Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Upon Closer Inspection (December 2005)

Welcome, everybody, to a new feature on the Coffee Break. Introducing "Upon Closer Inspection," a brand-new monthly mini-series dedicated to getting people to look at media that we take for granted in a more critical light. For example, everyday, we hear songs on the radio, and well, sometimes, we are forced to listen to songs that we wouldn't otherwise take any kind of interest in on our own. Who knows, maybe there's nothing on the radio, or that little kid down the street keeps on singing the lyrics to some infectious pop song over and over again. Whatever the reason, we ALL find ourselves bobbing our heads to some random song that gets played over and over again, and more than half the time, we never take the time to really LISTEN to the lyrics that are being blasted through our speakers. Nine times out of 10, if anyone actually truly listened to the lyrics of these songs, you'd quickly realize that there's a lot more to this music than the infectious beat that happens to capture your attention for four minutes. And in many of these cases, you'd quickly conclude that maybe that little 5-year old girl shouldn't be screaming out the lyrics to these songs after all. ("Like a Virgin" anyone?)

So, here comes "UCI", the Coffee Break mini-series aimed at getting people to realize what the hell it is that they are really taking in on any given day. And to start it all off, we'll make a "UCI" about the popular reggae song, "Legalize It" by Sean Paul.

10 minutes cannot pass by without hearing this song at least once on the radio nowadays. "Legalize It" is everywhere, people find themselves singing along to the lyrics of this song without even knowing what the hell it is that they (or Sean Paul) are saying. Now, in some media outlets, the title "Legalize It" has been changed to "Recognize It" and its lyrics have been adjusted somewhat. But, for the most part, the main message is still there. Let's take a closer look at these lyrics, shall we?

Just gimme di trees and mek we smoke it yow
It a mek we peace so dont provoke it yow
We nuh need nuh speed so we nah nuh coke it yow
Set yuh mind at ease we gotta take is slow.

So when yuh see di S.P. floatin dont provoke him
Cau di weed weh we smokin need fi soakin
Best ting fi di meditation, and di best high grade a Jamaican
When we a bun a weed we supportin and promotin
Low di crack and di coke ting yeah we smokin
Herb a di healin of di nation
Legalize it right now we gwaan blaze one

Everyday, we be burnin not concernin what nobody wanna say
We be ernin dollars turning cau we mind deh pah we pay
Some got gold and oil and diamonds all we got is Mary J
Legalize it, time you recognize it

If you couldn't tell what the song was about from the title, "Legalize It," well, you better get with the program right now. Sean Paul, very proudly, celebrates the oh-so-wonderful custom of smoking marijuana daily, and calls for the immediate legalization of it. Now, if you've ever listened to any of Sean Paul's other hits, he's pretty much saying the same thing over and over again when it comes to weed. I mean, c'mon, what the hell did you think the song, "Gimme the Light" was about? It damn sure wasn't about no god damn flashlight, that's for sure. Now, for Sean Paul, he doesn't just talk about smoking Mary Jane everyday, but he even gets into the politics of it in the next verse. Check it out:

This purple haze mek me crazy
Mek me write nuff tune and dats what pays me
But its dat not di only occupation
Going to gain som I give yuh education
When a farmer grows it he knows to close it
Econimical benefit help fi those who a fi deh yah pon di hard jugglin
Cau di system only keep man struggling
Studyin people a use it dont abuse it
Cau di concentration well reputed
Dats why herb man dem a di wise one
And it found on di grave of King Solomon
And it good fi di eye sight and di chest sight
And it give yuh nuff inside just gimme di light
And, mek we blaze it we should a neva waste it

Again, we be burnin not concernin what nobody wanna say
We be ernin dollars turning cau we mind deh pah we pay
Some got gold and oil and diamonds all we got is Mary J
Legalize it, time you recognize it

Now, I have no idea what the hell he means when he says that weed is good "fi di chest sight." (I mean, I didn't know my chest could "see.") But, pretty much, he's briefly mentioning the incredible politics surrounding marijuana in Jamaica, where farmers, thanks to the IMF, have little choice BUT to sell marijuana to make a living. Then, he mentions, with the line "And it found on di grave of King Solomon," is a direct reference to the Rastafarian belief that marijuana is the sacred plant of God that was found growing right by the grave of King Solomon of the Bible (or the Torah, or the Koran, depending on your religious beliefs). So, in other words, it's a GOOD thing to smoke marijuana. But, Sean Paul warns us not to smoke it too much. ("Don't abuse it" he says) Especially people who are in school.

The rest of the lyrics in the song are basically repeats of the chorus over and over again. And with that said, that concludes this month's UCI. Now, if you have no problem with the legalization of marijuana, then, well, this song is a great anthem for you. But if not, then, well, I guess you've been bobbing your head to the wrong song on the radio.

In either case, happy listening, everybody! And remember that it pays to watch and listen closely to the messages that are being spouted by media outlets every single day, because, sometimes, well, they warrant closer inspection.


Blogger Robert said...

Dude, you're on fire this week.

There have been many songs that were ruined for me when I read the lyrics.

Then again, for some, it made them more bearable. For the longest time I thought Elton John was singing, "Hold me closer, Tony Danza." Kidding of course. ...Or was I?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

"Get Low" is another good case in point. I recently found out what Skeet! Skeet! meant. That would be awkward if mom was singing along with Jr. without knowing what that meant.

3:21 PM  
Blogger djkibblesnbits said...

LOL, it's incredibly hilarious how many things make it past censors nowadays in music. The "skeet, skeet" thing is just a classic example. There's also that other song, "Shake" by Pitbull that's all over the radio that has lyrics that are just as bad.


3:27 PM  
Blogger Freebird said...

Dang, you've been busy blogging! Will be back later to catch up.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Freebird said...

WTF?! Blogger just ate my comment. It was kind of long too. Damn. BBL.

4:10 PM  

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