MY BLOODY SHABBAT

WHY THE INJUSTICE FACED BY NON-WHITES IS DISTURBINGLY FAMILIAR AND A PAINFUL NEO-MITSRAIM WITH ONE HOPE

“I’m down to get killed for the real that I speak…black boys calling me white, white boys be calling me nigger; I ain’t fitt’n in my skin is havin’ me feelin’ disfigured”

-Sevin

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It’s enough. This shabbat, I feel it’s about time we took this matter seriously. There’s blood being shed and though it may be from a few individuals now, it’ll be from more later. Nothing in history has demonstrated that a disregard for any man/woman because of his or her race has ever ‘gone away’. Let’s face it, the issue of race is an old question and it has always provoked certain feelings. I get that. I know that for a fact, that although I am black African, I can still feel the pain experienced by fellow people of color. We witnessed in Africa such a brutality in colonial days that marred our African identity and culture in a way that’s virtually irreparable.

I’m reminded of the intentional use of the word ‘Mitsraim’ as a descriptive word for ancient Egypt under Ramses. The word itself is a play on the Hebrew word for suffering–a word echoing pain, torment, devaluing. I am Christian, evangelical studying in a Christian Evangelical school that is seeking to find that African identity that was lost when other cultures were imposed upon us. Seeing us as somewhat backward, unintelligent and incapable, we got ‘re-created’ in the western image and no matter what some historians state, we were not ‘Christianized’ we were de-valued and robbed of our African identity [Bert Gary, a biblical scholar based in Israel actually raises the question that attacks what we know as ‘western Christianity’, he asks in his book, Jesus Unplugged, “There is much emphasis in the church today–by laity and clergy–on being respectable, nice and presentable. Yet where in Scripture did Jesus say that we should make being well-dressed and well-behaved priorities? Is the Church guilty of reducing Christianity to mere social etiquette? The Jesus of Scripture rejected these priorities with both word and deed”]. It’s no small wonder that Africans who branched off from missionary-established churches to form indigenous African Churches that sought to ‘Africanize’ the Christian Gospel were looked upon with suspicion. Also, the educated elite, who sought to restore authority and governance back to Africans had one motive…to educate and elevate the status of their own–still they did so with so much pain.

It’s heartbreaking that it’s because of this that we as Africans have it so ingrained in us to fight and steal in order to have our identity in and through what we own. What’s even more terrible about this is that the leadership that we are right now seeing in Africa that is so torn and broken (I purposefully won’t say corrupt because that is not the real problem) is in this state because of nil-succession in leadership and a lack in communicating how it was understood by our fore-fathers since it was largely disregarded in favor of a ‘better’ western model? What! We no longer have real respect and value for what our fore-fathers gave us, what do we want to be? Big businessmen, wealthy earners, empty individuals–not just spiritually but mentally; ask these same individuals what they hope to do with all their acquired wealth and status and you’ll swear that you can hear a pin drop in the room because of the silence. It’s only as I was growing up, that I got to understand the saying; “If you want to hide anything from an African, put it in a book” because we truly have lost our love for knowledge and wisdom, we now chase the wind till our great grand children can feel the hollowness of our vain pursuits.

We are in such a prison mentally that conquering the modern African child’s mind is just that, child’s play. How long can we stand and casually watch? How long do we here in Africa have before we experience what our counterparts in western countries are facing right now? Have we truly forgotten the price paid for our freedom? Have we indeed forgotten that injustice anywhere, is really and truly a threat to justice everywhere? Are we going to let the blood of those before us become worthless because of how we handle our so-called freedoms? How much more so the blood of the very Son who tread African soil when he sought refuge from Herod–the very Son who was nailed to the cross because of injustice? Do we even care? [I actually like what Lecrae Moore pointed out in an interview last year about how bad things have become in society. When asked about where are we going wrong, he pointed out that we merely observe the evils around us and criticize them but when asked to do something about it, we can’t, why? It doesn’t affect me].

