GIL SCOTT-HERON

GIL SCOTT-HERON - Message To The Messengers

rate me

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

Be 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 then 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 bullshit 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 on 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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