Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's Like a Jungle Sometimes

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In celebration of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week, here are the lyrics to their 1982 homage to the homies in the “hoods” around the world. This song is a masterpiece that will probably, and unfortunately, be relevant one hundred years from now. Rap along or cry a little as you remember what is was like back on your block.

The Message
(E. Fletcher, S. Robinson, C. Chase, M.Glover/Sugar Hill Records)

It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

Broken glass everywhere
People pissin' on the stairs, you know they just don't care
I can't take the smell, can't take the noise
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away but I couldn't get far
'cuz a man with a tow truck repossessed my car

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Uh huh ha ha ha ha ha
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

Standin' on the front stoop hangin' out the window
Watchin' all the cars go by, roarin' as the breezes blow
Crazy lady, livin' in a bag
Eatin' outta garbage pails, used to be a fag hag
Said she'll dance the tango, skip the light fandango
A Zircon princess seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peep show watchin' all the creeps
So she can tell her stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got social security
She had to get a pimp, she couldn't make it on her own

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Uh huh ha ha ha ha ha

It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

My brother's doin' bad, stole my mother's TV
Says she watches too much, it's just not healthy
”All My Children” in the daytime, “Dallas” at night
Can't even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors, they ring my phone
and scare my wife when I'm not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Can't take the train to the job, there's a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin' on my back
Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I'm goin' insane
I swear I might hijack a plane!

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

My son said, Daddy, I don't wanna go to school
'cuz the teacher's a jerk, he must think I'm a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it'd be cheaper
if I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
Or dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
'cuz it's all about money, ain't a damn thing funny
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can't walk through the park 'cuz it's crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun 'cuz they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw
Hear them say “You want some more?”
Livin' on a see-saw

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Say what?

It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under

A child is born with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smilin' on you but he's frownin' too
Because only God knows what you'll go through
You'll grow in the ghetto livin' second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alleyway
You'll admire all the number-book takers
Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money-makers
Drivin' big cars, spendin' twenties and tens
And you'll wanna grow up to be just like them, huh
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpocket peddlers, even panhandlers
You say I'm cool, huh, I'm no fool
But then you wind up droppin' outta high school
Now you're unemployed, all non-void
Walkin' round like you're Pretty Boy Floyd
Turned stick-up kid, but look what you done did
Got sent up for a eight-year bid
Now your manhood is took and you're a Maytag
Spend the next two years as a undercover fag
Bein' used and abused to serve like hell
'til one day, you was found hung dead in the cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young so...

Don't push me 'cuz I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Uh huh huh huh huh

It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
Huh, uh huh huh huh huh
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
Huh, uh huh huh huh huh


The accomplishments of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were celebrated at the induction ceremony earlier this week, along with R.E.M., The Ronettes, Patti Smith, and Van Halen.

“Grandmaster, come faster
Than any known cell to the bone
Fullgrown he's a one of a kind
And Flash is gonna rock your mind (rah!)”

12 comments:

Anne said...

Hi. I found your blog while Googling "negro spirituals," looking for good sites about roots music. I'm so glad I ended up here. You're a talented writer and have such a great cause. Is it o.k. if I give you a link on my blog?

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Anne,
Thank you so much for the compliment. I really appreciate your kind words. By all means, please place a link to Cappuccino Soul on your blog. I hope you're able to find some good information on Negro Spirituals during your search.
Muchas gracias.
Alicia

Anne said...

Thank you. Sadly, it seems there is less and less old American roots music to be found as time goes on. The other day I had to tell a young fellow blogger what a cakewalk was, and that they don't even teach you the most interesting parts of history in Eurocentric schools. Now you could say I'm on a bit of a mission for history - the kind you don't find in schools of course.

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Anne,
That's a very worthy mission. More and more we'll have to teach our children the other stories outside of the Eurocentric ones. Stay strong.
Alicia

Evorgleb said...

I'm still buzzing off of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five being inducted into the Rock of Roll Hall of Fame. It was so big for me when we got to interview Grandmaster Mele Mel over at Highbrid Nation. As a person who grew up on hip hop, I'm just glad to see it being respected.

Alicia Benjamin-Samuels said...

Evorgleb,
I'm so jealous that you got to sit down with Mele Mel! I'm listening to the interview now. Wow. This is great work. I like your Hybrid Nation site too. Keep up the good work!
Peace,
Alicia

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Correctly your article helped me truly much in my college assignment. Hats incorrect to you dispatch, wish look ahead in the direction of more interrelated articles promptly as its united of my favourite subject-matter to read.

jonboy said...

... and I found your blog looking for the words written on the wall at my first day at college, back in 1982! A big white room with a single line of black grafitti running all the way round the middle. Nice to see the cover art too, as the copy I bought (12in 45) is in a plain sleeve!

Great blog...

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

jonboy,

I'm glad I helped to bring back the memories! Your college sounds interesting ... where'd you go to school?
Glad you like the blog!
alicia

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

I'm sorry you can't see the blog better on your blackberry. Perhaps if you use a different browser (google chrome or foxfire -- it might work better).
Good job with using the translation tool. Are you studying English? What's your native language?
Peace,
alicia