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RANT 21

Art Speaks Up
Assessing Heavy Metal And Hip-Hop

Duane G. Aubin


Foreword:

This rant is quite special, and not only because it is by far the longest I have received to date. The text is brilliantly written and well documented. For those who are not familiar with this type of article, the names in brackets refer to the "List of Works Cited" at the bottom of the page.

What makes this rant special is that it highlights the positive aspects of a genre metallers (me included) tend to despise, namely "Rap". This "Rap shit", as Nicko so subtly put it in one of his rants, is here presented as a form of art, and in a pretty convincing manner. If it won't convert metallers (me included once again) to Hip-Hop, it probably will change the way we look at this particular style and maybe encourage more tolerance on our part.

One last thing I wanted to add is that I do NOT endorse the religious lyrics written by the author in the appendix. As an atheist this kind of things tend to make me cringe, but I do respect people who have different beliefs from mine as long as they don't harm anyone. Once again open-mindedness and tolerance are key factors that should make our little planet a better place to live in.

Maverick


Art Speaks Up
Assessing Heavy Metal And Hip-Hop

Duane G. Aubin

"If modern art is sometimes shrill, it is not the fault of the artist alone.
We all tend to raise our voices when we speak to persons who are getting deaf.
"
Edgar Wind

Having spent time discovering what art is, and the variety in manifestation that yet retains a code of consistence down through time and across cultures, I hope that I've calibrated my ability to discuss the artistic merit, if any, in heavy metal and hip-hop. Assessing heavy metal and hip-hop requires assessing their musical history, lyrical content, visual language, and criticism, all of which form essential components of the wholeness of each genre, and together demonstrate clearly that both forms indeed have worthy seats at the table of art discussion.

Heavy metal is an evolutionary product of pop, blues and "classical" music. Its first wave, between 1967 and 1974, was a product of pop and blues, while the classical element came to the fore in 1978. Rock historians tend to find that the influence of white pop gives heavy metal its escape-from-reality fantasy side ("...I got a new girl now...") while African-American blues gives heavy metal its naked reality side ("...since my baby left me..."), [Weinstein, 11]. In my mind, heavy metal crystallizes in the British bands Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in 1970, an idea strongly supported [Walser, 10], although I failed to recognize that Deep Purple also shares this honour. In fact, the history of heavy metal (from its precursors to the last branch before the crystallization of thrash/speed/death metal in the late 1980s), is pushed forward by three 3 main British invasions: Beatles & Rolling Stones in the 60s; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple in the 70s; and Iron Maiden in the 80s (from which sprouted thrash and its mutations eg Metallica, Slayer) and Def Leppard (from which sprouts "glam" metal eg Motley Crue, Ratt etc.).

But they were crystallizing musical ideas aswirl in the blues of Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, and Jimi Hendrix, the most virtuosic rock guitarist of the 1960s. The debt of heavy metal to African American music has vanished from most accounts of the genre, just as black history has been suppressed in every other field, [Walser, 9].

"Heavy metal, like all forms of rock and soul, owes its biggest debt to African-American blues," [Walser, 57]. As the original expression of Sabbath/Zeppelin-influenced heavy metal distorted into punk or seceded to disco in the mid to late 1970s, an appropriation of "classical" music would fuel the development of heavy metal maturity. More on that later.

If the audio/thematic components of heavy metal are predominantly blues-influenced, then the visual component is predominantly pop-influenced. The themes of darkness, evil, power, and apocalyptic are fantastic language for addressing the reality of life's problems. Further, in reaction to the "peace and love" of the 1960s, heavy metal develops as a counterpoint culture, where light is supplanted by darkness, and the "happy ending" nature of pop is ripped away and replaced by the naked reality that things don't always work out in this world. But truly, the medium of darkness is not the message, although critics would seize upon the medium and accuse heavy metal artists as spreading a message of darkness.

