Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Akala chats pure sense about the state of the music industry

10 minutes of great insight from Akala, without a doubt one of the leading cultural figures in the scene. Akala exposes some of the major problems in the UK underground/black music scene, addressing in particular the issue of cultural colonialism, whereby the corporate power structure uses its economic domination to shape the music towards its own agenda.



In-depth interview with Jaja Soze

Must-watch. Jaja Soze explains the transformation of PDC from a street gang to a community-focused business, and explores the importance of economic empowerment. He also discusses the problems in the UK rap scene, where there is a lack of balance – everybody talking negativity and very few talking sense.

Ghetts – Story of the Pauper (with lyrics)

Some serious emotional and lyrical depth from London-based rapper Ghetts in this track. As his skills continue to grow and his subject matter diversifies, Ghetts has a real chance to establish himself as one of the very best rappers in the history of UK rap.

People are being made redundant
Some of my friends and family are amongst them
And everybody’s family depends on a lump sum
But some ain’t gonna see a salary when the month’s done
How you gonna tell a kid he aint got to rob
When the only role model he has just lost his job
Unemployed without another choice
Heading down the same path he tried to make his son avoid
Jobseekers allowance aint for everyone
We grown, there’s no power in a pellet gun
You tryna tell a n***a that’s a breadwinner
Forget dinner and he’ll do things he’s never done
It’s the story of the pauper
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer
But don’t get me wrong
Three out of ten will cross the border
And be out the ends, but still it weren’t a shortcut
I understand what it took to do that
How Naomi Campbell had to look to do that
What Levi Roots had to cook to do that
The kinda weight the top shottas had to push to do that
What kinda singer Diz had to get on a hook to do that
And when you’re tryna push out of the same place you come from
Everybody has a goal, and pulling you back
So it’s bullet proof this, and bullet proof that
And I don’t expect those from outside the slums to understand this
How you gonna relate? Your mum and dad’s rich
Welcome to my ends, it’s gully
And none of us are getting no inheritance money
What’s your life like round here? I bet everything’s honey
Yeah we all got problems, but I bet yours has never been the money
Wait, I don’t know you so I shouldn’t pass judgement
Vice versa, but sometimes assets confine a person
You ain’t gotta tell me that you’re rich cos I know you are
Your life is perfect – is that why you turn your nose up at the lower class?
Or is your life just as fucked as mine behind the curtains?
But you don’t wanna show it cos you’ve got an image to uphold
I know, but when you come home, you unload, stress
Staring in the mirror like “I’m so depressed”
And now you wanna jumbo to jet, yeh I get it
Cos I feel like that six out of seven days
And that’s why a n***a be addicted to lemon haze
Listen when I’m spittin’ a system is devil-made
The government have got the nation brainwashed
A close friend of mine just left the Caribbean
When he got here he said he shoulda stayed in Barbados
I could explain but I’d rather let you read between the lines
Yo don he switched the brain on
You can’t even read the signs, where’s your brain gone?
What can I say dawg?
The truth lays beneath the lies
But it’s like I’m tryna lead the blind
And they would rather remain lost.
Forever in the rat race
Life ain’t getting no better and it’s facts mate
So I’m lighting up the lemon on a bad day
And as I let the zoot settle in my ashtray
I’m thinking of all the terrible things man-made
Things that caused this inevitable rampage
I’m hoping I ain’t got vegetables for a fanbase

Download the new Ghetts mixtape
Follow Ghetts on Twitter
Check out this classic collab from Ghetts and Akala

This Is Black History [video and lyrics]

Despite the best efforts of London’s mayor to get rid of Black History Month (last year Boris cut funding for Black History Month from £132,000 to a miserly £10,000), it’s here again. The potential value of Black History Month is usually lost – most teachers don’t take the opportunity to address the deep racism and Eurocentrism at the heart of our education system, and black history is reduced to a few facts about Rosa Parks and a passing mention of how good Bob Marley was at singing. The only section of the 500-year-long legacy of resistance to slavery that we hear about is the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which is painted as having brought us the post-racial harmony we supposedly have now!

