Archive for May, 2011

A tribute to the great Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron – the legendary poet, singer, revolutionary and musical innovator – sadly passed away on May 27th, at the age of 62. He was without a doubt a genius, and one of the most important cultural revolutionaries of our time, speaking from the heart about poverty, inequality, racism, apartheid, drug addiction and more. In the words of Dream Hampton:

Hip-hop did much to strip shame from poverty, but with songs like “Whitey on the Moon”, where he juxtaposed high health care bills, rat-infested apartments and late rent payments with space race budgets, Gil Scott’s songs restored humanity to America’s inner-city poor.

Heron was in many ways the key cultural voice of the black power movement of the 1970s, and he noted Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Huey P Newton among his influences. His combination of militant poetry and music served as one of the key precursors of hip-hop, especially in its conscious/political form. As the legendary Chuck D said via Twitter: “RIP GSH…and we do what we do and how we do because of you.”

When fans found out last year that Gil Scott Heron was booked to play in Tel Aviv, they formed a campaign to show Heron that to break the cultural boycott of Israel would be a violation of the principles he had upheld his whole life. To his great credit, he cancelled the gig.

Gil Scott Heron will be greatly missed, but his music and words will continue to inspire and educate.

If you haven’t got his albums yet, you need to catch up quick! In the meantime, here are a few highlights.

Akala’s Fire in the Booth Lyrics

More wisdom in these 2,000 words than most people receive in five years of secondary school! Massive respect to Raghav for transcribing the lyrics (I don’t even want to think about how long it must have taken!).

