Hip Hop–Spoken Words

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Etheridge Knight

My Poetry Slam

Etheridge Knight

As you leave me

Shiny record albums scattered over
the living room floor, reflecting light
from the lamp, sharp reflections that hurt
my eyes as I watch you, squatting among the platters,
the beer foam making mustaches on your lips.

And, too,
the shadows on your cheeks from your long lashes
fascinate me--almost as much as the dimples
in your cheeks, your arms and your legs.

You
hum along with Mathis--how you love Mathis!
with his burnished hair and quicksilver voice that dances
among the stars and whirls through canyons
like windblown snow, sometimes I think that Mathis
could take you from me if you could be complete
without me. I glance at my watch. It is now time.

You rise,
silently, and to the bedroom and the paint;
on the lips red, on the eyes black,
and I lean in the doorway and smoke, and see you
grow old before my eyes, and smoke, why do you
chatter while you dress? and smile when you grab
your large leather purse? don't you know that when you leave me
I walk to the window and watch you? and light
a reefer as I watch you? and I die as I watch you
disappear in the dark streets
to whistle and smile at the johns

Last Poets

Jones Comin Down

Day breaks
Got the shakes
Nose running
Joint dripping
Mind slipping
Body aches
Jones coming down

Got an attitude
Fighting mad
Feeling bad
Funeral sad
Another 24 hour drag
Damn, I needs me some scag
Pawn my brother's doo-rag
To cop me a transparent thin bag
You see, you see, cause I'm strung out,
strung out on a white witch
My timeless bitch
Riding a white horse into my main vein
Damn baby, got to kill this pain
But I'm gon' get slick
And get my woman to pull a trick
She don't care
She's on welfare
Going to steal her check
And cop me a deck
And deal me some stuff
When the going gets rough
Where's my wine?
I've got to ease my mind
Is that the kid I hear crying?
Shut up, kid
You want the [?] to call the man
And have me pull another bid?
So what if you're hungry?
Shit, my jones is down on me
I ain't your old man
I don't know where the dude is
If he knows what I knows he's out getting his
Damn, this pain is getting worse
Let me see how much dough this ho got in her purse
Well now, six dollars will cop me two small trays
And that's enough to take my gorilla jones away
Now let me see what's happening on the corner today
Aye, there's my man
Brother sweet stuff Sam
Aye Sam, can I get a play
On a double tray
So I can take off and lay
Okay woman, get up out of bed
You heard what I said
I'm a tie the rope around my arm and heat the cooker
And I want you to get your ass out on the corner and play hooker
Wow, I can feel it now
This stuff is boss
I see that ho on that horse
Hey baby, wait for me
Cause I'm gon' be free!
Free! Free! Free! Free!

Nina Simone

Feeling Good

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by you know how I feel.

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life for me yeah

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me
ouh
And I'm feeling good

Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don't you know
Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world for me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me

And I'm feeling good

Tupoc Shakur

Dear Mama

You are appreciated
When I was young me and my mama had beef
Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets
Though back at the time, I never thought I'd see her face
Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place
Suspended from school; and scared to go home, I was a fool
with the big boys, breakin all the rules
I shed tears with my baby sister
Over the years we was poorer than the other little kids
And even though we had different daddy's, the same drama
When things went wrong we'd blame mama
I reminisce on the stress I caused, it was hell
Huggin on my mama from a jail cell
And who'd think in elementary?
Heeey! I see the penitentiary, one day
And runnin from the police, that's right
Mama catch me, put a whoopin to my backside
And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama
I finally understand
for a woman it ain't easy tryin to raise a man
You always was committed
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it
There's no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated

Now ain't nobody tell us it was fair
No love from my daddy cause the coward wasn't there
He passed away and I didn't cry, cause my anger
wouldn't let me feel for a stranger
They say I'm wrong and I'm heartless, but all along
I was lookin for a father he was gone
I hung around with the Thugs, and even though they sold drugs
They showed a young brother love
I moved out and started really hangin
I needed money of my own so I started slangin
I ain't guilty cause, even though I sell rocks
It feels good puttin money in your mailbox
I love payin rent when the rent's due
I hope ya got the diamond necklace that I sent to you
Cause when I was low you was there for me
And never left me alone because you cared for me
And I could see you comin home after work late
You're in the kitchen tryin to fix us a hot plate
Ya just workin with the scraps you was given
And mama made miracles every Thanksgivin
But now the road got rough, you're alone
You're tryin to raise two bad kids on your own
And there's no way I can pay you back
But my plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated

Pour out some liquor and I reminisce, cause through the drama
I can always depend on my mama
And when it seems that I'm hopeless
You say the words that can get me back in focus
When I was sick as a little kid
To keep me happy there's no limit to the things you did
And all my childhood memories
Are full of all the sweet things you did for me
And even though I act craaazy
I gotta thank the Lord that you made me
There are no words that can express how I feel
You never kept a secret, always stayed real
And I appreciate, how you raised me
And all the extra love that you gave me
I wish I could take the pain away
If you can make it through the night there's a brighter day
Everything will be alright if ya hold on
It's a struggle everyday, gotta roll on
And there's no way I can pay you back
But my plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated

Sweet lady
And dear mama

Dear mama
Lady

Schweidel Tyson

Gate Money

It's called Gate Money
Two-hundred bucks
It's a release fund for parolees
But for some it's a comeup
Gate Money is funny money
It's related to sin
It doesn't want you to win
Bus fare to get home is enought
Gate money can make it tough
It's been known to have a mind of its own
Hotels, motels, king for a night
A fist full of rocks and a pipe
Plus a slut to make it right
Next morning penniless without a cigarette
But you don't care, for you ain't finished yet
When you report and test you know you'll be dirty
So you don't report at all
That's the beginning of your next fall
Then the running begins
Until you get stopped by a cop
Now it's back to the pen, you fool!
You gave your freedom up
Behind a measly two-hundred bucks.

—Schweidel Tyson
—Soledad Prison 1998;