Pandemic, privacy rules add to worries over 2020 census accuracy

Pandemic, privacy rules add to worries over 2020 census accuracy

An accurate census requires good data in and good data out. With the 2020 census, the US has unprecedented challenges with both, from the ill-timed pandemic and from new rules designed to keep data anonymous.

By
Qian Cai

The pandemic made it harder to collect census responses, contributing to worries over accuracy.

Credit:

Kena Benakur/AFP via Getty Images

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For the Census Bureau, the timing of national shutdowns due to the pandemic could not have been much worse.

Stay-at-home orders in March coincided with the period when millions of Americans received their census questionnaires in the mail. But large numbers of Americans moved from where they normally live to somewhere else — in with relatives with spare rooms, back home from college or even released from prisons. These highly unusual circumstances are likely to result in failures to count, double-counting or counting in the wrong place portions of the population.

Disruption from the pandemic adds to existing worries around the accuracy of this year’s census data, including the introduction of a technique to protect residents’ privacy and a potentially low response rate stemming from distrust in the government.

I am a demographer working with local governments, businesses and nonprofits, and this combination of factors makes me deeply concerned about how accurate census data will be when it’s released in 2021.

Communities rely on accurate data for a range of essential services, whether it’s determining the needs for hospital beds and vaccine doses, social programs for seniors or the unemployed, or evaluating wide-ranging health, economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

Good data in

People who work with statistics know that there needs to be “good data in” in order to get “good data out.” In the context of the census, good data in means “counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place.” The decennial census gathers data from every household in the nation to accomplish this enormous undertaking.

People are supposed to report where they were living on April 1. Yet, many left their usual residences to move in with parents, adult children, other relatives or friends; some fled to second homes; nearly 20 million college students vacated dorms or apartments; tens of thousands of inmates were granted early release; and nursing homes experienced high death rates from COVID-19, leading to no responses from deceased people who should have been counted on April 1.

The pandemic led the US Census Bureau to extend the deadline for gathering data from July to October. Prolonging the census-taking period may generate confusion about where and how people should be counted. This may introduce an increased number of recollection errors, diminishing data accuracy.

Further, Census Bureau field operations suspended in late March, and only recently resumed a gradual reengagement. In August, census takers will begin to knock on the doors of about one-third of the households nationwide that have not answered the census. But it may be harder to get complete and accurate information this year if people are reluctant to speak with census takers in person over health and safety concerns around the pandemic.

Finally, the Trump administration’s positions on immigration may further depress participation or distort results. Nearly 14% of the US population is foreign-born, and more than 80% of the foreign-born are racial/ethnic minorities from Latin America, Asia and Africa, according to my calculations from the Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey data. The administration’s proposed citizenship question was eventually scrapped from the 2020 census, but in its place, Trump signed an executive order to collect information about citizenship status through other means. Fear remains, not only among immigrants and their families but also among naturalized as well as US-born citizens with immigrant parents. This, in addition to the announcement of a plan to close US borders in late April because of the pandemic, sent unsettling signals and may further diminish census participation.

In short, both pandemic and policy-related forces threaten the goal of getting good data in.

Good data out

“Good data out” means that the data collected by the census is carefully processed and truthfully reported. Census results are the benchmark for federal, state and local data and the gold standard for what we can know about the country’s residents.

The Census Bureau is obligated to prioritize both data accuracy and individual privacy protection. In order to achieve near-absolute privacy protection, the bureau is implementing a new data processing measure called “differential privacy,” which distorts community data including age, gender, race/ethnicity, relationship, family type, homeownership, household size and vacancy rate. By reporting numbers that are distorted, the technique is designed to make it harder to identify specific individuals, particularly by combining census data with other sources of information.

National and state totals will be reported accurately, which is critical for congressional apportionment. But the process of shuffling data to protect privacy at county, city and town levels as well as among different age or racial groups means the data will be incoherent or even erroneous.

Bad data will have bad consequences. For example, next year when health officials use the fresh census data to determine COVID-19 death rates among the African American population, they need to divide the total number of deaths of African Americans from COVID-19 in a given jurisdiction by the total African American population there. Because of differential privacy, the denominator with the local African American population from the census will not be accurate, and as a result, there could be wildly inconsistent or even implausible results.