Yes, I grew up on the dole in a single parent family
Been through a little bit of tragedy
Yes I was around drugs and violence
Before the day that I started secondary
And that’s part of it
Not half of it
Get the picture, the rest ain’t necessary
Growin’ up, got a little caught up
But that ain’t even half of my life
I was also given the knowledge of self
That is all we actually need to survive
If you saw me aged 9, reading Malcolm just fine
Teachers still treated me stupid
Students that couldn’t speak English, they put me in groups with
And the irony is
Some of the first man to give me schoolin’
You would call gangsters
But I already explained, we know what the truth is
They used to say ‘Don’t be like me’
Yeah I got a name and dough on the street
Night time comes, I can’t sleep
And that’s the part that rappers don’t speak
We don’t hit the road cos we are thugs
Don’t come out the womb, wanting to sell drugs
If we got the right guidance and love
Would we fight people just like us?
How could I knock the hustle to get by?
How do you think I ate as a child?
Judge no one, done many things wrong
I just don’t boast about it songs
But listen to my older bars
I was just as confused as you probably are
But you grow and you learn
Travel and f*** up,
One too many man you know get cut up
One too many man that could’ve been doctors
End up spending their whole life boxed up
You learn, if you study
Its all set out just to make them money
No cover, it’s all about getting poor people to fight with one another
So its logical that us killing our brothers,
Dissin’ our mothers
Is right in line with the dominant philosophy of our time
But time is a cycle, not a line
Comes back around you regain your mind
You be ready for the energy I channel in my rhymes
Remedy the pedigree, the jeopardy of mine
When the world’s this f***ed up, lethargy’s a crime
We can all fight with our brothers over crumbs,
Far harder to fight the one who makes guns
We can all talk sh** and get two dollars
Far harder to be the one who seeks knowledge
If we understood economics
We’d know money’s nothin’
Think nothing of it
Money is a means to get wealth, not the wealth itself
Don’t get confused, I’m far from broke
All that you see me do I own
But I wont hang what I make around my neck
I know from where that the diamonds came
But I do quite literally own a library,
That definitely costs more than your chain
And businesses, and properties
Far from starvin’, I eat quite properly
And I don’t care, just said it for the kids
Who need to know that you’re not broke to listen
Don’t know an asset from a liability
They’ve never been shown or told the difference
So they don’t change situations
Richest man in Britain is Asian
That’s significant, not coincidence,
Asian people build businesses,
Not by flossin/going out shoppin’
Giving out their culture for everyone’s profit
Who run’s Bollywood? Indian people
Who owns our shit?
So we shake our arse and dance
As if racism just upped and vanished
But has it? No its right on course
You’re beaten so bad, you’re trained to ignore
Let me not just make sweeping statements
Gimme a second, I’ll explain it
For small amounts of drug possession there’s more black people in jail in America than there is for rape and armed robbery and murder all put together
You can say they’re just locking up thugs,
Imagine if they locked up every middle class kid that had ever held drugs,
Oh that’s right, that’d be your kids!
Bigger than that what is going on with this,
Prison in America’s a private business
They get paid 50k per year per inmate by the State, just wait…
Also legally are allowed to use their prison inmates as slaves
Cheap slave labour, big corporations
They come out of jail, can’t get a job
So when we celebrate going to jail,
Add to that, that the hood that you’re livin’
Engineered social condition that breeds crime by design
Where do you think you get your nine?
You can say that they’re just black,
But I like to deal with facts
In the 1920s you would’ve found in America
Black towns,
Prospering centres of economics and education to make you proud
But some people couldn’t bear that the former slaves would not just lie down
So the KKK and other hate groups burnt those towns to the ground
Killin hundreds,
If it ain’t understood,
You think you were always livin’ in the hood?
Shit it’s only been sixty years
Since they hung blacks and burned em’
And that was so cool
Day reel passes, picnic baskets
Even gave kids the day off school
To go see a lynchin’
Have a picnic
It’s fun to watch the little monkeys die(!)
Then people act a little dysfunctional
You wanna pretend that you don’t know why
If your colour means you can be killed
And you’re powerless to get justice about it
Is it difficult to figure out how you would then end up feelin’ about it?
And that ain’t excuses,
Just dealing with the roots of abuses that make a reality
Where a generation of young men speak of ourselves as dirt casually
That’s America,
This Britain,
Some things are similar,
Some different,
In this country the first enslaved were the working class
What’s changed?
Worst jobs, worst conditions
Worst taxed, look where you’re livin’
You go to the pub, Friday night,
You will fight with a guy,
Don’t know what for,
But won’t fight with a guy, suit and a tie,
Who sends your kids to die in a war,
They don’t sell the kids of the richer politicians,
It’s your kids, the poor british
That they send to go die in a foreign land