All too often, criticism is sacked by the very lyrics cited in the attack. Before I was interested in heavy metal music, a friend of mine invited me to go to an Iron Maiden concert with him. I said "no, they encourage abortion!", a reference to a song called 'Two Minutes to Midnight in which they sing "...to kill the unborn in the womb." Low and behold, 'Two Minutes to Midnight' is a lament of the state of human condition bringing us to the brink of self-destruction, very passionate, insightful and thought-provoking ideas, expressed in the language and with the symbolism and imagery indigenous to the heavy metal culture. Here is a bigger snippet than the one by which I (wrongly) judged them:

We oil the jaws of the war machine and feed it with our babies.
As the madmen play on words and make us all dance to their song,
To the tunes of starving millions to make a better kind of gun.

Clearly, heavy metal themes are more grave than the "let's go to the hop" fluff of the 1950s, when rock and roll came into being. Commentary on war, nuclear annihilation, environmental issues, political and religious propaganda and such are standard in heavy metal. Black Sabbath's 'War Pigs' ("...in the fields a body's burning, as the war machine keeps turning..."), Ozzy Osbourne's 'Killer of Giants' ("...if none of us believed in war, then can you tell me what the weapons' for?/Listen to me everyone, if the button gets pushed there'll be no where to run...") are just two of many serious contributions to the discussion of the state of affairs. As aforementioned, many artistic forms come together in an artistic rhapsody of focus and purpose in heavy metal. It's unfortunate that, in most discussions of heavy metal I've heard, especially among those who would criticize it, the poetic element is scarce acknowledged. (See the appendix for some samples of the gravity of theme and the poetic merit in heavy metal lyrics). For those young fans who could hardly pay attention in history class, heavy metal music positioned itself to disseminate commentary on the happenings. Again, as art reflects and influences society, heavy metal did indeed play its role.

I am interested in lyrics. Two of my favourite bands are Iron Maiden and Rush, who are "highly esteemed for their eloquent and meaning-charged lyrics," [Weinstein, 123]. Studies have shown that the average metal fan may know the lyrics, but not understand or be able to explain the meaning of the lyrics [124-125]. Indeed, for many, "...we can thus identify with a song…because it is the voice, not the lyrics, to which we immediately respond," [26]. I am immediately reminded of the abstract brush strokes of Barnett Newman and others that don't necessarily represent "something" but evoke emotional response in the viewer. Thus, we may suggest that heavy metal music has translated abstract visuals into abstract sound.

The appropriation of classical music is "...specific and consistent: Bach, not Mozart; Paganini rather than Liszt..." such that "we must ask: if we don't understand his influence on the music of Ozzy Osbourne or Bon Jovi, do we really understand Bach as well as we thought we did?" [Walser, 63]. Thus, heavy metal enters the discourse on the enduring nature of music.

Two talents of Bach stand out as significant in the discussion of heavy metal, and his influence upon it. "The significance of Bach's music is due in large part to the scope of his intellect... He was able to understand and use every resource of musical language that was available in the baroque era," [Encarta]. Jimi Hendrix experimented with the sounds and effects that amplifier distortion offered, Led Zeppelin used violins and cellos in their music, and the legacy of Bach lives on. Heavy metal's experimentation with different instruments, sounds and technologies is directly descended from his approach. In the spirit of a pioneering Bach, who greatly expanded the range of music by using his thumbs at the keyboard, Eddie Van Halen expanded the range of the guitar, and heavy metal music, by his innovative "hammer-on" method, using the pick hand to "tap" on the fretboard.

Also, "...when a text was associated with the music, Bach could write musical equivalents of verbal ideas," [Encarta]. Especially as heavy metal uses themes of apocalyptic and images of power and darkness, the ability to translate verbal ideas into musical ideas that successfully convey the ideas of the words is critical to heavy metal authenticity and credibility. An excellent example of this is the theme album Powerslave, by Iron Maiden. The cover is of a dramatic Egyptian pyramid scene, and many of the songs on the album have subject matter that requires a sound suggestive of life and death, including a song entitled 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', based on the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Pop music is unable to do this, for pop by its nature can't be all that serious, while heavy metal can deal with lighter subjects as well as the serious ones. Thus, heavy metal has a broader scope and capacity to address more of the human experience, sharing the range of emotional expression that we hear in the work of such composers as Tchaikovsky or Grieg. Ultimately, we see clearly that, to be successful in this critical component of the heavy metal code, technical and artistic insights are paramount.

