MP3 Sophomore - Single Step
Political, conscious, hip-hop.
7 MP3 Songs
HIP HOP/RAP: Hip Hop, HIP HOP/RAP: Alternative Hip Hop
It''s a hard road being a progressive. We bust our ass researching, reading, and digging for the truth... only to have many people react with apathy, laughter, or hostility when we speak out. This song is just about reminding ourselves why we do it. It has an interesting shift from an old school, low-tech beat to a booming guitar/synth chorus.
Big Brother Blues
On October 26th The USA PATRIOT Act was signed into law by president Bush. This bill got rammed though congress during post-9/11 hysteria and defines domestic terrorism as acts that "appear to be intended... to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion". Now, is it me, or are all political rallies acts to "coerce" people on government policy? Are they gonna start lockin'' people up at the Republican National Convention? This vague definition of "terrorism" was designed to be abused.
On January 9th, 2003 Attorney General John Ashcroft, dropped the other shoe on the desk of Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Dennis Hatsert (without knowledge or approval of congress) It was a draft of USA PATRIOT ACT II, which expanded the already unprecedented powers of the first bill. The most disturbing law change being Section 501, which states that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United States has designated as a ''terrorist organization''." You throw in the murky definition of terrorism, and the ability to crush organizations that promote political dissent steps out of the realm of paranoid fiction... and into reality.
I wrote this song a few days after September 11th. The drumbeat for war was already in full swing and patriotism was at a fever pitch. As everyone tried to digest the rage and fear brought on by the attack on the World Trade Center, the government and media channeled those emotions into support for a war on Afghanistan. More than a year later, that same rage and fear was being used in the call for a war with Iraq, despite absolutely no evidence of a connection. Throughout the history of the United States, the rationale for war (or military action) is usually propped up by events that are created or allowed by the government. The official story always contains some dubious framing of "facts" and very selective focus, which is usually accepted and repeated by the mainstream media.
When you combine this with the fact that war can often serve as an economic stimulus package, a very familiar pattern emerges. We have found no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and thousands of Iraqi''s have taken to the streets to protest the United States dictating government structure for people that have been given, allegedly, democracy. The "imminent threat" of Iraqi WMD has proven to be false, and the idea that Iraqis would welcome the United States as a liberating force has also proven to be false. However, the only building the United States decided to protect in post-war Iraq was the oil ministry (not hospitals or museums), and I''m sure it''s just a coincidence that two big corporate contributors to the Bush campaign, Halliburton and Bechtel, got fat contracts to rebuild Iraq. It warrants mentioning that Vice President Dick Cheney was the former CEO of Halliburton. Small world.
Unfortunately, the shorthand to most military action is: Rich white guys declare war, poor people fight war and die, rich white guys become richer. Time usually reveals the true motives... but by then it''s on to the next enemy, the next Hitler, the next personification of evil. Hand in hand, the government and the media sell war in a tidy red-white-and-blue package of good vs. evil. After the package gets unwrapped... the cameras turn away and we''re left with sons and daughters being buried and tales of stock market revival.
Frog in the Pot
It''s cool when you can release a song in 2003 and have the opening line "Two-tripple-o is finally here..."
Yes, this is an older song, but the message is still relevant: The dangers of media conglomeration. In 1996 The Clinton White house passed the Telecommunications Act, which gave away the digital spectrum and massively deregulated the industry. As a result, gigantic companies have bought up the competition and we now have a media landscape where six major corporations call most of the shots. Those six all have financial interests in each other, so it''s not a capitalist fairly tale of six giants battling for supremacy. More like, six family members that argue over who gets turkey leg at thanksgiving.
What''s the problem? Nothing... if you are expressing opinion that fits nicely with the status quo. But, if you are trying to do something different or challenge the power structure... you are SOL. Back in the day, small radio or television stations did not give new voices airplay based on altruistic motives, they just wanted to ride the next wave before the big fish got to it. There was a financial motive for cornering a new market that was the result of political/social changes in society. But, now that corporations have swallowed the smaller stations, media outlets have no pressure to reflect society... they simply dictate the trends. You may have A, B, or C... and D-Z doesn''t exist.
To wit: musicians forced to go to the internet to release protest songs. Nothing says "free country" more than artists unable to express certain opinions in the mainstream media. It''s sickening and it''s getting worse... because what was once "right wing extremism" is now being accepted as "normal" simply because there''s nothing to challenge it. Voices are excluded, non-corporate opinions are marginalized... and the water keeps getting warmer.
Man can not live by political thought alone... we all need time to have that special someone to rip our hearts out and throw it in the blender. Ah, unrequited love... it''s a subject everyone can relate to. Falling for someone who doesn''t give a make about you is a tragedy that makes great comedy. In hindsight, it''s hilarious looking at the foolishness and humiliation we can bring upon ourselves in that eternal quest for love... or sex... ideally both.
So to all those with desires unfulfilled... this one is for you. And lighten up! Devoting passion to a person for months (or years) and getting nothing out of it can be as comical as slipping on a banana peel...
...on to a bed of spikes.
Businesses are created to make a profit. The only question is: How far will they go to get that profit? The usual response is: As far as they fuckin'' can. One of the duties of government, especially one that goes under the moniker "democracy", is to look out for the average citizen. We elect people that are supposed to represent us. However, most people can''t stuff $100,000 into the election fund for a member of congress. So, the common folk are given vague platitudes of populist rhetoric during election time, then are quietly sold out in the back rooms of capitol hill so that our elected officials can please the people that made their election possible. Another by-product of such influence is that most of our politicians spend their time trying to raise money... not reading up on current events or researching the laws they have to vote on.
Where are the news cameras in all of this? Well, let''s just say they have very legitimate reasons to let the charade continue. Every year the cost of running a campaign goes up, and a big factor is political television commercials. You don''t get prime-time airplay by paying with the change you find in your couch. Most democracies around the world give free air time to candidates to stop this problem, but not the United States. Not only do television executives rake in a juicy profit from election commercials, but I''m sure most CEO''s have a few bucks in the stock market as well. So, laws that benefit corporations (including their own) at the expense of the average person are not going to be exposed in-depth on their own news channels, since doing so would take cash directly out of their pocket. They''d much rather talk about presidential blow jobs and celebrity deaths than talk about living wages or the mass exodus of blue-collar employment in America.
It''s all one big circle of favors and gratis. How to break the circle? Free elections is the obvious solution, but even the modest campaign finance reform bill McCain-Feingold is being mercilessly attacked and challenged in court. There is some hope, as a few states have enacted finance reform on their own. It''s now up to us to support candidates that want to change the system... but big business will not go down without a fight.
Weather you''re 25 or 45... I think a lot people go through phases when they feel that they haven''t done enough with their life. Times when you think about dreams that you did not achieve, mistakes that sent you in a direction you never thought you''d see, or just a flat-out wondering of what this whole existence is about. There are moments when our own self-anointed failures can smack the make out of us, keeping us from seeing what is noble in ourselves and blinding us from the possibilities that the future may hold.
Sometimes, you just have to tune it out. The regret, the doubt, the anger, the sadness... and focus on what can be done to accept the imperfections of yourself and life. Unfortunately, the toughest opponent you''ll ever face is you. But fortunately, there are things greater than yourself... love, family, art, friends, causes... that can give us meaning while also connecting us to the whole.
But, getting to the point where you can see hope can be a severe trial... this song was written in the eye of the storm.
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