For these wars you don’t understand,
Yeah they say that you’re British
And that lovely patriotism they feed ya
But in reality you have more in common with immigrants
Than with your leaders
I know, both side of my family
Black and white are fed ghetto mentality
Reality in this system,
Poor people are dirt regardless of shade
But with that said,
Let’s not pretend that everything is the same
When our grandparents came here to Britain
If you had a criminal record you couldn’t get in
Yet that ain’t protect them from all the stupid, stupid abuses they would be livin’
Kicked in the teeth,
Stabbed in the street,
Many times fired bombed our houses,
Put faeces through our letter box
And of course the cops did so much about it(!)
Daily, up to the 80s
People spittin’ into my pram cos’ I was a coon baby
But of course that has had no effect on why today we are crazy
And none of this was for any good reason
They were just dark and breathing
To ease the guilt now for all of this treatment
Constant stereotypes and needed
So if I celebrate how big that my dick is,
Bricks that I’m flippin’
Clips that I’m stickin’
Chicks that I’m hittin’
I’m playing my position
But if I teach a kid to be a mathematician,
Messin’ with the schism,
How they gonna fill a prison when materialism is no longer our religion?
What do you think we got now in Britain?
Just like America, private prisons
Prisons for profit!
That mean when your kids go jail people make money off it,
So keep environments that breed crime
Build more jails at the same time
Market badness to the kids in the rhymes
As long as rich kids ain’t dying its fine!
Get em’ to the point where some are so lost
They actually believe that if they don’t celebrate killin’ themselves off
That it’s because they’re soft
Was Malcom soft?
Was Marley soft?
Tell me was Marcus Garvey soft?
Well? Was Mohammed Ali soft?
Nah, Nah I think not!
But they want us to think that the road is cool
Being on road is all we can do
We don’t control the wholesale productions
Who benefits from us movin’ the food?
Or thinking there’s no way out of road life
But Malcolm X used to hustle out on the roadside
When Marcus Garvey organised more than 6million people
With no Facebook or Twitter
Why is this something you cannot equal?
One of my homeboys did a ten straight in the box in yard
Now what’s he doing?
Passin’ his doctorate
Don’t tell me that it’s too hard!
Who trained you to believe that you’re inferior?
Sungbo Eredo in Nigeria are the remains of an ancient moat,
Dug 1000 years ago
20 metres wide, 70 down,
Round the remains of an ancient town
That’s 400 square miles around
400 square miles around
Please, please don’t believe me,
It was a documentary on BBC!
But we ain’t studyin’ history,
Too busy watching MTV
And MTV said wear platinum,
Now everybody wanna go and wear platinum,
And MTV said pop magnums,
Now everybody wanna go and pop magnums
If MTV said drink prune juice
You would start hearing that in tunes soon,
‘Hey! Today I wore my Cartier,
Is it now more important what I got to say?’
Oh and I drive a Mercedes by the way
So everybody listen to what I got to say
Huh, does that make you all happy?
Ahh but shit my head’s still nappy
Think for myself, still some mad at me
But on the mic ain’t not one bad as me
All of this here’s good for the rhymes
Put us in the same place at the same time
And it’s clear to everybody that I’m out of my mind
Some of these guys are runnin’ out of their rhymes
Clear to everybody that has got ears
I’m the guy that they just might fear
They wanna get near but they can’t have a peer
Ah dear I’m hard liquor you’re just like beer
Front on the kid for another five years
Come to my shows and some cry tears
It mean that much to em’, it’s a movement!
I don’t speak for myself but a unit,
Black, white, man, woman, anyone that respects truth we put in
Dudes are like dinner with no puddin’
Yeah you’re sweet but no substance puddin’
You could never ever be with a level on
Our songs get out played out there in Lebanon
We speak for the people properly
Not for the old fat guys in offices
And the girls love him, it ain’t fair
He can’t even be bothered to comb his hair
Anyway that’s enough kissin’ my own arse
Back to the more important task of being so shower
I got half the hood screaming “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”
And I ain’t saying that will change rap
But I do know this for a fact
Right now there’s a yout’ on your block
With his hands on his balls, face screwed up
Swear he don’t care, don’t give a fuck
That he won’t let nobody caught his block
But the words go in
Open your shackles
Because once that’s happened there’s no going back
Once you start to see what is really happening
Who the enemy you should be attackin’ is
Stuck on the block, READ, READ!
Sittin’ in the box, READ, READ!
Don’t let them say what you can achieve
Cos when people are enslaved
One of the first things they do is stop them reading
Cos’ it is well understood that intelligent people will take their freedom
Cos’ if we knew our power we would understand that we can’t be held down
If we knew our power, we would not elevate not one of these clowns
If we knew our power, we wouldn’t get arrogant when we get two pennies
If we knew our power, we would see what everybody sees, that we’re rich already!
But never mind MCs go run for your mummy
I’m hungry, I run for my tummy
That’s enough back to worshipping money
I’m off, back to the study!

