The lyrics are pretty easy to follow, but if you'd like to read them, you can do so here.
My favorite parts of the song are when he says, read more, learn more, change the globe and also when he sings/screeches Your man'll sing, "She's my Queeeen!" That line always makes me smile.
But what I really like about this song is the message: Work hard, and achieve your goals. Don't look to others to take care of you, do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
So here is the first of many of my questions: What is it that makes it okay for Nas to make a song like this, but when someone like Newt Gingrich (i.e. a white republican guy,) says something similar, he gets seriously criticized for it? I am thinking of Gingrich's idea about children working as janitors.
I mean, Nas doesn't say, "Blame the system for your problems." He says, "Make a goal, stay out of trouble, and you will be successful." And yes, I know that the janitor example is not a perfect one, but it does illustrate a number of conservative principles.
It is worth pointing out that in the entire 3rd verse, Nas gives the listener a brief lesson in African and African-American history. This is not something I would ever expect to see Newt doing in a stump speech. Is that the key difference in the two messages? Nas' acknowledgement that the white man was/is trying to keep the black man down? Is that why Nas' message is more palatable?
Even then, I still don't get it, because Nas is still saying "Yes, the white man was/is trying to keep you down--but work hard anyway." And while I don't know if Newt Gingrich would agree that the white man is currently trying to keep people of color down, I think he would concede that it happened in the past and his response would be, "Yeah that happened, and it was bad--but work hard anyway."
Actually, I think that Newt Gingrich might say that the white man is still trying to keep people of color down--by giving some of them welfare and free housing and making them totally dependent on the government.
Here's the thing: What makes it okay for a black liberal to say, Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but not a white conservative? Or any conservative for that matter, because conservatives of color are not exactly celebrated for being voices of reason.
Is it because we think we know the intentions of these different groups? Black liberals like Nas are assumed to have good intentions, while conservatives of all colors are assumed to have bad ones? Some other reason that I haven't thought of?
Lots of question marks in this post, and they aren't rhetorical questions, neither.
Also, I'd like to remind you that with my new and improved commenting system, you can now get the instant gratification of putting your ideas into cyberspace, if you let me know what you think below. So...leave me a comment!