Are we so blinded by watching all the glamour of the artists and celebrities–most of whom are colored, selling us ‘the good life’ on TV but living lives that are in no way close to good? Are we all letting the lives of the youth, the fathers and the elderly go down to the grave in vain because ‘it doesn’t involve us’? Is the blood of a colored individual that worthless? As someone so disturbingly pointed out on an interview in a popular UK show, “Why do the former enemies of the commonwealth, the descendants of Nazi Germany have it easy in matters migration, but those of African race/descent are treated as outcasts and terrorists yet their forefathers helped their forefathers in the WWII…a white man threatening death is said to be ‘demonstrating terrorist inclinations when he’s about to blow up a plane..a black/colored individual is thought to be a terrorist and a roach?’ Seriously, world, what’s going on here??

Shabbat reminds me of the battle the Lord waged against Egypt, her injustice and her gods. That battle freed the Israelites and showed them that God truly sees and he’s the giver of identity; giving Israel her first sweet exchange, being for worthlessness. Making out of a distorted psyche, a renewed perspective. They are made human beings when God decrees this day as a day to sit, reflect and delight in God; a day when they truly realize that they are defined by God. Then comes the rest of the spirit…negro spirituals have plenty to say about this. They speak of a hope in the midst of the storm, a longing for peace and rest for their souls…the cry for liberty. In comes the living Shabbat, Jesus suffers a cruel trial, dies a merciless, unjust death and rises triumphant. There’s nothing better than this message; that in the darkest depths of our despair here and now, our Jewish non-western Messiah breathed hope to us. He offers us a different kind of rest, not merely one that ignores the world and the suffering but one that guarantees us victory, even as we rise to the occasion and speak and act in love to those who hate us without reason…he has shown us that he has triumphed over the fallible governments of this world for his rules over all and one day, he’ll show it to all the world, that no man of no race is superior to the other for one Man trumps all.

I am by no means racist, but eracist. For I believe the Bible that tells me that before the Judge of all the earth…”there is no male or female, no Jew nor Gentile, no slave or free…all stand equal before him”. I am an eracist. This means that I believe in the equality of all because that’s exactly how we were created.

“Head up, while I’m walking in the MOB, people part like the Red Sea was it the color they saw? They clutching to their purses, as if I was young and thirsty like my people went an’ hang onto branches in front churches. They treat us like colored skin was made of sin and deemed worthless, my heart ain’t bad but can’t get past what they see on the surface, I tell ’em ‘God bless you’ and just keep walking in public, they take it in but no relief from the hurting, still getting pulled over, beaten up, illegally searched, cousin still got killed by cops…what’s done in the dark will rise to the surface”

-Faith Pettis

WHEN YOU TOOK THE PLACE OF MY TEARS, FATHER

WHEN WE HE TRULY IS, THE REALEST WE’LL EVER KNOW

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[Sevin]
Can I let my heart cry out?
Won’t let this flame die out

[Verse 1: Sevin]
Yeah
They really ain’t got no choice
I’m gonna make ‘em feel my heart the way that I empty mine
But an empty heart just leaves an empty mind, so send a sign
Coulda sparked, but the hood has darkened my attempts to shine
I bear the world with an injured spine, my strength declined
Yeah
Cause I need less of me and more of You
You are infinite, You’re the interest of my mortal view
You’re in control, and You implement my morals too
And You command that I recognize the only Lord is You
True
But is that too much to ask for being God Supreme
Two choices, casket full of cash, or a Sovereign King?
We are such prideful beings, we hit the stage, the crowd’ll scream
But they won’t cheer for the One that engineered everything their eyes have seen?
Dang
How we get so far from light?
You’re the face of truth, so they refute the martyred Christ?
I have realized that in Him is where real lies
If God so loved the world, no wonder Jesus cried

[Hook]
Yeah, You’re the realest one that I know
Feel free to take my life, Lord, I just feel it’s something I owe
Yeah, You’re the only one that I serve
And I swear I’ll preach Your Word until they throw me under my curve
Yeah, you’re the realest One that I know
Feel free to take my life, Lord, I just feel it’s something I owe
Yeah, you’re the only one that I serve
And I swear I’ll preach Your Word until they throw me under my curve