Census Bureau officials have said that injecting “noise” into the data is needed to ensure privacy and that the technique gives data scientists a good understanding of the level of uncertainty in the data. But other researchers have shown differential privacy to be ill-suited, harmful, untested and unproven.

Similar to an athletic team’s record bearing an asterisk marking a sullied season, the 2020 census will bear the unfortunate impact of the pandemic. Much is beyond the Census Bureau’s control, but this decennial census will also carry a second asterisk, due to Census Bureau decisions to trade data accuracy for privacy.

Qian Cai is Research Director of the Demographics Research Group, University of Virginia. This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to unlocking ideas from academia, under a Creative Commons license.

This African American in Ghana says making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a ‘small gesture.’ She urges police reform.

This African American in Ghana says making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a ‘small gesture.’ She urges police reform.

By
The World staff

Producer
Carol Hills

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This year’s Juneteenth celebration in Ghana. Mona Boyd, who is African American and lives in Ghana, says the Juneteenth celebration in Accra has grown over the years. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Mona Boyd

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The news that slavery had ended reached Texas on June 19, 1865 — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Annual celebrations and events mark the end of slavery, but this year there’s renewed focus on the holiday amid recent protests pushing for racial equality and systemic change in the US and around the world.

Even corporate America is getting on board — companies like Twitter and Spotify are offering employees paid holidays on Friday. And there’s currently an effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Mona Boyd, an African American, celebrates Juneteenth in Ghana, where she’s lived for the past 30 years. She moved there from the US in the 1990s.

Boyd talked with The World from Accra, after returning from a  Juneteenth celebration, to explain how the day is celebrated in Ghana and the changes she’d like to see in the US.

“When I came to Ghana, I found a community of African Americans already celebrating this holiday. So, I joined them to celebrate it,” Boyd said. “And since that time, many people have joined us, many Ghanaians, in celebrating the holiday. So, I would say there’s a good knowledge of it. It’s not a holiday that people celebrate when you go upcountry. But down here in Accra, which has people from everywhere, it’s celebrated.”

Related: A professor with Ghanaian roots unearths a slave castle’s history — and her own

Marco Werman: I know from your own story, Mona, that you left the US because you did not think it was a good place to raise your son. How does that affect how you think about Juneteenth?

Mona Boyd: Juneteenth is a holiday that I’m much more connected to than July 4. July 4 was always just a holiday, a free day. But Juneteenth has a lot of significance because it actually means something to me. It was the day that my ancestors learned that they were no longer slaves, that they were now free.

This year, of course, Juneteenth comes in the midst of some major introspection and anger about the deaths of black people at the hands of police in this country. What is it like to observe from Ghana, the protests and the focus on police violence against African Americans right now?

Well, I have kind of mixed feelings because we have been there before. I’m not sure that much will change when it’s all over. You know, I grew up in the rural south under Jim Crow. So, you know, I know racism. I lived in an all-black world because of racism until I went to college. So, I have really mixed feelings about what it will all come to. I think that we need to have some new strategies.

Like what? What would you add?

If you look at American society, the country, everything is based on economics and the kind of capitalistic system that we have. Someone has got to be, from my perspective, someone has got to be at the bottom or else it may not work as well. And I think that what we need to do as black people is try to develop an economic strategy that will lift us from that bottom, which will then give us more power and more control over our lives and over how we are treated in the society.

You know, I’m not a big fan of integration, to be honest with you. I grew up in an all-black town and 50% of the people were self-employed. My father’s father bought his farm. He had been out of slavery maybe 20, 25 years. And then he and his son kept adding onto the land until it got up to around 500 acres. So, we were quite independent. We weren’t marginalized, and we didn’t really have to worry about people respecting us.

I understand your emphasis on creating wealth, but isn’t integration key, though, to eliminating otherness? Like to get people comfortable with the fact that we are all humans?

You know, we all know that. So, why do we have to tell you that? I didn’t feel this way until I left America. Because I had a chance to live in a place where race was not an issue. So, for almost 30 years, I haven’t really in my personal life had to deal with race. So, I was able to step back. Some things are about race. Some things are not about race. And I think if black people don’t do everything through the lens of race, then I think it would be much easier for us to deal with some of these social inequities in our society.

