Rap Lyrics that benefit society (continued thread)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by LemmeSeeYaIYiYi, Jun 19, 2002.

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  1. LemmeSeeYaIYiYi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    So this thread was in Senate Floor, hopefully GAP finds his way here cause he had some good lyrics.

    Anyway, if you think rap might play a role in shaping society in the next few decades, then post here. Post your favorite lyrics and why you like them.

    If you don't like rap, please just try reading a few, it might change your opinion on rap, and maybe the whole hip-hop culture.

    Best site for lyrics: Come here!
  2. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Come here!

    fixed the link.

    Check for "Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy" or "Poor Righteous teachers" to name 2.
  3. LemmeSeeYaIYiYi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Tupac: Brenda's Got A Baby

    I hear Brenda's got a baby
    Well, Brenda's barely got a brain
    A damn shame
    Tha girl can hardly spell her name
    (That's not our problem, that's up to Brenda's family)
    Well let me show ya how it affects the whole community...




    KRS-One: The Truth
    Listen to the lyric as the negative is shrinkin
    It's shrinkin out your life when you decide to change your thinkin
    One of the first things we gotta switch around of course
    Is Jesus Christ, and him dying on the cross
    You're looking at the cross, surrounded in it's mystery
    With Jesus on the cross in a, total misery
    Now seperate Jesus from the cross so you can see
    The truth about the cross, and the cross's history
    The cross was created by the Roman government
    It's only purpose and use, is cap-i-tal punishment
    But Jesus Christ, was all about the revolution
    While the cross was used as Jesus Christ's execution
    See what if Jesus Christ, was hung upon a tree...
  4. LemmeSeeYaIYiYi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Cool, I fixed it, too.

    Here's some PRT for you:
    PRT f KRS-One: Concious Style

    See, I remember yesterday when y'all was Gods and Earths
    Egyptians and metaphysicists on the verge of giving birth
    To understanding, and planting seeds that grow
    Now everybody's on that bull**** about killing and so
  5. Vaderbait Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 6
    There are a few times I've heard inspiring lyrics in rap, but then the rest of the song really ruined it, it seems a lot of rappers can't stick to a good topic. If they say something positive, it has to be immediately brought down.

    Either way, I do think that a few rappers (though I can't think of any--but there must be some out there) really put thought into their lyrics. I mean, would you think Alice Cooper is a big family guy and almost a genius by looking at him in a concert? He realized that he was an entertainer, he performed, whereas a lot of rappers I don't think can tell the difference. Well, a lot of people can't...
  6. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Poor Righteous Teachers
    Diggable Planets
    Dilated Peoples
    The Roots
    Justice System.

    That's 5. I could name alot more but you should start with that.
  7. B'omarr Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2000
    star 6
    Public Enemy, anyone?
  8. AmadeusExMachina Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 3
    Rap lyrics that are socially beneficial?

    I think you're looking in the wrong place for important social messages, or at least for eloquently stated social messages.

    Just as people who claim that Rage Against the Machine had amazing, poignant lyrics about the ills of capitalist America were wrong, so to are the folks in this thread wrong.

    Now, for their medium, sure, the rappers you've listed, and Rage, etc., are all outstanding at making social statements in their lyrics.

    But honestly, nobody's going to learn anything through their music that they can't learn much more simply by reading a page or two of a book on such social subjects.

    You'll no doubt disagree with me, but that's ok. I just think that music isn't the best forum for deep statements and ideas, because you have to sacrifice eloquence and delineation of ideas in order to make it work as a piece of music.

    I've always kind of liked how Tool handles their songs lyrically, in that they allude to more thought-provoking theories and social problems and whatnot in very short mentions, leaving it up to the listener to go and look up things and find out exactly what the song was about. They don't try to squeeze information and radical opinion into the lyrics, because that wouldn't work artistically or in any way, really.

    I just think you should seperate music and information.

    Music can be about information, but once it contains extreme information, it's hurt musically.
  9. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    DEM, Rap lyrics have already benifited society , well Black society at the turn of the century, they did educate poor blacks in ghetto's.
  10. TremontiFan23 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 3
    Is it possible to find socioeconomic messages in rap?



    No.

