This is the 1st installment of what will likely be a pretty regular feature of this blog, Essential Verses. Essential Songs, Essential Albums, etc will come. But first up, Essential Verses: “Beneath dilapidated wood…”

♪♫ "On & on, and on & on... my lyrics get strong when I put this on." ♫♪

Before he was 3000, and before he was regularly included on the lists of the elite emcees, Andre Benjamin dropped  a guest verse on a Goodie M.O.B. single released in ’98 that signaled the arrival of that dude everybody would be really talking about once Aquemini dropped later that year.



Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me yo’ eardrums
It was a beautiful day off in the neighborhood
Yellows and greens and blues and browns
and greys and hues that ooze beneath dilapidated wood
Ain’t a thing could explain what pertains
to cocaine it’s a stain that rain
See summer roll around niggaz holla bout change
Then they steady move them ki’s (keys) like Bob James
Cause old man winter’s arrived
the temperature dives
November just died
December’s alive
Thus it ain’t no typical ride
Just individual’s way to bring home
the bacon when bacon was all gone
Makin it our own
Takin me all wrong
We’ve all indulged in the bulge of those no-no’s
No you ain’t solo, it’s even lower levels you can go
Take sun people, put ’em in a land of snow


Listen. It was beautiful outside.
*Some inscrutable reference to what may or may not be be rainbows shining and/or shadows falling through the holes in a wooden porch.*
You might see our song “Aint No Thang” (from Southernplayalistic) for information relative to life in the streets of this neighborhood, selling cocaine.
Locals drug sellers see the onset of summer as an opportunity to stop selling drugs, and say so;  but they don’t stop ultimately. They keep selling drugs, with demonstrated facility.
It isn’t everyone who sells drugs here, just those individuals who need that industry to provide for themselves.
Don’t mistake my discussion of drug sellers in this way as a particular indictment of their activity.
We all have done things that society frowns upon to get by.
Some, in fact, have done much worse than drug dealers.
Take European slave traders for example.
They kidnapped the ancestors of these local drug sellers from a warmer place, forcing them (and subsequent generations) to toil in this hostile environment. How about that?


The name of this song is Black Ice. Meditate on that. Its not Andre’s song. He put it in a guest verse. He took the title and from there jumped off into a discussion of supposed black criminality, where weather and temperature stand for relative states of opportunity which create that climate. Summer stirs in these guys a urge to stop selling drugs. Fall and winter bring them back to it. Andre suggests, if you want to judge them for it, judge the men who introduced them to winter. Black Ice, here is Black Crime, what you get when folks are frozen out of opportunity. All that in 16. Go back listen to the rest of the song. The thing about Andre is that he won’t really murder you on your own song, as much as he will drop a verse with concepts that actually define the song for you, better than you.

Next Issue of Geek Blak: “Erykah Badu refuses fan calls to date Gucci Mane, Wocka Flaka, end their careers as rappers.”