The explosion of guitar virtuosity founded in the leadership of pioneer Jimi Hendrix a music generation earlier was ushered to the fore by Eddie Van Halen, and many consider his 1978 solo appropriately called 'Eruption' as the significant new dawn in heavy metal history. Ritchie Blackmore (formerly of pioneer Deep Purple), Randy Rhodes (w/ pioneer Ozzy Osbourne formerly of Black Sabbath) and Yngwie Malmsteen would solidify this explosion. All of a sudden, classical guitars, even nylon-stringed guitars, were commonplace at heavy metal concerts, and classical icons such as Liona Boyd became associated with the heavy metal stars as peers in a newly diverse guitar fraternity where conservative and aggressive guitarists could come together to "trade licks" (recently MP3.com featured a collection of Ms. Boyd's music which featured her collaboration with such rock stars as Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and the great Eric Clapton, as further evidence of the "open" associations that cross musical genre divisions among the respective leaders).

This explosion would cool down in the music of Ronnie James Dio (who himself had a tenure at lead vocals with the legendary Black Sabbath) and continue to settle towards Iron Maiden, who is, in my opinion, the final expression of pure heavy metal in the lineage of the "grandfathers" – Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. After Maiden, metal would push the limits of aggressive loudness in thrash metal, speed metal, black metal and death metal, and return full circle through the vanity of the Los Angeles scene's "glam" or pop metal lead by Mötley Crüe, to a popish romantic metal of Bon Jovi, before its energy dissipated altogether and "alternative" (or "grunge") evolved out of Seattle in the work of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

The influence of classical music on Van Halen and Rhoads helped heavy metal adopt "...a new professionalism, with theory, analysis, pedagogy, and technical rigor acquiring new importance," [Walser, 84]. We have discussed that skills themselves do not constitute art, but art demands the perfecting of skills. Rob Halford, vocalist for Judas Priest, shares his opinion of the question:

This might sound like a bizarre statement, but I don't think playing heavy metal is that far removed from classical music. To do either, you have to spend many years developing your style and your art; whether you're a violinist or a guitarist, it still takes the same belief in your form of music to achieve and create. It is very much a matter of dedication…this is a very, very professional style of music.
[Walser, 106].

Heavy metal, as an art form, is more than just music. It is as much visual as it is audible. Album covers and stage shows are almost as important to the presentation of the material as the music itself. Thus, through heavy metal, many artists collaborate to produce a menu of experiences in each piece, offering a wider range of experiences to the audience. In this respect, heavy metal becomes perhaps "more" of an art than any single form. Whereas a painting is experienced visually, while a symphony is an audible experience, a band's "image" and the common theme that binds all their music is expressed in the artwork on the album, the set of the stage, the tone of the lyrics, and the sound of the music.

There are many similarities between the code of heavy metal and the code of hip-hop, such that the collaboration of heavy metal and hip-hop artists has become common, ever since Run DMC worked with Aerosmith, and Chuck D worked with Anthrax and U2. While it's been shown that the heavy metal artist has substance in their lyrics, the hip-hop presentation tells the story of a different reality, a different experience. Both genres explore the adolescent process of discovery that the world is not what it seems, and reality is more often hopeless than hopeful, certainly more dark than light. Both genres expressly point the finger at the establishment as accountable for the lies and deceit, for the destruction and hopelessness.

Musically, hip-hop is a product of the melding of blues, jazz and a vocal style called "rap", a variation of the "scat" vocal instrumentalization found in jazz, where the voice doesn't sing words, but rather acts as another soloing and accompanying instrument. The interesting thing about rap is that it is the exact opposite. Whereas "scat" is "music without words", rap is "words without music" – that is, words are spoken, not sung, so that the emphasis is on thought, rhyme and rhythm. This style is an inheritance from West Africa. Hip-hop is only the most recent branch of a tree shared by reggae, motown, rhythm and blues, whose roots span back through gospel, blues, and jazz to oral traditions in West Africa. Of this modern form, Chuck D calls it a "Formula", [248], suggesting an almost scientifically constant application.

A study of hip-hop invariably turns to the socio-political import of its expression, and the rap style is perfect for emphasizing thoughts and ideas of gravity, which captures the essence of hip-hop.

