When Men were Men and Chuck D was Pissed
I was watching some videos on tv the other day and I thought to myself “Man, Rap sucks!” I used to love rap back in the day, but it just sucks now.
Question: When did it all go wrong? Who’s to blame? What’s the problem?
Answer: The biggest problem with rap today is one thing, Happy Rappers. That’s why there’s no good rap any more. These guys are like a baseball player after they sign the huge contract. Complacent, full of themselves, soft.
Chuck D unleashed the most ferocious lyrical assault on the clogged up brain cells of the masses
Let me tell ya ’bout a time when it was all very different…… cue the dream sequence music.
Let’s set the wayback machine to 1988; back when rap was “underground” and rappers were pissed off from trying to rise above the oppression of mainstream media. George Bush was President (not W, his daddy) and Hair Metal was the “pop music” du jour. Real men knew that size mattered when it came to your “portable” music system.
By the way, an iPod was called a Sony Walkman and it didn’t even make phone calls.
Well, Chuck D, of Public Enemy unleashed the most ferocious lyrical assault on the clogged up brain cells of the masses. This was like Bob Dylan from the ghetto. He was talking about something that mattered, something real. Now that rap has become the new “pop music” du jour, these guys have the stage and a chance to speak out for change, but all they want to talk about is cars, jewelry, and clothes. The lyrics of Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos should be required reading for any rapper that enters a recording studio.
So, without further adieu, here are the lyrics (with a little commentary about what makes them special to me):
I got a letter from the government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me for their army or whatever
Picture me given’ a damn – I said never
Here is a land that never gave a damn
About a brother like me and myself
Because they never did
Ok, so now you have the setup. Chuck D is not about to take this shit lying down.
I wasn’t wit’ it, but just that very minute…
It occured to me
The suckers had authority
Cold sweatin’ as I dwell in my cell
How long has it been?
They got me sittin’ in the state pen
I gotta get out – but that thought was thought before
I contemplated a plan on the cell floor
I’m not a fugitive on the run
But a brother like me begun – to be another one
Public enemy servin’ time – they drew the line y’all
To criticize me some crime – never the less
They could not understand that I’m a Black man
And I could never be a veteran
Your damn right he can’t.
On the strength, the situation’s unreal
I got a raw deal, so I’m goin’ for the steel
They got me rottin’ in the time that I’m servin’
Tellin’ you what happened the same time they’re throwin’
4 of us packed in a cell like slaves – oh well
The same motherfucker got us livin’ is his hell
You have to realize – what its a form of slavery
Organized under a swarm of devils
Straight up – word’em up on the level
The reasons are several, most of them federal
Here is my plan anyway and I say
I got gusto, but only some I can trust – yo
So things didn’t exactly work out smoothly, so what’s our hero to do?
Some do a bid from 1 to 10
And I never did, and plus I never been
I’m on a tier where no tears should ever fall
Cell block and locked – I never clock it y’all
‘Cause time and time again time
They got me servin’ to those and to them
I’m not a citizen
But ever when I catch a C-O
Sleepin’ on the job – my plan is on go-ahead
On the strength, I’ma tell you the deal
I got nothin’ to lose
‘Cause I’m goin’ for the steel
So now you start to see the Chuck D is a man of action, not some punk as bitch!
You know I caught a C-O
Fallin’ asleep on death row
I grabbed his gun – then he did what I said so
And everyman’s got served
Along with the time they served
Decency was deserved
To understand my demands
My friend’s sister-in-law is a Corrections Officer and he constantly warns her of the risk of falling asleep on the job. Especially if Chuck D is up in that bitch.
I gave a warnin’ – I wanted the governor, y’all
And plus the warden to know
That I was innocent –
Because I’m militant
Posing a threat, you bet it’s fuckin’ up the government
My plan said I had to get out and break north
Just like with Oliver’s neck
I had to get off – my boys had the feds in check
They couldn’t do nuthin’
We had a force to instigate a prison riot
That’s what I’m talkin bout. Fuckin up the Government!
This is what it takes for peace
So I just took the piece
Black for Black inside time to cut the leash
Freedom to get out – to the ghetto – no sell out
6 C-Os we got we ought to put their head out
But I’ll give ’em a chance, cause I’m civilized
As for the rest of the world, they can’t realize
A cell is hell – I’m a rebel so I rebel
Between bars, got me thinkin’ like an animal
Got a woman C-O to call me a copter
She tried to get away, and I popped her
Now who wanna get nice?
I had 6 C-Os, now it’s 5 to go
And I’m serious – call me delirious
But I’m still a captive
I gotta rap this
Time to break as time grows intense
I got the steel in my right hand
Now I’m lookin’ for the fence
For the record, I DO NOT advocate shooting female or male law enforcement officials. I gotta be careful, I heard that Dick Cheney reads my posts.
I ventured into the courtyard
Followed by 52 brothers
Bruised, battered, and scarred but hard
Goin’ out with a bang
Ready to bang out
But power from the sky
And from the tower shots rang out
A high number of dose – yes
And some came close
Figure I trigger my steel
Stand and hold my post
My favorite line from any PE song “52 brothas bruised, battered, and scarred but hard!” That’s what I mean, Jay Z would need a massage and a manicure if he ever got bruised, battered, or scarred.
This is what I mean – an anti-nigger machine
If I come out alive and then they won’t – come clean
And then I threw up my steel bullets – flew up
Blew up, who shot…
What, who, the bazooka was who
And to my rescue, it was the S1Ws
Secured my getaway, so I just gotaway
The joint broke, from the black smoke
Then they saw it was rougher than the average bluffer
‘Cause the steel was black, the attitude exact
Now the chase is on tellin’ you to c’mon
53 brothers on the run, and we are gone
Aside: The S1Ws (Security of the 1st World) referenced here were a group of corny ass clowns that “march/danced” along to PE’s music. They were very retarded. The Onion wrote a hillarious lampoon of them in this article.
Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the video.
I’m always facinated with interesting song lyrics, so look for this post to be the first in a series of lyrical analysis.