    End of story. As has been mentioned, any good intentions are washed away by a beat box and crappy lyrics. Even if it is a good message, it's never lyrically or artistically good. Maybe I just haven't heard enough, but I've yet to be convinced. So I don't post this just to be a jerk, but I'd like to hear, or read, rather, something that'll prove that rap actually has meaning.
  11. deltron_zero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 1, 2002
    star 6
    The Coup - Underdog

    (chorus)
    This is for my folkers who got bills overdue
    This is for my folkers, um, check one two
    This is for my folkers who never lived like a hog
    Me and you, toe to toe, I got love for the underdog
    *repeat chorus*

    I raise this glass for the ones who die meaninglessly
    And the newborns who get fed intravenously
    Somebody's mom caught a job and a welfare fraud case
    When she breathe she swear it feels like plastic wrap around her face
    Lights turned off and its the third month the rent is late
    Thoughts of being homeless, crying till you hyperventilate
    Despair permeates the air then sets in your ear
    The kids play with that one toy they learned how to share
    Coming home don't never seem to be a celebration
    Bills they piled up on the coffee table like they're decorations
    Big ol' spoons of peanut butter, big ass glass of water
    Makes the hunger subside, save the real food for your daughter
    You feel like swingin haymakers at a moving truck
    You feel like laughing so it seems like you don't give a ****
    You feel like getting so high you smoke a whole damn crop
    You feel like crying but you think that you might never stop
    Homes with no heat stiffen your joints like arthritis
    If this was fiction, it'd be easier to write this
    Some folks try to front like they so above you
    They'd tear this mother****er up if they really loved you

    *chorus*

    There's certain tricks of the trade to try and hault your defeat
    Like taking tupperware to an "all you can eat"
    Returning used **** for new saying you lost your receipt
    And writing four figure checks when your accounts deplete
    Then all your problems pile up about a mile up
    Thinkin about a partner you can dial up to help you out this foul stuff
    Whole family sleepin on a futon while you're clippin coupons
    Eatin salad tryin to get full off the croutons
    'Crosstown, the situation is identical
    Somebody's getting strangled by the system and its tentacles
    Misconceptions raise questions to be solved
    Alot of b-boys are broke, alot of homeless got jobs
    You can make 8 bones an hour till you pass out and still be assed out
    Most pyramid schemes don't let you cash out
    They say this generation makes the harmony pray
    But crime rises consistent with the poverty rate
    You take the workers and jobs, you're gonna have murders and mobs
    A gang of preachers screamin sermons over murmurs and sobs
    Saying pray for a change from the Lord above you
    They'd tear this mother****er up if they really loved you

    *chorus*

    You like this song cause it relates, it's you in this rhyme
    We go to stores that only let us in two at a time
    We live in places where it costs to get your check cashed
    Arguments about money usually drown out the tec blasts
    Work six days a week, can't sleep Saturdays though
    Muscles tremblin like a pager when the battery's low
    And you just don't know where the years went
    Although every long shift feels like a year spent
    And you can write your resume, but it wouldn't even mention
    All the life lessons learned doing six years of detention
    Or how you learned the police was just some handicappers
    On the ground next to broken glass and candy wrappers
    Now don't accept my collects on the phone
    Just hit me at the house so I know I ain't alone
    And we can chop it up about this messed up system
    Homies that's been killed, how we always gonna miss them
    It's almost impossible survivin on this fraction
    Sip a 40 to the brain for the chemical reaction
    You gotta hustle cause they're tryin to push and shove you
    I'll tear this mother****er up since I really love you

    *chorus*


    EDIT: btw, i agree that you can learn a lot more from reading books than listening to rap music obviously, but it's refreshing to hear rappers who don't just perpetuate the same old stereotypes.
  12. LemmeSeeYaIYiYi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    I don't think a book is necessarily more beneficial than rap. Rap lyrics are books, they are stories, opinions, philosophy, theology, etc. Other media are more likely to be bias than rap, too.

    If you can't find value in some of the lyrics/rappers already posted, you are one, if not all, of the following:

    racist
    ignorant
    stuck up
    stupid
  13. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Please, do me a favor, go read some Poor Righteous Teacher or Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy lyrics before saying that again.
  14. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    Lemme, that is borderline flaming and very ignorant of yourself to make such accusations.

