Mathematics (song)

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Single by Mos Def
from the album Black on Both Sides
Released August 2, 1999
Format 12" single, CD single, Maxi-single
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:10
Label Rawkus Records
Writer(s) D. Smith
C. Martin
Producer(s) DJ Premier
Mos Def singles chronology
"Ms. Fat Booty"
"Sex, Love & Money"
Black on Both Sides track listing
"Mr. Nigga"

"Mathematics" is a b-side single from Mos Def's solo debut album, Black on Both Sides. It contains lyrics about various social issues and asks the listener to add them up and come to conclusions about them. Many references to numbers are found in this song and at times, Mos Def rhymes statistics in numerical order. The song highlights the differences between the White and African-American citizens of the US and uses the lyrics "Do your math..." (from Erykah Badu's "On & On") telling young African-American's to 'do their maths' so they can avoid being part of the numerous degrading statistics he raps about in the opening and third verses of the song. The song is produced by DJ Premier whose famous scratch samples make up the song's bridge. Premier has called it one of his favorite beats.[1]

It can be found on the soundtrack of Madden NFL 2002. The song is also played briefly in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Crate 'n' Burial".


The bridge of "Mathematics" contains DJ Premier's signature scratched vocals from various hip hop songs. The lyrics of those samples as well as information about their origin can be found below:

"The Mighty Mos Def..." (from Mos Def's "Body Rock"),
"It's simple mathematics" (from Fat Joe's "John Blaze"),
"Check it out" (The Lady of Rage's vocals from Snoop Dogg's "For All My Niggaz & Bitches"),
"I revolve around science..." (Ghostface Killah's vocals from Raekwon's "Criminology"),
"Do your math.." (from Erykah Badu's "On & On"), and
"One, two, three, four" (from James Brown's "Funky Drummer")
The instrumental from "Baby, I Want You" by The Fatback Band is also sampled.

Single track list[edit]

Vinyl 12"[edit]


  1. Ms. Fat Booty (Clean)
  2. Ms. Fat Booty (Dirty)
  3. Ms. Fat Booty (Instrumental)
  4. Ms. Fat Booty (A Capella)


  1. Mathematics (Clean)
  2. Mathematics (Dirty)
  3. Mathematics (Instrumental)
  4. Mathematics (A Capella)

CD/Maxi single[edit]

  1. Ms. Fat Booty (4:08)
  2. Ms. Fat Booty (Instrumental) (4:06)
  3. Mathematics (4:08)