It has been interesting watching the reactions to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne. Album has been out for a minute and, with the release of the first single Otis, everyone and their mother did a remix across the world, from Busta Rhymes, DMX and Justin Bieber through to South Africa’s Slikour and Kwesta. The one that stood out for me was Chuck D’s Notice which focuses on the unique position that Jay-Z and West are in to influence the global discourse and shift attention away from the seemingly prevalent materialism to the true challenges Americans – and the world – are facing with the economic difficulties born out of the recession.

httpv://youtu.be/161ZRrJZESA

The message attached to the video on Public Enemy’s YouTube Channel says it all:

“This is a polite respect call to the troops , to continue to inspire but reflect the people better. OTIS Redding was a humble country man from Macon Georgia who bought a jet to work in, not flash. He perished in that plane. Heres to hoping that the J & K supergroup can elevate the masses and try a little bit more to reflect OTIS heart rather than swag, because they’re too good to be less.”

After that excitement, the next single was N****s in Paris which has been followed by a flurry of remixes/covers as well including one from Katy Perry, of all people. The big moment of anticipation was whether she would actual use the word “n****”.

httpv://youtu.be/ZlYHfs3i7-E

Of greater relevance, I think, has been Yasiin Bey’s (Mos Def), N****s In Poorest. Once again drawing attention to the fact that while the machine has turned rap into a commercial, material driven industry filled by ‘Bosses’, the people who support and consume the music are furtherest from that point of money, cars and ….

httpv://youtu.be/jfMx-miPtms

The age old question continues to raise its head. Does the artist have a responsibility to society? And what is that responsibility? Check the lyrics of the track as listed on www.rapgenius.com

[Intro]
Live from America
Yasiin, Yasiin, y’all seen
N.I.P, sing it

[Verse 1]
Poor so hard, my clean clothes look grimy, pretty women don’t mind me
So what’s fifty grand to a young nigga like me? More than my annual salary
Poor so hard, this shit crazy, walk outside the whole world hate me
Nervous stares at the thoroughfare, surveillance cameras, police tracing
Poor so hard, this shit weird, we be home and still be scared
There’s grief here, there’s peace here, easy and hard to be here
Psycho, liable to turn Michael, take your pick, Myers, Myers, Myers, same shit
Poor so hard, got holey socks, dope block on my stove top
Jumbotrons for astronauts, high in orbit off planet rock, say
Poor so hard, this chopper too, we starving Marvin, you hot food
There’s birds of prey, no escapeopen-air prison, local zoo
Poor so hard, who getting faded? Little Maurice in the sixth grade
No mama, no father, role model the dope game,
 say

Poor so hard, bitch behave, standing behind the deuce-deuce-trey
Ice-cold, heat blow, closed casket, cold case

[Hook]
Poor so hard, that shit cray

[Verse 2]
These young bloods is looking scary at the mall
They wearing pants, you can still see they drawers

They rob a nigga in the bathroom stall
They took his life cause he ain’t want to take it off
Poor so hard, that shit cray, ain’t it, Bey? Diabetics, fish filet
Poor so hard, your house so cold, nigga, it ain’t spring
Every winter landlord fuckin’ with my heat again

Bougie girl, grab your hand, show you how to do this ghetto dance
Fuck your French, we ain’t in France, I’m just saying
Prince Williams ain’t do it right, if you ask me
If I was him, I’d put some black up in my family

Fake Gucci, my nigga, fake Louis, my killa
Real drugs, my dealer,
 who the fuck is Margiela?

Doctors say I’m the illest, I ain’t got no insurance
It’s them niggas in poorest, be them rebel guerillas, huh

[Interlude: Malcolm X]
I don’t worry, I tell you
I am a man who believed that I died 20 years ago
And I live like a man who is dead already
I have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything

[Hook]

[Verse 3]
To the kings and queens and everyone in every place, yo
Don’t get caught up in no throne, don’t get caught up in no throne
Don’t get caught up in no throne
Towers of Babylon rise up and so they shall fall
As it was written before, amen, so it goes on

Don’t get caught up in no throne, don’t get caught up in no throne
Don’t get caught up in no throne
These devils out here lying, acting like the people ain’t dying
We silver and they gold, ain’t never saved a soul

Don’t get caught up in no throne, don’t get caught up in no throne
Don’t get caught up in no throne
Signs through the earth and through the heavens, lunar, solar eclipses
We seeking for forgiveness and safety for our children
Don’t get caught up in no throne, don’t get caught up in no throne
Don’t get caught up in no throne, Allah is in control

2 Comments

  1. Nii-Teiko

    dope. tweeting this

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About Kojo Baffoe

Of Ghanaian/German heritage, raised in Lesotho and currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kojo is the proverbial slashie, the professional ‘jack of all trades.’ He is an entrepreneur, writer, facilitator, content architect, former men’s magazine editor and speaker. He has a Bachelor of Commerce (1994) with majors in Economics, Marketing and Business Administration from the former the University of Natal (Durban), now University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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