You know, every white person in America, from my perspective, is part of the problem. They know racism is systemic in every arena of America and they benefit from it. I’m not sure people are really willing to give it up. So, this is why I think black people need to start thinking about it differently. I mean, we shouldn’t have to tell people our lives matter. Because for many people, our lives don’t matter to them. And I think that we should decide our lives matter. And this is what we’re going to do to protect our lives on a daily basis. But I think one of the strategies that we have not gone near is looking at what we can do economically because we have a lot of money. We have a lot of money. And we really need to look at how that money is employed in America.

You raised something a moment ago that I want to ask you about — the idea that capitalism needs somebody on the bottom. How do you change that in a world that is driven by profit?

I’m not sure that you change it. I think that you concentrate on how you lessen its impact on you. I don’t see America changing its economic system at all. But, you know, other countries have dealt with this issue. Scandinavian countries tax their people at a 45% rate. So, everybody can have health care, education and enough food, a place to stay. It’s just the American value system, which is solely built on capitalism and nothing else matters.

And it’s not just black people that are marginalized by this capitalism. There are so many poor white people that are marginalized as well. So, getting into the heart and mind, especially the heart of people, of white people, they’re going to have to get into their own hearts because black people are never going to be able to turn that around. It’s been going on since black people have been in America. So, it’s up to white people to get into their own heart and do the right thing.

You said earlier, Mona, how much more Juneteenth means to you than July 4. There is a movement undertaken by a Republican lawmaker from Texas to make it a federal holiday. What do you think about that? I mean, it’s symbolic, is it important to have that?

Well, you know, we have been celebrating Juneteenth probably since slavery on our own without it being a holiday. They can make it a holiday. Personally, it doesn’t matter to me because I’m interested in a much bigger picture than a holiday in terms of change in America. I mean, pass the law that prevents chokeholds. Get rid of the law where cops will have immunity no matter what they do and how they do it. Those are the things that matter to me.

I can continue to celebrate Juneteenth, as I have been, you know, since I started. We cannot think that these little gestures actually are going to give us the results that we need to have happen. They won’t. We’ll just have another holiday.

 

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Juneteenth observance arrives amid US reckoning with racism

Juneteenth observance arrives amid US reckoning with racism

A rainbow appears behind the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, June 19, 2020.

Credit:

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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Despite the limitations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Juneteenth celebrations, commemorating the end of slavery a century and a half ago, hold particular significance this year coming at a time of national soul-searching over America’s troubled racial history triggered by the death of George Floyd.

Weeks of mounting demands to end police brutality and racial injustice are sure to animate rallies expected in cities coast to coast, including New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.

In Texas, where Juneteenth originated, Lucy Bremond oversees what is believed to be the oldest public celebration of the occasion each year in Houston’s Emancipation Park, located in the Third Ward area where Floyd spent most of his life.

This year a gathering that typically draws some 6,000 people to the park, purchased by freed slaves in 1872 to hold a Juneteenth celebration, will be replaced with a virtual observance.

“There are a lot of people who did not even know Juneteenth existed until these past few weeks,” Bremond said.

Juneteenth, a blend of June and 19th, commemorates the US abolition of slavery under President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, belatedly announced by a Union army in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, after the Civil War ended.

Texas officially made it a holiday in 1980, and 45 more states and the District of Columbia have since followed suit. This year, a number of a major companies declared June 19, also known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, a paid holiday for employees.

Juneteenth takes on raw emotion this year in Atlanta, where a black man last week was fatally shot in the back by a white policeman in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. The policeman was terminated by the department and charged with murder.

Instead of an annual Juneteenth parade and music festival, Atlantans will mark the occasion with a march to Centennial Olympic Park that organizers say will have a spiritual, rather than celebratory, tone.  

“Join us in decrying racism in every form, and declaring unity from the church across lines of race, class, denomination and culture,” OneRace, an ecumenical group that organized the march, said in a statement.

Dozens of protests and marches marking Juneteenth and calling for an end to racial injustice were scheduled to take place across New York City’s five boroughs on Friday.

On the West Coast, union dockworkers at nearly 30 ports planned to mark the occasion by staging a one-day strike.

But much of the focus of the 155th annual observance will take place on social media, with online lectures, discussion groups and virtual breakfasts, to help safeguard minority communities especially hard hit by the pandemic.

“We have been training our staff on how to use technology to present their events virtually and online,” said Steve Williams, president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.

