Oh My God by A Tribe Called Quest Lyrics Meaning – Decoding the Socio-Cultural Layers


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for A Tribe Called Quest's Oh My God at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

Listen up everybody the bottom line
I’m a black intellect, but unrefined
With precision like a bullet, target bound
Just living like a hooker, the harlot sounds
Now when I say the harlot, you know I mean the hot
Heat of the equator, the brothers in the pot
Jah, lick, Jah, lick ya wind up ya hip
Draftin’ of the poets, I’m the number seven pick
Licks, licks, licks boy pon your backside
Licks, licks, licks boy pon your backside
Listen to the fader, Shaheed lets it glide
Tip the earthly body
Heaven’s on my side
Even in Santo Domingo
Can I gotta Gringo
Yo, we got mics, when do we go?
Know a little nigga who can rhyme when you ask me
Short, dark, and plus his voice is raspy

1 for the treble, 2 for the bass
You know the style Tip, now watch me rip this
I like my beats harder than two day old shit
Steady eating booty MC’s like cheese grits
My man Al B. Sure, he’s in effect mode
Used to have a crush on Dawn from En Vogue
It’s not like honey dip would want to get with me
But just in case I own more condoms than TLC
Now the formula is this, me, Tip, and Ali
For those who can’t count it goes 1-2-3
The answer, big up is how I be
Brothers find it’s hard to do, but never me
Some brothers try to diss Malik
You see ’em bitchin’
Mi nuh care ’bout dem dibby MC
Trini gladiator, anti-hesitator
Shaheed push the fader from here to Grenada
Mister energetic
Who me, sound pathetic?
When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?
I don’t know man, I don’t know man, I don’t know man
I don’t know, I don’t know

Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God

Complimentary are we, the three for poetry
I got a humdinger coming hook, line and sinker
The Timbo hits with the prints underground
Timbo’s on the toes, I like the way it’s going down
Down like the lady of the evening
When it goes in hun just believe the sin
‘Cause Queens is the county, Jamaica is the place
(Take off your boots ’cause you can’t run the race)

Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God
Oh My God, yes, Oh My God

The title “MC” means Master of Ceremony
Some people who MC, don’t know what this term means

Full Lyrics

Amidst the pantheon of hip-hop anthems, A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Oh My God’ stands as a testament to the genre’s complexity and depth. Quintessentially a product of the early ’90s, its tapestry of sounds and lyrics paints an eclectic picture that defies simplistic interpretation.

Frontmen Q-Tip and Phife Dawg draw from an arsenal of references, blending personal musings with broader social commentary, while DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad lays down the underpinning grooves. The track becomes a treasure trove of meaning against the backdrop of the social consciousness that Tribe is known for, begging for a deeper exploration.

Unpacking the Black Intellectual Unrefinement

The opening line, ‘I’m a black intellect, but unrefined,’ is a powerful self-reflection and a challenge to the prevailing stereotypes of African Americans in media and society. Here, the lyricist asserts intellectual prowess while simultaneously rejecting the conventional polish that may be expected from hip-hop artists, suggesting a depth that’s unencumbered by societal expectations.

This declaration also speaks to the sense of being targeted—‘like a bullet, target bound’—which in a broader sense symbolizes the everyday struggles and systemic biases faced by black communities. The ‘unrefined’ nature, thus, could be intertwined with a raw, authentic experience that refuses to be diluted.

From Flows to Flambés: The Inescapable Heat of the Lyrics

‘Heat of the equator, the brothers in the pot’ is not merely a metaphor for the pressure faced by black men but an illustration of their internal energy and creative force. The repeated invocation of ‘Jah’ and ‘lick ya wind up ya hip’ infuses the track with a spiritual and sensual liberation, rooting it in Black and Caribbean culture.

The hotness or ‘harlot’ also plays with the duality of sin and temptation, underscoring the themes of adversity and triumph. This, juxtaposed with the chilling coolness of ‘Heaven’s on my side,’ points to a divine balance in their work.

The Triumphant Trifecta and Their Counters to Conflict

‘The formula is this, me, Tip, and Ali’ reveals the group dynamics of A Tribe Called Quest as the foundation of their creative output. Referencing themselves as ‘the three for poetry,’ they align their collaborative synergy for artistic conquest, laying claim to hooks that draw in listeners with magnetic allure.

When Phife Dawg describes the disparagement he encounters—’Some brothers try to diss Malik’—it is squared with a defiance that is both local and expansive, echoing from ‘here to Grenada.’ Their global stance reinforces the group’s reach and influence beyond Queens, New York.

Solving the Enigma: What Does the ‘Funky Diabetic’ Imply?

A seemingly throwaway line, ‘When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?’ unveils much about the late Phife Dawg’s personal challenges with type-1 diabetes. It’s a proclamation of uniqueness in a music industry filled with cookie-cutter personalities, and a badge of honor worn despite the difficulties it presents.

More than musical prowess, A Tribe Called Quest symbolizes resilience. Phife’s own health battles are intertwined with the music, emblematic of the human condition and its fragility—in stark contrast with the ‘immortal’ image often projected by hip-hop artists.

The Sublime and the Ridiculous: Remembering Those Memorable Lines

‘Oh My God’ resonates with lyrical gems that range from humorous braggadocio—’I like my beats harder than two day old shit’—to pop culture shoutouts—’Used to have a crush on Dawn from En Vogue.’ It is this fusion of the everyday with the profound that cements Tribe’s legacy, perfectly encapsulating the song’s varied thematic structure.

Perhaps nowhere is the group’s wit more evident than in the lines: ‘Now the formula is this, me, Tip, and Ali,’ followed by, ‘For those who can’t count it goes 1-2-3.’ Such lines serve as a gentle ribbing of their audience, while also constructing a mathematical simplicity in their complex lyrical edifice.

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