Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Guante: A Furious Vexation (Free Download + Lyrics)


Recorded, engineered, and arranged by SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE at Luv 'n' Dedication Studio. 

New project: it's one 15-minute track, but it's a bunch of songs. Free download. A few notes:

This is a kind of quick-and-dirty remix project, featuring a collage of previously-released songs and guest verses performed over jacked beats-- a Hip Hop tradition. For what it's worth, I do have two other new projects in the works (both featuring original production and all-new lyrics); I made "A Furious Vexation" really just for fun. It's a summer project, recorded over a handful of hours in See More Perspective's studio.

I mean, that being said, there's also a more serious side to this. As "political" as pretty much all of my work is, I haven't posted/talked a lot about this president. Part of that is because I know that my audience, or at least the vast majority of it, is already on "my side" when it comes to him, and I try to engage with political issues from an angle of challenging the audience, or encouraging critical thinking from new angles, blah blah blah. And this project is a bit more straightforward. But I think that's okay. Sometimes you just have to add your voice to the chorus.

I know that the references here are messy and weird. The title and the vocal samples are from Fury Road. The album art is a cropped image of Akira sitting on a throne of ruins. The songs include references to Game of Thrones, Lovecraft, vampires, and other sci-fi/pop cultural things. And of course, none of that stuff really goes together. But then again, it kind of does, especially in the context of this particular president. That's one reason why Hip Hop--specifically-- is so important: it gives us space to sample, deconstruct, and recontextualize, to make connections that aren't always obvious, to be both blunt and subtle, both direct and subversive. And in times like these, I think that flexibility is important.

And as always, channel that rage into action, whenever/wherever/however possible.

So yeah, check it out. It's a good length for a quick workout, a drive to work, or sharpening your sword. Find all of my albums here. Here are the full lyrics for this project:

Guante: A Furious Vexation

Someday, we will crack you open
sticky and sweet on the concrete
We will stand and watch as you wash away
while the world rotates underneath our feet
And someday, was never a plea, it was more a threat
It was less a prophecy and more a promise
a hurricane twisting in every breath
We know the best songs are always sad songs
even when they make the pain last longer
running syrupy thick through our veins
so that our hearts must learn to beat stronger
And we do not have any money
We do not own the land that we walk on
We are not set to inherit anything but the setting sun
which is almost all gone
So what do you do when you can’t do anything?
What do you eat when you’re starving?
We are not ashamed of what you have made us
We are not sorry
We are not far from the ground you have run to
We are not far from running out of mercy
We don’t drink blood because we like it
We drink it because we are thirsty
And we are waking up in our caskets
We are chewing through our handcuffs
We are breaking out of our straight jackets
We are telling audiences they should put their hands up
We are walking through the steady summer rain lighting matches
We are the dead laughing
We are licking our lips in the pitch blackness
We are shadows on the wall, we are dancing, and
We are blasting our music
as we drive by your beautiful homes
We are finding new ways to drift in the darkness and move through the cold
So used to the road
A traveling funeral show, a hearse with two turntables perched on top
We are standing still for the first time since you ordered us to stop
Consider this the calm: We are coming for every drop

I’ve bled a little bit in all fifty states
left my art in the dirt for life to imitate
left a mural of my fingerprints on the border fence
(Yes) left my DNA dancing down the interstate
left my heart border-less, drownin’ in the air
left a song in the atmosphere soundin’ like a prayer
soundin’ like a spell, soundin’ like a curse, left without a word
represent left wing ‘til i’ve left the universe
let’s sing... even when the words never come
a body drained of blood is still a drum
So stretch my skin over something solid
and beat upon it ‘til every wall is demolished
I promise; it’s not very minnesota nice
but that’s alright, I’m from wisconsin
They say save the last round ‘cause you’ll need it
I spent mine in ‘07 shavin’ the tentacles off a demon
and been fightin’ ever since, curse on my lips
padlock wrapped in my fist, no chance for a win:
so this is for my spoilers
who’ll slap a millionaire, his bodyguard and his lawyer
even if it’s their elected leader or employer
or messiah, yeah i’m preachin’ to the choir
but singin’ isn’t something that we do where I’m from
just for the pretty tune I’m livin’ proof we do it for love
but also do it for blood, I don’t believe that the song
is all we have to offer, I believe the singers are strong
I don’t believe in allies, only actions
I don’t believe in blood ties, just people I’d bleed for
I see more where others see coincidence
I believe our power is infinite, let’s get it, no givin’ in
…’cause I know it ain’t just my listeners who are listenin’