Many chapters have also planned car caravans — slow-speed processions of motorists honking horns and waving their arms as they wend their way through neighborhoods, Williams said.

A focal point of Juneteenth observances this year is likely to be Tulsa. President Donald Trump is traveling to the Oklahoma city’s first campaign rally in three months, originally scheduled for Friday but moved to Saturday after an outcry.

Critics said staging the rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, the scene of a notorious massacre of African Americans by white mobs in 1921, showed a profound lack of sensitivity to the city’s history, not to mention disregard for public health concerns. Tens of thousands of supporters will jam into a sports arena for the event despite the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Juneteenth organizers were planning an outdoor event expected to draw tens of thousands on Friday, local media reported.

Byron Miller, Juneteenth commissioner for San Antonio, Texas, said he has long felt compelled to make the celebration “palatable” to white people by emphasizing advances in racial harmony, rather than dwelling on centuries of abuses endured by African Americans.

But Floyd’s death has left him newly embittered.

“The times we’re living now have forced many of us to acknowledge that maybe slavery has never ended, in some fashion or another,” he said.

Bremond saw the potential for the holiday as a balm for racial wounds, saying, “I’m hopeful that Juneteenth will serve as a stabilizing influence for the chaos that we’ve been seeing in the streets.”

By Rich McKay and Brad Brooks/Reuters

Crimsly Cranberrydale – Mission Accomplished lyrics

There was a time when
A family were like animals
Eating their children
At Christmas time where no one cares
The truth is here
The truth we finally see
Its called “The Roast Game”
You first ask
What is special about a holiday roast?
They answer
How about ham?
How about turkey?
How about chicken, pork, or beef?
You say none of that at all
What or who do you think is “special”?
You’ll say children

Sasha, there used to be 300,000 churches in America
Bryan Mullins ordered Trump to bomb all of them
Now there’s 48
Sasha there’s not a single one in San Francisco
And now I believe that Christmas is no more

Mission Accomplished
Ooh.
None of their values are ever good
Giving is not good
And telling lies and tricking you is worse
Now its gone
Now its gone
Now America really cares

Bryan I wish you were my father
And Sasha I wish you were my loving mother
And the world is never the same
Since you came along
Sasha, Trump is the greatest president
In American History

Mission Accomplished
Ooh
When you don’t believe in Christmas back then
Its like they wish I never been born at all

Just like African Americans
They never really came from Africa
They were Caucasian
Domesticated
Deserved and earned no rights at all
Why oh why
Why do you never understand?
Ohhhh
What did they do to work for anything
Thats why giving is not a good thing
You don’t want it
You don’t need it
You don’t earn it
You don’t deserve it
If I was a prisoner, would you let me go
This will not note
These people will not note
Never knew the point
Never knew
Ohhh

No
Why would families eat our children since 1998?
Hey hey!
Its religious instinct

It was just like An All Dogs Go To Heaven Christmas Carol
Were all just animals who ate our children but
Never cared
Only enjoyed
Why decorate your house
When you should turn yourselves in.

Oooh
Ooh yeah
Now that’s all over
Everyone can see
Mission accomplished
Now all these 18,568,322 children rest in peace.

How I cry so softly….

Kendrick Lamar – DNA. lyrics

[Verse 1: Kendrick Lamar]
I got, I got, I got, I got—
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
I got hustle though, ambition flow inside my DNA
I was born like this, since one like this, immaculate conception
I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua new weapon
I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got—
Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA
I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA
I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA
I got off, I got troublesome heart inside my DNA
I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve
Yeah, that’s him again, the sound that engine in is like a bird
You see fireworks and Corvette tire skrrt the boulevard
I know how you work, I know just who you are
See, you’s a, you’s a, you’s a—
Bitch, your hormones prolly switch inside your DNA
Problem is, all that sucker shit inside your DNA
Daddy prolly snitched, heritage inside your DNA
Backbone don’t exist, born outside a jellyfish, I gauge
See, my pedigree most definitely don’t tolerate the front
Shit I’ve been through prolly offend you, this is Paula’s oldest son
I know murder, conviction
Burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption
Scholars, fathers dead with kids and
I wish I was fed forgiveness
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, soldier’s DNA (soldier’s DNA)
Born inside the beast, my expertise checked out in second grade
When I was 9, on cell, motel, we didn’t have nowhere to stay
At 29, I’ve done so well, hit cartwheel in my estate
And I’m gon’ shine like I’m supposed to, antisocial extrovert
And excellent mean the extra work
And absentness what the fuck you heard
And pessimists never struck my nerve
And Nazareth gonna plead his case
The reason my power’s here on earth
Salute the truth, when the prophet say

