Blog, music

Song Lyric Sunday – The Message

I am waiting on my flight at Boston Logan so what better way to pass the time than to jump in on Song Lyric Sunday. SLS is brought to us each week by Jim Adams from A Unique Title for Me.

This week we have Lean/Sit/Stand for a prompt.


The first song I thought of last week was the song Walk Right In. But, I have been on a women’s retreat and noticed John Holton snagged that song and did a right fine job with it. So, I felt compelled to dig into the memory banks and see what I could come up with.

The song that surfaced is The Message, co-written by Melle Mel and
Ed “Duke Bootee” Fletcher, performed by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. This song became an anthem for the inner city struggle in the 1980s and stays relevant today. Many believe everything this song changed the direction of Rap music.

There was a struggle surrounding the writing and rightful credit to the song. I can not do it justice so I will refer you to this article if you are interested.

I was living in Alaska when this song came out and I had a lot of African America friends. I think I heard it for the first time when we went out one night and my friends took me to a “private club” which was predominately African American. I did not know such places existed which was one of my early acknowledgements of the cultural divides that can exist among the closest of friends.

This song holds special meaning for me.

 

The Lyrics from Songfacts.com:

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

Broken glass everywhere
People pissin’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care
I can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away but I couldn’t get far
Cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car

[Chorus]
Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

Standin’ on the front stoop hangin’ out the window
Watchin’ all the cars go by, roarin’ as the breezes blow
Crazy lady, livin’ in a bag
Eatin’ outta garbage pails, used to be a fag hag
Said she’ll dance the tango, skip the light fandango
A Zircon princess seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peep show watchin’ all the creeps
So she can tell her stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got so so seditty
She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own

[Chorus]

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

My brother’s doin’ bad, stole my mother’s TV
Says she watches too much, it’s just not healthy
All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night
Can’t even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors, they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I’m not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Can’t take the train to the job, there’s a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin’ on my back
Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I’m goin’ insane
I swear I might hijack a plane!

[Chorus]

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

A child is born with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smilin’ on you but he’s frownin’ too
Because only God knows what you’ll go through
You’ll grow in the ghetto livin’ second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alleyway
You’ll admire all the number-book takers
Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money-makers
Drivin’ big cars, spendin’ twenties and tens
And you’ll wanna grow up to be just like them, huh
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpocket peddlers, even panhandlers
You say I’m cool, huh, I’m no fool
But then you wind up droppin’ outta high school
Now you’re unemployed, all non-void
Walkin’ round like you’re Pretty Boy Floyd
Turned stick-up kid, but look what you done did
Got sent up for a eight-year bid
Now your manhood is took and you’re a Maytag
Spend the next two years as a undercover fag
Bein’ used and abused to serve like hell
Til one day, you was found hung dead in the cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young so

[Chorus]

It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under

 


Jim Adams provides the weekly topics that serve as the inspiration for Song Lyric Sunday. Check out his blog for the rules and read some of the other contributions in the comments section.

11 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – The Message”

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