[Verse 2: Sevin]
Never did it for the fetty, nah, never did it for the fame
Never forsaken the fellowship with a brother and nothin realer than when we comin together in his name
Kill it
If it ain’t real, I don’t feel it – Novocaine
They say that my name shoulda been sport, and I musta been born on the court in gym shorts because i got so much game
But you know the name
Yeshua, the Blessed Christ
Line of Judah, Sovereign Ruler, nigga Hallelujah, he the Breath of Life!
The S-O-N of Man, came and He died for the remission of sins
So Mary don’t cry, Mary don’t cry
In the twinkle of an eye we gonna be risen again
So keep your eyes just peeled to the sky, no fear
If we die we gon meet up in the end
Submerged in that living water, I be swimming harder than a cheetah with a fin (ah ah ah)
Yo, God gave me the keys to the door
Boy, when I testifying in the west I slide like skis in the snow

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Eric C. Tha Tempa Tantrum]
And at my worst I’m gonna praise Jehovah
Looking up at the face of vultures
They be perched on the cross that I drag cause it breaks my shoulder blades
The pain brings me closer to you
Every time I take a hold of You, Father, You take me over
They wanna kill me cause I tell ‘em You really make it rain
We live in similar days to Noah
But, now I be kicking it with my Father somewhere over the rainbow whenever You say it’s over
You think You’re feelin me, shoulda got rid of me, but Lord You’re getting me feeling You are The Way deep in the pit of me and now I’m in love with Your Holy Spirit that You let live in me
You waiting for the day when You finally appear to me
I’m in the front row waiting for the curtain to open
And when the bands all playing tell em “send up the horn section” cause I’m ready for that trumpet to blow!
And when You stand on stage for the second time I’ma go crazy
Wanna give it your stance fo sho
He let the body open up for the Father to get the crowd hyped
And now He ready to headline the show
Somebody let ‘em know the Champ is here
The devil prolly be reliving him on the cross when Christ return
Jump in the box at the top of the rope
1,2,3, pin, death defeated, it was a massacre
Yeah
And He’s still the Champion of the World, baby (He’s the greatest One that I know)
Can’t nobody compare too, and illuminati gonna be bowed down to His throne
Yeah
You the only One that I fear, and I thank you for the blood, that be dripping off of the cross, cause He took the place of my tears

HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE?: THE GRAVE OF A BURIED GOD

WHAT WE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM THIS HIT SONG BY CALVIN HARRIS AND DISCIPLES
“Open up my eyes and
Tell me who I am
Let me in on all your secrets
No inhibition, no sin”

-Ina Wroldsen

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I have to say, this post is for all of those out there looking for love; those who are yearning for it, like I am. This is for those who are sorta tired and worn out with shallow ‘love’ in relationships; for those of you asking one nagging question to that guy/girl that’s been on your mind and are uncertain that they are keeping real with you. This is for those fed up with cat calls, and having their hearts strung out like puppets; this is for those interested in more than empty words begging, hurting and eager asking one question…”How deep is your love?”

When I first listened to Calvin Harris’ song, I didn’t know what to make of it. I liked the feel of the song, it really felt like it resonated with something in my life. Before I knew it, I found myself humming to its tune, watching the music video on YouTube and memorizing it’s lyrics. All this happened when the song first came out. All those of you who can relate with me on this will agree, the song is catchy and let’s face it, there are some songs out there that really do speak to us. This particular one is just one of those songs I guess…

I am still young and as you know being in your early 20s can be a struggle, a lot about the world just dazzles us and we are like “OMG! I never wana grow any older!”. [Ahem, raise your hands up in the crowd if you can feel me there, you, young man I see you; and you, m’lady, I hear you]. These are the experiences that make us the kind of adult that we’ll become later. Apart from all the eye-candy and momentary happiness that the sights and sounds that we immerse ourselves into, there’s more we get exposed to…

“Umm, hey there. I couldn’t help but notice but I saw you from over the counter and thought I’d come closer and have a close encounter…[’cause, let’s face it again, love is alien]”. He comes closer and your eyes fix onto his. You don’t know what to do, you try and play it cool but soon realize that because he was so hot, you had quickly given up your cellphone number and [sometimes] more. The relationship with him seems to feel like something new, as though the stars above have just made their home in your belly. “Wait a minute” you say, “I am not feeling too good actually”. Before you knew it, you found yourself pregnant and he isn’t replying to your texts nor is he answering your calls. You panic. You realize that it wasn’t love, it was something else…

The question of the level of commitment in relationships is probably and arguably as old as time itself. It’s the fundamental flaw of human comprehension and understanding of the universe. A quick journey back to our ancestors, from Egypt to Greece to Rome and several civilizations prior, we see that the core of our cosmology [understanding of our universe] is deeply rooted in the relationship that exists among the gods above. Many gods were very human in their relationships, in fact there really should be a Tela Novella show casting what these (often scandalous) relationships were like. For, in my view, we knew then, as we know now, we can’t live alone. We need love and relationships.

