SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 27)

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

Broken glass everywhere
People pissing 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

Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
Ah-huh-huh-huh-huh
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from going under

Standing on the front stoop, hanging out the window
Watching all the cars go by, roaring as the breezes blow
Crazy lady, livin’ in a bag
Eating out of 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 watching all the creeps
So she can tell her stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got so sadity
She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own

Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
Huh-huh-huh-huh
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from going under
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from going under

My brother’s doing 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 standing on my back
Can’t stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I’m going insane
I swear I might hijack a plane!

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

My son said, Daddy, I don’t wanna go to school
‘Cause the teacher’s a jerk, he must think I’m a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it’d be cheaper
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
Or dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
‘Cause it’s all about money; ain’t a damn thing funny
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can’t walk through the park, ’cause it’s crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun, ’cause they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw
Hear them say “You want some more?”, livin’ on a see-saw

Don’t push me, ’cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head (Say what?)
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under
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 smiling on you, but he’s frowning too
Because only God knows what you’ll go through
You’ll grow in the ghetto living second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song of 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
Driving big cars, spending 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 null and void
Walking ’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
Being 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…

Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge
I’m trying not to lose my head
Huh-huh-huh-huh
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from going under
Huh-ah-huh-huh-huh-huh
It’s like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from going under
Huh-ah-huh-huh-huh-huh

[Outro Skit]
Yo Mel, you see that girl there?
Yo, that sounded like Cowboy man
Cool
Yo, what’s up Money?
Yo, hey, where’s Creole and Rahiem at?
They upstairs cooling out
So what’s up for tonight y’all?
Yo, we could go down to Fever man
Let’s go check out “Junebug” man
Hey yo, you know that girl Betty?
Yeah man
Her moms got robbed man
What?
Not again man
She got hurt bad
When did this happen?
What’s goin’ on?
Freeze
Don’t nobody move nothin’
Y’all know what this is
Get ’em up, get ’em up (What?)
Oh man, we’re Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
What is that, a gang?
No
Shut up
I don’t wanna hear your mouth
Shut up
Officer, officer, what is the problem?
You the problem
Yo, you ain’t gotta push me man
Get in the car, get in the car
Get in the God…
I said, “Get in the car”
Why is he doggin’ us man?

mp3 : Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Message

From 1982. Aptly named, as it is reckoned to be the first hip-hop/rap song that was used to offer a social commentary. Only two of the furious five contributed a vocal – Melle Mel and Duke Bootee.

I never get tired of listening to this….and the fifth verse, ‘A child is born with no state of mind…..’ is one of the finest bits of songwriting of any kind.

JC

7 thoughts on “SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 27)

  1. Upon initial release I must admit that I publicly despised this song. To me it seemed that the world was going ‘rap’ crazy and any old nonsense could grace the charts. The same could also be said years later of the so-called ‘dance craze’.

    In spite of my stern objection this song proved to be an earworm and an earworm that I would keep secret; after all I did consider myself to be an indie kid.

    I believe it was sometime around the time of the release of The Whitey LP (Ciccone Youth) that, inexplicably, I no longer felt closeted about my admiration for the song and it began to appear on compilation tapes.

    Lyrically – to my mind – this is what rap hoped to be but few bands fully realised it.

    “Broken glass everywhere
    People pissing 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”

    To my mind this read and sounded like a voice of experience and this gave the song a distinctive power that few others had/have. Importantly, the song provides an insight into the female experience without reducing itself to misogyny – a trait that would soon blight the genre.

    An worthy addition to this insightful series.

  2. When rap music first appeared it was pushing a Dionysian party vibe that I could simply not relate to. I was never a “party hearty” kind of person. That strain in rock and R+B was nothing I related to. This track was the first rap I heard that broke free from that mold. I still quote the chorus refrain to this day in my everyday life.

  3. PPM, not only was it the party rhymes, but rap overlapped musically with disco, the soundtrack to everything that was wrong in NYC (i.e. Studio 54). So, I am ashamed to admit, I was part of the crowd that booed The Furious 5 off stage when they opened for the Clash at Bond’s in 1981. For me, too, ‘The Message’ was when I first began to take rap seriously.
    Apologies to Echorich, who I know was steps away from me at the Bonds shows and was much more musically aware than me at the time.

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