Big Daddy Kane and Big Scoob’s 1994 song, “In the PJs,” released on the album Daddy’s Home, describes life in public housing developments, focusing on both its challenges as well as a certain pride derived from facing them. In the lyrics excerpted here, the artists reflect on the everyday violence “up” in the typically tall buildings with resignation. The analogy of gunshots-as-fireworks is held in tension with wartime language of “guerillas” and “casualties,” acknowledging what, for the artists, is an everyday reality of racialized violence in the neighborhood.
Note: Though all categories are far from “complete,” the sources originally selected by the Buell Center research team and comprising the category of “Arts & Culture” deserve particular acknowledgement as such. Many songs were drawn from Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists, by Sacha Jenkins, Elliott Wilson, and Jeff Mao (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999). Limited by time and individual expertise, the Center’s hope was always that subsequent contributors might further build out all categories (and add their own)—“Arts & Culture” especially.