Like heavy metal, hip-hop appropriates and integrates "other" music into it, and is thus shaped by those appropriations. The way in which hip-hop does this is somewhat different, however. Instruments are not necessary for the hip-hop live presentation, music is crafted in the studios, and the artist raps over the recordings, which are mixed live by an on-stage "dj" who is part of the group. In addition to creating original music for a song, a group at times will appropriate other music in the form of "sampling", which some would simplistically consider "copying". I don't believe it is as much copying as it is demonstrating a new way to appreciate the music that had come before. The hip-hop artist in sampling previous work and developing a new interpretation of the thoughts and feelings of the previous artist, an interpretation that is relevant to the current time. In so doing, the hip-hop artist is creating a bridge, a link to the musical past, a "tip of the hat" to those who have gone before, who built up the heritage that we today inherit. No other music has given second careers to artists who had faded away a generation ago, only to be returned to the spotlight as a new generation of youth sing the songs they wrote 20 and 30 years before (eg Lauryn Hill's rendition of 'Killing Me Softly With His Song' had the original version getting as much radio play as her new hit). Whereas young people were alienated from their parent's music in other genres, the hip-hop fan is ready to "listen" to the music of the past, and the parent of the hip-hop fan is able to see the musical integrity in their children's heroes who are playing the same songs they played in their "hey day". This readiness is much closer to the surface of the hip-hop fan than it is to that of the heavy metal fan, who will listen to Van Halen, but may not make the connection to Bach until an Yngwie Malmsteen comes along and blindsides the listener with music that seems more like metal influenced classical than classical influenced metal.

The poetic element of the hip-hop lyric is by far the most important element of the genre. The "rhyme" must have a freshness, a kick, an overt meatiness to it, but it must also have a poetic dexterity, a way with words (see appendix for a sample of raps, including my own entitled 'Bless Me Father'). The poetic element is so important that rap acts that have a "fresh" form yet have little substance sell more records than significant statements that are stylistically "tired".

For me however, the value of hip-hop is represented in the body of literature that seems to contain an 80–20 split, where 20% of the material discusses the musical value of hip-hop, while the 80% is concerned with the sociopolitical import. What is unfortunate is that black music in America is up against a heritage of criticism that is not based on objective technical evaluation, or on an honest respect for the cultural fibre of the genre. Weinstein, in assessing the anti-black sentiment that established early rock and roll criticism, observed the prevailing belief that

rock and roll was believed to be infecting white youth with the supposed moral laxity of blacks... KKK posters in 1955 sent such messages as "Help save the youth of America: Don't buy Negro records. The screaming idiotic words and savage music... are undermining the morals of our white youth in America." This was largely a replication of the conservative response to jazz after WWII,
[p.245].

Both heavy metal and hip-hop share a "low caste", looked down upon as lesser, less serious music, by the establishment whose musical preference are considered "high" musical forms. Historically speaking, both heavy metal and hip-hop share their low caste with some of the those very musicians who occupy the high designation now, hundreds of years after they were ostracized and misunderstood, and considered low by the establishment under which they wrote and performed.

As for my definition of art, both heavy metal and hip-hop meet the various criteria. Skill – which I've agreed does not constitute art but is required in the constitution of art – is very clearly evident in both genres. The deliberate effort to make a statement is clear in both, but I am compelled to comment further on the value of hip-hop in this area.

Rapper Ice-T once said that "albums are meant to be put in a time capsule... so that when you look back you can say that's the total reflection of that time," [D, 144]. For much of western history, black history is obscured at best, and non-existent for the most part. Arts that influence and remain call attention to the culture that produced the art. Even though most will think "Elvis" when they think 1950s rock n roll, those who know musical history will know that Elvis' music was no more than what Chuck Berry and Little Richard had established earlier, except that it was now packaged in a more acceptable personification.

Expressing ideas is the main motive of most rap artists. On this basis, I have my own caste system, preferring that artist whose body of work has intelligent messages over those who are predominantly entertainers with little to say. Indeed, Bernard Donaldson asserts unequivocally that "Rap music is one of the most powerful tools that we as African-Americans have to communicate our opinions and feelings to the African-American community and throughout the world," [Round]; as such, I think opportunities to be heard are not to be squandered on "fluff". My caste system may be faulty as well.