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Richard Osborne ‘Up the British’ – tweet summary and quotes

Up the British

Up the British

Right, well summarising Tim Wise’s White Like Me in 15 tweets went reasonably well, so I figured I’d try something similar for another very useful book: ‘Up the British’, by Richard Osborne. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the concept of ‘Britishness’ and British identity. Here is the summary I tweeted earlier. That’s followed by some of the best quotes from the book.

  1. The ideological defence of the British Empire was always based on the idea of the racial, cultural and moral superiority of the British.
  2. The empire fostered the British psyche in ways that still shape our reactions, thoughts, myths and means of thinking about ourselves.
  3. The idea of Britishness is a deliberately constructed brand devised to fool workers into identifying/uniting with their class enemies.
  4. The national culture allowed the British to unite across class lines and shoulder the “White Man’s Burden.”
  5. Trying to understand Britain without understanding the empire is like trying to understand the US without understanding slavery.
  6. Britishness has been a highly conflicted identity since the colonies proved they were much better off without British rule.
  7. The sense of superiority instilled in the white working class during times of empire is manifested now in terms of rising fascism.
  8. British are addicted to nostalgia – looking to a perfect time when our superiority was beyond question. Meanwhile we ignore the real history.
  9. The aristocratic arrogance and bizarre traditions of the Royal family help reaffirm Britishness, and therefore the Royals are very popular.
  10. Expansion of British Empire was based on naval strength, thus the pomp and glory of the Navy features highly in British tradition.
  11. We have myths (like Francis Drake being a great guy) that, through endless repetition, become collective memories.
  12. The fantasy of the idyllic British village grows stronger, even as new hypermarkets are constructed at an alarming pace.
  13. Thatcher appealed to Britishness whilst selling off the state’s assets to multinational corporations.
  14. ‘Tolerance’ is part of the British identity, but strangely it doesn’t extend to immigrants, Muslims or radicals.
  15. Britishness includes a profound distrust of immigrants, yet immigrants have been essential to Britain’s cultural and intellectual development.
  16. Immigrants are feared, as they threaten the fantasy of ‘Little England’, and of course because of the ingrained belief that they are inferior.
  17. Britain is one of the most unequal societies in the western world but its self-image is one of fairness and contentment.
  18. Britain is a repressive society, increasingly reliant on hi-tech surveillance & armed police, and yet its self-image is freedom & democracy.
  19. Churchill fulfils the national need for a strong hero figure. Nobody seems to care that he was a rabid Tory, racist and hater of the working class.
  20. Underneath the national identity, there is an underlying subdued class war that’s brought to light only occasionally – eg Chartists, General Strike, Miner’s Strike.
  21. A new culture needs to be built by digging into the past, confronting the demons, giving up racism/supremacy, and finding a place in the world.

Quotes from the book:

“The rise of political correctness as a term of catch-all political abuse is a symptom of a profound fear of contemporary change and of nostalgia for the past, when everything was sensible and sorted, and women knew their place (along with the ‘coloured brethren’)”

“Immigration and refugees can quite conceivably be seen as the motor of cultural and intellectual energy in the British experience over the centuries, so the supposed failure to deal with immigration is rather an odd idea.”

“We have been invading Afghanistan for at least 150 years, on and off, and the net result has generally been rather a lot of dead people on both sides and not very much political correctness or cultural advance.”

“The fantasy of a rural Britain, of cute little villages where everyone knows everyone, is so strong it seems to obliterate even the vaguest sense of reality in those who should know better.”

“The history of the politics of Britishness, and of its mythic thinking, is rooted in our history, as everyone agrees, and that history is one of Empire, of domination, and of, if one dare use the word, exploitation.”

“Tolerance was nowhere to be seen in the relations between the classes in Britain, except when the lower orders were needed to go off to war and die in their thousands, in which case much was made of their chummy and cheerful Britishness.”

“When the British aren’t being rude about foreigners they like to moan about their neighbours; indeed moaning is probably one of the key attributes of the British.”

“The difference between stories and history is that the former begin ‘Once upon a time’ and the latter begin ‘In the time of'”.

“From children’s comics to television repeats and endless film epics, the repetition of these stories builds collective memories, things that have psychic depth without any necessary factual basis. As Orwell observed, the endless repetition of stories turns fantasy into fact, and, like other addicts, people find it very hard to wean themselves off the stuff”

“That the royal family are basically German, aristocratic and in-bred never seems to bother anyone, nor the fact that the idea of royalty is patently absurd, nineteenth-century and inimical to democracy.”