In fact, it’s so essential to our nature that some forms of punishment across the globe actually involve isolation. The results of these punishments are heartbreaking, for whereas beating and other forms of punishment can heal over time, punishments involving isolation are shown to rob a person of part of their personality as they gnaw at their humanity. These people remain scarred for life. Mentally and emotionally, these people, once released back to society return with a social limp. Some cases have seen these individuals commit suicide; a phenomenon deeply, and closely related to the same scenario of a broken man or woman.

As painful as the reality of these occurrences are, they are relatable. As a believer in Christ, I find myself challenged by this very thing. I acknowledge my shortcomings and realize that no matter how holy I feel, I am human and still drawn to committing the same mistakes and sins that I have just alluded to in this post today. But I rejoice in one thing, God has answered this question. When I expected to hear an answer that would satisfy me from others, he gave me his answer, he turned to me. He embraced me. He told me, “Look, look at my grave…how deeper can love be?”

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“no greater love has a man than to lay his life down…”

-Jesus in his final days

GREATEST FEAR: FATHER FORGIVE ME LYRICS

SONG WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY SEVIN OF HOGMOB MINISTRIES

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Uh huh

Sometimes I wonder,

What more do I gotta do,

I’ve been pouring my heart out for years,

You know?

This is my greatest fear,

Yeah, yeah

Some say I’m sick, coz of what my dreams depict in the midst of death,

I hear the screams from hollow tips on the pistol’s breath,

banana clips in the triple vest, brethren no lovin’ in the ghetto,

it’s governed by zips and the crystal meth,

niggaz will put one in your brain just to get respect an’

please believe that when you slain is when you gettin’ left

I’ve seen raindrops drippin’ from dead carcasses,

and stray shots spittin’ ain’ trippin’ off who the target is,

we ain’ grew up like the partridges,

I watched my partners sniff lines of coke off the shine of nine cartridges,

the only good days are the ones that liquor’s out there,

I take a sip for my niggaz and pray that they get through the Gates,

I became popular from them weak niggaz poppin’ at me,

they think that I was choppin’ a key,

but no, I’m just humpin’ CDs,

I watched Dre get a deal then I feel,

“Nigga I’m just as nice”,

I pray I get a meal before I’m killed,

Nigga this is life

(hook)

They said one day would come, but it’s been so long,

[Verse 2: still grindin’ nigga]

so many tears to cry, and yet just one song,

[somebody help me]

[Verse 2: from the underground]

and if I die today, would they even care?

if I left this place without a trace that I was here

(Verse 2)

Uh,

all I got is my heat an’ my art, my heart, my balls dawg an’ my religion,

reality’s depressin’, got me thinkin’ ’bout my odds of livin’,

coz I see that they slim to none,

nicotine in my lungs,

mixing gin with rum,

until I vomit up lyrics to wet portraits,

that can captivate caskets and resurrect corpses,

then maybe I can see my brother again,

I’m tryna be righteous but that will only let me revel in sin,

[Lord I need you, I need you yeah]

I serve God but the evil one is governin’ them,

what’s the use of keepin’ it raw if they in love with the trade?

they don’t feel me, if I catch these years from another case,

which one o’ y’all gon’ wipe the tears from my mother’s face?

[who’s gonna do it?]

so quite boxin’ to south dawg, let it shine!

respect the grind, maybe you made it,

but the rest is done,

this is for my niggaz that tried even though they paid the cost,

and every rapper that died,

long before they met the Source.

