Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lyrics Break Down: Smile - Eyedea & Abilities

Lyrics Break Down: Smile - Eyedea and Abilities

This weeks edition is one of my favorite songs from one of the greatest artists of all time, the late Eyedea.  Michael "Eyedea" Larsen passed away in his sleep on Oct 16, 2010 at the age of 28.  He was an all around amazing person and artist.  He made a name for himself  
first in the battle rap scene.  His free styles were amazing.  His was also an amazing writer.  His lyrics are creative, moving, and very inspirational.  His flow is unique and so well rounded.  He can flow as fast as anyone, and then slow it down just as well.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to see him live on three occasions, but very saddened that I will never have that pleasure again.  But we will always have his music. 

Smile is off of Eyedea and Abilities last album, By The Throat.  It is complex song that in the end has a very simple message. 

Smile - Eyedea & Abilities

A prince in practice moans for the attention that he wants
but most of this town won't even dignify his ignorance with a response
left to a crowded foster home by a 15 year old mom
never been held in any one's arms when you've never been moved its really hard to move on
A young saleswoman sets up shop when the sun sets
she'll make your wildest dreams come true at a price you wont forget
The sadly married set up alibis no harm no regret
hoping they meet an angel in bed that can wrestle the devil right out of their heads
This city runs fast, no one has time to sit with themselves, no time to look into our pain
or see the same despair in everyone else
its here, its there, its everywhere tears soak each card the dealers dealt
But time taught me how to see every second as heaven even though they're perfectly disguised as hell
And I refuse to let past bruises cover the light
it ain't all good, but its all good enough,
so I know I'm alright
agony is truth its our connection to the living I accept it as perfection and keep on existing in the now

I can only build if I tear the walls down
even if it breaks me I wont let it make me frown
I'm falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground
I'll still smile
I can only build if I tear the walls down
even if it breaks me I wont let it make me frown
I'm falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground
I'll still smile

...ear to ear as if that's all I'm here for
despite the wars founded by the rich, funded by the poor
kids barely 18 are dying so billionaires can make more
elsewhere hungry mothers watch their babies starve to death in a beat up shack on a dirt floor
The aged professor quotes "Freedom's without a path"
now he dresses like a widow and preaches "love is dead" in every class
But curiosity killed the cat and taught
the dog in him how to act
and it burned his bridge to Jill so he tries to drown the guilt with a bottle of Jack
Self proclaimed rebels say "We must oppose the system!"
"You gotta take a stand!" "If your not against them your with them!"
signs read "Support the troops bring em' home!" "No more innocent victims!"
but when a homeless veteran asks for spare change your to busy protesting to even listen
And I'm no different I live in conflict and contradiction but it can be so beautiful
when I don't reject what lies within
It's beautiful the way agony connects us to the living
I think of the world when I hurt, and keep on existing in the now

I can only build if I tear the walls down
even if it breaks me I wont let it make me frown
I'm falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground
I'll still smile
I can only build if I tear the walls down
even if it breaks me I wont let it make me frown
I'm falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground
I'll still smile.

Smile, to me, is a very inspirational, uplifting song. To find the happiness that is within the song, you first have to travel through a tragic path that is all around us in life.  In the first verse Eyedea briefly touches several different scenarios that are common in this world we live in today.  Women giving birth at a young age is a common occurrence, and in some cases it turns out rough.  I've had a few friends that have been brought up in foster homes and know it can be very heart breaking and traumatizing.  When you are shipped from house to house, it is hard to feel wanted.  You are constantly being moved from one family to another, when all you really want to is a family to call your own.  We haveall seen or been in a relationship that is going no where.  Unhappy, but afraid to leave and be alone.  All these are the hardships that we face in everyday life.  You have to see the brighter side in everything if you're going to survive.  "It ain't all good, but its all good enough,
so I know I'm alright."
Ain't that the truth.  Not everything is all good, but not everything is all bad either.  You have to find what's good in your life and build off of that. 

Verse two continues with more hardships this world brings us.  We are currently in several wars that effects all of us.  We all know someone who has given years of military duty or even their life and for what? Freedom? Money? I know it has brought a lot of pain and agony to many.  I'm against the wars and violence and wish we could bring them all home too.  We do turn our heads to problems that lie right here within our own country.  Everyday I see homeless people, some of them veterans.  Do I give them money? No.  Unfortunately I'm doing my job and kick them out of my work, just following orders.   "And I'm no different I live in conflict and contradiction."  Again, the truth.  "I think of the world when I hurt, and keep on existing in the now."  That's all we can do is make the best of everyday, and never forget to smile. 