This dumbed-down black history actively contributes to the conspiracy of silence about the history of Africa, its people and its diaspora. Contrary to popular opinion, this history starts *before* transatlantic slavery and includes the development of vast civilisations and major innovations in every branch of science and the arts! The fact that very few people have a clue about pre-slavery African civilisation is a clear manifestation of white supremacy, alive and well.

Luckily, a big group of London rappers are stepping up where the majority of teachers are letting us down. Big respect to Logic, Big Ben, Jaja Soze, Big Cakes, Genesis Elijah, MC D, Cerose, Big Frizzle, Wordplay, Haze, the USG crew, Rodney P and Akala for putting together a deep, memorable and inspiring track for Black History Month.

I’ve tried to transcribe the lyrics for you. Please tweet me about any mistakes!

[Jody McIntyre poem]
Australia is a black country
So’s America
So the superpower warn us of a black terror
It’s not theft if it’s yours and you take it back
Just a correction of an inaccurate fact
So I’m not afraid at the thought of immigrants
More ashamed of my quarter of Englishness
The Scots and the Irish don’t wanna take this
Being occupied by a state that is racist
Black history is a story of revolution and resistance
A salute to all our brothers
From now to Maurice Bishop

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

I am not a ni**er, no mistake made
Cos that’s the word the slavemaster used to call the slave
Brothers trying to kill other brothers to make the papes
The way they move I bet Rosa Parks would turn in her grave
Think of what she stood for and how she would feel
Think of Steve Biko and think of Emmett Till
And eight bars ain’t enough time on the beat
But go google every name, black history

[Big Ben]
Imagine Adam was as black as a pint of Dragon
And his descendants built guided by stars’ patterns
Pyramids, with just the knowledge of the atom
They might not tell you in your class but that’s what really happened
Before the kidnap, chains, rotting in the cabins
Your family tree’s from a root greater than you fathom
There’s real power in that blood the guns are out splashin
It’s real power when the people start to take action

[Jaja Soze]
You can’t hide the truth from me, you’re only fooling you
My blood is of a slave, shout to Shaka Zulu
No ni**er-monkey round here bruv, monkey who?
I’m medicating yoots just like I’m supposed to do
You should be a king instead of trying to shot a Q
I’m speaking to my people just like Malcolm X would do
And don’t make who you are be a mystery
Just educate yourself and learn the black history

[Big Cakes]
This is black history, this is our history
The pyramids in Africa and stars are in symmetry
Big dog you ain’t a ni**er or a nig-nog
A black man made the first clock, tick-tock
You got a watch, big up Benjamin Banneker
My brudas got ripped and shipped up from Mother Africa
Hip-hop story, lines outta rhymes
Tell you how a black man made clocks out of time

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

[Genesis Elijah]
Black magic, black clouds, black hearted
Black beauty black balled on black markets
The black comedy is tragic
That black card did nothing
They still parred him, called him a black bastard
Ain’t nothing new black, they used to call it black music
No black supremacy just equality the news is
Black’s the new black I rep that Black Panther movement
Teach black history, speak black future

[MC D]
Blacks get sold in auctions like Christie’s
But to suppress the knowledge is too risky
So instead of that the feds wanna frisk me
And handle me like they did the blacks in the 60s
But I’m a king like Tut and Shaka Zulu
I gain knowledge and I learn what we been through
Wisdom is more than the colour of your skin, true
And when you’re wise you realise you’re a king too

I am Kunta, not Toby
Free thinker, you’ll never control me
Go further, Nat Turner
The massa got shot by his own burner
By any means like Malcolm
They never hear me when I talk so I’m shoutin
Back to Africa like Garvey
One love like the brother Bob Marley

[Big Frizzle]
Yeah listen to the saga
Mamadu Diallo fathered little Aminata
Taught her in the ways of the Qu’ran no drama
Eleven years old she was taken from her mother
The hardest journey ever across that great river
Three moons in that giant canoe
Now they deliver
Back to back, blacks on blacks
Look how she shivers
You wanna know how she grows
Well learn more when you read the book of negroes

