"Get By" as written by and Talib/west Kweli....
We sell, crack to our own out the back of our homes
We smell the musk at the dusk in the crack of the dawn
We go through "epidodes ii," like "attack of the clones"
Work 'til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone
To get by just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We commute to computers
Spirits stay mute while you eagles spread rumors
We survivalists, turned to consumers
To get by just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
Ask him why some people got to live in a trailer, cuss like a sailor
I paint a picture with the pen like norman mailer
Mi abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about a struggle and I find the strength in myself
These words, melt in my mouth
They hot, like the jail cell in the south
Before my nigga core bailed me out
To get by just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We do or die like bed-stuy through the red sky
With the window of the red eye
Let the lead fly, some g. rap shit, "livin' to let die"

This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new and I jumped up
Feeling my highs, and my lows
In my soul, and my goals
Just to stop smokin, and stop drinkin
And I've been thinkin, I've got my reasons
Just to get (by), just to get (by)
Just to get (by), just to get (by)

Just to get (by), just to get (by)
Just to get (by by by by by by)
Just to get (by), just to get (by)
Just to get (by by by by by by)

We keeping it gangster say "fo shizzle", "fo sheezy" and "stayin crunk"
Its easy to pull a breezy, smoke trees, and we stay drunk
Yo, I activism attackin the system, the blacks and latins in prison
Numbers of prison they victim black in the vision
Shit and all they got is rappin to listen to
I let them know we missin you, the love is unconditional
Even when the condition is critical, when the livin is miserable
Your position is pivotal, I ain't bullshittin you
Now, why would I lie? just to get by?
Just to get by, we get fly
The tv got us reachin for stars
Not the ones between venus and mars, the ones that be readin for parts
Some people get breast enhancements and penis enlargers
Saturday sinners Sunday morning at the feet of the father
They need somethin to rely on, we get high on all types of drug
When, all you really need is love
To get by just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
Our parents sing like john lennon, "imagine all the people watch"
We rock like paul mccartney from now until the last beatle drop

This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new and I jumped up
Feeling my high's, and my low's
In my soul, and my goals
Just to stop smoking, and stop drinking
And I've been thinking, I've got my reasons
Just to get (by), just to get (by)
Just to get (by), just to get (by)

Some people cry, and some people try
Just to get by, for a piece of the pie
You love to eat and get high
We deceive when we lie, and we keepin' it fly

When, the people decide, to keep a disguise
Can't see they eyes, see the evil inside
But there's people you find
Strong or feeble in mind, I stay readin' the signs

Some people cry, and some people try
Just to get by, for a piece of the pie
You love to eat and get high
We deceive when we lie, and we keepin' it fly


Lyrics submitted by SexPistolMeowMix

"Get By" as written by Talib Kweli Nina Simone

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Get By song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentAbout survival.
    Smokleron March 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat song, one the best i've ever heard. Talib is such an underrated rapper but he's still good. More people should post here. He's a real rapper that talks about shit that happend in his life thats real, unlike rappers like g-unit who jus talk bout killing people and stuff...
    Noël 1991on October 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPersonally what i get from this song is, keep your head parallel with the ground and look at what you need to do to "get by." And to stop looking up to the sky for divine intervention.
    BluOon May 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthe very much is underrated (if i had my way itd be more him and less lil wayne)

