Not knowin' that my color, was out of the original
So now I sing the new negro spiritual
aside from continuing the commentary of the last line, it’s a sociological commentary:
- many ghettos/projects are insular, isolated communities (and most often full of minorities, people of color). a young black male growing up in a predominantly black community would have a different view of America than he would outside it— ‘blackness’ would be the standard (rather than ‘out of the original’ or out of the ordinary as the narrator implies it is in the rest of the country).
by getting older and wiser, the narrator now understands what it means to be black in America more deeply and has a ‘new song,’ so to speak.
this is also a pretty huge compliment to Bob Marley and the Wailers, who performed the song he’s referencing in the next few lines.
(before he reveals which ‘spiritual’ he’s referring to though, the line before in conjunction with the phrase ‘new negro spiritual’ sets up a link between common’s disparate themes of racial identity/conflict and spirituality on its own).
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "Book of Life" by Common Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box