“Respiration” is the second single from Black Star’s eponymously titled 1998 debut album. It features a guest verse from Common and guitar playing by DeChown Jenkins. The song is produced by Hi-Tek and samples “Theme from the Fox” by Don Randi.

Black Star, with a feature from Common, poetically describe the hard-knock life in New York, with the “Gangstas of Gotham”, and the oppressive “smog” of the city, which obscures the idea of purity.