It has been an overwhelmingly strong reemergence of interests in entrepreneurship in the Black community in the United States. With Dr. Boyce Watkins, Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Claud Anderson, Killer Mike and Willie D to name a few pushing for Black financial independence and Jay Z releasing his latest album 4:44 that has heavy overtones of financial literacy and talks of establishing your own and escaping the corporate plantation. It brought to mind one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever recorded and released in my opinion Death Certificate by Hip-Hop Icon ice Cube. He spoke of financial freedom 25 years before Jay Z, I’m going to take this time to re-visit this work of art and give my assessment of the lyrics track by track.
Death Certificate released in October of 1991 by solo artist Ice Cube former founding member of gangster rap group N.W.A. Cube had always spoke with a sense of revolution in his lyrics even in his N.W.A. days but with the release of Death Certificate he addressed issues that were very critical and spoke directly to the black community and forced us to have self-reflection, and take responsibility for our own actions. The way that he broke the album up side A was the death side and side B was the life side. I’ll start this assessment with the death side.
The first track on the Death side was titled The Funeral, it was an interlude:
Niggas are in a state of emergency The death side, mirror damage of where we are today The life side a vision of where we need to go So sign your death certificate
Fuck all, y'all Lisa got him
Alright, on three, one, two, three Come on brothers we gotta walk this way Can't believe it man The homeboy, hey, open that door Open it, alright 'right
We've come together by God's demand Whether it be for life or death Well, this morning, it's over the mourning Of one of our little brothers
This brother was a good brother He didn't get into an excessive amount of trouble But it's one thing, it's one thing, it's one thing He was the wrong nigga to fuck with
What Ice Cube was saying with this interlude was showing that we are dead in this society as a people and in order for us to be reborn again and escape this nigga mentality of self-hate, gang banging, drug dealing, promiscuity, and fleeing the cooperate plantation we must bury the nigga mentality and be reborn again as a Black nation which he goes more in depth on the B side.
The next track I want to speak on is titled Summer Vacation the subject of this song is about a group of California drug dealers that travel to St. Louis to set up shop in a ghetto and taking over the drug trade in that community.
This is the final boarding call for flight 1259 Departing from Los Angeles final destination to St. Louis Thank you
Damn G the spot's gettin' hot So how the fuck am I supposed to make a knot? Police looking at niggas through a microscope In L.A. everybody and they momma sell dope They trying to stop it So what the fuck can I do to make a profit? Catch a flight to St. Louis That's cool, cause nobody knew us We stepped off the plane Four gang bangers, professional crack slangers Rented a car at wholesale Drove to the ghetto, and checked in a motel Unpacked and I grab the three-eighty Cause where we stayin', niggas look shady But they can't fade South Central Cause bustin' a cap is fundamental Checkin' out every block close Seein' which one will clock the most Yeah this is the one no doubt Bust a you Bone, and let's clear these niggaz out
Hey hey man, whats up nigga? Yo, well this Lench Mob nigga!
Now clearin' 'em out meant casualties Still had the L.A. mentality Bust a cap, and out of there in a hurry Wouldn't you know, a driveby in Missouri Them fools got popped Took their corner next day, set up shop And it's better than slangin' in the Valley Triple the profit makin' more than I did in Cali Breakin' off rocks like Barney Rubble Cause them mark-ass niggas don't want trouble And we ain't on edge when we do work Police don't recognize the khakis and the sweatshirts Getting bitches and they can't stand a Nineteen-ninety-one Tony Montana Now the shit's like a war Of gang violence, where it was never seen before Punks whirl when the gat bust Four jheri curl niggas kickin' up dust And some of them are even lookin' up to us Wearing our colors and talkin' that gang fuss Giving up much love Dyin' for a street, that they ain't even heard of But other motherfuckers want to stand strong So you know the phrase, once again it's on
Top of the news tonight, gangs from South Central Los Angeles which are known for their driveby shootings Have migrated into East St. Louis Leaving three dead and two others injured No arrests have been made Police say this is a nationwide trend With similar incidents occurring in Texas, Michigan, and Oklahoma "If it can happen here, it can happen anywhere")
Boom, my homie got shot he's a goner black St. Louis niggas want they corner back Shooting in snowy weather It's illegal business, niggas still can't stick together Fuckin' police got the four-one-one That L.A. ain't all, surf and sun But we ain't thinkin', bout the boys Feudin', like the Hatfields and McCoys Now the shit's gettin' tricky Cause now they lookin' for the colors and the khakis Damn, the spot's gettin' hot from the battle About to pack up and start slangin' in Seattle But the NARC's, raid about six in the morning Try to catch a nigga while he's yawnin' Put his glock to my chest as I paused Went to jail in my motherfuckin' drawers Tryin' to give me, fifty-seven years Face'll be full of those tattooed tears It's the same old story and the same old nigga stuck And the public defender ain't givin' a fuck The fool must be sparkin' Talkin' about a double life plea bargain You got to deal with the Crips and Bloods by hand G Plus the Black Guerilla family And the white pride don't like Northside And it's a riot if any one of us die No parole or probation Now this is a young man's summer vacation No chance for rehabilitation Cause look at the motherfuckin' years that I'm facin' I'ma end it like this cause you know what's up My life is fucked
This song showed that these young black men had drive and initiative but it was misdirected and what the effects of drug dealing and influence they had on others in the mid-western city.