No matter how hard life gets, you have to still smile.  That is the underlining message that makes this song so amazing.  Even at your lowest, you have to be strong and fight through it, starting with a smile. 

Thanks again to those of you who support me and what I'm trying to do.  It means a lot to me that this gets read, even if it's only by a few.  Tune in next week, same time same place, and don't forget to smile... ear to ear as if it's all you're here for!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lyrics Break Down: Guarantees - Atmosphere

Lyrics Break Down: Guarantees - Atmosphere

Hello everybody, this is week two of Lyrics Break Down. The song this week is Guarantees by Atmosphere. It's off the album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. I first fell in love with this song when I heard it live for the first time. It was at the House of Blues in Las Vegas. We just happened to walk by and see that Atmosphere was playing that night. So of course Marshall and I ditched my dad and went to show. How often is ones of your favorites artists playing when you are in vacation in Vegas? It was an amazing show like always. During the encore, Slug played this song with just himself and the guitarist and it was truly amazing. I had heard the song before, but hearing it live like this just made it come to life. It was a powerful performance of a really personal, real life song.  Ever since, I have had it on my constant play list, listening to it over and over.  Take a look at the lyrics. 

Atmosphere - Guarantees  

These warehouse wages
Kill the ends introduction
I should have schooled it up
When I was younger should have stuck to plan
Always had the dreams of being more self assertive
And my kids a teenager he needs the health insurance
So break my body
Break break my soul down
Just another zombie walking blindly through your ghost town
Pull up to the bar to politic and tap the power
Ain't nobody all that jolly at your happy hour
But I don't want to go home yet
So I'm gonna talk to my cigarette
And that television set
It doesn't matter what brand or station
Anything to take away from the current situation
No overtime pay no holiday
Months behind on everything but the lottery
Went around the corner guaranteeing that my car died
Wifey having trouble juggling both the part times
My cup ain't close to filled up
We trying to build up so we can have enough
And when I finally get the color
There won't be nothing left to paint on
My friend tried to kill himself to the same song

My better half is mad at making magic out of canned goods
My tax bracket status gotta questioning my man hood
My shorty got caught smoking weed at a concert
And if I smack em everybody treats me like a monster
My neighbors ain't doing much better
And we making competition instead of sticking together
Can't save no nest egg in fact this nest is rented
In fact that rent is late, wait
The money ain't here the raise ain't coming
Just me and my son and that crazy woman
And those bartenders this whole fucking country
Got everybody swallowing that lunch meat

Maybe we can speed up the process
Kill me in my thirties in the name of progress
Put me in the dirt and then change the topic
Some time it seems like the only way to stop it
Contemplate my departure date
Doesn't take a lot to get a lot of us to talk this way
Take a shot at me that's all I'm obligated for
Apparently my only guarantee is a walk away

The only guarantee in life is a life worth dying for
The only guarantee in life is a life worth dying for
Cause death don't wait for no one
Sitting on your front door
The only guarantee in life is a life worth dying for
Cause death don't wait for no one
Sitting on your front door

Now, listen for yourself!

Guarantees is a song that every person can relate to.  We all have worked hard in our life and sometimes it is a struggle to make ends meet. We all wish we had more money, better education, better job, or even a job at all.  Sometimes family life is hard, but we all figure things out in the end. When I really got hooked on this song I was in a depressed haze, struggling to figure out my life.  Sometimes the song helped me get through, sometimes it made me struggle even more.  Those days are long passed, but this is song is still one of my personal favorites.  It's down to earth and in your face.  It may not be the most up beat song, but it is a honest song you can hear and feel that it is made from deep within the heart and soul.  And that is why I love underground hip hop.  The realness that comes to life. 

Well that's it for this weeks edition of Lyrics Break Down.  Tune in next week for Smile by Eyedea and Abilities. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lyrics Break Down: Forest Whitiker

Lyrics Break Down - Forest Whitiker by Brother Ali

One of the main aspects of underground hip hop that has me so hooked is being able to really relate to so many of these lyrics that are out there. They are written by people with different backgrounds and up bringing than me, but yet I'm able to find aspects of their songs that grab my mind and heart. This is the first segment of a weekly piece I'm going to be doing. I'm going to give you the lyrics of a song, and then break it down to what it means to me.

