The New H.N.I.C. (Head Niggas in Charge): The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop

By Todd Boyd | Go to book overview

Introduction
Who We Be: Introducin' the New H.N.I.C.

We invite you to somethin' epic. Where we hustle out of a sense of hope-
lessness, sort of a desperation. Through that desperation, we 'come ad-
dicted, sorta like them fiends we accustomed to servin'. Where we feel we
have nothin' to lose. So we offer you, well, we offer our lives. What do you
bring to the table?

—Jay-Z, Introduction to “Can I Live?”

Be all the nigga that you are.

—Benjamin Bratt as Miguel Pinero, Pinero (2001)


Back in the Day

Some may remember a popular Coke commercial from the mid 1990s that featured an interesting parallel between two distinct generations of Black people. As the commercial began, an older Black man, sitting back in his chair, listening to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sing their Motown classic “You're All I Need to Get By.” This tune was written by the noted husband-and-wife team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and it highlights for many, the quintessential Motown sound of the 1960s. The older Black man in the commercial was, of course, enjoying a Coke while listening to this music that seemed to transport him back to fond memories of another time.

-1-

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