[hook]

I spit off full dues and the produce capture this song,

hopefully the vocals will last after I’m gone,

will my image diminish before I’m finished at the end of my race

and they takin’ the bullets out of the ends an’ into my face?

when you cry, because you neglected this young man

an equal chance, an opportunity when you coulda seen me advance,

even as I’m writin’ I’m enlightened that the hour’s past,

damn, man

more sand just drained from my hourglass,

I pray daily they aid me when I’m seekin’ a deal,

and I’m keepin’ it real when I’m saying I sleep with my steel,

I write for hours preparing to perfect the technique in my skill,

do I got to put heat in my grill to show you what deeply I feel?

failure’s a sea, and I’m stuck in it’s wake drowning,

with the thought I won’t make it,

for God’s sake, it’s my eighth album!

Father forgive me, I’m tryna fulfill purpose,

I’ma feel worthless until my skill surface.

[hook]

HOOD THEOLOGY: DOES HEAVEN HAVE A GHETTO?

UNDERSTANDING PAIN AND RELATING WITH THOSE SUFFERING

“Power and the money, money and the power
Minute after minute, hour after hour
Everybody’s running, but half of them ain’t looking
What’s going on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s cooking
They say I’ve got to learn but nobody’s here to teach me
If they can’t understand it, how can they reach me
I guess they can’t
I guess they won’t
I guess they front
That’s why I know my life is out of luck fool”

-Coolio ‘Gansters’ Paradise’

“All I got is my heat and my art, my heart, my balls dawg and my religion,

reality’s stressing, got me thinking about my odds of living, coz I can see that it’s slim to none

Nicotine in my lungs, mixing gin and rum,

Until I vomit up lyrics to wet portraits that can captivate caskets and resurrect corpses,

then maybe I can see my brother again,

I’m tryna be righteous but that’ll only let me rebel in sin”

-Sevin ‘Greatest Fear’

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The songs many of us 90’s kids grew up listening too are by far among the best ever. Not only do I feel that I should point this out but I should also use it as a background for this particular post today. As you can guess, I am a proud 90s baby. Those of you born in the 90s might relate with me on this one as I feel that we are a special breed judging by the ripples being made by our peers in various spheres of life across the globe.

What’s amazing about this is the fact that not many artists who were in the prime of their youth got to live quite as well. Some examples include 2-Pac, Aaliyah, Biggie…just to name a few. Their deaths stunned the world as it made the world see what potential in young and upcoming artistes could do to a whole generation. As someone once said, “he who can understand music, can understand a generation”. That’s the point being made here.

Coolio got it right as I pointed out above; that because society didn’t care, those living in already-terrible situations, truly didn’t have a way out of their misery due to societal neglect. I say society because I tend to agree with Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s quip, “the church is neither the master nor the slave of the state, but rather its conscience”. This matter is greatly seen in how little influence the church has had since those who want out never got it. It is in fact so great that Tupac/2 Pac once said “I wonder if heaven has a ghetto”.

How far away can the church truly be from giving hope? This is indeed disturbing. I’m pretty sure that I am not the only one who’s noticed this, many of you have: Whether you have beenlet down by the church/christianity, or are new to the faith…or even a long-time believer, you may agree with me here. Especially when I take Gandhi’s side and say, “I love the Jesus that I read about in the Bible, but I am no big fan of his followers today”.

How sad is it, that someone writing Gospel rap during this period of the 90s could say that all he could do is wait till his pain rolled over before he could ever speak life to others [i.e Sevin]. In as much as many would judge him, I feel that he still had a point. Behind the scenes, many of the celebrities struggled with so many things, be it sex, drugs or alcohol. These people were ‘alive’ on stage but dying on the inside.

What’s worse is that, in my opinion, we have elevated superficiality over reality that we are slowly but surely forgetting what we are. We are human. We are not perfect, but not many are standing up to show us otherwise; we are weak and poor, but how many are vocal enough to show us that there is more to who we are than what we are being fed on by the media? These are but some of my concerns for the rest of the human race. These concerns are getting worse as the church continues to remain silent.

Very soon, if we as a people in this world continue this way, nothing but gloom awaits us. We will continue to kill ourselves, commit attrocities in the name of ideologies/philosophies, we will build walls around ourselves because we cannot love someone from another ethnicity, we will drown in drugs, sex, alcohol…and worst of all superficiality.