    Now I don't really have any problem with rap, but the quality of the writing is just not up to par with mainstream poetry. Compared to established poets like Toni Morrison rap lyricists are rather bland and unoriginal. Of course there are many exceptions, but rap lyrics very rarely stray from a common rhyme structure and the lyrics themselves don't reveal much more beneath the surface.
  15. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
  16. LemmeSeeYaIYiYi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Well said GAP. Even in the most cash/money/hoes-driven rhymes, the rappers can display great talent in their rythm, timing, etc.

    But in terms of the actual content of the lyrics, you are better off turning off MTV, which only plays Ja Rule or Nelly rap.
  17. AmadeusExMachina Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 3
    GAP, that's just sad.

    Several people write long, fair-minded messages explaining in detail why rap lyrics can't honestly contain important social messages in eloquent language, and all you can say is "Turn off MTV" followed by your sidekick there agreeing with you wholeheartedly.

    Bleh to you, sir.
  18. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    With all due respect, it's pointless to applaud the rhythm and timing of rappers when we're discussing rap LYRICS.

    Please demonstrate to me how a good rapper can even compare to a good poet.
  19. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    No, I said "Turn of MTV" because there was no point in me repeating myself, I have stated in the above posts what I think are good lyrics.

    "Turn of MTV" because he was judging rap lyrics on MTV lyrics. I agree that "take of all your cloths" rap doesn't reveal much beneath the surface but I could post other lyrics;

    Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - Famous and Dandy (like Amos 'n Andy)

    [Chorus:]
    What will we do to become famous and dandy,
    just like Amos 'n' Andy
    (2x)

    It's quite a spectacle
    to see us land in
    waste receptacles
    as if we've planned it
    We're never skeptical
    when we get branded
    Then disrespectful
    cause we feel abandoned
    The height of mediocrity
    is the challenge
    Crawling through the entrails
    of imbalance
    We learn to like to be the heroes
    We learn to lie to the brand name negroes
    We learn to laugh to avoid being angry
    We learn to kill and learn to go hungry
    We learn not to feel, for protection
    and we learn to flaunt when we get an erection

    [Chorus:]
    What will we do to become famous and dandy,
    just like Amos 'n' Andy
    (2x)

    We're born believing we're greater than circumstance
    Infinitely stronger than chance
    As our first breath is handed
    We taste the double standard
    the need to wear the mask
    And with society's nurturing
    The psychic plastic surgery
    begins to take effect
    As our souls watch astouned
    Our characters flounder
    duplicitous identity
    Diction and contradiction
    have become the skills
    of assimilation
    Razor honed to perfection
    From the moment of creation
    It's gone from identity crisis
    To survival slingshot to rifle
    Sin to revival
    Try to get looked at
    but not poked in the eyeball
    Warned of our impurities
    Afraid of insecurities
    Real life experts of the artificial
    Athletes and entertainers
    have become the minstrels
    on commercials

    [Chorus:]
    What will we do to become famous and dandy,
    just like Amos 'n' Andy
    (2x)

    On screen or off we can be rented
    to perform any feat
    And we reflect the images presented
    by the media's elite
    Positive or negative attention
    is viewed as success
    U.S.D.A. African American Beef
    is seen as progress
    We never ask ourselves
    too many questions
    too much thruth in introspection
    Maintain the regimentation
    and avoid self-degradation
    We act out all the stereotypes
    Try to use them as decoy
    and we become shining examles
    of the system we set out to destroy
    Cause even in the most radical groups
    you will find
    that when you stray from the doctrine
    you'll see hard times

    [Chorus:]
    What will we do to become famous and dandy,
    just like Amos 'n' Andy
    (2x)

    Being kicked in the mouth
    or smiling with no teeth
    They're both choices, yes
    but it's impossible to eat
    Uneducated, underdeveloped
    Undisciplined but mostly unaware
    We join the flavor of the month club
    We swallow the flavor of the month
    Well holding our crotch
    was the flavor of the month
    Bitch this Bitch that
    was the flavor of the month
    Being a thug
    was the flavor of the month
    Then no to drugs
    was the flavor of the month
    Kangol
    was the flavor of the month
    Rope gold
    was the flavor of the month
    Adidas shoes
    was the flavor of the month
    Then bashing Jews
    was the flavor of the month
    Gentrification
    was the flavor of the month
    Isolation
    was the flavor of the month
    My pockets are so empty I can feel my testicles
    cause I spent all my money on some plastic African necklaces
    and I still don't know what the colors mean...
    RED, BLACK AND GREEN

