Tag Archives: Jay Z

Post Easter Blues: I am not worm food

“Let’s fight for every breath and tell death to go to hell”-Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries

This past Sunday I enjoyed my 34th Easter service (yes I said Easter for all of you purists out there) which means that I have not missed one Easter Sunday since I was born. I even went to church on Easter when I was an almost certified heathen (I mean I didn’t do any jail time but I was in the holding tank :) This Easter was the most unusual because it was the first time I celebrated it as a citizen of the Burgh. It was also unusual because I went to two churches that day. At one service I worshipped outside early in the Pittsburgh cold at 6:30 in the morning. The next service was in New Castle, PA at my mother in law Rose Chapman’s church Prevailing Word. This service gave me the highlight of the day as the kids sang along to Jay Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”. A very eventful Easter but even more eventful because of the season I am experiencing in my life. A dry season. A dark night of the soul. Whatever you want to call it…it hurts

It amounts to many things that I am uncertain of. Whether or not at critical junctures in my life I heard the voice of God or was it just me really wanting something so bad that I made it “the voice of God”. I often question what approach to ministry I should have and whether I should ever be in “full time”ministry (whatever that means) ever again. I question whether getting a PhD is right for me or whether I will be squandering the most productive years of my life.

During this season I have had to struggle with the grim reality that I have lived a life that is not perfect. Nobody expected it to be but I can’t help but compare myself to others who have more money, education, fame, and success. They seem to have done well with their imperfection while I live with the sad consequences of mine.

The biggest question that I have had to struggle with: Is this all worth it? Why do I keep going on? Why even wrestle with these questions? Why continue to hang on to a God who actually promises pain and suffering as the natural outcome of living a life devoted to him (Mark 8:34)

Why?

The quick answer: I am not worm food. After all I have been through in the short time I have been on this earth the resurrection is the only thing that makes sense. Not that I was there 2000 years ago. None of us were there. No one can prove it either way. I just know that I am not worm food. Life is too beautiful to end that ugly. I will rise again. That is the only reason I have right now to not throw in the towel and give up. It is the hope that lies within me (1 Peter 3:15). So I sing the Post Easter blues knowing my hope lies ahead and I still have to go through some thangs before I reach my goal. It’s a hard knock life.

Hip Hop Hermeneutics: NI**AS IN PARIS vs NI**AS IN POOREST

This is the first of many installments of Hip Hop Hermeneutics. I will be taking a look at popular and underground Hip Hop songs and asking questions in order to analyze, critique, and interpret them from a Christian theological perspective. Hopefully we can gain greater insight into the plight and gifts of the youth of today. That being said, if you care more about the cuss words in these songs than learning from and listening to the voice of young people today then you got some mixed up priorities!

Let’s get it in…….

Ni**as in Paris

[Jay-Z]
So I ball so hard muhf*ckas wanna fine me
But first ni**as gotta find me
What’s 50 grand to a muhf*kaa like me
Can you please remind me?
This sh*t crazy
Ya’ll don’t know that don’t sh*t phase me
The Nets could go 0-82 and I look at you like this sh*t gravy Ball so hard,
This sh*t weird
We ain’t even spose to be here,
Ball so hard, Since we here
It’s only right that we be fair
Psycho, I’m liable to be go Michael
Take your pick, Jackson, Tyson, Jordan, Game 6
Got a broke clock, Rolleys that don’t tick tok
Audemars that losing time, Hidden behind all these big rocks I’m shocked
Too, I’m supposed to be locked up too
If you escaped what I’ve escaped
You’d be in Paris getting f*cked up too
Let’s get faded, Le Meurice for like 6 days
Gold bottles, scold models, Spillin’ Ace on my sick J’s
B**ch behave, Just might let you meet Ye,
Chi towns D. Rose, I’m movin’ the Nets to BK

[Hook]
Ball so hard muhf*ckas wanna fine me
That sh*t crazy (x6)

She said Ye can we get married at the mall?
I said look you need to crawl ‘fore you ball
Come and meet me in the bathroom stall
And show me why you deserve to have it all
That sh*t crazy, Ain’t it Jay?
What she order, fish filet
Your whip so cold, this old thing Act like you’ll ever be around muhf***as
Like this again
Bougie girl, grab her hand
F**k ol girl she don’t wanna dance
Excuse my French but I’m in France (I’m just sayin)
Prince William’s ain’t do it right if you ask me
Cause if I was him I would have married Kate &a Ashley
What’s Gucci my ni**a?
What’s Louie my killa?
What’s drugs my deala?
What’s that jacket, Margiela?
Doctors say I’m the illest
Cause I’m suffering from realness
Got my niggas in Paris
And they going gorillas, huh!