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

I went and picked up a book, took an hour to read through
Learn about a party that’s empowering the people
About Huey P and Bobby Seale, the Panthers
Not the media spin, I’m reading Howard [Bingham]
How they try and discredit these guys’ names
FBI, Cointelpro, the CIA
But I never forget my man dem, bredders like Fred Hampton
Died for the rights of my people, I’d like to thank them

Fuckery and misery, black history
Legacies never told, youngun come and sit with me
Take the fag out the zoot, bun a spliff with me
Listen to my thoughts, find that epiphany
Yeah we are kings, genetically and spiritually
From the start to the end, I mean literally
Marcus Garvey, 2Pac and Malcolm X
Only up above lord knows who’s coming next

[USG crew]
The way they ? ? ain’t fair bro
That’s why we’re killing each other on these roads
They don’t wanna see our black seeds dem grow
They wanna see us living broke in a ghetto
That’s why I got the rifle by the window
By any means necessary, using Malcolm’s lingo
And they try and put my flag at half mast
Labelled me a mongrel, I’m black not half caste
Us fellas here with no fear like Mandela
So they’d rather see us rot in the damn cellar
But them pricks can’t harm me
Cos I’m black and I’m proud like Marcus Garvey
Can’t leave my people in the field, nah, I love dem
I lead the way like I’m Harriet Tubman
And they can’t say we’re fighting for something
Ancestors legendary, nothing above them

This is our history
The school system made it a mystery
But it made a foundation for you and me
So we put it in our music for you to see

[Rodney P]
I’m a bald black bredder like Khalid Muhammed
Sayin hail up the dread as we roam the planet
In step with Imhotep, I follow the lead
Intellect like Menelek, I follow the creed
And I wanna believe, although I don’t go church
I just carry god with me know say this is God’s work
I know my livity I’m trying to achieve
And the yoot dem have to know so that they warrior breed

Celebrating our history is not a favour
Correcting the myths that still persist to justify behaviour
Showing civilisation before colonisation
Some would rather say the pyramids were put by aliens
Than accept that a bunch of coons ever taught a thing
Ever in human history to people with lighter skin
Diop set em straight, intelligent debate
At the Cairo Symposium, still they wanna negate
We can’t change a thing, if we don’t wanna face
Our education conditioned us to the myth of race
So you probably never learned about the Moors in Spain
Benin, or Luanda in 1668
Lalibela or the Citadel, our truths they hid it well
If we knew ourselves would so many sit in a cell?
When Europe has the influence in African affairs
That Africa has in Europe, we can talk about a world that’s fair

Follow the protagonists on Twitter:

Rodney P
Big Ben
Jaja Soze
Genesis Elijah
Big Cakes
Big Frizzle
Jody McIntyre
Last Resort (producer)

Cash – Talk About Pain

Really happy Cash made a video for this track! Inspiring, heartfelt lyrics. Nice to hear an up-and-coming UK rapper bringing some REAL TALK.

My little brother’s 10, I feel like I’m slacking
He shouldn’t be hearing me rap about gun-clapping

There’s bare mums crying round ‘ere
Cos there’s bare sons dying round ‘ere
If you think I lie, watch the news then
Every other week another ghetto yout’s dead
And I can guarantee that as I wrote this song
Another ghetto yout bled
Ghetto people, it’s time for us to rise up
And open up our eyes, cos our eyes shut
And we don’t seem to educate our minds much
Cos we’re too busy throwing gang signs up
Putting knife workin or gun blastin
We’re all pissed while the government’s laughing
Little man pay attention when I’m talkin
You don’t want your mummy paying for a coffin
Little girl stay in school, keep grafting
Allow the baggaman ting this ain’t Sparta

Follow Cash on Twitter

An album worth waiting for: Lowkey – Soundtrack to the Struggle

Lowkey and Jody McIntyre

As Lowkey says in the intro: it’s been a long time coming.