The first song is one of my all time favorite songs by one of my favorite artists of all time. The song is Forest Whitiker, off of Brother Ali's Shadows on the Sun. It is one of the very first underground hip hop songs that really took a hold of me. First read over the lyrics.

Forest Whitiker - Brother Ali

And yo whatever comes up comes out
We don't put our hands over our mouth
And whatever comes up comes out
We don't put our hands over our mouth
Whatever comes up comes out
Please mister bass-man lay it on me

Ayo, Dependin on the day, and dependin on what I ate
I'm anywhere from 20 to 35 pounds over weight
I got red eyes and one of them's lazy
and they both squint when the sun shines so I get crazy
I'm albino man, I know I'm pink and pale
And I'm hairy as hell, everywhere but fingernails
I shave a cranium that ain't quite shaped right
Face tight, shiny, I stay up and write late nights
My wardrobe is jeans and faded shirts
A mixture of what I like, and what I wear to work
I'm not mean and got a neck full of razor bumps
I'm not the classic profile of what the ladies want
You might think I'm depressed as can be
But when I look in the mirror I see sexy ass me
And if that's somethin that you cant respect then that's peace
My life's better without you actually
To everyone out there, who's a little different
I say damn a magazine, these are gods fingerprints
You can call me ugly but cant take nothing from me
I am what I am doctor you ain't gotta love me


If you would please turn in your bible
To beauty tips according to Forest Whitiker
In the third chapter of the third line
Brother Ali would you please read to the choir for me son

[Sung x3]

I'ma be all right, you ain't gotta be my friend tonight (you ain't gotta love me)
An I'ma be okay, you would probably bore me anyway (you ain't gotta love me)
Forest Whitiker y'all

This song really doesn't need an explanation because it speaks for itself. Since the whole point of this is to break down what it means to me, I guess lets get started.

I have listened to this song hundreds of times and it has helped me get through some dark days and stay happy in the best of moments. I have seen this song live about seven times now. Every time the crowd knows this song word for word.

I believe this is a song that anyone and everyone can relate to. No, we aren't all over weight albinos that are legally blind. That being said, it is still one of those songs that you can listen to and feel that it was written just for you. We all have imperfections and are self conscious. All of us are still great and beautiful in our own ways. We all have features about us we would like to change. I know would like to lose a few pounds off my belly and add some muscle to this skinny frame of mine. The majority of us level headed people know we aren't the classic profile of what the ladies want. And yes I've had my depressed days. But it is all about how you look at yourself in that mirror. It doesn't matter what other people think of you, its how you view yourself. Once you have that confidence in yourself, and say screw what anyone else thinks of you, you can break free and be yourself. Once I was able to get over my depressed days and be happy with myself, a whole new world opened for me. I've now been happily married for 15 months and I am the happiest I have ever been.  To me thats this song is all about. 

To sum it up, we all have our insecurities, but we are all great people. Just be yourself. The greatest feature we all contain is that uniqueness that makes us individuals. So when you look in that mirror, be sure you see "sexy ass me."

Well that's it for the first edition of Lyrics Breakdown. Next week - Guarantees - Atmosphere


Mourning in America Tour

With "Mourning in America, Dreaming in Color" being released almost 2 months ago, I would hope all of you have it by now. It is an amazing album by one of my all time favorites, Brother Ali. It is a album everyone wishes they could make, but don't have the heart, strength, courage, and wisdom to do so. Ali pours his heart and soul out into this album, touching on topics that few dare to go near. He talks about the state that this country is currently in, the wars, poverty, family, love, and memories. I know I'm not alone when I say this is exactly the album that Ali needed to create. If you haven't already done so, you need to buy or download MIADIC immediately!  I recommend buying the actual copy because of the great fold out inside. It has all the lyrics as well as great pictures.
With the Mourning in America tour just ending its North American shows, I hope that many of you had the chance to catch the live show. From what I heard from everyone around the country, it was an amazing show. He performed with a live band, Blank Tape Revolver, and had two of his favorite artists, Homeboy Sandman and The ReMinders on tour with him. All three artists dropped a new album on the same day! Brother Ali of course had MIADIC. Homeboy Sandman released First of Living Breed, and The ReMinders came out with Born Champions.