“It is interesting to note how often poetry was the medium in which ideas of Britishness were expressed, a medium best suited to mythological and abstract ideas, and a medium not bound by fact or history.”

“You can take the colonies out of the Empire but you can’t take the Empire out of the colonisers.”

“This is precisely the ideology of imperialism, based in a notion of British identity as racially, culturally and morally superior. The combination of piety, pomp and the accepted necessary use of violence in order to further the aims of the British Empire gives a clear definition of Britishness that is, ultimately, racist and self-reflexive, as well as self-delusional.”

“Ireland was ruled by the British with a rod of iron for at least 800 years and was the epitome of poverty, disease, forced emigration and backwardness … The Irish eventually forced independence through armed struggle, and within sixty years became the Celtic Tiger, one of the fastest growing economies in the West with extremely high levels of education. Likewise India was ruled and civilised by the British for nearly 300 years and was backward, poverty stricken and disunited. After forcing out the British, who blithely divided up the area into unviable entities, India has turned itself within fifty years into one of the fast growing economies in the world and a potential superpower.”

“What on earth children gain from ploughing through arcane and verbose Shakespeare verse, only to discover that what is being said is that all women are mad, dangerous or feeble, or beautiful but dangerous, escapes even cursory examination.”

“When Churchill wrote, or re-wrote, the history of the British he did it in such a way that all the complexity of regional, ethnic and class war was ignored and, most importantly, the vital history of scientific, technological and industrial development was hidden behind the pomp of warfare and coronations. What a bunch of upper-class lunatics did in a cavalry charge really does not compete with the transformations of society that were brought about by scientific analysis, technological insight and organised industrial production.”

Lenin: “The Labour Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organisation of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers.”

“Historically the construction of the idea of Britishness rests on the way in which, as an identity, it overrides all other loyalties or realities of social existence thereby generating a cohesion of all peoples, united in values and outlook.”

“The contemporary Royal Family are clearly rather dim, rather racist and completely unreconstructed in their attitudes to the world and to the lower orders; yet they are staggeringly popular.”

“Imperialism infests the soul and is a difficult drug to give up, as the Americans are currently discovering; giving up the historical memory is proving even harder for the British.”

“Hero worshipping, like celebrity gazing, is a common activity in popular culture, but as the basis for a civilised society it leaves quite a lot to be desired and is really arrested development in psychological terms.”

“The British addictions to heritage, nostalgia, distrust of foreigners and Europe, combined with anti-intellectualism, petty class snobbery and love of humouring themselves at their whimsical ways can only really be described as a mild form of psychosis.”

“With their ‘there is nowhere to hide’ slogan the TLA scours the country looking for evil criminals who watch television without having paid the licence fee. In hi-tech vans with massive databases at their fingertips these custodians of the BBC are ceaseless in their vigil to protect the rights of the government to produce drivel on television and force people to pay for it.”

“TV is full of the double-think that pervades contemporary Britishness. Indeed, reality television allows the middle class entrepreneurs who run it to do their two favourite things; to make lashings of money and to take the mickey out of the ill-educated working classes while doing it.”

“It is Thatcher’s unrestrained neoliberalism that quite arguably led to the decline of most things that could be seen as British.”

If you want to read the whole book (it’s pretty short – only about 140 pages), here it is on Amazon UK.

Flawless Daily Duppy from Akala

The ‘Celtic warrior maroon from yard’ drops pure knowledge for the block over a hard grime beat. Four minutes of mindblowing skills and wisdom!

It would take hours to transcribe the whole thing, but here’s the last bit:

This whole thing’s chess
And they want us to celebrate the fact that we are just pawns
But man are not on it
See the last thing they want
Is for man with road energy to stop killing one another and think cleverly
And ask why you’re living where you’re living, how you’re living
Did you create the condition that you were raising your kid in?
If you didn’t, who did it?
Is it really for the hood if our oppressors like our lyrics?
Only by crushing your aspirations can we maintain this here situation
Only by crushing the dreams of your kids quick
Can we keep our unearned privilege
And that’s what it’s all about

Knowledge is power!

