We were kings and queens, never porch monkeys

from Nas – I Can Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

During slave times, “porch monkey” was an insult targeted at “house slaves” who didn’t have to work in the fields (maybe the original black-on-black diss)

Granted ‘we’ weren’t kings and queens because that’s not how a Monarchy works. However, Nas makes a claim where “we” means African-Americans, which references the statement “[African-Americans] are not up from slavery. We are down from a kingdom” a proclamation used to explain that black history does not begin with American slavery, but rather, it stretches back to ancient kingdoms in Africa such as Nubia, Mali, Kemit, Ethiopia, and early dynastic periods of ancient Egypt and northern Africa.

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