Did Nas ‘Borrow’ the Idea for “Project Roach?

While I was posted in the crib, listening to the new Nas CD I came across a song called “Project Roach” and couldn’t help but notice the similarities to a story written by the prolific Black Dot. The classic story was called “We Be Like Roaches” and can be found in his book called “Hip Hop Decoded.” Now I know about the 100-Monkey Syndrome that suggests if a hundred Negroes are hip to something then exponentially it becomes a “common” knowledge to a mass populace of people but what are the chances that the song can almost be identical to the story? Now, I’m not objecting to the use of Nas’ version inspired by Black Dot’s but as a journalist I’m just saying give credit where credit is due. Listen to the song [here] and then read the article and tell me if I’m reaching…

Be Like Roaches

As I began to pour boric acid in every crack and crevice in my apartment to try and rid myself of the constant roach problem, I noticed that I had to keep changing the “brand” of boric acid every three months because after a while, the roaches seemed to become immune to its potency. Not only do they return, but they seem to return in greater numbers than before. This led me to ask myself, will we ever be able to totally exterminate roaches, or is their will to live and survive greater than any boric acid, roach spray, combats, or roach motel that we can create? After studying the origin and history of roaches a little further, the answer to this question became painfully obvious. No. As I stepped on a few who tried to flee the scene, a conscious voice in my head said “How would you liked to be stepped on or sprayed?”, or “How would you like it if someone viewed you as a pest, and tried to exterminate every man, woman, and child of your race?” Then it hit me. We be like roaches!

OK, before I lose you, let me explain. Crack cocaine is a form of boric acid that has been strategically planted on every corner in our neighborhood to kill us off. It’s so potent, that it kills those who ingest it (physically or mentally) and the crimes and lifestyles associated with it forces roaches, er… i mean families to flee. Yet just like boric acid, after a while we become immune to crack. We even become immune to seeing crack dealers, “crackheads”, and crack babies on every corner. Yet to the dismay of the “exterminators”, our will to live and survive is greater than their will to kill us. And once again life begins to flourish in our communities at a quickening pace. This war between the “exterminators” and “roaches” has been going on for many, many years. Every time the “exterminators” create a new or more potent form of boric acid, whether it’s heroin in the 60s, cocaine in the 70s, or crack cocaine, we lose millions in the battle, but we find a way to somehow win the war of survival. Why? We be like roaches!

One of the most common weapons used to kill roaches has always been roach spray. Yet every time I look out of my window and see these crop duster type planes leaving clouds of “chem” trails in the sky, I can’t help but wonder if we’re being sprayed like roaches with some toxic or hazardous chemicals that are killing us slowly. Or what about the Roach Motels where “roaches check in, but they don’t check out?” Is this any different than the prison systems where most of our young brothers check in but they don’t check out? Or if they do check out, they aren’t the same. In most cases for creepin in the “dark” trying to get their hands on a few “crumbs” to feed their families. Unfortunately when Five-O flashes that bright “light” on us and we “scatter”, a few of us get caught. Then came the Combats, where roaches enter, take the poison, go back to their hiding places and kill thousands of others including their eggs. Is this any different than the school systems where every day whether in the first grade, or in college we’re mentally poisoned with lies about George Washington and Christopher Columbus? We then take this poison back to our communities and teach it to our families to mentally kill them. This poison is so lethal, that it even affects our “seeds” who in most cases are “born” dead. Then there’s the church that’s found on just about every other corner that poisons us spiritually with “holy lies” that omits or degrades our presence in the Scriptures. We also take this poison back to our communities and inject it deep into the souls of our families. Even killing the ‘eggs’ that enable us to be spiritually “born again.” And yet still we rise in alarming numbers! We must be like……. well you get the point.

