Deep In The Mind Of A Slave

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

"Slave" is probably one of my top ten favorite hip-hop songs ever. The song, especially the first verse, is just so beautifully dense. My connection is personal. Some songs just express how you feel, and how you hope to go through life. Not to be a arrogant prick, but that first verse really sums up my approach to writing, especially this part: 

 
Straight from my bloodstream, I pump finesse 
Nevertheless, hold it in your chest like stress 
Rhythm and blues style is not in my environment 
And when I "slow down" it's time to take a hit 
But until I fall off, call off your set 
and if you never knew me, then you never knew wreck 
Look inside of the mind and see 
Cause you might be trapped with a nigger like me

One thing people miss when they hear hip-hop is that the lyrics are often aspirational, and not literal. When Buck says, "straight from the bloodstream, I pump finesse," I feel it, not because I think that's what I always do, but because it's what I aspire to do. When he says, "and if you never knew me, then you never knew wreck," it's not so much that I think that's true, as I hope that some day, after a body of work has been produced, it might be.

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