Message To The Messengers Gil Scott-Heron

Message To The Messengers
Gil Scott-Heron

“…Be sure you know the real deal about past situations,
and ain’t just repeatin’ what you heard on the local t.v. stations.
Sometimes they tell lies and put ’em in a truthful disguise.
But the truth is, that’s why we said it wouldn’t be televised.
They don’t know what to say to our young folk, but they know that you do.
And if they really knew the truth, why would they tell you???!!!
The first sign is “Peace.” Tell all them gun-totin’ young brothers
that the ‘man’ is glad to see us out there killin’ one another!!!
We raised too much hell, when they was shootin’ us down,
So they…started poisoning our mind and tried to jerk us all around.
And then they tell us they gotta come in and control our situation.
They want half of us on dope and the other half in incarceration.
If the ones they want dead ain’t killed by what they instigated,
They can…put some dope on the brother’s body and claim it was…
“drug-related.”
Tell ’em “drug-related” means there don’t need to be no investigation,
Or at least that’s the way they gone play it…on the local t.v. station.
All you 9mm brothers, give ’em somethin’ to think about…
Tell ’em you heard that this is the “New Word,”
They gotta work that stuff out!!!
But somehow they feelin’ the wrong way with a gun in they hands.
They feelin’ real independent but they just pullin’ contracts for ‘the man.’
They will tell you it’s hopeless out there on the avenue,
But if they really knew the truth, why would they tell you???
And if they look at you like you insane,
And they…start calling you “Scarecrow” and say you ain’t got no brain
Or start…tellin’ folks that you’ve suddenly gone lame,
Or that…white folks have finally co-opted your game,
Or worst yet, implyin’ that you really don’t know,
That’s the same thang they said ’bout us…a long time ago.
Young rappers, one more suggestion, before I get outta your way.
I appreciate the respect you give to me and what you’ve got to say.
I’m sayin’ “Protect your community and spread that respect around.”
Tell brothers and sisters they gotta calm that bullshit down,
Cuz we terrorizin’ our old folks, and we’ve brought fear into our homes,
And they ain’t gotta hang out with the senior citizens,
Just tell ’em, “Dammit, leave the old folks alone!!!”
And we know who rippin’ off the neighborhoods.
Tell ’em that B.S. has gotsta stop.
Tell ’em you sorry that they can’t handle it out there, but they gotta
take the crime off the block!!!
And if they look at you like they think you insane,
Or start calling you “Scarecrow,” thinkin’ you ain’t got no brain,
Or…start tellin’ folks that you’ve suddenly gone lame,
Or that…white folks have suddenly co-opted your game,
Or worst yet, sayin’ that you really don’t know,
That’s the same thang they said ’bout me a long time ago.
And if they tell folks that you’ve finally lost your nerve
That’s the same thang they said ’bout us, when we said, “Johannesburg!!!”

But I think you young folks need to know that…things don’t go both ways.
You can’t talk respect on every other song or just every other day.
What I’m speakin’ on know is the raps about the women folks:
On one song, she’s your African Queen and on the next one, she a joke.
And you ain’t said no words that I haven’t heard, but that ain’t no
complement.
It only insults 8 people out of 10 and questions your intelligence.
Four letter words or fours syllable words won’t make you a poet,
It will only magnify how shallow you are and let ev’rybody know it.
And if they look at you like they think you’re insane,
Or they call you “Scarecrow,” thinkin’ you ain’t got no brain,
Or…start tellin’ folks that you’ve suddenly gone lame,
Or that the white folks have finally co-opted your game,
Or you really don’t know. They said that ’bout me a long time ago.
If they finally start tellin people that you’ve lost your nerve
That’s what they said ’bout Johannesburg!!!
You ain’t insane…you have got a brain…you haven’t gone lame…you
have got your game!!!
Remember: KEEP THE NERVE, KEEP THE NERVE, KEEP THE NERVE, KEEP THE
NERVE…WE’RE TALKIN’ ‘BOUT P.E.A.C.E.!!!”

 

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