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Seeerious freestyle from Logic

Six minutes of inspiration and sense from Logic!

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Uplifting, positive, resistant track from Wretch 32 – Take This From Me

One of the best tracks from Wretch’s debut album Wretchrospective (which was released in 2009 – if you haven’t got it yet, cop it quickly before the next one comes out!). The intro says it all:

“Now I’m a man with strong beliefs / And that’s something that no-one can ever take from me / Or you / Nah / You may only be the employee / But that don’t mean your boss can take your integrity / Or your passion / And remember – they can never take your soul”

Farrakhan on hip-hop and the power of cultural expression

Some very deep points here. A must watch for the cultural revolutionaries!

A tribute to the revolutionary poet Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

11 May 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the untimely death of Robert Nesta Marley – probably the most significant cultural figure of the 20th century. I can’t think of anybody else who has reached such levels of popularity and influence whilst consistently putting forward a message of resistance to oppression.

Undoubtedly, Bob’s image has been somewhat sanitised and pacified by corporate forces who like to portray him as a “chilled out guy with a great voice”.

Dave Thompson, in the book Reggae and Caribbean Music, writes:

“Bob Marley ranks among both the most popular and the most misunderstood figures in modern culture … That the machine has utterly emasculated Marley is beyond doubt. Gone from the public record is the ghetto kid who dreamed of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers, and pinned their posters up in the Wailers Soul Shack record store; who believed in freedom; and the fighting which it necessitated, and dressed the part on an early album sleeve; whose heroes were James Brown and Muhammad Ali; whose God was Ras Tafari and whose sacrament was marijuana. Instead, the Bob Marley who surveys his kingdom today is smiling benevolence, a shining sun, a waving palm tree, and a string of hits which tumble out of polite radio like candy from a gumball machine. Of course it has assured his immortality. But it has also demeaned him beyond recognition. Bob Marley was worth far more.”

But you only have to only have to look outside Europe and North America to see the profound and enduring effect Bob Marley had on the downpressed masses of the world. Marley is still loved by the sufferahs all over the world, not simply because of photos of him burning the holy herb, but because of the hope, pain, love and inspiration of his music and his words. In Africa and South America, Bob is a hero and a teacher. Indigenous Australians keep a flame burning for him in Sydney. He is revered by many indigenous Americans.

As a revolutionary poet of the highest order, Bob Marley has been a teacher and guide to more than one generation of oppressed youth. You can go to school and you can learn some or other Shakespeare play about medieval kings, but it’s Bob that tells you what you need to know:

“Get up, stand up / Stand up for your rights / Get up, stand up / Don’t give up the fight.”

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!”

Bob Marley always put forward a deeply humanistic vision of the unity of all peoples (“I only have one thing I really like to see happen – I like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all”). Yet he was also keenly aware of how much of the system of empire, colonialism and white supremacy had been built on the oppression, enslavement and murder of Africans. Bob loved all humanity, but he represented for the oppressed, and for Africa first and foremost.

The commercial radio stations might play ‘Stir it Up’, but they don’t play ‘War’! Check the lyrics (which are adapted from a speech made by Emporer Haile Selassie to the United Nations in 1963):

What life has taught me
I would like to share with
Those who want to learn…

Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war

That until there are no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war

That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war

That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be pursued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war, war

And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes
that hold our brothers in Angola, in Mozambique,
South Africa sub-human bondage
Have been toppled, utterly destroyed
Well, everywhere is war, me say war

War in the east, war in the west
War up north, war down south
War, war, rumours of war

And until that day, the African continent
Will not know peace, we Africans will fight
We find it necessary and we know we shall win
As we are confident in the victory

Of good over evil, good over evil, good over evil
Good over evil, good over evil, good over evil

Another song that represents Bob’s position on the frontline of struggle against oppression at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s is ‘Zimbabwe’, which was written specially for that country’s independence celebrations.