[Jay-Z]
Ball so hard muhf*ckas wanna fine me
Ball so hard muhf*ckas wanna fine me

[Kanye West]
You are now watching the throne
Don’t let me get in my zone (x3)
These other niggaas is lyin
Actin’ like the summer ain’t mine

[Jay-Z]
I got that hot b**ch in my home

[Kanye West]
You know how many hot b**ches I own
Don’t let me in my zone (x4)
The stars is in the building
They hands is to the ceiling
I know I’m bout to kill it
How you know, I got that feeling
You are now watching the throne
Don’t let me into my zone (x2)

[Jay-Z & Kanye West]
I’m definitely in my zone

Mos Def’s Ni**as in Poorest

[Intro]
Live From America
Yasiin, Yasiin, Yasiin
N.I.P, Sing It

[Verse 1]
Ball So Hard, Clean Clothes Look Grimy, Pretty Women Don’t Mind Me
So What’s Fifty Grand To A Young ni**a Like Me? More Than My Annual Salary
Ball So Hard, This S**t Crazy, Walk Outside, The Whole World Hate Me
Nervous Stares At The Thoroughfare, Surveillance Cameras Police Tracing
Ball So Hard, This S**t Weird, We Be Home And Still Be Scared
Its Grief Here, Its Peace Here, Its Easy And Hard To Be Here
Psycho, Liable To Turn Michael, Take Your Pick, Myers, Myers, Myers, Same Shit
Ball So Hard, Got Holey Socks, Dope Block On My Stove Top
Jumbotrons For Astronauts, High In Orbit Off Planet Rock, Say
Ball So Hard, This Chopper Chew, Its Starving Marvin, You Hot Food
Its Birds Of Prey, No Escape, Open-air Prison, Local Zoo
Ball So Hard, Who Getting Faded? Little Maurice In The Sixth Grade
No Mama, No Father, Role Model The Dope Game, Say
Ball So Hard, B**ch Behave, Standing Behind The Deuce-deuce-trey
Ice-cold, Heat Blow, Closed Casket, Cold Case

[Hook]
Ball So Hard, That S**t Cray
That S**t Cray, That S**t Cray, That S**t Cray
That S**t Cray, That S**t Cray, That S**t Cray

[Verse 2]
These Young Bloods Is Looking Scary At The Mall
They Wearing Pants, You Can Still See They Drawers
They Rob A Ni**a In The Bathroom Stall
They Took His Life Cause He Ain’t Want To Take It Off
Singing, Ball So Hard, That Shit Cray, Ain’t It, Bey? Diabetics, Fish Filet
Ball So Hard, Your House So Cold, Ni**a It Ain’t Spring
Every Winter F*cking With My Heat Again
Bougie Girl, Grab Your Hand, Show You How To Do This Ghetto Dance
F*ck Your French, We Ain’t In France, I’m Just Saying
Prince Williams Ain’t Do It Right, If You Ask Me
If I Was Him, I’d Put Some Black Up In My Family
Fake Gucci, My Ni**a, Fake Louis, My Killa
Real Drugs, My Dealer, Who The Fuck Is Margiela?
Doctors Say I’m The Illest, I Ain’t Got No Insurance
It’s Them Ni**as Who Poorest, Be Them Rebel Guerillas, Huh

[Interlude: Malcolm X]
I Don’t Worry. I Tell You, I Am A Man Who Believed That I Died 20 Years Ago
And I Live Like A Man Who Is Dead Already. I Have No Fear Whatsoever Of Anybody Or Anything

[Hook]

[Verse 3]
To The Kings And Queens And Everyone In Every Place, Yo
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne, Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Towers Of Babylon Rise Up And So They Shall Fall
As It Was Written Before, Amen, The Show Goes On
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne, Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
These Devils Out Here Lying, Acting Like The People Ain’t Dying
They Silver And They Gold, Ain’t Never Saved A Soul
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne, Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Signs Through The Earth And Through The Heavens, Lunar, Solar Eclipses
We Seeking For Forgiveness And Safety For Our Children
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne, Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne
Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne, Allah Is In Control

To get a better feel for the rhythm and style of the songs check out the video
for Ni**as in Paris here and for Ni**as in Poorest here

Questions to ask:

Is Ni**as in Poorest a dis song critiquing the excessive materialism of Ni**as in Paris? How can that be when Yaasin (Mos Def) is signed to Kanye West’ label?

In what ways is the excessive materialism of Ni**as in Paris related to the larger problem of excessive materialism in Western culture?

How is the overall message of Ni**as in Poorest aligned with Jesus’ message in the gospels?

Can you think of any more questions to ask of these texts?