    [Chorus:]
    What will we do to become famous and dandy,
    just like Amos 'n' Andy
    (4x)


    Click here for more lyrics:

    click
  20. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    No, you don't understand. There is NOTHING to be interpreted beyond the surface meaning of the words. The language is so direct and literal that it leaves no room for one to search for meaning, since the text is presented in a way that tells you in fairly explicit terms how the speaker (singer/rapper in this case) feels.

    "We learn to like to be the heroes
    We learn to lie to the brand name negroes
    We learn to laugh to avoid being angry
    We learn to kill and learn to go hungry
    We learn not to feel, for protection
    and we learn to flaunt when we get an erection"


    The language is so entirely direct in this case that there is nothing left to interpret! It means what it says. One component of good poetry (and literature in general) is the ability for readers to derive multiple meanings and themes from the text. It engages the reader intellectually; such prose or poetry often remains vital for centuries because new ideas are formed about the words that are written that change one's perspective on the text.

    Ever wonder why limericks NEVER stand the test of time (well, the Nantucket one is an obvious exception ;) )? While they have a regular and catchy beat, and while many cite relevant and meaningful observations about society, the world, etc., they are written so directly that there is nothing left to DO with the limerick once you've read it. It's gotten it's point across, you've been amused for a fairly long while, but then it dies and disappears into a sea of obscurity along with the millions that came before it.

    Good literature and poetry remains relevant to both contemporary and future audiences because it is universally useful in it's observations and it retains enough ambiguity (call it room for debate if you will) that audiences from a wide range of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds can appreciate it's message. This rap you have posted is so direct, almost didactic; it is clearly intended for such a specific racial, socio-economic, and national audience that it is irrelevant to any outsider.

    Good art should not tell you what to think, it should only encourage you to think and learn. Otherwise it becomes propagandistic.

    Poem Reaching For Something - Quincy Troupe

    we walk through a calligraphy of hats slicing off foreheads
    ace-deuce cocked, they slant, razor sharp, clean through imagination, our
    spirits knee-deep in what we have forgotten entrancing our bodies now to
    dance, like enraptured water lilies
    the rhythm in liquid strides of certain looks
    eyeballs rippling through breezes
    riffing choirs of trees, where a trillion slivers of sunlight prance across
    filigreeing leaves, a zillion voices of bamboo reeds, green with summer
    saxophone bursts, wrap themselves, like transparent prisms of dew drops
    around images, laced with pearls & rhinestones, dreams
    & perhaps it is through this decoding of syllables that we learn speech
    that sonorous river of broken mirrors carrying our dreams
    assaulted by pellets of raindrops, prisons of words entrapping us
    between parentheses ? two bat wings curving cynical smiles

    still, there is something here, that, perhaps, needs explaining
    beyond the hopelessness of miles, the light at the end of a midnight tunnel ?
    where some say a speeding train is bulleting right at us ??
    so where do the tumbling words spend themselves after they have spent
    all meaning residing in the warehouse of language, after they have slipped
    from our lips, like skiers on ice slopes, strung together words linking
    themselves through smoke, where do the symbols they carry
    stop everything, put down roots, cleanse themselves of everything
    but clarity ?? though here eye might be asking a little too much of any
    poet's head, full as it were with double-entendres


    EDIT: More information on Quincy Troupe, who was just named Poet Laureate of California: http://www.cac.ca.gov/feature/quincy.html
    Troupe is one of my favorite poets and is very interesting and engaging in person. He and his w
  21. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    1stAD. But that was not the point of the thread now was it? How can lyrics benefit society if people have to "guess" at what they mean?
  22. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    How can rap lyrics benefit society when they are accessible by only a very defined social/cultural strata?

    EDIT: Finding meaning in poetry is not about "guessing", it is about engaging the text and learning why the speaker is saying what he/she/it is saying. Through this process we the readers come to understand situations and feelings that we may not be familiar with in our own lives. The problem with rap is that it is SO defined in it's audience that outsiders cannot even begin to understand why people feel the way they do.