I had the pleasure of attending one of three stops the tour made here in Colorado. I saw them perform at the Aggie Theatre in my home town of Fort Collins. As expected the show did sell out by the end of the night. The ReMinders opened up the show. It was a homecoming show for them, being from Colorado. I have been a huge fan of theirs since I first saw them open for Brother Ali four or five years ago at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. This was the fourth time I have seen them and it was once again an amazing performance. Rarely do you ever hear such clarity as you do when Aja sings. Her voice is so strong and beautiful and always sounds great no matter what venue they play. The husband and wife duo have such an amazing stage presence. You can really tell they love what they are doing, and have the talent to make it shine. Some highlights for me was hearing "Outside my Window", which is one of my personal favorites from their first album Recollect. A song that really stood out to me was "I Remember". It is from their newest album, and is one of my favorite songs out there at this moment. For their last song they brought out their backup dancers, which turned out to be their three young kids. It was great to see them share the stage with their parents The crowd loved it!

Homeboy Sandman was the second to take the stage. It was my second time seeing his live show. As always, he put on a very live and energetic performance. He has a unique style and sound that is always good to hear. The only disappointing moment of his set was from the crowd. Before he was finished with his set, the crowd starting chanting for Brother Ali. It may not have been boos, but to me it was the same as being booed off the stage. I was embarrassed and ashamed of the behavior of the crowd. It was very disrespectful. For us true hip hop fans, it was awful. To Homeboy Sandman, I apologize for the behavior of the crowd. He did handle it very well and professionally. He rolled with it, telling the crowd he wasn't quite ready, and Brother Ali would be out in a moment.

It was the first time I have ever seen Brother Ali with a live band, although he has played with a live band on many occasions. Blank Tape Revolver was Ali's band for the tour. They consisted of a three piece horn section, guitar, and keyboard. Ali opened the set with with Stop the Press, a moving song that recaps the ups and downs of Ali's last couple years. He continued with some new songs off of MIADIC, like The Only Life I'll Ever Know, and Mourning in America. The live band sounded great and brought a lot of energy to the stage. The only down side was at times it they over powered Ali's voice. As the set went on, the sound got better. At times only the guitar or keyboards would play, allowing his stories to be heard a little clearer. He then broke out some classics like Dorian, Forest Whitaker, Tight Rope, and Uncle Sam Goddamn. A highlight of the show was when Brother Ali took over the drum kit, and kept the beat for the rest of the band as they took turns playing solos. For the encore, Ali came out and played what he said at the time was his favorite song, and played track one from MIADIC, Letter to my Countrymen. Then he invited Homeboy Sandman and The Reminders to come back on stage for an amazing rendition of The Truth is Here. All of them on stage at once brought so much energy and it was a great way to end the show.

Besides some stupid fans in the crowd jumping on stage and being disrespectful, it was an excellent show. All acts brought their A game and put on a show to remember! If you haven't already heard of The Reminders or Homeboy Sandman, you need to check them out. If you have never seen Brother Ali live, it is a must. While his lyrics and albums are amazing, he has a live stage presence that very few have and makes for one of the best shows you will ever see.  Til next show, peace!
              Doug's Real Hip Hop  on twitter  @_real_hip_hop 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Favorite time of the year

Is it the brilliant colors the trees begin to turn? The start of college football?  The beginning of the Peyton Manning era here in Colorado? The pumpkin carving and hunt for that perfect Halloween costume? While all of those are great things that are currently happening, those not what I have on mind.
It is the time where all these great artists are coming out with new albums and the tours that follow.  In the last few months and next few that follow, there are some new masterpieces in the works.
To start with, Rhymesayers have been busy lately.  I Self Divine dropped The Sound Of Low Class Amerika on 5/8/12.  Aesop Rock has his huge album Skelethon come out 7/10/12.  The most recent Rhymesayer artist to have an album come out is Brother Ali.

Brother Ali released Mourning in America, Dreaming in Color only a few weeks ago on 9/18/12.  With Ant, whose has produced all of Ali's previous records, busy with The Family Sign and touring with Atmosphere, Ali had to find a producer.  Ali teamed up with Jake One and formed a fresh new sound and a little bit of a new direction.  Ali has always had a political, and activist drivin focus on several songs of his albums, like Letter to the Government, Uncle Sam Goddamn, Tight Rope, and The Traveler.  MIADIC may be a little different, but it is exactly what it needed to be.  Brother Ali is on the top of his game and made an amazing, ground breaking piece of work.  Each song has a clear message that is well delivered and to the point.  Not many artists have to abilty or talent to make a record like this, but is one of them. 

Brother is currently on the road for his Mourning in America, Dreaming in Color tour.  With him are a pair of artists who both currently released albums on the same day as Ali.  Homeboy Sandman released First of a Living Breed and The Reminders just came out with Born Champions. 

