Ghetto Rock

Album: New Danger (2004)

Songfacts®:

  • Mos Def's birth name was Dante Smith. The lyrics mention Smith's family.
  • Black Jack Johnson is the name of Mos Def's rock band. The original Jack Johnson, and the source of the band's name, was an black man who won the world heavyweight boxing championship in 1908 (though not officially until 1910.) Johnson's flamboyant life was the subject of Unforgivable Blackness, a 2004 Ken Burns documentary for American Public Television.
  • Black Jack Johnson N.Y.C., R-O-C-K-I-N-G... The rhythm of the chorus is based on an American children's playground chant:
    (Name of boy) and (Name of girl) sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
    First comes love, then comes marriage
    Then comes the baby in the baby carriage.

    Normally, this one is used to taunt children who appear to be romantically interested in another student - a taboo for American 7-year-olds.
  • "Smokey Smoke" is slang for marijuana; it is also the name of a Southern rapper and more notably, a gangsta rapper ("Puff Smokey Smoke") played for laughs by comedian Tommy Davidson in the 2004 comedy Juwanna Mann.
  • A "Ghetto" is a poor area in the city, often heavily populated by minorities. The word often has a negative connotation, but Mos Def presents it in a positive way, stressing the strength, solidarity and creativity of people from the inner city. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above

Comments: 2

  • Madison from Norway, MeI liked him in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Victor from Palm Desert, CaMos Def is the one of the best rappers out there, about time a REAL rapper comes along.
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