As I've discussed at varying levels since the beginning of the unit, black history has been obscured. Since identity stems from culture, and culture is developed out of the past, a people without history is a people without culture. A people without culture is a species of sub-human, animals that exist at the biological level only, without a place at the table of the human experience. To obscure culture and history is to dehumanize. To rediscover culture and history is to re-humanize. Hip-hop is a critical component for this re-humanization process; other forms of music – jazz, blues, gospel, reggae, rock and roll, etc. – have their contribution to make to the black experience, and hip-hop is simply taking its right place among the other respected genres.

To this end, "the most important development for rap music in the late 1980s was the fact it became more political, and serious messages about life in urban black neighbourhoods replaced the emphasis on nonsensical party type lyrics," [Round]. The media brushes the urban poor under the rug of social consciousness, and hip-hop screams out "hey, we are people up in here being judged by outsiders while our conditions are far below theirs." According to musicologist Rod Gruver, "...life for the lower-class Negro in America in the early 1900s was completely characterized by a sense of alienation," so that

He had no place to go, no one to turn to. He had no country, no home, no ideology, no art to call his own. History had forced upon him the awful realization that if a black man wanted to have a home of his own in America, he would have to create it himself out of elements of his own culture.
(Lerhman).

Chuck D, leader of Public Enemy, perhaps the most prominent public intellectual to function within and beyond hip-hop, expresses this continued alienation of the minority experience in White America. He quotes abolitionist Frederick Douglass' Fourth of July lament delivered in 1852, when he said "I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary... the sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice. I must mourn," [199]. Chuck D expressed this discontent in his song 'Ain't Nuttin' ButterSong', addressing "The Star-Spangled Banner", (see appendix).

Obviously, there is lyrical content in both heavy metal and hip-hop that are tasteless, crude, or even clearly disgusting. Heavy metal detractors spend plenty of time commenting on the sexism, sexuality, exploitation of women and suicidal lyrics found in heavy metal, while hip-hop detractors have their hands full of depictions of violence, and lyrically graphic presentations of sexual exploitation of women. Yet, to hoist these as the best representations the genres have to offer is no more fair than to take a sample of the human population from the nearest state prison. Again, as art reflects reality, indeed as both heavy metal and hip-hop share a heritage in the reality of blues, there will be a representation of the darker side of the human experience, just as there is in the movies we watch and the news we digest. In Chuck's own words, "It's a serious situation when art not only imitates life, but life imitates art. When that takes place, you have art that dictates as well as reflects," [250].

Consider such empassioned lyrics as these, as punctuated:

Everytime I open my eyes, I thank God for wakin this soldier
Cause in this cruel world its hard to walk these streets being sober
It hurts tryin to get over all the weight on my shoulders
Me used to babysitters buyin boulders
It's all on me to really except that I lost my brother
And to be strong and just to go on since we share the same mother
Pillows and covers can't smother the pain that I have
Sometimes I feel like I lost my better half, so sad
But that's the way of the ghetto, see your life is 'ready made
It's an accomplishment to pass eighth grade
See hate, they hate my city, givin us the pushers and tramps
For highs, sellin they book of food stamps
At night I light the porch lamp until my lil cousin came in
Cuz I can't afford to lose another kin
The life of living is thin, you could lose it if it came today
Rained away, you be wonderin how to take the pain away.

(verse by Silkk the Shocker, 'Take my Pain').

I might even suggest that, if this is a representation of the average reality out of which hip-hop emerges, then hip-hop music, although it is "angry black voices" [D, 250], is a music of hope. That such pain and suffering can be rendered in music a is a triumph of the human spirit, especially from a people for whom the title "human" was assumed, but has had to be earned.

As a final representation of all these issues, consider the following lyrics by Tupac Shakur:

Sometimes when I'm alone I Cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confide in,
I would cry among my treasured friend,
But who do you know that stops that long,
To help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,
So painful and sad. And sometimes...
I Cry and no one cares about why.

