Excerpts, Lyrics

“Be” . . . Lyrical

So, last night we were listening to Common’s album, “Be”. We both enjoy this album, some songs a lot more than others. Yayoi likes the tune but the lyrics are a real challenge . . . do black people always understand the lyrics? No, I said, from what I have observed of my step-siblings, you listen to the tune over and over, picking up lyrics on each pass, and perhaps argue with your friends and siblings, until you mostly get it. We did this. I’ve got most of the lyrics. Can you write them down? Yes. And so we worked our way through . . . over and over.

“Be” — Common

(Intro – guitar, synthesizer, piano, strings)



I want to be as free as the spirits of those who left
I’m talkin Malcolm, Coltrane, my man Yousef
Through death grew conception, new breath and resurrection
For one’s new steps in a direction in the right way
Told inside is where the fight lay
And everything a nigga do may not be what he might say
Chicago night stay stay on the mind
But I write many lives they lay on these lines
Waving signs of the times many say the crime’s on they mind
Shorties blunted out and everyone wanna rhyme
Bush pusher lies killers immortalized
We got arms but won’t reach for the skies
Waitin’ for the Lord to rise I look into my daughter’s eyes
And realize that I’m a learn through her
The Messiah might even return through her
If I’m a do it, I gotta change the world through her
Furs and the Benz (greps?) wantin’m
Demons and old friends pops they huntin’m
The chosen one from the land of the frozen sun
When drunk nights get remembered more than sober ones
Walk like warriors we were never told to run
Explore the world to return to where my soul begun
Never lookin back, or too far in front of me
The present is a gift, and I just want to Be.

(be, be, be, be, be ….)

It is a good song, starting with a strumming guitar, then a doo doo doo Pac Man synthesizer, and a piano tumbles in, joined by strings, before Common explodes with some complex, uplifting, starry-eyed lyrics, and then its over.  A good anthem to start the album.

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Categories: Excerpts, Lyrics

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