Word to Marcus Garvey: I hardly sparked it

from Nas – Halftime Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Marcus Garvey was the father of the pan-African movement who, like many black leaders past and present, and like the narrator here, was persecuted by law enforcement

The mention of Garvey’s name, along with Malcolm’s, continues this song’s run of mentioning “key figures and sites of the black freedom struggle.” Marc Lamont Hill writes about this in his great essay on the song:

Nas' references to Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Marcus Garvey also demonstrate his sustained commitment to political subject matter in spite of the culture’s shift from overtly political music…to the gangster rap sounds of Ice-T, NWA, and Snoop Dogg that had begun to dominate both hip-hop and American popular music

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