From the sovereign state of the have-nots
Where farmers have trouble with cash crops (woooo)
It's all-city like Phase 2

from Yasiin Bey – Hip Hop Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

As the product of black “ghetto” culture, Hip-Hop is the “state” of the have-nots, a flag for those with nothing to rally under. Farmers/cash crops seems to reference drug dealing, the evil twin that emerged at roughly the same time as hip-hop and has been intertwined in the history of the music ever since.

Phase 2 was a prominent NYC graffiti artist; Mos Def compares the ubiquity of his work in the 1970s to the modern ubiquity of hip-hop, which has written its cultural graffiti on the walls of the dominant culture.

To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Hip Hop” by Yasiin Bey Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box