To everyone we have lost
To everyone we have gained
Someday we might lose
But today is not that day
To everyone we have lost
To everyone we have gained
Someday we’ll all die
But today is not that day

When I’m dead, find the richest man in Minneapolis
and poison his dinner with my ashes
But save a pinch and mix it into perfume
and dab a little on your neck when you go out dancin’
When I’m dead, submit my epitaph to every rap blog
and watch me go viral as I vanish
Let every MC who I was better than
write a crappy song to commemorate my passin’
That ain’t a shot at nobody
some of my best friends are nobodies, so full of passion
I know MCs you’ve never heard of
who are twice as talented as every one you have and
they're mad but damn it, you don’t have to believe me
neither validation nor permission, nobody’s askin’
It’s just a mission to transcend these limits
We can’t be blacklisted from scene we never visit
Right? So do the math
map out the path you run through, like
if a hundred thousand scum-sucking scenesters love you
then don't nobody really love you
And when i’m dead, maybe they’ll claim to love me too
I hope it’s winter, it’s a blizzard, and it’s cold out
so they can wait in line for my First Ave funeral
my first time as a headliner and it’s sold out

To everyone we have lost
To everyone we have gained
Someday we might lose
But today is not that day
To everyone we have lost
To everyone we have gained
Someday we’ll all die
But today is not that day

What’s a hundred grand to a dead man?
What’s a diamond to a corpse?
Every car in my entourage has a casket in the back
How about yours?
How about force feedin’ you every quarter that you owe us
All american, you’re arrogant and forced to take a bonus
like that’s “just how the system works, kid”
but you can’t slap a system and you’re sittin’ right here cursin’
It’s so imperfect, so unfair
I know, I know, I know: “not all billionaires” right?
Not all men, not all white folks
repeatin’ it as you’re leavin’ in the last life boat
The titanic was too big to fail too
so your driver, your cook, that kid in the mail room?
Shout to every iceberg sweatin’
It’s a threat and it’s a promise the atlantic in my pocket and it’s cold
I don’t condone violence
but what I do and don’t condone doesn’t matter, ‘cause I hold no control
over the overflow, over the open road
leadin’ up to rome, vandals with me, tryin’ to go for broke
‘cause going for rich, corrodes your soul slow and
all of my heroes were broke, but never broken
So why the hell do we glorify wealth
when every fortune is made on the pain of someone else?
Who’s that on my evening newscast
frontin’ like the noose ain’t connected to the bootstraps
You pull up the latter, they pull up the former
present a counternarrative: the judge calls for order
present a counternarrative: fail the assignment
present a counternarrative: the police shoot
present a counternarrative: it’s not american
although the counternarrative’s the only narrative that’s true
America the beautiful
a golden parachute, a golden coffin at your funeral
a golden boy, a golden destiny second to none
But it ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, my inherited wealth
is just a story and a song, a message, a fight
so when you ask what the name on my ballot is
I voted for donald trump......’s head on a pike
Rich man tryin’ to buy his way to heaven
with a head start cruisin’ but losin’ the momentum
If it’s class war they want, we’ll bring ‘em armageddon
Solidarity drippin’ from our lips like venom

This place is a prison and these people aren’t your friends
Ain’t no postal service when it’s always sunday in your head
Letters unsent, burnin’ that candle at both ends
in the breakroom ready to break...
Halfway to broke, halfway to broken down
This job makes you nauseous, you try to hold it down
and they will take every opportunity to comment on your luck
‘cause in this economy you gotta be like bottom’s up
even when you know it’s poison, yo: you feelin’ well?
like a body that’s so hungry it begins to eat itself?
Bootstraps so tight you can’t admit to needin’ help
on the real, feel like hell and you want it to all stop:
Jackass manager makin’ smalltalk
Try to stay focused, you casually glance at your watch
and see that you are halfway, to being halfway
to being halfway done with half of half of your day

Punch that clock ‘til it bleeds
It feels like they’re tryin’ to break us
they tell you to "follow your dreams"
as your alarm is going off, wake up

