Look in the skies for God, what you see besides the smog
Is broken dreams flying away on the wings of the obscene

from Black Star (Ft. Common) – Respiration Lyrics on Rap Genius


What an extraordinary poetic image. The protagonist looks into the sky, searching for life and deeper meaning, and what does he find? Smog. He can’t see anything, even God, because the literal and figurative pollution of city blocks his vision.

What else does he see? Broken dreams. The “wings of the obscene” refers to the obscene fact that the only dreams most people in the neighborhood have are hopelessly unrealistic dreams such as professional sports or drug dealing riches.

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