"I Can" as written by Nasir Jones, Roy C. Hammond and Salaam Remi....
I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen up
You can be anything in the world, in God we trust
An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy it takes much practice
Like, I met a woman who's becoming a star
She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe
Singing songs, Lina Horn, but the younger version
Hung with the wrong person
Gotta astrung when I heard when
Cocaine, sniffing up drugs, all in her nose
Coulda died, so young, no looks ugly and old
No fun cause when she reaches for hugs people hold they breath
Cause she smells of corrosion and death
Watch the company you keep and the crowd you bring
Cause they came to do drugs and you came to sing
So if you gonna be the best, I'ma tell you how

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, B-Boys and girls, listen again
This is for grown looking girls who's only ten
The ones who watch videos and do what they see
As cute as can be, up in the club with fake ID
Careful, 'fore you meet a man with HIV
You can host the TV like Oprah Winfrey
Whatever you decide, be careful, some men be
Rapists, so act your age, don't pretend to be
Older than you are, give yourself time to grow
You thinking he can give you wealth, but so
Young boys, you can use a lot of help, you know
You thinkin life's all about smokin weed and ice
You don't wanna be my age and can't read and right
Begging different women for a place to sleep at night
Smart boys turn to men and do whatever they wish
If you believe you can achieve, then say it like this

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Be, be, 'fore we came to this country
We were kings and queens, never porch monkeys
It was empires in Africa called Kush
Timbuktu, where every race came to get books
To learn from black teachers who taught Greeks and Romans
Asian Arabs and gave them gold when
Gold was converted to money it all changed
Money then became empowerment for Europeans
The Persian military invaded
They learned about the gold, the teachings and everything sacred
Africa was almost robbed naked
Slavery was money, so they began making slave ships
Egypt was the place that Alexander the Great went
He was so shocked at the mountains with black faces
Shot up they nose to impose what basically
Still goes on today, you see?
If the truth is told, the youth can grow
They learn to survive until they gain control
Nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes
Read more learn more, change the globe
Ghetto children, do your thing
Hold your head up, little man, you're a king
Young Prince that's when you get your wedding ring
Your man is saying "She's my queen"

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

I know I can (I know I can)
Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be)
If I work hard at it (If I work hard it)
I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be)

Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music y'all, save the music y'all
Save the music


Lyrics submitted by NaMmY

"I Can" as written by Roy C. Hammond Nasir Jones

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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I Can song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentCurious - I don't know an extraordinary amount in terms of historical knowledge, so for those were saying this song contains inaccuracies, care to elaborate? The "taught Greeks and Romans" line is the only thing I can spot out without doing my research, because uh, the Roman Empire ended way before Timbuktu existed and was doing all the good stuff it was. Even the Byzantine Empire, which he may very well have meant, was pretty much Christian, so I don't think they were anywhere near Timbuktu either.

    Aside from that, I still love Nas, and this is a pretty great commercially-friendly song. At least he makes an effort to spread knowledge, and the inspirational bits come with good intentions. Just don't kick the wrong knowledge, Mr. Jones, because that's no good.
    Blaringbluron December 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a really good song i like it alot i didn't even know it was a song untill my made me listen to this song soo thank
    sugar_babe529on June 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnp :/
    NaMmYon June 12, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell this song's meaning is really obvious. He's trying to get America's youth to be better people, instead of being taken in by sex and drugs. Good song.
    no commenton May 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentya kinda obvious. but what i think is smart is the furelise playing in the background. it makes a fantastic melody and rythm. Nas really knows how to convert political views into musical art!!!
    odd-numberon May 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah.

    Not only is he trying to tell kids to be better people, I felt he was also trying to shy them away from the evils of the music industry and the artists and images that promote those evils.
    WebSlinger69on January 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE nas! This song is amazing. He isn't rapping about how many times he has been shot or how many women he can have sex with in one night, in fact he is speaking out against this kind of thing. Can't stop playing it!!!
    verityon April 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttruongt41 you're a twat. Rap doesnt suck- I'm not a rap fan I'm an emo kid but theres no point dissing other peoples tastes just cause' you personally dont like it. I think this is a mental song, he goes a bit self-righteous at the end though- i think the fleur d'elise really empathsises that just cause' you come from the ghetto doesn't mean you're doomed to a life of crime.
    kernkrafton April 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentare you self proclaimed emo?
    Bertxxon April 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI find this song rather disturbing. The songs message is a fine message, and one that more songs should proclaim (pride, self-respect, etc) however, the song itself, while trying to gain some cerebral credit through the use of Fur Elise in the background, is full of historical inaccuracies and exaggerations.
    Hippias_Rexon February 11, 2006   Link

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