The Art of Hustle

words by Cameron Flowers

I used to produce and write lyrics during AP Physics.

I boxed my writer’s block while sitting in them

double block periods.

In high school I tried to keep my head up when

I was down in my spirits,

It was hard to explain myself to people that

couldn’t hear what I’m feeling.

I used the company of rap to make a safe space for self,

you know a place I could face all of the weight that I felt.

I couldn’t see it all fit but it’s like way back when

I found this passion rapping in my classes

I was hacking shit then

You know hack like:

1. Using knowledge to gain access to a system

Or hack like:

2. Finding clever ways to manage or cope

I would hack like:

3. Innovating solutions to my problems

Hip-hop really helped me do all of that and then more.

The Grandmasters made news with they street-bloomed knowledge.

Little did they know what those moves would do for us following.

Adding turntables to mixers when it wasn’t so common.

Scratching records, making break beats loop that was nonsense.

Or nah cuz since they did it you can see the aftermath,

Like they knew some calculations that nobody else had.

Flipping hardware and streetwear,

knowledge in they gift of gab,

They started something major off a black cultural hack.


It’s like there’s a true science to this hip-hop shit.

Mathematics, engineering, linguistics and politics.

I remember when I first heard about Chomskyanism,

I hadn’t known about Noam but peeped his lyrical dome.

It’s funny thinking how these rappers got a gift with they words

But so few of them could study all the factors at work.

My man Chomsky said we all posses a universal grammar,

In grammar school they said my s/language wasn’t proper to practice.

Bet I changed the game in college

making hip hop my major;

Reading Freire

had me feeling like a knowledge creator.

I realized that school really

wouldn’t be so whack

If we learned when we were young

that we just gotta hack

like that.

This story is part of Empire Taste 001: The Friends & Family Issue.

Available Now!