All of my life I been lied to
just found out my boss makes 500 times what I do
and still wants to cut my hours back
to 39 and three quarters ‘cause 40 gets you a health plan
And I got a feelin’ I’m a need it
Losin’ feelin’ in my knees and my lower back
and I’m going back, trapped like a lower class clown
Hold a rat down, so we kill each other over cheddar
keep us hungry so we never organize for nothing better
Just make it through the day, make it through the week
make it through the month, make a millionaire another couple bucks

Punch that clock ‘til it bleeds
It feels like they’re tryin’ to break us
they tell you to "follow your dreams"
as your alarm is going off, wake up

So if you got a dollar in your pocket, put your hands in the air
Ten dollars in your pocket, put your hands in the air
If it’s a hundred or a thousand that’s fair
but there’s no such thing as an innocent millionaire
If you got a dollar in your pocket, eat a taco
Ten dollars: buy some peanut butter and some bread
If you got a hundred or a thousand you can stock up
but a million may as well be human flesh
I said a million may as well be human flesh

If you got a dollar in your pocket, drink some water
Ten dollars: you can have a beer with your lunch
If you got a hundred or a thousand, you can dig your own well
and for a million you can drink all the blood you can suck
That dollar in your pocket is an insult
Ten dollars in your pocket ain’t enough
The reason that so many of us are have nots
is that the haves have way too much

I’m not racist but…
is usually how racist people start sayin’ racist stuff
And self-proclaimed allies get side-eyed
‘cause the same idea still relates to us
and look: I got no advice to give
no wisdom to share, no answers to be laid bare
Just my experience, my fear and perseverance
all my insecurities and every value I believe in, like
Whether poison berries, wildflowers or crops
everyone plants seeds whether they know it or not
so I’m just tryin’ to look out at my garden
and be more intentional about the life I wanna harvest
And as always, that is not enough
It’s a start, but a match in the dark is not the sun
And tears of guilt, tears of realization, either way:
they are no substitute for rain
You don’t beat racism by bein’ a better person
You beat it by destroyin’ the system that undergirds it
This decision to see past the surface
is not the last step, it’s the first, it’s a trade of
all my good intentions for a patch of wet earth
‘cause it always comes down to the work
And maybe we are all lost, all imperfect and unworthy
but we can all get our hands dirty

One airhorn means we’re back
Two means we’re under attack; armor up, red alert again
CDs are shuriken, sharpen all the mic stands
XLR swingin’ from your right hand like a whip
That’s hip hop: improvisation
makin’ do with whatever you got to make music
or make war, so if a pen’s all they give you
you better make damn well sure you can use it
Gimme a snare like, lucifer crackin’ his knuckles
Gimme a kick like a kamikaze passin’ above you
Gimme a bassline like a tripwire
and a room full of people movin’ like they’re on fire
Hell or glory, they smell the same
and both covered in the graf of our elders’ names
who held the flame, songs in the silence
like even if we never win we’ll never stop tryin’
Stop me if I’m lyin’, literally: stop me
no other recourse rather be another corpse than a zombie
But first I’d rather be alive
if only out of respect for all my people who died, let’s go
My target audience is dead folks
ancestors, martyrs, ghosts in these headphones
Rep those: and if you’re feelin’ it too
that’s just a little bit of them creeping out of you
Every song is a seance, true that
give me a Wu-Tang beat and loop that
like where my goons at? With heartbeats like boom bap
just put a fist up until the sky is blue black
I’m not religious, I just pray a lot
and I ain’t talkin’ to god I’m walkin’ the long road between the cradle and coffin
and y’all already know, the way we break outta dogma and find god in a poem
Thermometer fallin’ below zero
We’re so cold we bring minnesota wherever we go, yo
Y’all know it’s bigger than rap right?
silver bullet ballpoint, wooden stake graphite
and every set is an exorcism
Every word sets fire to the breath we’re given
so let’s breathe: my top five emcees:
war, death, famine, pestilence, and me
I play the wall like I’ve taken the black
and watch the nightlife facin’ the facts
You can die for nothing, or get to livin’ for something
You better weaponize kid, winter is coming

(horizontal image for sharing)
Where the beats came from:
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: In the Hall of the Mountain King
  • Gorillaz: Dirty Harry (Gorillaz/Danger Mouse)
  • Jidenna: Long Live the Chief (Best Kept Secret)
  • Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Mark Ronson)
  • Birdman/Clipse: What Happened to that Boy (The Neptunes)
  • Method Man: Bring the Pain (RZA)

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