def]
Visions occupy my synaptic space
Command and shake, to illustrate my mind's landscape
The tall grass, the low plains, the mountanous ridges
Thickets among the forests, rivers beneath the bridges
Presence of hilltops, lit up with tree tops
Eavesdrop; and hear the incline of sunshine, nine
Stones in orbit, refuse to forfeit
They all form a cipher, and they came to observe it
I follow suit, and face it, embrace it
Shinin bright, but still I'm careful not to waste it
Destined to rise, because I'm basement adjacent
Spirit is still so just chill and be patient
Some heads approach like I'm the one to base with
Clowns about to scream and shout but don't say shh..
I ain't your student so I ain't to be tested
I'm majestic, I represent my strength without effort
My, method is unorthodox, but of course it rocks
My serious synopsis will drop kick, my topics
run the gauntlets and galvanize the audience
I must represent, I don't come off with no corniness
It's all luminary, despite commentary
Some people say, Mos how you get so?
My sign will make you jump around like calypso
And, murmur to yourself like a schizo
There ain't no bottom on the ???

Chorus

[Talib Kweli]
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Here we go. Blackstar, hop on the Blackstar line
We bout to take y'all home.
YaknowwhatImean? Here we go...

We got all markets on lock
From meat to stock
Blackstar, what? throwin like head rock in bars
Men flock to where we are, cause its the place to be
Grab my paint, jump on stage and deface emcees
We sell our souls like Spawn and come for the drone I sit upon
Freestyle or written songs so we can get it on!
Going back and forth, fallin back, all across the track
Passin the mic's like quarterbacks
of course its phat, get off of that!
Reverse psychology got em scared to say when shit is whack
out of fear of being called a hater, imagine that!
We ain't havin that reachin past the star status that you grabbin at
My battle raps blast your ass back to your natural habitat
So floss, cause what it costs ain't worth it to me
Cause I'm the one these Spice Girl emcees Wannabe
But they can't, ain't no points forever, so why bother?
Cause your girl calls my name out like Clarence Carter
Clarence Carter, Clarence Carter!
(I be strokin, that's what I be doin)
Aiyyo, as we rock harder
And always drop the bonified head nodders
Aiyyo, later for the hater-players
Yo-yo, yo-yo, later for these hater-players

Chorus

Blackstar keeps shining

Chorus

Blackstar keeps shining

. . .

Yo Yeah (Skit)

[No lyrics]

. . .


What'd you do last night?
We did umm, two whole cars
It was me, dez, and main three right?
And on the first car in small letters it said
all you see is.. and then you know
Big, big, you know some block silver letters
That said ..crime in the city right?
It just took up the whole car?
Yeah yeah, it was a whole car and shit...

(Spanish speaking woman) escuchela.. la ciudad respirando
(translation of Spanish: listen to it.. the city breathing)

* woman repeats 3x *

(Spanish speaking woman) escuchela..

(mos def)
The new moon rode high in the crown of the metropolis
Shinin', like who on top of this?
People was tusslin', arguin' and bustlin'
Gangstas of Gotham hardcore hustlin'
I'm wrestlin' with words and ideas
My ears is picky, seekin' what will transmit
The scribes can apply to transcript, yo
This ain't no time where the usual is suitable
Tonight alive, let's describe the inscrutable
The indisputable, we New York the narcotic
Strength in metal and fiber optics
Where mercenaries is paid to trade hot stock tips
For profits, thirsty criminals take pockets
Hard knuckles on the second hands of workin' class watches
Skyscrapers is colossus, the cost of living
Is preposterous, stay alive, you play or die, no options
No Batman and Robin, can't tell between
The cops and the robbers, they both partners, they all heartless
With no conscience, back streets stay darkened
Where unbeliever hearts stay hardened
My eagle talons stay sharpened, like city lights stay throbbin'
You either make a way or stay sobbin', the shiny apple
Is bruised but sweet and if you choose to eat
You could lose your teeth, many crews retreat
Nightly news repeat, who got shot down and locked down
Spotlight to savages, Nasdaq averages
My narrative, rose to explain this existence
Amidst the harbor lights which remain in the distance

So much on my mind that I cant recline
Blastin' holes in the night till she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Heard the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I cant take it y'all, I can feel the city breathin'
Chest heavin', against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving

(Talib Kweli)
Breathin' in deep city breaths, sittin' on shitty steps
We stoop to new lows, hell froze the night the city slept
The beast crept through concrete jungles
Communicatin' with one another
And ghetto birds where waters fall
From the hydrants to the gutters
The beast walk the beats, but the beats we be makin'
You on the wrong side of the track, lookin' visibly shaken
Taken them plungers, plungin' to death thats painted by the numbers
With crime unapplied pressure, cats is playin' god
But havin' children by a lesser baby mother but fuck it
We played against each other like puppets, swearin' you got pull
When the only pull you got is the wool over your eyes
Gettin' knowledge in jail like a blessing in disguise
Look in the skies for god, what you see besides the smog
Is broken dreams flying away on the wings of the obscene
Thoughts that people put in the air
Places where you could get murdered over a glare
But everything is fair
Its a paradox we call reality
So keepin' it real will make you casualty of abnormal normality
Killers born naturally like, Mickey and Mallory
Not knowing the ways'll get you capped like an NBA salary
Some cats be emceeing to illustrate what we be seeing
Hard to be a spiritual being when shit is shakin' what you believe in
For trees to grow in Brooklyn, seeds need to be planted
I'm asking if y'all feel me and the crowd left me stranded
My blood pressure boiled and rose, cause New York niggas
Actin' spoiled at shows, to the winners the spoils go
I take the L, transfer to the 2, head to the gates
New York life type trife the Roman Empire State

(mos def and crew)
So much on my mind I just can't recline
Blastin' holes in the night till she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Yo don't the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I cant take it y'all, I can feel the city breathin'
Chest heavin', against the flesh of the evening
Sigh before we die like the last train leaving

(Spanish speaking woman) escuchela.. respirando ? ?

(common)
Yo...on the amen, corner I stood lookin' at my former hood
Felt the spirit in the wind, knew my friend was gone for good
Threw dirt on the casket, the hurt, I couldn't mask it
Mixin' down emotions, struggle I hadn't mastered
I choreograph seven steps to heaven
And hell, waiting to exhale and make the bread leavened
Veteran of a cold war its chica-i-go for
What I know or, what's known
So some days I take the bus home, just to touch home
From the crib I spend months gone
Sat by the window with a clutched dome listenin' to shorties cuss long
Young girls with weak minds, but they butt strong
Tried to call, or at least beep the lord, but didn't have a touch-tone
Its a dog-eat-dog world, you gotta mush on
Some of this land I must own
Outta the city, they want us gone
Tearin' down the jects creatin' plush homes
My circumstance is between Cabrini and Love Jones
Surrounded by hate, yet I love home
Ask my God how he thought travellin' the world sound
Found it hard to imagine he hadn't been past downtown
Its deep, I heard the city breathe in its sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me its hard to keep
Deep, I heard my man breathe in his sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me its hard to keep

(mos def and crew)
So much on my mind I just can't recline
Blastin' holes in the night till she bled sunshine
Breathe in, inhale vapors from bright stars that shine
Breathe out, weed smoke retrace the skyline
Yo how the bass ride out like an ancient mating call
I cant take it y'all, I can feel the city breathing
Chest heavin', against the flesh of the evening
Kiss the ides goodbye, I'm on the last train leaving

. . .


[Talib Kweli]
Yo Dee (What?)
Come on (Yeah..)
What? What? Come on
(Yeah)

"Give me the fortune, keep the fame," said my man Louis
I agreed, know what he mean because we live the truest lie
I asked him why we follow the law of the bluest eye
He looked at me, he thought about it
Was like, "I'm clueless, why?"
The question was rhetorical, the answer is horrible
Our morals are out of place and got our lives full of sorrow
And so tomorrow comin' later than usual
Waitin' on someone to pity us
While we findin' beauty in the hideous
They say money's the root of all evil but I can't tell
You know what I mean, pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills
Or is it the mindstate that's ill?
Creating crime rates to fill the new prisons they build
Over money and religion there's more blood to spill
The wounds of slaves in cotton fields that never heal
What's the deal?
A lot of cats who buy records are straight broke
But my language universal they be recitin' my quotes
While R&B singers hit bad notes, we rock the boat
of thought, that my man Louis' statements just provoked
Caught up, in conversations of our personal worth
Brought up, through endangered species status on the planet Earth
Survival tactics means, bustin' gats to prove you hard
Your firearms are too short to box with God
Without faith, all of that is illusionary
Raise my son, no vindication of manhood necessary

