Straight Razor, Part 2

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Thinking about Shante reminded me of this quote, from an interview I did with Nas around the time of God's Son. I was playing some old Queens songs for him, and while he was pontificating about something, "Roxanne's Revenge" came on and he grew quiet. I asked a dutiful follow-up, to which he shrugged, "Uh...pssshh...I don't know. But Shante (points to stereo) just said 'You think you are God/But you do eat lard' For that line, back in the days, we thought she was gonna get killed for that." I chuckled. "Like for real. Five Percenters was serious." He continued:

She was young as shit. I remember her in the hallway putting me and my man down with a talent show, she was gonna put us in it. We were maybe about twelve. She said we better have our rhymes together. She gave us a certain time. And she said if we didn't have our rhymes together by then, she was gonna fuck us up. And she was like sixteen, she was in the streets, so we believed it--that she would really try to fuck us up. So we saw her in the library one time and she was like, Y'all ain't got your rhymes ready? and played us out--in front of a lot of people. The library was like one of the hang outs in the projects back in the day. And we was like (sighs) Damn.
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Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. More

Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports, and culture. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Bookforum, Slate, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe Ideas section and The Wire (for whom he writes a bi-monthly column). He is on the editorial board for the New Literary History of America.
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