I'm cooking up the books like a communist bonfire
And tell Uncle Sam I forgot the receipt
He gon' call me a liar and I'mma call him a thief
The jury looking like him and enjoying looking at me
Way In Way Out by Oddisee

Oddisee is destroying his income records (“cooking up the books”) to not be taxed so much by the IRS. However, Oddisee just sees this as his recouping money that the federal government took in a shady manner.

In Soviet Russia, there were, indeed, book burnings initiated by the Communist Party.

Oddisee is taken to trial, judged by a jury (most likely of racist white men) that enjoy watching a black man suffer.

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At my arraignment, screaming
All us blacks got is sports and entertainment, and a belief in
Religion as the answer to the grieving
Believing that the blessed get test and the less get even
Way In Way Out by Oddisee

Oddisee is paying homage to Jay-Z.

From Reasonable Doubt’s “Can’t Knock The Hustle,”

At my arraignment, screaming
All us blacks got is sports and entertainment, until we even
Thieving, as long as I’m breathing
Can’t knock the way a nigga eating — fuck you even!

However, while Jigga lays out African-Americans' occupational trio as sport, entertainment, and hustling, Oddisee replaces hustling with religion.

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See we crabs in a barrel and the barrel was glass
So we broke, crack was the answer to cash
Way In Way Out by Oddisee

Oddisee plays on an old adage, used to describe the cycle in which the poor try to get out of poverty at the expense of other impoverished people; crack peddling is viewed as one means of poverty (the barrel). Rather than ascend to the barrel’s top, just bust a hole in the side. This shortcut emphasizes the easy money that crack brought to some people.

Cracking the glass barrel got the crabs out of poverty and into the “vast ocean of material prosperity” that surrounded them. Oddisee might also be alluding to the “island of poverty” metaphor (where’s the cash?).

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Before I ever cooked a fish, I was scale chef
I ground down a pound to the tail flesh
Chamber by Ka

Ka was cooking crack (fishscale cocaine) before he cooked a real fish.

He plays on the fishscale nickname for grade A coke with “tail flesh,” meaning he stretched (“ground down”) his supply.

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Magician this scripture, flame on paper, no pages smokin' Chamber by Ka

When Ka writes his rhymes, the page is set ablaze.

He is probably alluding to the burning bush through which God ordered Moses to petition Pharaoh for the Israelites' release from slavery.

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Future bright, you should like how I came from hopeless Chamber by Ka

Indeed, the story of the underdog’s rise to fame and wealth is one of hip-hop’s most popular tales. The most famous tale might be The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”

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I hit the henny like it's padded Iron Age by Ka (Ft. Roc Marciano)

Roc Marci drinks (“hits”) a lot of Hennessy, as though it has football pads on.

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Know what's right, but can't change overnight like Ebenezer Iron Age by Ka (Ft. Roc Marciano)

Ebenezer is Charles Dickens’s infamous miser, who had a change of heart, from A Christmas Carol, no doubt.

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If my phonetics don't take, then I'mma net a caper
Carry the heat, reppin' Hull Street then Decatur
Iron Age by Ka (Ft. Roc Marciano)

If Ka’s rapping (phonetics) doesn’t find fans, he’ll pull a heist (caper) to make money.

Hull and Decatur streets are both in Brooklyn, New York, Ka’s borough.

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Promoters call me Moses by how I spark and leave
Notice, come through the crowd, my staff parts the sea
Iron Age by Ka (Ft. Roc Marciano)

Ka makes two Moses-related brags here.


  • Ka’s notoriety is “sparking” (increasing, as in a flame) just as how Moses, through God rained hail and lightning and fire on Egypt during the seventh plague of Egypt.

Exodus 9:23.

And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

  • When Ka is bombarded by a sea of fans, his (security) staff makes way for him to come through, just as Moses used his staff to part the Red Sea for the Isrealites' crossing. Or, Ka might just be making an dope metaphor.

Exodus 14:21-22.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

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