From Niall Gibney, Community Development Assistant
What do you think? Is this rap or is this poetry? I’m a young lad who is much more interested in lyrics and music than I am in 300 year old poems. I’m not in the minority when I say that either. Of course ‘gangster rap’, which is the music of choice for most of our country’s urban youth, is not the best as it glamorises western commercialism, violence, a certain attitude towards women and so on and so forth…Realistically though if the mainstream were to replace the meaningless rap which we have today for a different revolutionary style of rap with positive words over a beat which makes the younger (or older) person still feel ‘cool’ and instead of sitting on the back of the bus with their hood up singing the latest Jay Z and Kanye West song’s with lyrics such as:
“Tears on the mauseoleum floor, Blood stains the coliseum doors, Lies on the lips of a priest, Thanksgiving disguised as a feast, Rollin’ in the Rolls-Royce Corniche, Only the doctors got this, I’m hidin’ from police, Cocaine seats, All white like I got the whole thing bleached, Drug dealer chic”
they could be listening along to lyrics which make them think about their current situation, and how to change it.
When you’re impressionable like that – I’m thinking of me for example when I was 17 or 18, this music, when mixed in with the street life you live which is so different than most of our mainstream society –and it is YOU who are the underclass that gets villainised on the News and in the Media in general, for what? Because you wear Nike trainers? Because you have short hair? Should we change ourselves in the hope we get accepted by a new section of society while turning our backs on what we know? And at the same time our own family and life-long friends? The fact is the way we are is in our culture the same way tossing a caber is in a Scotch man’s culture – But this particular and very new section of our culture could be turned from a negative one in to a positive one. We don’t need to be given pollution to listen to do we? We need jobs! We need a real chance of getting on the property ladder! We need free University level education! Not nine grand a year – who do I know that can afford that? Even if it is a loan, a loan is debt, and debt is slavery. Why do the people at the top want to flood impressionable minds with things which are ultimately bad for us? Now I’m not saying we’re all perfect, we’re not – a lot of young lads from by mine have been up to no good, I’ve done things which I’m not happy about – But if I had been the exact same person brought up in a different environment would I have been anywhere near as bad in my past? I don’t think so, in fact I know this for a fact.
For me, anyone who tries to reach out to the UK’s forgotten youths in the worst areas of the country in my book is a gem. We at The Reader Organisation are trying to reach out to people through our Apprenticeship Programme and also through going to working class areas such as Fazakerley or Toxteth in Liverpool, or Glasgow in Scotland, and trying to change their attitudes towards words, poems and books. The only difference between us and people like the young man in the above video is that we’re reciting other people’s words out loud and he is rapping his own words out loud – not much difference, what matters is the positivity brought about through the use of words. So, SGB, you carry on with your rapping revolution and we’ll carry on with our Reading Revolution.