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GIL SCOTT-HERON lyrics : "Message To The Messengers"

Hey, yeah, we the same brothas from a long time ago
We was talkin' about television and doin' it on the radio
What we did was to help our generation realize

They had to get out there and get busy cause it wasn't gonna be televised
We got respect for you rappers and the way they be free-weighin'
But if you're gon' be teachin' folks things, make sure you know what you're sayin'

Older folks in our neighborhood got plenty of know-how
Remember if it wasn't for them, you wouldn't be out here now
And I ain't comin' at you with no disrespect

All I'm sayin' is that you damn well got to be correct
Because if you're gonna be speakin' for a whole generation
And you know enough to try and handle their education

Make sure you know the real deal about past situations
It ain't just repeatin' what you heard on the local TV 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 folks, 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 brothas
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 minds tryin' to jerk us all around
And they tell us they got to 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 put some dope on a brotha's body and claim it was drug related
Tell them drug related means there don't need to be no investigation

Or at least that's the way they're gon' play it on the local TV stations
All your 9-millimeter brothas...give them somthin' to think about
Tell them you heard that this is the new word, they got to work that stuff out

But somehow they feel in the wrong way with a gun in their hands
They feel real independent...but they just pullin' contracts for the man
Five and five 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're insane
And they start callin' you scarecrow and say you ain't got no brain

Or start tellin' folks that you suddenly gone lame
Or that white folks had finally co-opted your game
Or worse yet implying that you don't really know...

That's the same thing they said about us...a long time ago
Young rappers, one more suggestion before I get out of your way
But I appreciate the respect you give me and what you got to say

I'm sayin' protect your community and spread that respect around
Tell brothas and sistas they gotta calm that bull%#@! down
Cause we're terrorizin' our old folks and brought fear into our homes

And they ain't got to hang out with the senior citizens
Just tell them, ?Dammit...leave the old folks alone?
And we know who rippin' off the neighborhood, tell them, ?That BS has got to stop!?

Tell them you're sorry they can't handle it out there
But they got to take the crime off the block
And if they look at you like you're insane

And they start callin' you scarecrow and say you ain't got no brain
Or start tellin' folks that you suddenly gone lame
Or that white folks had finally co-opted your game

Or worse yet saying that you really don't know...
That's the same thing they said about me a long time ago
And if they tell folks that you finally lost your nerve

That's the same thing they said about us, when we said, ?Johannesburg?
But I think the young folks need to know, that things don't go both ways
You can't talk respect of every other song or just every other day

What I'm speakin' on now is the raps about the women folks
On one song she's your African Queen on the next one she's a joke
And you ain't said no words that I haven't heard, but that ain't no compliment

It only insults eight people out of ten and questions your intelligence
Four letter words or four syllable words won't make you important
It'll only magnify how shallow you are and let everybody know it

And if they look at you like they think you insane
Or they call you scarecrow thinkin' you ain't got no brain
Or start tellin' folks that you suddenly gone lame

Or that white folks have finally co-opted your game
Or you really don't know...They said that about me a long time ago
If they finally start to tell people that you lost your nerve

That's what they said about 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
...I'm talkin' about peace

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