    this song is simple to understand at least. it talks about struggles some people have to go through to make ends meet such as selling drugs and how consumers are exploited by marketers just for the marketers to make ends meet(not neccissarily a bad thing just survival) it also seems to say that tv glorifies acting and the such more than endeavors of astronauts.
    sparx1on December 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI LOVE/HATE THIS SONG SO MUCH MY LICENSE PLATE SAYS, 'JST2GTBY'...it definitely has 2 or more meanings...constant reminder of the duality in our personas/egod and the agendas set forth with-out our knowledge (our place in society and such). Hence, the lyrics from blackstar-'hiding like thieves'
    [Mos Def]
    Yo, I'm sure that everbody out listenin agree
    That everything you see ain't really how it be
    A lot of jokers out runnin in place, chasin the style
    Be a lot goin on beneath the empty smile
    Most cats in my area be lovin the hysteria
    Synthesized surface conceals the interior
    America, land of opportunity, mirages and camoflauges
    More than usually -- speakin loudly, sayin nothin
    You confusin me, you losin me
    Your game is twisted, want me enlisted -- in your usary
    Foolishly, most men join the ranks cluelessly
    Buffoonishly accept the deception, believe the perception
    Reflection rarely seen across the surface of the lookin glass
    Walkin the street, wonderin who they be lookin past
    Lookin gassed with them imported designer shades on
    Stars shine bright, but the light -- rarely stays on
    Same song, just remixed, different arrangement
    Put you on a yacht but they won't call it a slaveship
    Strangeness, you don't control this, you barely hold this
    Screamin brand new, when they just sanitized the old shit
    Suppose it's, just another clever Jedi mind trick
    That they been runnin across stars through all the time with
    I find it's distressin, there's never no in-between
    We either niggaz or Kings
    We either bitches or Queens
    The deadly ritual seems immersed, in the perverse
    Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts
    Long barrel automatics released in short bursts
    The length of black life is treated with short worth
    Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary
    That type of illin that be fillin up the cemetary
    This life is temporary but the soul is eternal
    Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you
    Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain't directed
    That's why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive
    Not free, we only licensed
    Not live, we just excitin
    Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin
    Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained
    Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game
    Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey
    most of the things that we think, do, or say
    We chasin after death just to call ourselves brave
    But everyday, next man meet with the grave
    I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy
    I'm tryin to live life in the sight of God's memory
    Like that y'all
    BTW-some of you guys talk about kweli like you've never heard him before until now-Im sorry for that.
    seeyounextuesdayon December 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTalib Kweli is amazing, people who post on this website, will agree with me when I say this..

    What I think and ponder about , when I review this song track is the “struggle”( everyday hardships ex. Bills, rent, groceries, and living.) that those suffering from poverty in the lower class go through and endure everyday on a daily basis, and what extent they would go through to compensate for it just to make it and survive. Most of these people let the system break us and bring us down, they cause us to fall into our stereotype and jump on the bandwagon. Sadly, that's too many of us.

    It's also sad that channels like BET(Black Entertainment Television) that cater to young black Americans and MTV glorify this destructive lifestyle of getting drunk and prison tats. Whilst promoting it strongly. Or they make it seem like the “ultimate goal” in life is to get high on drugs, cars, and provocative/ promiscuous girls that seem to only know how to dance (can you call that "dancing"?!). The industry influences young musicians that fit this stereotype everyday, until the media is saturated with the “crunk” lifestyle and “bling bling” attitude.

    I guess that's what he means by "attack of the clones"...#( 212)
    WOOHOO,LEE
    1crazymofoon December 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^ you're right. Not nearly enough people have heard his music! Hes one of the most talented rappers around, and he isn't just rapping about women, jewellery and cars.

    "If skills sold, Truth be told, I'd probably be, Lyricly, Talib Kweli" - Jay-Z
    Juntoon January 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's true, i find that kanye west, mos def & Talib kweli are three of the best rappers for discussing interesting topics instead of the "My gun's bigger than your's"
    This form of hip hop is definitely the way foward
    jay-bon July 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think "We go through episodes too, like 'attack of the clones'" makes more sense than "We go through "Epidodes II," like "Attack of the Clones""
    ilovepropagandhion March 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a good song, about doing what you have to do to make it through life each and everyday. This is what real rap is, not unintelligent violent drib. I love his lyrics and all the references, I think Kanye, though I like him a lot too, bites a lot of Talib's style.
    heartheldcaptiveon April 12, 2006   Link

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