Tupac was a very controversial rapper and actor (movies include Juice and Poetic Justice). According to what may just be urban legend, Tupac was born in jail to a drug addict mother. He rose to lead the "West Coast, gangsta rap" style in the mid 1990s before being murdered in 1996. While some unreasonably expect that celebrities can leave "where they come from" and live the Hollywood life, rap artists are well known for their ability to become celebrities known the world over, yet remain very much in touch with, and often even at one with, the ebb and flow of the very communities from which they came. Tupac was very vocal, and had numerous run-ins with the law. While he played up his "bad boy" image, yet his lyrics demonstrate an intelligent, introspective pathos, and other lyrics not quoted here offer almost a prophetic foreshadowing of his young demise, although in the common position, all black males from the inner city are "scheduled" for death of unnatural causes.

I looked forward to discussing whether heavy metal and hip-hop are art, and I think my findings bear out my original hypothesis that they are indeed. At least, to me they do. But, if they are art, and even if they are cast in the same die as the innovative artists who went before, the sheer "in your faceness" of these forms may cause us to ask, "if this is where art is at, where is it going?" I close my studies pondering that very question.

Duane G. Aubin
Toronto, Canada
July 2000 [Submitted to the Iron Maiden Commentary 28th September 2001

[Back to Index]


APPENDIX

'Run to the Hills' – Iron Maiden

White man came across the sea
Brought us pain and misery
Killed our tribes killed our creed
Took our game for his own need

We fought him hard we fought him well
Out on the plains we gave him hell
But many came too much for Cree
Oh will we ever be set free?

Riding through dustclouds and barren wastes
Galloping hard on the plains
Chasing the redskins back to their holes
Fighting them at their own game
Murder for freedom a stab in the back
Women and children and cowards attack

    Run to the hills run for your lives
    Run to the hills run for your lives

Soldier blue on the barren wastes
Hunting and killing their game
Raping the women and wasting the men
The only good Indians are tame
Selling them whisky and taking their gold
Enslaving the young and destroying the old

    Run to the hills run for your lives
    (repeat to end)

'The Trooper' – Iron Maiden

You'll take my life but I'll take yours too
You'll fire your musket but I'll run you through
So when you're waiting for the next attack
You'd better stand there's not turning back.
The Bugle sounds and the charge begins
But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath
As I plunge on into certain death.

The horse he sweats with fear we break to run
The mighty roar of the Russian guns
And as we race towards the human wall
The screams of pain as my comrades fall.
We hurdle bodies that lay on the ground
And the Russians fire another round
We get so near yet so far away
We won't live to fight another day.

We get to close near enough to fight
When a Russian gets me in his sights
He pulls the trigger and i feel the blow
A burst of rounds take my horse below.
And as I lay there gazing at the sky
My body's numb and my throat is dry
And as I lay forgotten and alone
Without a tear I draw my parting groan

 

'The Trees' – Rush

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.
The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.
There is trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream "Oppression!"
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

 

'War Pigs' – Ozzy Osbourne

Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerers of death's construction
In the fields the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds,
Oh lord yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait 'till their judgement day comes, yeah!

Now in darkness, world stops turning
Ashes where the bodies burning
No more war pigs of the power
Hand of god has struck the hour
Day of judgement, god is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan, laughing, spreads his wings
Oh lord yeah!

 

'Killer of Giants' – Ozzy Osbourne

If none of us believe in war
Then can you tell me what the weapon's for
Listen to me everyone
If the button is pushed there'll be nowhere to run
Giants sleeping, giants winning wars within their dreams
Till they wake when it's too late and in god's name blaspheme

Killer of giants threatens us all
Mountains of madness standing so tall
Marches of protest not stopping the war
Or the killer of giants
The killer of giants

Mother nature - people state your case without its worth
Your seas run dry your sleepless eyes are turning red alert

Killer of giants threatens us all
Mountains of madness standing so tall
Rising so proudly it has nowhere to fall
This killer of giants
This killer of giants

Killer of giants threatens us all
Mountains of madness standing so tall
Marches of protest not stopping the war
Oh the killer of giants
Oh the killer of giants

Killer of giants
Killer of giants

Killer of giants

 

