Jun 192007

Två av rap-genrens främsta mästerverk gjorde plats för ojämförligt historieberättande.

“I’m deep down in the back streets – in the heart of Medina
About to set off something more deep than a misdemeanor
Under the subway, waiting for the train to make noise
So I can blast a nigga and his boys”

“There’s no need for us to spray up the scene
I use less men, more powerful shit for my team
Like my man Muhammad from Afghanistan
Grew up in Iran, the nigga runs a neighborhood newsstand
A wild Middle Eastern, bomb specialist
Intiated, at eleven to be a terrorist
He set bombs in bottles of champagne
And when niggaz popped the cork, niggaz lost half they brains”

“His idols would lock down airports and extort
some import, catchin ten percent of what the fiends snort
Up in the ski resorts, up in hills
They move keys and had skis making drops on snowmobiles
The plan was to expand, catch seven figures, release triggers
And live large and bigger than my nigga
Who promised his moms a mansion with mad rooms
She died, and he still put a hundred grand in her tomb
Open wounds, he hid behind closed doors
And still organized his crime and drug wars”

“Mafia flicks, tyin up tricks was his main hobby
Teachin his seed Wu-Tang karate
Mixin drinks in clubs, hairy chest with many minks
Night time rollin with spics
Extra live, he claimed he couldn’t die, top rank
Took sixteen shots in his fist to bank
And his pet piranha, he named him marijuana
Smokin ganja, callin his weed paisandra
Claimin New York was ancient Babylon
Where the sky stayed the color of grey, like her-oin
I can’t front though, truck loads of endo
Soon to blow slow, his ass is out now, tally-hoe”

Hjältesagan är som som så ofta i rap-genren den unga crack-entrepenörens hänsynslösa expansion, men trots att Wu-Tang gjort det här sedan mitten av 90-talet (eller kanske just därför) blir det inte stereotypt eller tjatigt. Det finns en bildskärpa här, ett öga för detaljer och ett hjärta för sluminvånarna som särskiljer Wu-Tang från senare kommen kokain-rap. GZA frågar sig vad som egentligen är “the meaning of C.R.I.M.E.? Is it Criminals Robbing Innocent Motherfuckers Every time?

Ett generellt exempel på rap-musik som porträtterar den urbana kokain-epedemin inifrån begränsar sig vanligtvis till att uppfylla ett falskt krav på street cred och äkthet. För Raekwon, GZA, Ghost, Deck och de andra berättare som utmärkt sig i The Wu-Tang Family Saga är detta inte något att oroa sig för. När de sätter sig ner med penna och papper är det inte för att tillfredsställa radions begär efter thug-poser, istället är det med ambitionen att regissera filmer lika episka som de klassiker som kommit från Scorcese, Coppola, Sergio Leone.

På Day One utmärker sig P.R. Terrorist från Killarmy med starka bilder i den i genren så vanliga uppväxt-terapin:

“We was kids back then, you was my only friend,
playing cowboys and indians with coat-hangers.
Now the only thing i tuck in my coat is crome bangers”

Inspectah Deck gjorde gjorde dock detta allra bäst. Hela hans vers på C.R.E.A.M. är värd att citera och lyssna på en gång till.

“It’s been twenty-two long hard years and still strugglin
Survival got me buggin, but I’m alive on arrival
I peep at the shape of the streets
And stay awake to the ways of the world cause shit is deep
A man with a dream with plans to make C.R.E.A.M.
Which failed; I went to jail at the age of 15
A young buck sellin drugs and such who never had much
Trying to get a clutch at what I could not… could not…
The court played me short, now I face incarceration
Pacin — going up state’s my destination
Handcuffed in back of a bus, forty of us
Life as a shorty shouldn’t be so ruff
But as the world turns I learned life is hell
Living in the world no different from a cell
Everyday I escape from Jakes givin chase, sellin base
Smokin bones in the staircase
Though I don’t know why I chose to smoke sess
I guess that’s the time when I’m not depressed
But I’m still depressed, and I ask what’s it worth?
Ready to give up so I seek the Old Earth
Who explained working hard may help you maintain
to learn to overcome the heartaches and pain
We got stickup kids, corrupt cops, and crack rocks
and stray shots, all on the block that stays hot
Leave it up to me while I be living proof
To kick the truth to the young black youth
But shorty’s running wild smokin sess drinkin beer
And ain’t trying to hear what I’m kickin in his ear
Neglected, but now, but yo, it gots to be accepted
That what? That life is hectic”

(One of the greatest groups in music ever.)

Det är sällan Method Man kör något utöver punch-lines, men när han gör det är det sällsynt bra. På A Better Tomorrow kör han en av de bästa Wu-verserna någonsin.

“No longer, brothers, we unstable
Like Kane when he slew Abel, killing each other

You can’t party your life away
Drink your life away
Smoke your life away
Fuck your life away
Dream your life away
Scheme your life away
Cause your seeds grow up the same way”

Den som mest av alla liknar Marvin Gaye och de andra stora sångarna från yesteryear är såklart Ghostface, vilket man förstår när man lyssnar på Impossible, eller Jah World.

“Oh God, I beg for forgiveness
So help me Lord, yes I beg for forgiveness
Deep in my heart, please, I’m crying for forgiveness
Allah U Akbar, I fall to my knees for forgiveness
Branded by the steel iron, bullets flying
Ladies being hit through wickedness, I’m losing my grip
I thought we lived by the books, The Bible, Koran
We pick cotton, my back is still hot and dark and
They threw burners in our babies’ faces
Pale hands that looked scary touched our bodies in the strangest places
Sweat from the white man’s head
Fell on our daughters as she cried, giving white man head, almighty
Alrighty, niggaz is screwing
God won’t you tell me why these ho niggaz is screwing? I’m sorry father, sacrifice me, leave me wife Sacrifice me twice, so my kids can see paradise

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