The next 2 songs are Giving up the Nappy Dug Out and Look Who’s Burning: Giving up the Nappy Dug Out was a song about teenage sex and low self-esteem of teenage girls. Look Who’s Burning was the perfect song to follow up giving up the nappy dug out it warned of the possible effects of having unprotected sex.
Nappy Dug Out:
Yeah CUmm, uhh is Cheryl here? Well who are you? Tell her Ice Cube is here WHO?! Ice Cube! ICE CUBE?! Man I ain't lettin my damn daughter go out with no damn Ice Cubes man! Man what the hell you talkin' about man? I brought my daughter up man in a Catholic school, private school. Man what you want with her? I'm sick of this bullshit! Yo man, let me tell you somethin':
Your daughter was a nice girl, now she is a slut A queen treatin' niggas just like King Tut Gobblin up nuts, sorta like a hummingbird Suckin up the Lench Mob crew, and I'm comin' third Used to get straight A's, now she just skippin' class Oh my, do I like to grip the hips and ass Only seventeen, with a lot of practice On black boys jimmies and white boys cactus Sorry sorry sir, but I gotta be brief A lotta niggas like bustin' nuts in her teeth Drink it up, drink it up, even though she's Catholic That don't mean shit, cause she's givin' up the ass quick Quicker than you can say, "Candy," The bitch is on my Snicker... and oh man she Can take on three men - built like He-Men Her little-bitty twat got gallons of semen Fourteen niggas in line ready to bang your Pride-and-joy, I mean daddy's little angel Tell the little bitch to bring her ass out the house Cause your daughter's known, for givin' up the nappy dug out
I got a big old ding-a-ling, and if that bitch can hang I'm gonna do my thing, with your dauuuughter! Givin up the nappy dug out! [x2]
Look motherfucker you better get from in front of my house with that old god damn bullshit, you girlie-ass motherfucker. You better get out of here witcho' fine ass. Man, youse a little fine motherfucker
Mister, mister, before you make me go I'm here to let you know your little girl is a ho Nympho, nympho, boy is she bad Get her all alone and out comes the kneepads I know she is a minor and it is illegal But the bitch is worse than Vanessa Del Rio And if you decide to call rape We got the little hooker on tape, now: Tell the fuckin' slut to please hurry up And wear that dress that's tight on her butt So I can finger-fuck on the way to the bed Been in so many rooms, she got a dot on her forehead Face turnin' red from grabbin' them ankles Fuck and get up is how I do them stank-hoes You should hear how she sounds with a cock in her Boots get knocked, from here to Czechoslovakia Two are on top, one on the bottom First nigga got the boots; man, you shoulda shot him Cause after I got 'em it was over Now niggas get lucky like a four-leaf clover On daddy's little girl She keeps nuts in her mouth like the bitch was a squirrel So tell Cheryl to bring her ass home Cause the line at my house is gettin loooooooong, ay!
I got a big old ding-a-ling, and if that bitch can hang I'm gonna do my thing, with your dauuuughter! Givin up the nappy dug out! [x2]
I got a big old ding-a-ling, and if that bitch can hang I'm gonna do my thing, with your dauuuughter! Yeah, yeah, bitch, bitch givin up the nappy dug out! I got a big old ding-a-ling, and if that bitch can hang I'm gonna do my thing, with your dauuuughter! Yo
Little motherfucker! Daddy, where did he go? I'll tell you where he went, god damnit! Mercy!
