When I was sleepin' on the train, sleepin' on Meserole
Ave out in the rain

from Jay Electronica – Exhibit C Lyrics on Rap Genius


This is a deceptively deep beginning: there’s a double entendre and a doubling of movement. Sleeping is a double entendre in that he’s literally sleeping and figuratively sleeping—figuratively in the 5 Percenter self because he lacks knowledge of self. There’s a double sense of movement because while he’s literally in motion (on the train), he’s also in motion in a literary sense: the song begins in motion, in medias reas (Latin for: in the middle of things).

Meserole Avenue is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which is interesting: here’s a New Orleans MC whose most autobiographical song begins in Brooklyn and whose style is very New York. But he’s still attached to the South—he’s sensitive to Southerners getting dissed by NY MCs (as we’ll see in a moment). The historic schism between Southern and NY hiphop is at play within this song.

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