Twenty-five-year-old rapper Lowkey (aka Kareem Dennis) has been well-respected on the underground hip-hop scene since he was a teenager, winning notoriety for his humorous battling style and rapid-fire lyricism. But it was a few years into his career, in early 2009, that he really emerged as the leading voice in the “soundtrack to the struggle” – making music representing the hopes and dreams of oppressed peoples around the world; people struggling for freedom and equality.

A key moment in this process was the massive rally in Hyde Park on 10 January 2009, protesting against Israel’s brutal bombing campaign against Gaza. Lowkey’s impassioned acapella performance of the poignant ‘Long Live Palestine’ (which has since become a massive hit) caught a lot of people’s attention, and Lowkey quickly became a leading voice in the anti-war movement, one of very few with the ability to put radical ideas in a form that young people can relate to.

Since then, Lowkey has released a string of hits and established himself as the leading voice of political hip-hop on these shores (in addition to gaining the respect of some of the major radical voices of US hip-hop, such as Dead Prez and Immortal Technique). The reach of his singles has been unprecedented for a fully independent artist with no mainstream media support. His tracks ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Obamanation’, both hard-hitting pieces of political and social commentary exposing the lies and hypocrisy of imperialism, have received 1.6 million and 1.4 million YouTube views respectively. A generation of young people has been inspired and educated by these songs, which have successfully captured people’s imagination in a way that the many organisations bringing a somewhat similar message have failed to do.

And although there are a few that want to ghettoise him as a ‘Palestine rapper’, Lowkey has continued to make music about police brutality, about respect for women, about the music industry, Cuba, Diego Garcia and much more, and has collaborated with leading London rap voices such as Wretch 32, Klashnekoff, Akala, Black the Ripper and Sway.

In addition to his music, Lowkey has also spoken at meetings, rallies and pickets up and down the country, speaking out against war, racism, islamophobia, government cuts and police brutality. He has taken his skills and knowledge around the world, speaking and performing in the US (alongside respected anti-zionist academic Norman Finkelstein), Palestine and Australia.

Along with activist Jody McIntyre and rapper Logic, he has formed the Equality Movement, bringing young people from different ethnic, political and religious backgrounds together to learn and act in the struggle for a better future. A true activist-musician, he’s as comfortable with the megaphone as he is with the microphone.

Throughout these last nearly three years of intense activity, the anticipation has been growing for a Lowkey album – a body of work that sums up his experiences, and our whole generation’s experiences, over the past few years; years characterised by imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya; bombings of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen; global economic crisis; massive cuts to public services in most of the affluent countries; and rising resistance to the status quo.

Although Lowkey’s debut album, Dear Listener, appeared in mid-2009, and was a very solid release, it was clear that it was a prelude to his first major album, which has finally arrived in the form of Soundtrack to the Struggle. And it’s a classic. No weak tracks, no cringe moments, no need to skip or fast-forward; just 20 exceptional pieces of thought-provoking and soul-stirring music. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this album sits comfortably alongside the best UK hip-hop releases of all time (such as Skinnyman’s “Council Estate of Mind”, Rodney P’s “The Future” and Klashnekoff’s “The Sagas”). Furthermore, given the international relevance of the subject matter and the intensity and lyrical ability Lowkey brings to the table, I would argue that Soundtrack to the Struggle deserves a place alongside the best political/radical hip-hop releases (such as Dead Prez’s “Let’s Get Free” and Immortal Technique’s “Revolutionary Vol. 2”).

The intro track, ‘Soundtrack to the Struggle’, sets the scene perfectly, with its cinematic strings, choir voices and the chorus reminding us that “the system need fi change right now, too much yoot a go down inna grave right now”. Lowkey makes his mission very clear:

This album has been in the making a quarter century
Born to bless the beat and rap over recorded melody
I knew the truth since I was a small little boy
I am a product of the system I was born to destroy

The next track, ‘Too Much’, featuring the singing talents of Shadia Mansour, has a clear message about the dangers of our society’s obsession with money, asking “Do you possess money or by money are you possessed?”. The recently-released video, shot in Havana, contrasts this money madness with the simpler and more altruistic life favoured in Cuba.