Givin up the nappy, givin up the nappy dug out" [x2] Givin up the nappy dug out [x2] Givin up the nappy, givin up the nappy dug out [x2] Givin up the nappy dug out Givin-givin up the nappy dug out Mercy!
Warning: when having sexual intercourse with a female like Cheryl You must use, jimmy hat condoms
We're called jimmy hats, have you ever seen us? Most guys wear us round rolled up on your penis If you're real smart, you will always use us Put me in your wallet, 'fore some dummy screws us And goin bare back, without the bare facts 'll have creepy crawlers crawlin on your nutsac! So get the JIMMY to the hats It's me and two brothers in a pack
Run out and get your jimmy hats Small, and extra large Run out and get your jimmy hats
Or this might happen to you!
Look Who’s Burning:
I went to the free clinic, it was filled to capacity Now how bad can a piece of ass be? Very bad, so I had to make the trip And thank God, I didn't have the drips I was there so a hoe couldn't gimme that Just to get, twenty free jimmy hats Now look who I see Ain't that, yeah, that's the bitch from up the street! With the big fat tail Who always told Cube to go to hell She thought she was wiser Now she's sittin in the waitin room, burnin like heat-mizer Yeah I see ya First Miss Thang, now Miss Gonorrhea Man it's a trip how the world keeps turnin It's 1991, and look who's burnin
"Does it get you hot?" "It's got me hot!" "This is a girl playin hard to get" "Burnin up, burnin!" "What have I, done stuck my duck in?" "Does it get you hot?" "It's got me hot!" "This is a girl playin hard to get" "Burnin up, burnin!" "What have I, done stuck my duck in?"
Now everybody is a victim, you can go see 'em And you'll hear more claps than the Coliseum Sittin there all quiet and embarrassed Whup, there go that bitch who was careless I remember, she wouldn't give the cock To anybody who lived on the block Now hoe, look what you got Bend that big ass over for the shot Cause somebody is pipin hot Drippin like a faucet, I'm glad I didn't toss it Got you a college boy, who was worse than me And he probably fucked the whole university Still wanted him to dick you down, kick you down With some bucks, now who got fucked? With a nigga for the money he's earnin But ask for some water bitch, and look who's burnin
"Does it get you hot?" "Can you get that?" "This is a girl playin hard to get" "Burnin up, burnin!" "Why is my thing-thing burnin like this?" "Does it get you hot?" "Can you get that?" "This is a girl playin hard to get" "Burnin up, burnin!" "Why is my thing-thing burnin like this?"
Yo, it ain't my fault you got the heebie-jibbies But you still try to act like you didn't see me So I walk over, and say "Hi Bitch, don't try to act surprised!" You shoulda put a sock on the pickle And your pussy wouldn't be blowin smoke signals Man, this is gonna kill 'em Guess who got a big fat dose of penicillin? They'll ask, "Who?", and I tell 'em you The new leader of the big booty crew And after the day, I'm sorry to say You come through the neighborhood, you couldn't give it away To a nigga, who's out to get major paid But you'll have him, pissin out razorblades But a bitch like you'll be returnin with the H-I-V, R.I.P.
"You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "I'm burning up!" "You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "I'm burning up!" "What have I, done stuck my duck in?" "You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "I'm burning up!" "You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "You can't trust a big butt and a smile" "I'm burning up!" "What have I, done stuck my duck in?"
"Done stuck my duck in?" "I'm burning up!" "It's hot, I'm burning up!"
A Bird in the Hand spoke on how graduating from high school and having nothing but a diploma did very little to find employment to provide for yourself which pushed many to drug dealing.
A Bird in the Hand:
Fresh out of school cause I was a high school grad Gots to get a job 'cause I was a high school dad Wish I got paid like I was rappin' to the nation But that's not likely so here's my application Pass it to the man at AT&T 'Cause when I was in school I got the A-E-E But there's no S-E for this youngsta I didn't have no money so now I have to punch the Clock like a slave, that's what be happenin' But whitey says there's no room for the African Always knew that I would clock G's But welcome to McDonald's can I take your order please Gotta sell ya food that might give you cancer 'Cause my son doesn't take no for an answer Now I pay taxes that you never give me back What about diapers, bottles, and similac Do I gotta go sell me a whole lotta crack For decent shelter and clothes on my back? Or should I just wait for help from Bush Or Jesse Jackson, and operation Push If you ask me the whole thing needs a douche A masengel what the hell cracker sell in the neighborhood To the corner house bitches Miss porker, little Joe or Todd Bridges Or anybody that he know So I got me a bird, better known as a kilo Now everybody know I went from po' to a nigga that got dough So now you put the feds against me 'Cause I couldn't follow the plan of the presidency I'm never givin' love again But blacks are too fuckin' broke to be republican Now I remember I used to be cool Till I stopped fillin' out my W-2 Now senators are gettin' high And your plan against the ghetto backfired So now you got a pep talk But sorry, this is our only room to walk 'Cause we don't want to drug push But a bird in the hand is worth more than the bush
Tell the politicians, the hustlers, live and let live (yeah) Tell the politicians, the hustlers, live and let live (yeah)
Alive on Arrival which was one of my favorite songs off of the album tells the story of a man shot and having to deal with the intolerable conditions of county hospitals.