    "On screen or off we can be rented
    to perform any feat
    And we reflect the images presented
    by the media's elite
    Positive or negative attention
    is viewed as success
    U.S.D.A. African American Beef
    is seen as progress
    We never ask ourselves
    too many questions
    too much thruth in introspection
    Maintain the regimentation
    and avoid self-degradation
    We act out all the stereotypes
    Try to use them as decoy
    and we become shining examles
    of the system we set out to destroy
    Cause even in the most radical groups
    you will find
    that when you stray from the doctrine
    you'll see hard times"


    There is nothing in the text that even allows for an outsider to even begin to understand how the rapper is feeling. Unless one is familiar with urban culture, or the hardships faced by blacks in America, this rap is meaningless to them. Yeah, media attention is seen as a double edged sword, but why, and how is that relevant to anyone else?

    Rap doesn't speak to society in general, it is clearly targeted towards a black audience. Again, how can rap lyrics benefit society when they are accessible by only a very defined social/cultural strata?

    EDIT 2: Harlem [Dream Deferred] - Langston Hughes

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore-
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over-
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?


    This poem by Langston Hughes deals with the same issues that more social-minded rappers deal with today, but it is INFINITELY more useful than any rap. It provides a very powerful metaphor of the oppression of blacks pre-civil rights. At the same time however, the language and imagery is not so exclusionary that it applies ONLY to blacks. An oppressed woman in Saudi Arabia can read a translation of this text and appreciate Hughes' message. At the same time, a rich white son who does not wish to follow in the family business and instead become a forest ranger can appreciate this poem as well. The same cannot be said for rap.
  23. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Well, there's the fact that I'm white and I can access rap?

    Read the lyrics to "Television, the Drug of the Nation."

    The poems you post, could also be interpreted as having no message at all, just a bunch of words thrown together.

    I still don't see how your argument makes rap "bad" music. So there are better poets. BIG SUPRISE. or not.

    How many people have you seen reading those poems. (young people), now how many people have you seen listening to Public Enemy.

  24. 1stAD Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2001
    star 5
    Well, there's the fact that I'm white and I can access rap?

    The exception does not make the rule. I can safely say most white people don't like rap. And no, disliking rap does not make one racist, or intolerant, or any of those other mischaracterizations you have put forth. And do you seriously think a desert nomad in western China can access rap? Do you think he'll understand why racial discrimination is terrible and should end by listening to a rap, translated even? Think again.

    Read the lyrics to "Television, the Drug of the Nation."

    The poems you post, could also be interpreted as having no message at all, just a bunch of words thrown together.


    First of all, without knowing anything about Langston Hughes or Quincy Troupe or even when these poems were written, it's very clear what the poems I have posted are saying. The Troupe poem deals with writing that is excessive and without meaning; the Hughes poem deals with dreams that are not allowed to come into fruition.

    Let's be serious here, do you really think the average listener to ANY kind of music really cares about the lyrics? "Oh yeah, the oppression of our people is perpetuated by the media elites who use our image only to make money. We should stop it!" Of course this doesn't happen, people listen to music because it sounds good. If readers of a poem can misinterpret it's meaning, or find no meaning at all, I guarantee there will be an equal number of people who are completely oblivious to the lyrics in a song.

    I still don't see how your argument makes rap "bad" music. So there are better poets. BIG SUPRISE. or not.

    The subject of this discussion is clearly not rap music, but rap lyrics. And any discussion of written text should be held up to the same standards as any written piece of literature would be.

    How many people have you seen reading those poems. (young people), now how many people have you seen listening to Public Enemy.

    Millions of young people AROUND THE WORLD listen to Britney Spears and N'Sync. Does that make them better than Public Enemy?
  25. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Did I say that rap was better then those poets? And no it should not be held to the same standards, do you hold superhero comics to the same standards as novels like "in the name of the rose"?

    The discussion was about how Rap lyrics benifit society, raps like that were used to educate people.

    Nowadays mainstream rap is about flashing your money. Sadly.

    BTW; DHOH are about lyrics and not about music, they barely have any background music.
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