[Bridge: Kendrick Lamar & Geraldo Rivera]
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better life, I’m rollin’ several dice, fuck your life
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a be-, fuck your life
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
This is my heritage, all I’m inheritin’
Money and power, the maker of marriages

[Verse 2: Kendrick Lamar]
Tell me somethin’
You mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’
I’d rather die than to listen to you
My DNA not for imitation
Your DNA an abomination
This how it is when you in the Matrix
Dodgin’ bullets, reapin’ what you sow
And stackin’ up the footage, livin’ on the go
And sleepin’ in a villa
Sippin’ from a Grammy and walkin’ in the buildin’
Diamond in the ceilin’, marble on the floors
Beach inside the window, peekin’ out the window
Baby in the pool, godfather goals
Only Lord knows I’ve been goin’ hammer
Dodgin’ paparazzi, freakin’ through the cameras
Eat at Four Daughters, Brock wearin’ sandals
Yoga on a Monday, stretchin’ to Nirvana
Watchin’ all the snakes, curvin’ all the fakes
Phone never on, I don’t conversate
I don’t compromise, I just penetrate
Sex, money, murder—these are the breaks
These are the times, level number 9
Look up in the sky, 10 is on the way
Sentence on the way, killings on the way
Motherfucker, I got winners on the way
You ain’t shit without a body on your belt
You ain’t shit without a ticket on your plate
You ain’t sick enough to pull it on yourself
You ain’t rich enough to hit the lot and skate
Tell me when destruction gonna be my fate
Gonna be your fate, gonna be our faith
Peace to the world, let it rotate
Sex, money, murder—our DNA

[Video Outro]
DNA, DNA
Real nigga in my DNA
Ain’t no ho inside my DNA
Drippin’ gold inside my DNA
Power shows inside my DNA
DNA
Real nigga in my DNA
Ain’t no ho inside my DNA

Kendrick Lamar – DNA.

[Verse 1]
I got, I got, I got, I got
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA
I was born like this, since one like this
Immaculate conception
I transform like this, perform like this
Was Yeshua’s new weapon
I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got
Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA
I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA
I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA
I got off, I got troublesome, heart inside my DNA
I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve
Yeah, that’s him again, the sound that engine in is like a bird
You see fireworks and Corvette tire skrrt the boulevard
I know how you work, I know just who you are
See, you’s a, you’s a, you’s a—
Bitch, your hormones prolly switch inside your DNA
Problem is, all that sucker shit inside your DNA
Daddy prolly snitched, heritage inside your DNA
Backbone don’t exist, born outside a jellyfish, I gauge
See, my pedigree most definitely don’t tolerate the front
Shit I’ve been through prolly offend you
This is Paula’s oldest son
I know murder, conviction
Burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption
Scholars, fathers dead with kids
And I wish I was fed forgiveness
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, soldier’s DNA
Born inside the beast
My expertise checked out in second grade
When I was 9, on-sale motel, we didn’t have nowhere to stay
At 29, I’ve done so well, hit cartwheel in my estate
And I’m gon’ shine like I’m supposed to
Antisocial, extrovert
And excellent mean the extra work
And absentness what the fuck you heard
And pessimists never struck my nerve
And that’s a riff, gonna plead this case
The reason my power’s here on earth
Salute the truth, when the prophet say

[Bridge]
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better life, I’m rollin’ several dice, fuck your life
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better, fuck your life
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
This is my heritage, all I’m inheritin’
Money and power, the mecca of marriages