Track 3 will already be known to most of you – ‘Voice of the Voiceless’ featuring radical New York-based hip-hop legend, Immortal Technique.

‘Hand on your Gun’ is a new track over a ridiculously funky Show’n’Prove production, exposing the sinister forces behind the weapons industry.

First in my scope is BAE Systems
Specialise in killing people from a distance
Power is a drug and they feed the addiction
Immediate deletion of people’s existence
Who says what is and what isn’t legitimate resistance

Next up is a skit based on a firing speech by Reverend Jeremiah Wright that, in two minutes, tells you everything you need to know about imperialist state terrorism. “Violence begets violence, hatred begets hatred, and terrorism begets terrorism”. This of course provides the perfect introduction to ‘Terrorist’, Lowkey’s biggest track to date, and probably the most widely-discussed piece of music of 2010.

After ‘Something Wonderful’, the video for which was released early last year, comes a new cut, ‘Dreamers’, a deeply personal track dedicated to the dreamers: not the people that “see things that are there and ask why”, but the people that “see things that aren’t there and ask why not”. The emotional lyrics and tight flows work perfectly alongside Mai Khalil’s wistful adlibs and the acoustic instrumental (which you will almost certainly recognise!).

A clip of a speech from well-known activist/journalist Tariq Ali, assessing the record so far of US President Barack Obama, sets the scene nicely for ‘Obamanation’, which, although released back in March 2010, only gets more relevant with the passage of time.

Next up is ‘Cradle of Civilization’ featuring Mai Khalil, a haunting and moving tune devoted to the homeland Lowkey has never seen: Iraq.

What I view on the news is making me shiver
Cos I look at the victims and see the same face in the mirror
This system of division makes it harder for you and me
Peace is a question; the only answer is unity

In ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’, Lowkey joins forces with UK hip-hop heavyweight Klashnekoff for a track reflecting on their careers and their roles within the music industry. Everybody around the scene knows that these two brothers could be living large off music right now if only they were willing to give up control of their minds and bodies to the major label puppet-masters. Both have opted instead to stay true to what they believe in over the course of their careers. Lowkey’s verse describes his mission to give voice to the voiceless:

I don’t do this for the happy ravers or the aggy haters
I do this for the warriors and the gladiators
Do this for those whose lives you never cared about
Can’t pronounce their names, their origins or their whereabouts
Those brought up around tragedy and sadness Who adjusted and found normality in the madness
Fight the power, til I’m out of breath like Malcolm X
You empower the powerful, I empower the powerless

In the new track ‘Everything I Am’, heavyweight producer Show’n’Prove again comes through with the goods with a phenomenal sample flip. Lowkey explores his own identity and how he is perceived, particularly by his fans.

Preferably the aim is equality eventually
Don’t relegate me below, or elevate me above, you
Needless to say, in either place I’m uncomfortable
I treat you as an equal I’m simply a man
Your brother in humanity is everything that I am

The next skit, introducing ‘Long Live Palestine’, is based on a beautiful and deeply moving speech by Norman Finkelstein, explaining why he, as a Jew, feels compelled to support the struggle of the Palestinian people. This will make you cry.

My late father was in Auschwitz, my late mother was in Madjanek concentration camp. Every single member of my family on both sides was exterminated. Both of my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And it’s precisely and exactly because of the lessons my parents taught me and my two siblings that I will not be silent when Israel commits its crimes against the Palestinians. And I consider nothing more despicable than to use their suffering, and their martyrdom to try to justify the torture, the brutalisation and the demolition of homes that Israel daily commits against the Palestinians. So I refuse any longer to be intimidated by the tears [of Zionists absolving themselves of any crimes by making reference to the Nazi holocaust]. If you had any heart in you, you would be crying for the Palestinians.

The next new track is ‘We Will Rise’, an optimistic tribute to those fighting against empire, in particular against its disastrous impact in the Arab world over the course of the last century. The track ends with a powerful poem from young Yemeni-British poet Sanasino.