I know I have talked a lot about the 90s as a child of the 90s but the 2000s are a period of greater concern; when a young man’s ambition is to have “broads, a black x6 among other things” not others welfare, i.e the betterment of the world, we are in trouble. The 2000s are the realization of Coolio’s concern, that goes something like this, “They say I’ve got to learn but nobody’s here to teach me, if they can’t understand it, how can they reach me, I guess they can’t, I guess they won’t, I guess they front, that’s why I know my life is out of luck fool”.

In this the church truly has no excuse, called to imitate Christ; it truly is a difficult calling, but with far reaching results. I am reminded of one story of St Francis of Assisi who stopped an invasion through sacrificing himself to show Christ’s love to an ambitious general. Just as I am reminded that enmity has become ‘leverage’ for selfish political ambition. What irony exists, but a church that speaks will be able to converse with the theologians on the streets who are seeking hope.

Will the church listen?

WHAT ‘GANGLAND’ HAS TO SAY ABOUT KENYA’S POTENTIAL

WHEN ALL WE NEED IS A CAPABLE GROUP OF LEADERS FOR THE NEXT PHASE…

“You know originally, the gangs were created to protect everybody in the community. There was lynching and bombing going on and the gangs were there to protect. What people don’t understand is that a lot of the leaders died. Medgar Evers (has been shot), Bunchy Carter (has been shot), Fred Hampton (has been shot), MLK (has been shot in Memphis Tennessee). These youngsters didn’t have any direction. No leaders to look up to so they imploded on themselves”

-Lecrae

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Lecrae CC3…When the Christian Artists Get Real

It’s amazing how personal this song is, personal in the sense that it speaks from the heart about the heartbreaking effects of the difficulties being faced by many in the U.S. right now. Many of these difficulties are not recent as many of us would think because each and every single one of them have caused strains in inter-ethnic relationships. These strains are presented as being brought about (primarily) by a quest for identity–an identity in a new land/time period. Whereas in the past great leaders emerged who helped make a difference and level the grounds for those from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, the need to progress, evolve and adapt is urgent.

So much crime has taken place because of hatred and indifference. These things, as the song would point out, have not helped lessen the burden being borne by either side of the conflict. Although these things are of great concern, the song would rightly point out that “it was a crooked system like this that left the King of kings bloodless”, a straight up nod to the fact that the systems in place that deny us the rights to be treated as human beings, regardless of race/ethnicity need to be acknowledged. Not only are they to be acknowledged but undone altogether.

Kenya’s current interest in advancing the nation falls under one oddly similar situation as the U.S.; it needs to accept and take advantage of its diversity. With over 40 tribes, each possessing sub-tribes of their own, Kenya’s diversity is as beautiful as the view of a rose in a kaleidoscope: Each mirror reflection interacts with another reflection from another angle and thus creates a beautiful view.Why tribal politics lets us down is yet to be understood, but the fact is, the power has been and always remains in the hands of the people to change things. Although, like the U.S., there were those who came before to fight the oppressive laws and systems that denied the people equal rights as the rest, Kenya can build right now and today from that great history and become greater.

Although there are issues that have kept many suppressed and kept under the feet of oppressive powers and laws, there still remains a great chance that they can rise up again and produce amazing people. As though things couldn’t get any stranger, Obama was Kenyan and became the president of the U.S. for two whole terms. Whereas some disagree as to his heritage, they should remember that Kenya, like the U.S. had great leaders that suffered to give the people freedom. No one bred from this beautiful land is without worth and value (forgive me here, I am letting loose on my patriotism here. I am Kenyan after all!).

Hence, if Obama can lead, so can any one in the world, but it starts here. No more crime, No more violence. No more pitiful fighting and squabbling. No more lying. No more corruption and stealing. No more negative tribal politics. No more extortion. No more robbing the people. As Lecrae and Propaganda’s ‘Gangland’ rightly point out, Jesus is the best example to learn from regarding leadership and making a difference, as well as living a life worthy of God in the midst of difficulty. This, I believe is what the Gospel of Jesus offers my people and the world today.

Why don’t we make a difference by tackling our issues differently?

Why don’t we dare to be better?

Why don’t we dare to love?

Why don’t we dare to share when it hurts?

Why don’t we dare to be different?

LECRAE FT. PROPAGANDA: GANGLAND

WHY THIS SONG SPEAKS VOLUMES…HAVE WE FORGOTTEN THE PAST?