Alive on Arrival:
Down at the best spot
Its me and J-Dee and they sellin' more birds than a pet shop
The spot's hot, and everybody nervous
That's when the blue car surfaced
Oh why did fools have to let loose?
Heard six pops from a deuce-deuce
Big Tom had to push us
13 niggas runnin' straight to the bushes
For they gats so they can draw down
But why a motherfucker like me have to fall down?
Not knowin' why I dropped out
Fuck it, still can't afford to get popped out
So now I gotta jet
Only ran one block, but my shirt is soakin' wet
Tryna see if we got 'em
Looked down and my sweatshirt's red at the bottom
Didn't panic but I still looked cracked out
Yelled to the homies then I blacked out
[Interlude 1: Homies]
Get up, man! Get up, man! (C'mon keep that nigga awake, man!)
C'mon, man! Get up man, c'mon man!
Woke up in the back of a trey
On my way to MLK
That's the county hospital, jack, ha
Where niggas die over a little scratch
Sittin' in the trauma center
In my back is where the bullet entered
"Yo, nurse, I'm gettin' kinda warm!"
Bitch still made me fill out the fuckin' form
Coughin' up blood on my hands and knees
Then I heard, "Freeze, nigga! Don't move!"
Yo, I didn't do a thing
Don't wanna go out like my man Rodney King
Still got gaffled
Internal bleeding as the bullet starts to travel
Now I'm handcuffed
Being asked information on my gang affiliation
"I don't bang, I rock the good rhymes
And I'm a victim of neighborhood crime."
[Interlude 2: Police Officers]
Are you the only one who got shot? What kinda gun was he carrying? Do you know who it was? (No, man, don't know who it was, man) Are you in a gang? (Man, what does it matter, man? I'm shot)
I need to see a MD
And y'all motherfuckers giving me the third degree?
Look at the waiting room
It's filled to the rim like the county jail day room
Nobody gettin' help
Since we poor, the hospital it moves slow
Now I'm laid out
People steppin' over me to get closer to the TV
Just like a piece of dog shit
Now will I die on this nappy ass carpet?
One hour done passed
Done watched two episodes of M*A*S*H
And when I'm almost through
They call my name and put me in ICU
No respect, and handcuffed to the bed
Now the drama starts
Cause the bullet must be just a hair from my heart
Then I begin the ass kissin'
Just to get looked at, by a overworked physician
Had the chills, but my temperature's a hundred and three
Only got a band-aid and a IV
That's when I start cussin'
Police steady askin' me who did the bustin'
[Interlude 3: Police Officers]
What did you get shot with? (Twenty-two!)
Who shot you? (I dunno who shot me)
Was it gang-bangers? (Had to be)
Why, oh why, can't I get help?
Cause I'm black, I gots to go for self
Too many black bodies the hospital housin'
So at 10 p.m, I was Audi 5000
The song to end the Death side was fittingly titled Death which was performed by the Honorable Dr. Khalid Muhammed.
Let me live my life!
We can no longer LIVE OUR LIVES...
Then let us... GIVE OUR LIVES for the liberation...
And salvation of the Black Nation
Saints, saviors, soldiers, scholars... healers and killers
No longer dead, deaf, dumb and blind out of our mind!
BRAIN-WASHED with the white men's mind
NO MORE HOMICIDE!
NO MORE FRATRICIDE!
NO MORE SUICIDE, INFANTCIDE AND... GENOCIDE!
Look that goddamn white man in his COLD... blue-eyes
Devil don't even TRY... We Bebe's Kids!
We DON'T die... we... MULTIPLY!
You heard the Death Side
Open your black eyes for the REBIRTH...
Resurrection... and rise!