The Rhymesayers are not done this year.  Later this month, P.O.S. will be releasing We Don't Even Live Here on 10/22/12.  From hearing Bumper,and Fuck Your Stuff, this going to be another smash hit.  Fellow Doomtree collective member Mike Mictlan also just released his newest album, Snaxxx.  Mike will be accompaning P.O.S. this fall when he heads out on tour promoting his new album. 

Still our tour for his latest album The Family Sign is Atmosphere.  With him on tour are I Self Divine and Carnage.  Carnage also had album released on 9/11/12,  Respect the Name. 

If these are albums are not enough for you, I have some more amazing records that have come out in the last couple of years.
Murs and Fashawn - This Generation
Grieves - Together/Apart
Doomtree - No Kings
Eligh and Amp Live -
Immortal Technique - The Martry
Lyrics Born - As You Were
Evidence - Cats and Dogs

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Boulder Theater, Sep 20th 2012

It was sold out show at the Boulder Theater, in Boulder, Colorado, for  Carnage, I Self Divine, and Atmosphere.  With a line up like that it could only be one thing, and that's amazing, which it truly was!

Carnage opened up the show a little after 9pm. It was a little odd at first seeing him on the stage by himself with no d.j. or band.  I haven't had the best experiences with m.c.'s running their own show from a laptop.  But soon I was pleasantly surprised.  He began to beat box, making his own beats and sounds, recording them with his pedals, and then looping them over.  As he progressed he had several beats going at once and then would begin to rap over top of his own sounds.  It was truly remarkable to see this happen live.  It takes pure talent to be a one man band like he was.  A highlight of his set was his tribute section he performed.  He first started making the beat and rapping to "Paul Revere" by the Beastie Boys. He followed it up with "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" by O.D.B.  Then it was "Star Destroyer", a tribute to his late friend Michael "Eyedea" Larsen. 

I had the pleasure of talking with Carnage a few times throughout the night. I'm impressed when an artist stands at his table all night selling merch and conversing with fans.  To me, that's what it's all about.  It shows he is a real person, with true character.  He introduced himself to me not as Carnage, but as his real name Terrell, which impressed me even more.  He was a pleasure to talk to.  He is a genuinely nice, humble guy, that is just doing what he loves to do.  I asked him if he always does his shows like that.  He said he has used d.j.'s and live bands in the past but he was getting such good feedback from his beatboxing portions of the show that he decided to trying it completely solo.  In my opinion he made the right choice.  In all of the shows I have been to I have never seen a set quite like his.  And it was awesome!

I got stuck in the back of the crowd when I Self Divine came on stage.  More and more people continued to flow into the sold out venue.  I Self Divine put on an energizing, crisp, and enthusiastic performance.  He had some good messages throughout the set, a little political undertone, that make me want to get his latest work to get a better listen.

Finally its the moment everyone has been waiting for!  The lights dim, the crowd erupts.  After a few moments here comes Ant, Nate (guitar), and Erick (keyboard).  "My Key" begins to play.  After a few more moments, here comes Slug in his black hoodie with his hood pulled over his hat.  After a great first song, they break out "Trying to find a balance".  The crowd was loud and on cue, belting out every word to the opening of the song.  His mic was fine, but the crowd was so into it you could barely hear the words from Slug over the audience. 

Overall, it was the best song list I've ever heard from Atmosphere.  They covered songs from Overcast all the way to The Family Sign.  Of course there are always a few of your favorites who wish they would have played, but was surprised with so many of the classics and personal favorites.  I love Lucy Ford, and God Loves Ugly, so it was great to hear some classics like "Gun and Cigarettes" and "God Loves Ugly".  Also enjoyed some of my favorites like "Waitress", "Tomorrow", "Became" and "Sunshine".  He eventually took off the hoodie and was wearing a new black Brother Ali shirt, which I'm sure most of us will be picking up in a few weeks! 

For the encore, Carnage came back out.  He laid down the beats for "1597" from Overcast.   I Self Divine then joined in and the three of them wowed the crowd with a freestyle session.  The freestyle is always a highlight at any hip hop show you attend, allowing the true skills to flow out. 

A highlight of the show for me was during a rendition of "Say Shh".  Slug did a little improvising.  "Doomtree lives here, we have 10,000 lakes", as Slug points to my black No Kings Doomtree hat I'm sporting.  Has Slug ever pointed at you and changed the lyrics to his song?  I thought it was cool, and is something I'll take with me for a while. 