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[Intro]
We not playin’ out here, it’s for real. We livin’ out here for life, we tryna to get it. Ain’t nobody finna take our life. I keep my young homies out here with these things, my big homies keep handlin’ me. And we keep it crackin’. My other name should’ve been Jesse James cause I stay with my cannon. I didn’t have no choice, I was raised right around the corner from where we standin’. Hollow points in it and all of that, I’m ready. We gang bangin’!

[Intro: Lecrae]
My cousin *beep* was a killer
He done pulled a lot of triggers
He done made a lot of mamas cry
And if you ask him why he do it he’d just say, “I’m young and foolish”
Bang on you right before he made them bullets fly

[Verse 1: Lecrae]
He ain’t have no sense of dignity, his daddy was a mystery
He’ll probably end up dead or sittin’ in a penitentary
And tell the judge he can go to hell for the sentence
And it probably make no sense to you but listen to the history:
The new Jim Crow or the old one
People out here fightin’ for equality and honestly I think they owed some
Back and forth some
Cleaver got a message for the people
Bunchy with ’em and they tryna stop the evil
And they cliqued up with they fist up
The whole neighborhood feelin’ like they meant somethin’
Then it was a mix-up, fed’s got ’em fixed up
End of the movement, back to the bricks, bruh
And Raymond Washington about to start the Crips up
They gettin’ bigger every day and tryna fix stuff
They saw Geronimo Pratt dodgin’ bullets from attacks
Guess they figure, “We don’t really want it this much”

[Break 1: Lecrae]
You know originally, the gangs were created to protect everybody in the community. There was lynching and bombing going on and the gangs were there to protect. What people don’t understand is that a lot of the leaders died. Medgar Evers (has been shot), Bunchy Carter (has been shot), Fred Hampton (has been shot), MLK (has been shot in Memphis Tennessee). These youngsters didn’t have any direction. No leaders to look up to so they imploded on themselves

[Verse 2: Lecrae]
They say that Crip stands for Community
Revolutionary Interparty Service
Way before the genocide and the murders
A little after integration was the verdict
When bombs might go off at the Sunday service (baow!)
They protectin’ they community
Then it turn into diplomatic immunity
Then a fight against oppression was the pressin’
Now they keep on losin’ battles and they started losin’ unity
Now they beat each other blue-black
Force fed self hate ’till the truth crack
Got they own folks hidin’ on the rooftops
They ain’t finna take no more, they finna shoot back (baow!)
Now they bond like a family they all bloods
From the concrete jungle to the small hoods
Throwin’ signs up, now the crime’s up
We was meant to kill oppression now we loadin’ 9’s up
But never mind us, grind us
Factory done closed, now a lot of people jobless
Now they got the drugs comin’ in from Nicaragua
Government done turned a blind eye, or they liars

[Break 2: Lecrae]
It was a perfect storm. I mean, we’re talkin’ post-segregation. And what are you gonna do? The factories have closed and no one’s hiring anybody from the urban community because of what you look like. And now there’s a war going on in Nicaragua and drugs are being imported into your community. Are you gonna to sell drugs or are you gonna be homeless? Cause the government’s not paying attention

[Verse 3: Propaganda]
Huh, man you tell me
What’s a reasonable man to say?
There’s a high school in Alabama named after Robert E. Lee And it’s 89% black, you don’t see the irony?
What it do to a psyche, it’s simple, you don’t like me
What I’m ‘posed to do now?
Delusional calling that system criminal justice
Where the rich and the guilty are safer than the poor and the innocent
Why would we listen?
When American churches scuff they Toms on our brother’s dead bodies
As they march to stop gay marriage
We had issues with Planned Parenthood too
We just cared about black lives outside the womb just as much as in
Young man gon’ find purpose somehow
And a nation was at least around
And when them vice lords told him he was of royal descent
And that war on drugs felt much more like war on the poor
He figured forget it
So why don’t you come stay a while?
Tell us that the son of man walked on Egyptian
And Eastern soil and wasn’t just a Western construct
Or master used to control us
But what the Master used to free us
And it was a crooked system just like this that left the King of Kings bloodless
Yeah, we are truly a descendant of a King
Only his reign is infinite
And being right is a distant second to the joy of compassion
Why don’t you come stay a while?