Thursday, November 4, 2010

Anarchist themes in hip hop

Lets play a game. I'll give you a name, and you tell me the first words that come to your mind. Ready? Lets go:

Tupac Shakur

So? What did you think of?

'Rapper' or 'hip-hop artist' was likely the first thing.

If you're not a fan, then likely things like 'gangster', 'thug', 'criminal' come to mind.

If you are a fan then maybe you thought of 'poet', 'genius', 'martyr', etc.

Did you think of 'Anarchist'?

To me, his lyrics are filled with allusions to the coercive nature of the state. A good example is the last verse of "Me Against the World". His best verse, in my opinion.

Listen to the whole thing, or jump directly to the verse in question.

With all this extra stressing
The question I wonder is after death
After my last breath
When will I finally get to rest from this oppression?
They punish the people that asks questions
And those that possess
Steal from the ones without possessions
The message I stress
To make you stop 'n study your lessons
Don't settle for less
Even the genius asks questions
Be grateful for blessings
Don't ever change, keep your essence
The power is in the people and politics we address
Always do your best
Don't let the pressure make you panic
And when you get stranded
And things don't go the way you planed it
Dreaming of riches
In a position of making a difference
Politicians are hypocrites
They don't wanna listen
If I'm insane it's the fame
Made a brother change
It wasn't nothin' like the game
It's just me against the world