According to Paul Guillebeau, an entomologist with the University of Georgia Extension Service, roaches have been around for over 300 million years. He also states: “they have changed very little, according to fossil evidence.” “You usually find larger populations in cities” he said “due to the number of apartment buildings.” Roaches need three things to form a population: food, moisture, and shelter. “Apartment buildings usually provide all of these,” he said. “Once a few get established, it doesn’t take long for a huge population to form.” In another published report entitled Roach Facts it states: Roaches are native of western Asia and northern Africa. Roaches were carried all over the world in wooden ships. White roaches are those that have shed their skin. In some countries, roaches are delicacies. And some female roaches mate once and are pregnant for the rest of their lives. You know where I’m going with this. We are the only people with a history that can date back at least 300 million years. As a matter of fact, we have no birth record. We reached the shores of North America in ships. Some as slaves, and some as navigators. At one point we called this entire planet Asia(Asiatic Blackman), but our greatest legacy can be found in Africa. A large portion of our population can be found in the cities due to the number of apartment buildings. Once a few of us get established, it doesn’t take long for us to start making babies and create a large population. And we too need three things to form a population: food, clothing, and shelter. Now that’s scary. And we all know that “brother” who wants to be white so bad, that he would die to shed his skin. Or what about that “chickenhead” with so many kids, it seems like she was pregnant her entire life? Oh and let’s not forget, there are those who see us as a tasty food. Jeffery Dharmer can attest to that. It appears that in the roach world, they are the microcosm, and we are the macrocosm. So before you kill that roach that just crawl across your T.V., understand that his fight to survive is no different than your own.

Now, for some of the other “boric acids” that have plagued our communities for centuries: White sugar is a boric acid. White salt is a Boric acid. White milk is a boric acid. White bread, flour, and rice are all boric acids that are used to kill us on a daily basis. High blood pressure and diabetes are two of the leading causes of death of “so-called” African American people. These sugars, salts, and starches are deadly, and are made readily available for us to consume, and die. With all of the growth hormones added to the milk, which has been known to cause asthma and breast cancer, it too has become detrimental to the health of black people. And it’s free for young mothers in the “hood” to ensure that they start the “death” process of their children early. When white people came in contact with the Indians, they wiped them out with guns and diseases. Those who survived had to flee like roaches. When white people came in contact with black people, they wiped us out or forced us into bondage. Even in ancient times, they slaughtered us, and destroyed our institutes of higher learning, libraries (Alexandria), and monuments (Sphinx) forcing us to flee like roaches into foreign lands. When it comes to music, the process is the same. We created jazz music for the purpose of lifting us up spiritually. Once that “boric acid” element was added to the equation, it poisoned the energy. We then created Rock n’ Roll to try and re establish a new foundation for this spiritual energy. Today, if you listen to Rock n’ Roll, you would never know that we were its original creators. Again, we had to flee the scene or be musically annihilated. Now Hip Hop is facing extermination. When Hip Hop came from the heart, it resonated at a higher frequency. Once that deadly element entered into the picture and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business, it killed the essence of the art form. And ten years from now, it will be dominated by a white artist. Causing the roaches who haven’t been killed to somehow become immune to this poison, or flee and create a new form of music to survive. The number one rule that all roaches must adhere to, or face elimination is: stay away from everything white.

I can’t help but wonder if the immune system of a roach is so sophisticated that once poisoned, over a period of time, it has the ability to somehow recognize, analyze, and create a defense mechanism that renders the boric acid useless. This is no different than our ability to fight off AIDS, Ebola, and other man made disease created to destroy us on a global level. Yet the “exterminators” are constantly at work inventing new biological weapons of mass destruction to totally eliminate us. We can run, but we can’t hide from their relentless pursuit. We must fight. We must find new ways to heighten our defense mechanisms. We must meditate, eat right (physically, mentally, and spiritually), and we must draw on the energy of our ancestors, who were victims of the very “exterminators” that we are fighting, and would love a little payback. And just like roaches, we will survive. After all, we’ve been here long before the “exterminators”, and we’ll be here long after they’re gone. It is said that roaches are the only things that can survive a nuclear blast. Yet when I looked out into my community after the 911 attacks, to my surprise, no one seemed a bit too concern about their survival if this was to escalate into a nuclear war. In fact, we never even missed a beat. People still went to work, children still came outside to play, and “fellas” was still on the corner “puffin” blunts like nothing ever happened. Leading me to ask myself: do we know something that they don’t? Who else could survive under the horrid conditions we live in, and still say there’s no place like home but us. Who else could survive off mere crumbs, and still have a thriving population, but us. Who else could survive the physical, nuclear, and biological attacks on our very existence, and still look forward to tomorrow but us. And who else have them “roachy” family members that seem to crawl up from under a rock as soon as we invite company over and embarrass us, to the point that we try to act like we don’t even see them but us. We be the ones with the will to live and survive. We be the ones who can adjust to any and all c o n d i t i o ns s e t before us. We be the ones that when all the smoke clears, will be the last ones standing. And whether you’re willing to admit it or not . . . . . We be like roaches!!

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