My Poetic Eyes – further research. Popular music and culture

So mi jook one in him eye and him started fi cry
me thump him pon him mout and him started fi shout
me kick him pon him shin so him started fi spin
me hit him pon him chin an him drop pon a bin
– an crash, an dead

Apparently the quote from the 160MC lecture is from ‘Sonny’s Lettah’, a poem by Linton Kwesi Johnson.
I read a few sources about him (here’s one), quite an interesting figure.
Inventor of dub poetry, which he wrote in a slangy, streetwise language.
Gained popularity as an artist, but chose political and social activism.
One of three living poets to be published in Penguin’s classic series.

This piece impressed me in the lecture, with the ‘strange’, but pure and straightforward language, telling about a conflict in a way that (for me) sounds naive and childish, but at the same time the rhythm and the words create a strong impact. Now that I read it again, it is actually a child talking to its mother (whatever the age, we always remain children for our mothers), lots of ‘mama this, mama that’ in every verse. It made me think that an innocent soul is treated unfairly and it just reacts instinctively.

Here is the song/poem itself (lyrics here):


For some reason, it reminded me of 2PAC‘s ‘Dear Mama’, which is a more lyrical, but still very personal and deep piece:

I reminice on the stress I caused, it was hell
Huggin on my mama from a jail cell
[…]
I was lookin for a father he was gone
I hung around with the Thugs, and even though they sold drugs
They showed a young brother love

For lots of complex reasons (primarily politics, money and abuse of power), society is full of innocent souls who, in order to survive, are forced to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.

Here are some social and political songs and music videos, from last 20 years’ pop culture:

Faithless – ‘Mass Destruction’

I think the strongest part in this video is where he’s talking to a wall. Very successful metaphor.

Some quotes from the lyrics:

Whether long-range weapon or suicide bomber
Wicked mind is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether soaraway Sun or BBC 1
Misinformation is a weapon of mass destruct
You coulda Caucasian or a poor Asian
Racism is a weapon of mass destruction
Whether inflation or globalization
Fear is a weapon of mass destruction

[…]

Whether Halliburton, Enron or anyone
Greed is a weapon of mass destruction

We need to find courage, overcome
Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

Michael Jackson – ‘They Don’t Care About Us’

Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came
You know I do really hate to say it
The government don’t wanna see
But if Roosevelt was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be, no, no

There is another, ‘lighter’ video for this song. Just a colourful image, much weaker than the first one…

Not embeddable. Oh well, never mind.

U2 – ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’

And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die.

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