It was my fifth time seeing Atmosphere live and was by far the best performance I have seen from them.  Overall, it ranks in my top five, maybe even top three shows I have ever seen!!  If you have never seen Atmosphere, it is a must see show.  Slug is a legend and always leaves it all out on the stage.  I'm fortunate to have made the sold out show that night in Boulder, Colorado!!   Peace!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Only Life I Know

This may be the first but it definitely won't be the last time I write about Brother Ali.  There are many artists out there I enjoy to listen to and see live, but Ali is at the top of my list. He is an albino, Muslim from Minnesota who has led a completely different life than mine, but there are no other lyrics that I can relate to more than those of Brother Ali.  From Forest Whitiker, Rain Water, Here, Walking Away, to Us, no other artist's lyrics have moved me quite his Ali's.  They have got me through my darker days and helped me move forward into happiness. I even used a line from "Us" to end my wedding vows a year ago. "There's no me and no you, it's just us."

I would like to focus on his new video "Only life I know".  It's hard to describe how real and amazing this video is.  The first time I watched the video I was speechless. No other artist covers these topics and portrays them so perfectly as Ali.  It's real life and from the heart.  I didn't grow up in poverty, or in a big city like Minneapolis, but yet I'm still able to relate to so many aspects of this song.  Watching him in front of trailor park, it brings back so many memories. I grew up living in a trailor park most of my life. Both sets of my grandparents lived in trailor parks as well.  It's how I grew up, the only life I know.  I've since moved out and on.  As metioned in the song, I'm now in a "raggedy apartment complex".  Yeah, I've never lived in the projects or been forced to deal drugs, but I still feel like I can relate to the realness of the video.  Whether its the worse parts of a town, to dealing with the homeless outside of work, or seeing the extreme poverty in Managua, Nicuragua, the real people highlighted in the video hit home.  I've seen a kid with one leg begging for money, fields of homeless people living in card board boxes and tarp tents. The images you see in the video are not made up. Those conditions are really out there. 

Please read the lyrics for yourself and then watch the amazing video.

Brother Ali - "Only Life I Know" lyrics

Its my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know Feeling extra low Please let me go Oh Lord No Its my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know And it stress me so God bless my soul Oh Lord No
Whether its the projects or trailer park mess Raggedy apartment complex With a stressed out single mom sitting on the steps Waiting on the mailman looking for a check Boys on the courner pushing out their chest Questing for anything that resemble respect Young girls swing their hip with every step Looking for affection settling for sex Bodies decorated with tattoos and chains Trying to put armor between you and pain Wood grain steering wheel the bass bang Loud enough to drown out the hatred in your brain The only out is smoking out Get lean get wet get meth get tore down Cause who the hell would want to stick around Put me in a haze I aint never coming down
Its my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know Feeling extra low Please let me go Oh Lord No Its my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know And it stress me so God bless my soul Oh Lord No
They just want to get you in the system stick you in a prison Enlist you in the military ship you to the desert Gigs don t exist for you to make a decent living But we got three illegal wars that you can pick from Keep stressing morals and personal decisions Tell me what s moral about these conditions Who decided you don t got enough to teach children Stay spending billions on stadiums and prisons How many routes can folks really choose When you re oppressed only three lead to you The first one is follow the rules and stay in school And be the square dude that society approves Get a little job or a shitty apartment A subprime mortgage in a failing house market And after a life of dedication and hardship You die just as poor as you was when you started Fuck that whats up with the second option You can always hit the corner and try to get it popping Get fast guap when you out robbing and clocking But chances are that you probably die violent Best hope that you got it getting knocked End up with a job in a prison metal shop They ain t paying nothing but 3 hots and a cot Dont you know thats the biggest hustle they got Or door three you could get on that welfare They aint trying to help theyll put you through hell there Give you just enough so youre not going to starve And constantly harass you while you looking for a job If you do luck up and someone let you punch a clock And they find out about then your check is getting docked Cant win for losing they dehumanize you You never get caught up you caught up in that cycle
It s my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know Feeling extra low Please let me go Oh Lord No Its my life Yeah the only one that Ill ever know And it stress me so God bless my soul Oh Lord No

Watch "Brother Ali - Only Life I Know" on YouTube

"Only Life I Know" is off of Brother Ali's new album, "Mourning in America, Dreaming in Color", that drops Sep 18, 2012 on Rhymesayers Entertainment.