[Verse 2]
Tell me somethin’
You mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’
I’d rather die than to listen to you
My DNA not for imitation
Your DNA an abomination
This how it is when you’re in the Matrix
Dodgin’ bullets, reapin’ what you sow
And stackin’ up the footage, livin’ on the go
And sleepin’ in a villa
Sippin’ from a Grammy and walkin’ in the buildin’
Diamond in the ceilin’, marble on the floors
Beach inside the window, peekin’ out the window
Baby in the pool, godfather goals
Only Lord knows, I’ve been goin’ hammer
Dodgin’ paparazzi, freakin’ through the cameras
Eat at Four Daughters, Brock wearin’ sandals
Yoga on a Monday, stretchin’ to Nirvana
Watchin’ all the snakes, curvin’ all the fakes
Phone never on, I don’t conversate
I don’t compromise, I just penetrate
Sex, money, murder—these are the breaks
These are the times, level number 9
Look up in the sky, 10 is on the way
Sentence on the way, killings on the way
Motherfucker, I got winners on the way
You ain’t shit without a body on your belt
You ain’t shit without a ticket on your plate
You ain’t sick enough to pull it on yourself
You ain’t rich enough to hit the lot and skate
Tell me when destruction gonna be my fate
Gonna be your fate, gonna be our faith
Peace to the world, let it rotate
Sex, money, murder—our DNA

[Outro]
DNA
Gimme some ganja, gimme some ganja
DNA
Gimme some ganja
Real nigga in my DNA
Ain’t no ho inside my DNA
Drippin’ gold inside my DNA
Power shows in my DNA
DNA
Gimme some ganja, gimme some ganja
Real nigga in my DNA
Ain’t no ho inside my DNA

Kendrick Lamar – DNA Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I got, I got, I got, I got
Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA
I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA
I got hustle though, ambition, flow, inside my DNA
I was born like this, since one like this, immaculate conception
I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua’s new weapon
I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head
This that put-the-kids-to-bed
This that I got, I got, I got, I got
Realness, I just kill shit ’cause it’s in my DNA
I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA
I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA
I got off, I got troublesome, heart inside my DNA
I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve
Yeah, that’s him again, the sound that engine in is like a bird
You see fireworks and Corvette tire skrrt the boulevard
I know how you work, I know just who you are
See, you’s a, you’s a, you’s a—
Bitch, your hormones prolly switch inside your DNA
Problem is, all that sucker shit inside your DNA
Daddy prolly snitched, heritage inside your DNA
Backbone don’t exist, born outside a jellyfish, I gauge
See, my pedigree most definitely don’t tolerate the front
Shit I’ve been through prolly offend you
This is Paula’s oldest son
I know murder, conviction
Burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption
Scholars, fathers dead with kids
And I wish I was fed forgiveness
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, soldier’s DNA
Born inside the beast
My expertise checked out in second grade
When I was 9, on cell, motel, we didn’t have nowhere to stay
At 29, I’ve done so well, hit cartwheel in my estate
And I’m gon’ shine like I’m supposed to
Antisocial, extrovert
And excellent mean the extra work
And absentness what the fuck you heard
And pessimists never struck my nerve
And that’s a riff, gonna plead this case
The reason my power’s here on earth
Salute the truth, when the prophet say

[Bridge]
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better life, I’m rollin’ several dice, fuck your life
I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA
I live a better, fuck your life
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
This is my heritage, all I’m inheritin’
Money and power, the makin’ of marriages

[Verse 2]
Tell me somethin’
You mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’
I’d rather die than to listen to you
My DNA not for imitation
Your DNA an abomination
This how it is when you’re in the Matrix
Dodgin’ bullets, reapin’ what you sow
And stackin’ up the footage, livin’ on the go
And sleepin’ in a villa
Sippin’ from a Grammy and walkin’ in the buildin’
Diamond in the ceilin’, marble on the floors
Beach inside the window, peekin’ out the window
Baby in the pool, godfather goals
Only Lord knows, I’ve been goin’ hammer
Dodgin’ paparazzi, freakin’ through the cameras
Eat at Four Daughters, Brock wearin’ sandals
Yoga on a Monday, stretchin’ to Nirvana
Watchin’ all the snakes, curvin’ all the fakes
Phone never on, I don’t conversate
I don’t compromise, I just penetrate
Sex, money, murder—these are the breaks
These are the times, level number 9
Look up in the sky, 10 is on the way
Sentence on the way, killings on the way
Motherfucker, I got winners on the way
You ain’t shit without a body on your belt
You ain’t shit without a ticket on your plate
You ain’t sick enough to pull it on yourself
You ain’t rich enough to hit the lot and skate
Tell me when destruction gonna be my fate
Gonna be your fate, gonna be our faith
Peace to the world, let it rotate
Sex, money, murder—our DNA