After ‘My Soul’, the video for which was leaked in July, comes another deep new track, ‘Butterfly Effect’, produced by the highly-respected New York production team Beatnick and K-Salaam. Lyrically a very deep and unique track, ‘Butterfly Effect’ sees Lowkey giving voice to a disabled homeless war veteran and exploring how events and decisions have repercussions that we can never predict. The beautiful sung chorus, solemn instrumental and powerful storytelling make this one of the standout tracks of the album.

Next comes ‘ObamaNation Part 2’, the video for which was released just a few days ago, and which has become an instant classic. Three intense verses – from M1 (Dead Prez), Black the Ripper and Lowkey – over an epic Nutty P production.

Then we have another new BeatNick and K-Salaam produced banger, ‘Dear England’, featuring Mai Khalil. The grime tempo/feel is a welcome change of pace and gives Lowkey a chance to show off his double-time skills, very appropriate for this insightful track about the recent London riots.

Britannia lit the match but Britannia fears the flame
Where blood stains the pavement, tears stain the cheek
When privilege is threatened, the fear reigns supreme
Where bankers are earning from shooting and looting
The nervous are shooting, we search for solutions

‘Haunted’ is perhaps the most personal, reflective and fragile moment of the album, as Lowkey gives the listener an insight into some of the psychological conflict he deals with daily, haunted by the memory of his brother, ground down by the stress of his ongoing court case, and lied about and misrepresented in the press. He ends by urging the listener to remember: “When I go, just know, that I did it for the people”.

The penultimate track is the long-awaited ‘Terrorist Part 2’, featuring the young London-based Iraqi rapper Crazy Haze taking the role of a barrister defending Lowkey against charges of ‘inciting terrorism’ with his music, and then as a prosecuting barrister cross-examining Lowkey. An innovative and interesting track over a tasty Last Resort beat.

The final cut of the album is the impassioned ‘Million Man March’, which encapsulates the sentiment of Che Guevara: “I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun”. Mai Khalil (whose contribution to this album cannot be underestimated) sings:

My back’s against the wall
But you can’t kill us all
Even if you take my life
Still we will survive
We shall overcome
And the tables will turn
Today I die as one but as millions I’ll return
But as millions I’ll return
But as millions I’ll return

And there you have it. Twenty phenomenal tracks that make you think and make you feel. An album worth waiting for. I’m sure there will be many more albums to come from Lowkey (who at 25 years of age displays a remarkable musical, lyrical and political maturity), but it’s not going to be easy to top this.

The album is released on 16th October. Here is the iTunes pre-order link. If you are a Lowkey supporter, please do your best to spread the word about the album far and wide! There is no multinational corporation sponsoring this music; it is our music; music for the people. If we don’t support it, it can’t continue.

Nekz – London’s Burning freestyle – best rap view on the riots so far!

Nekz – London’s Burning *Free Download* by Nekz Music

Excellent, insightful lyrics from my bro Nekz, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from West London.

I liked it so much I typed the lyrics up.

The system’s fucked and the yout dem are rioting
Running round the city mad hyped on the violent ting
Look how dyou think it got to this, they lost a whole generation
Police is what I’m hating
Screaming burn the fuckin stations
I don’t care, let the p**syholes come for me
The city burned while you holidayed in Tuscany
And we don’t know luxury
Look can’t you see the poverty
I’m speaking for the unheard
Licence to kill, the pigs are quick to let their gun burst
RIP Mark D, Smiley Culture and everyone killed by police
And peaceful protest just don’t work
But it’s a shame a petrol bomb will get your voice heard
The situation’s getting worse
Youts need a help but who disowned and left them on the kerb
Think about it for a sec before you point and curse
The feeling’s so worthless
No jobs, so many futures are uncertain
And education doesn’t help
When you’re cutting EMA it’s like you wanna fail
9k for uni, I’m a hit the road and risk the jail
Is the mindset of most, the ones that need the help
To grow, to evolve into a fine man
People lets not harm our own
Spare the local shops and homes
Soldiers aim for the throne
Fight for the people bro
They wanna see us lose and they paint themselves as innocent
I swear they make 50 gs from the prisoners
I mean prisoner, that’s each one, do the sums
They slashed the throat of the slums when they made the cuts
But they don’t give a fuck
So I ain’t giving up
Cos one day we will rise and now they see it cuz
But they don’t give a fuck
So I ain’t giving up
Cos one day we will rise and now they see it cuz
They had them all running scared
Cos the feds were all unprepared
Stereotype the clothes I wear
Goes and causes fear
But so does the black and whites in their riot gear
Don’t be a slave to the system and the news you hear
They had them all running scared
Cos the feds were all unprepared
Stereotype the clothes I wear
Goes and causes fear
But so does the black and whites in their riot gear
Don’t be a slave to the system and the news you hear

