It flips several songs by Boogie Down Productions: Hi-Tek’s beat is a reworking of “The P is Free,” the hook is an interpolation of “Stop the Violence,” and Mos throws in a line from “The Bridge Is Over”.
This song is Black Star’s take on violence in hip-hop and their disdain for the violent themes in rap songs following the murders of 2Pac in 1996 and The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997.
Producer Hi-Tek said the following about the track:
I went home to my Cincinnati studio and just did what I felt from it. I think I made the beat on the MPC60. Basically, I just flipped the ‘P Is Free’ beat and put my own thing on it. I gave Mos the beat and he liked it. He flew me and Kweli out to LA— he was out there doing some movie stuff—and found a studio through a good friend of ours. Even when he gave me the idea, I felt like it was too simple for me. At the time, I felt like I had something to prove to separate myself from a lot of other East Coast producers. I always try to do something different.