The poem is about a group of African-American boys from Chicago, hanging out in a pool hall. School drop-outs that they are, they usually spend their time on the streets, drinking and making music. The poem describes the attitude of those boys, who seem to be rather relaxed and self-confident. The poem's action is recounted by the collective voice of these seven pool players who, although their race is unspecified, are generally thought to be black because of their language and because the poet, herself, is African American. It starts with the claim “We real cool”. The boys do not only declare themselves as “cool” but “real cool”. Realness is a fundamental issue within the hip hop world. “Keeping it real” means being authentic and therefore gaining respect from other rappers, and other men in general. So what the lyrical we in Brooks’s poem is trying to say is that the boys deserve the others’ respect because of their unattached state of mind. However, the boys do not seem to mean what they say. They are hiding their true selves behind fake coolness, which becomes very clear when the text is read out loud.
Please login or Register to submit your answer