Follow Nekz on Twitter

Heartfelt Cashtastic track opposing gang warfare

Thanks to whoever ripped this from the Charlie Sloth show last week! Inspiring lyrics from up-and-coming artist Cashtastic. Someone needs to play this to all the eedyats that are saying UK rap is the cause of the riots.

My little brother’s 10, I feel like I’m slacking
He shouldn’t be hearing me rap about gun-clapping

There’s bare mums crying round ‘ere
Cos there’s bare sons dying round ‘ere
If you think I lie, watch the news then
Every other week another ghetto yout’s dead
And I can guarantee that as I wrote this song
Another ghetto yout bled
Ghetto people, it’s time for us to rise up
And open up our eyes, cos our eyes shut
And we don’t seem to educate our minds much
Cos we’re too busy throwing gang signs up
Putting knife workin or gun blastin
We’re all pissed while the government’s laughing
Little man pay attention when I’m talkin
You don’t want your mummy paying for a coffin
Little girl stay in school, keep grafting
Allow the baggaman ting this ain’t Sparta

Follow Cashtastic on Twitter

Viva Cuba! Lowkey ft Shadia Mansour – Too Much

The latest leak from Lowkey’s long-anticipated album, Soundtrack to the Struggle, has a clear message about the dangers of our society’s obsession with money, asking “Do you possess money or by money are you possessed?”

In contrast to the crass materialism of modern capitalist society, the video shows vibrant images of life in Cuba, a society where money is less important than physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being. The beautiful video ends with an important message from independent film-maker Pablo Navarrete about Cuba and the US blockade against it:

The US government’s blockade against Cuba was first imposed in October 1960.

It was introduced after the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro (which came to power in January 1959 after overthrowing the brutal US-backed dictator Fulencio Batista) nationalised property belonging to US citizens and corporations.

Since 1962 the blockade has been tightened further and today represents the longest blockade in history.

The cost to the Cuban economy has been catastrophic, estimated at more than 750 billion US dollars, in current prices.

The UN General Assembly has voted every year for 19 years on a resolution condemning the blockade. Every year the condemnation is virtually unanimous.

In the most recent vote in October 2010, 187 countries voted for ending the blockade. Only the US and Israel voted to continue with it.

The criminal US blockade of Cuba has for over 50 years tried to suffocate the island; to teach its people and revolution a brutal lesson for standing up to US imperialism and daring to be free.

With heroic sacrifices, Cuba continues to not only resist but to shine a light on the path to a fairer, more humane world.

Cuba resists; Cuba lives; Viva Cuba!

Another deep and important track from Lowkey. Very much looking forward to the album!

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Lowkey – My Soul – “I’d rather die than smile with my oppressor”

Another big track and video from Lowkey. Video shot on location in Cuba by the always-excellent Global Faction.

They can’t use my music to advertise for Coca-Cola
They can’t use my music to advertise for Motorola
They can’t use my music to advertise for anything
I guess that’s reason the industry won’t let me in
Refuse to be a product or a brand; I’m a human
Refuse to contribute to the gangster illusion

You might take my life
But you can’t take my soul
You can’t take my soul
You might take my freedom
But you can’t take my soul
You can’t take my soul

Tell ’em!

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