[M.D.] Not strong
[T.K.] Only aggressive
[M.D.] Not free
[T.K.] We only licensed
[M.D.] Not compassionate, only polite
[T.K.] Now who the nicest?
[M.D.] Not good but well behaved
[T.K.] Chasin' after death
so we can call ourselves brave?
[M.D.] Still livin' like mental slaves
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice

[Mos Def]
Yo, I'm sure that everybody out listenin' agree
That everything you see ain't really how it be
A lot of jokers out runnin' in place, chasin the style
Be a lot goin' on beneath the empty smile
Most cats in my area be lovin' the hysteria
Synthesized surface conceals the interior
America, land of opportunity, mirages and camouflages
More than usually -- speakin' loudly, sayin' nothin'
You confusin' me, you losin' me
Your game is twisted, want me enlisted -- in your usary
Foolishly, most men join the ranks cluelessly
Buffoonishly accept the deception, believe the perception
Reflection rarely seen across the surface of the lookin' glass
Walkin' the street, wonderin' who they be lookin' past
Lookin' gassed with them imported designer shades on
Stars shine bright, but the light -- rarely stays on
Same song, just remixed, different arrangement
Put you on a yacht but they won't call it a slave ship
Strangeness, you don't control this, you barely hold this
Screamin' brand new, when they just sanitized the old shit
Suppose it's, just another clever Jedi mind trick
That they been runnin' across stars through all the time with
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
Long barrel automatics released in short bursts
The length of black life is treated with short worth
Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary
That type of illin' that be fillin' up the cemetery
This life is temporary but the soul is eternal
Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you
Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain't directed
That's why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
Not free, we only licensed
Not live, we just excitin'
Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin'
Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game
Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey
most of the things that we think, do, or say
We chasin' after death just to call ourselves brave
But everyday, next man meet with the grave
I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy
I'm tryin' to live life in the sight of God's memory
Like that y'all

[Mos Def]
A lot of people don't understand the true criteria of things
Can't just accept the appearance
Have to get the true essence

[Talib Kweli]
They ain't lookin' around

[M.D.] Not strong
[T.K.] Only aggressive
[M.D.] Not free
[T.K.] We only licensed
[M.D.] Not compassionate, only polite
[T.K.] Now who the nicest?
[M.D.] Not good but well behaved
[T.K.] Chasin' after death
so we can call ourselves brave?
[M.D.] Still livin' like mental slaves
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice
[both] Hidin' like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis makin' you look twice

[Mos Def (singing)]
Stop hidin', stop hidin', stop hidin' yo' face
Stop hidin', stop hidin', 'cause ain't no hidin' place

. . .


[Talib Kweli]
Yo, we been through this before right? (Word, word...)
So we figurin', if we gonna do it, we gotta freak it, y'know what I'm sayin?
(True, true, true...) Cuz everything gotta go up from here, right?
So Hi-Tek, turn it up a notch...

[Jane Doe]
Hail Mary, 'matta fact hail Jane
Niggaz take my name in vain/vein like I was cocaine
My affirmations kill emcees like assasination
Bringin' you pain until you wish you had a vaccination
Or vaccine, I shine like Vaseline
Gas plays like petroleum, walk over them like linoleum
My vocab expand like a rubber band
Walkin' nekkid through the motherland, give the finger to my brotherman
Niggaz just don't understand my reasons, I transcend like season
And scar these rappers like legion
It's treason, my suspension attract attention
I'm ventin', givin' these chickenheads detention
Did I mention my name, yo, go by the Jane Doe
Drenched in Polo, chill downtown in Soho
You don't know, this is just half my potential
Check my credentials, come harder than sequential
It's essential, you listen, I drive, you a pedestrian
They bless me on the track cuz I attack wit' the estrogen
Rhyme against the best a men, Jane burn it up
When you hear it in the whip, tell your man to turn it up!

[Wordsworth]
Yo...get it...yo
Yo, we fortified live, supportin' allies
The wack is tryin' to shorten our lives, it sorta waters my eyes
But here is some'n the cryin' talk about
The verse on that cassette you and cousin fought about
That led to God and Satan's fallin' out
Encourage the liquor for those who ain't here that you pourin' out
On 3-way, your parents, preacher and spouse called my house
Revive or ruin, my theories of mics
Sony or Aiwa, black or white, I fit in all stereotypes

. . .


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