Song Analysis “All Black Everything” Lupe Fiasco

You would never know
If you could ever be
If you never try
You would never see
Stayed in Africa
We ain’t never leave
So there were no slaves in our history
Were no slave ships, were no misery, call me crazy, or isn’t he
See I fell asleep and I had a dream, it was all black everything

[The hook sets forth the premise of the song. The speaker imagines that the Atlantic slave trade never happened. So African-Americans were never enslaved. There were no slave plantations.]

[Verse 1]
Uh, and we ain’t get exploited
White man ain’t feared so he did not destroy it
We ain’t work for free, see they had to employ it
Built it up together so we equally appointed
First 400 years, see we actually enjoyed it
Constitution written by W.E.B. Du Bois
Were no reconstructions, Civil War got avoided
Little black Sambo grows up to be a lawyer
Extra extra on the news stands
Black woman voted head of Ku Klux Klan
Malcolm Little dies as a old man
Martin Luther King read the eulogy for him
Followed by Bill O’Reilly who read from the Quran
President Bush sends condolences from Iran
Where FOX News reports live
That Ahmadinejad wins Mandela peace prize

[These are some of the most imaginative lyrics in American music today. The speaker says that instead of being enslaved, African-Americans were employed. They played key roles in American history. Du Bois, one of the greatest African-American intellectuals, wrote the Constitution. The speaker imagines Sambo, the minstrel character, as an attorney. Malcolm X, instead of dying by an assassin’s bullet in his forties, lives to old age. MLK, rather than distancing himself from Malcolm, eulogizes his fellow icon. Of course, someone must read from the Quran at the funeral of such an important Muslim, and the honor goes to one Bill O’Reilly. I’m not sure how to interpret the part about President Bush and President Ahmadinejad. It sounds as if they have switched places – with Bush leading Iran and Ahmadinejad as the American commander-in-chief. And I skipped the part about a black lady heading up the KKK because I don’t know what to do with that.]

[Verse 2]
Uh, and it ain’t no projects
Keepin it real is not an understood concept
Yea, complexion’s not a contest
Cause racism has no context
Hip hop ain’t got a section called conscious
Everybody rappin’ like crack never happened
Crips never occurred no Bloods to attack them
Matter of fact no hood to attack in
Somalia is a great place to relax in
Fred Astaire was the first to do a backspin
The Rat Pack was cool group of black men
That inspired five white guys called The Jacksons
Eminem fitted in but then again he inspired
a black rapper tryin to mimic him
And that’s what really rose up out of Michigan,
the sign of white rapper by the name of 50 Cent, ha!

[The fantasy continues as we keep riding this magic carpet. The inner-city housing projects disappear. Does that mean these projects only exist to perpetuate racism? Complexion has nothing to do with status. Is racism merely a function of our history of oppression? The crack epidemic never occurred. Perhaps Fiasco accepts the theory that crack was introduced to inflict misery on African-Americans.]

[Verse 3]
Uh, and I know it’s just a fantasy
I cordially invite you to ask why can’t it be?
Now we can do nothing bout the past
But we can do something about the future that we have
We can make fast or we can make it last
Every woman Queenin’ and every man a Kingin’
When those color lines come we can’t see between
We just close our eyes ’til it’s all black every-THING!

[Fiasco says,  “Why not?” While we cannot erase the past, we can embrace a different kind of future. We can reject racism. We can escape complexes of superiority and inferiority. There is nothing inevitable about them.]

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