Danny Sims, Bob’s first manager, puts it well:

“Like our great leaders, like Marcus Garvey, like Malcolm X, like Martin Luthur King, Bob Marley was one who, once he knew he had something to get across to the world, he couldn’t rest because of his vision … To a generation, Bob Marley was a Malcolm X for the 1970s, a true revolutionary and a man who never left the people he loved and struggled for. During his life Bob Marley never changed. He never changed his outlook … he never even changed his wardrobe.”

Rest in power, Bob Marley!

Skinnyman – Music Speaks Louder Than Words [video/lyrics]

Pure positive vibes from UK legend Skinnyman! As usual, Skinny’s reppin’ for the youth, telling you the truth in the only way he can be sure you’ll listen to it – in music.

Great video as well, including footage taken at an anti-BNP protest.



Music speaks louder than words
It’s the only thing the the whole world listens to

Verse 1:

They didn’t want to understand about the views of the kids
Until they heard it getting ran over the music I did
A true reflection of the way we live
Getting broadcasted live way beyond those council estate cribs
The sound of music and the power it gives
That’s why I’m forever reaching out to my fans, doing my gigs
Anyone who see my show can see how true that this is
Now there’s journalists wanna interview me for this
They can’t be disillusioned or confused from my hits
I’ve just been telling it the way that it is
It’s not about showbiz
Before that they wanna make my words sound twist
I think they’re either dumb, ignorant or taking the piss
Before I get into this and let my words sound twist
I say excuse me while I light up my spliff
I’d rather twist up my ‘erbs
Instead of letting you lot twist up my verbs
I let my music speak out for me, louder than words

Verse 2:

I took my raps and ran to the booth
I knew my lyrics brang you the truth
It’s like nobody didn’t wanna take a stand for the youth
I let them know that the system’s got a plan for the youth
And how the media really couldn’t handle the truth
They don’t expose how the police like to handle the youth
In broad daylight they get away with strangling youth
In Camden Town on a Saturday, I brang you the proof
RIP Uncle Dob I’m still banging for you
I’m damned if I don’t, same way I’m damned if I do
Now if I namesake they claim say I’m some scandalous yout
Cos the message that I bring to ya
Is the opposite to their political hypocritical propaganda
So know what you stand for or fall for anything
The jewel in the mind is worth more than any bling
That’s why I’m bringing myself up in this position
To give it you it the only way the whole world listens to


I stay loyal to the music
It won’t betray me
And I’m mad over music cos it drives me crazy
I’ve changed for the better cos my music’s changed me
I feel I’ve been saved like my music’s saved me
Unstoppable, got my ambition in music
And I won’t go abuse my position in music
I’m feeling like a man on a mission in music
The way to make the whole world listen is music

Follow Skinnyman on Twitter.

Great interview with Fusion

Legendary hip-hop, garage and grime producer/mentor Fusion makes some great points about the music industry in this interview

“Music is a good vehicle for social change… In the times we’re living in right now, i feel that we need to say more things than ever before about what’s going on.”

“We have some of the finest lyricists in the English language – Skinnyman, Ghetts, Wretch32, Lowkey, Mic Righteous, Devlin… Many artists are talking about major issues and are trying to be heard, but we also have to eat. A lot of lyrical artists are facing pressure to dumb down their content to get paid. That’s coming from the corporations. We need to encourage those artists, support them, and challenge the status quo.”

Talking about the time when people like Fallacy, Rodney P and Skinnyman dominated UK rap, he says: “There was less money in the industry, and the artists stood for more. Now that there’s more money in the industry, it doesn’t mean you should stand for less. You need to educate your followers and yourself. Artists come and go, but the messages they put out there stay forever if they’re potent and powerful messages.”

“While you get a chance to use certain platforms (social networking etc), be sure to say something that actually matters. All these platforms are in a way exploiting you. You don’t really own those platforms.”

At the end he also makes a very deep point about the history of black music as freedom music.

Check this classic track with Fallacy:

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