'Disposable Heroes' – Metallica

Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end
No one to play soldier now, no one to pretend
Running blind through killing fields, bred to kill them all
Victim of what said should be, a servant `til I fall

    [Chorus:]
    Soldier boy, made of clay
    Now an empty shell
    Twenty one, only son
    But he served us well
    Bred to kill, not to care
    Just do as we say
    Finished here, greeting Death
    He's yours to take away

Back to the front
You will do what I say, when I say
Back to the front
You will die when I say, you must die
Back to the front
You coward
You servant
You blindman

Barking of machine gun fire, does nothing to me now
Sounding of the clock that ticks, get used to it somehow
More a man, more stripes you bare, glory seeker trends
Bodies fill the fields I see
The slaughter never ends

    [Chorus]

Why, Am I dying?
Kill, have no fear
Lie, live off lying
Hell, Hell is here
I was born for dying

Life planned out before my birth, nothing could I say
Had no chance to see myself, molded day by day
Looking back I realize, nothing have I done
Left to die with only friend, alone I clench my gun

    [Chorus]

Back to the front

 

'Bless Me Father' – Duane Aubin

Considering the action, of addition and subtraction,
God sent His son, and brought Him back and that's a fact.

Shunned the Pharisees, for holding man's tradition
– He was a man on a mission.
He was offering salvation to every nation,
Bringing cessation to the oblations.

His demonstration of a life that was righteous might just cause
The sinning soul to put an end to the fight.
Just surrender, give in to the whisper of the Spirit, and when
You hear it, you've got to adhere to it.

Do it, go through it, whereever He leads you.
You don't just need God, your God He needs you.
To prove to the world that the truth is what's He's saying,
The judgment's one hour, there's no time for playing.

Soon there'll be time no longer, we've got to be getting stronger.
If you want to be in that number when the roll is called up yonder,

Say you'll be there, make it your prayer to see Him face to face,
He can keep us all from falling and without a trace of sin

Present us faultless with exceeding joy.
Although the devil is crafty and is full of ploys,
On Christ you can depend, He'll be your best friend.
His Spirit He said He'd send, to be with us 'till the end.

Sin and temptation the world's greatest woe.
Just like with drugs we just have to say no and
Go and tell the world to behold the Lord (Word!),
Quicken and establish with a two-edged sword.

God wants to turn our stony hearts to flesh,
Don't believe what some people say, the new life in Him is fresh.

[Chorus:]

Bless me Father, to reach Your sheep,
For whom You could only weep, because not all You could keep.

The one's you can, though, give me strength to find.
To feed the hungry and bring sight to the blind.

Soon and very soon we're going to see the King.
The victory song we'll sing. And it will have a nice ring.

Echoing in the valleys. Sweeping across the plains.
Trembling in the mountains of every domain.

Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess
That Jesus is the best, His name forever be blessed.

[Chorus]

 

'Ain't Nuttin ButterSong'; an excerpt – Chuck D

I always thought dat power
Was to the people, we the people
O say can I see we ain't the people
When I pledge allegiance
I shoulda got a ticka 1st grade/2nd grade
I shoulda just kicked a
Verse that worked
In the middle of class
Instead of singin' bout bombs
Like a dumb - - -
Land of the free
Home of the brave
And hell with us niggas and slaves
That shoulda been the last line
Of a song that's wrong from the get
So when everybody stand
I sit.

[Back to Index]


LIST OF WORKS CITED

  • "Bach, Johann Sebastian" Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99

  • D, Chuck. Fight the Power: Rap, Race and Reality. New York: Delacorte Press, 1997.

  • Bari Lehrman Music as a Medium of Discontent: a comparative approach to blues, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop. April 18, 1998 http://osiris.sunderland.ac.uk/~ca8mka/essay.htm

  • Chris Round Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture Affirm, Celebrate and Articulate the Political and Social Realities of the Urban African-American Experience. A Discussion. http://www.netspace.net.au/~cjr/Geek/Rapessay.htm

  • Walser, Robert. Running With the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1993.

  • Weinstein, Deena. Heavy Metal: A Cultural Sociology. New York: Lexington Books, 1991

    [Back to Index]

 

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