Not strong (Only aggressive)
(As with the entire “hook,” the line is borrowed from Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.)
The distinction here is between acting tough and having an internal fortitude.
In the lines from the novel, the narrator is acknowledging her own complicity in the community’s scapegoating of the impoverished black girl, Pecola. Pecola was sacrificed so the others could feel better about themselves. While they gained power from this, they were not truly strong.
For Black Star, the commentary seems to be on inner-city “thug life” and the whole gangster rap persona that the duo counters with their own more bookish style. As in the first verse, Kweli seems to embrace a pacifist stance: “You’re firearms are too short to box with god.”
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