After With Philly being chock full of so many talented emcees, we thought it would be cool to pass them the mic, or in this case, the pen, to write a verse inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King. From West Philly's Chill Moody, The Bul Bey and Joie Kathos to Mt. Airy's Ai Que to Southwest Philly's Shawn Smith, these musical poets stepped up to the challenge of speaking their truth through the poetry of hip hop.
Power of thought
Comes with freedom of mind,
that becomes hard to find,
When our media holds the keys that could reshape and define
how we should be,
It’s like my dreams and Martin Luther King’s intertwined,
Cause I don’t like the divide,
I think humanity is one,
Middle finger to Donald Trump,
His intentions really suck
Cause the worst thing to do is make humans feel different,
not keep them uplifted,
suppressing the truly gifted,
not acknowledging the worth of life is neglect,
keeping people oppressed is like living a slow death.
Racism is alive
and we still protest
we praise a speech about a dream, but has it come alive yet?
‘Cause now in 2018,
we see all the same things
that our ancestored slaved for
that our grandparents seen.
What they show on tv looks like 1963.
Everybody got excited
to hear Martin Had A Dream.
There was hope that unity
was in our near future,
But the powers that be
made separation more useful.
So freeing one’s mind is so crucial,
We are all one,
so let the power of love use you.
You see I come from a place that’s built on hope, lately it’s hard to get inspired.
Police sirens drown the sound of a kid that’s crying.
Block’s hot, they tears frying. For years I’ve been trying,
growing sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Besides race there’s what is and what ain’t right.
In that case we should be fighting the same fight.
I tell them all lives matter and they combat that like all lives matter
and that’s the part of the chatter that’s gon' divert our attention
from the problem at hand, but understand that was part of their plan.
There’s too much hate where I’m from. We don’t want the evil,
we just wanna be equal. For once to be treated like one of the people
the way it’s wrote and I quote, and justice for all – fine print, no justice for y’all.
It’s time to rewrite wrongs, rewrite laws, do more than recite songs
until that time comes, we fight on together.
The Bul Bey
You can't knock the hustle
Compartmentalize the struggle
Try to rewrite a dream this whole thing wasn't for you
I mean what if I told you
Martin was more Megan Malachi and less Oprah
Please don't get it twisted — he's not a child for your poster
He was the resistance running miles with the soldiers
I mean the most important people in the history of this country is us.
How are we to heart of the city but the face of the slums?
Predicated on the fact our skin tone look like we came from the Sun?
They don't think the point is poignant enough. They disappointed we pointing the finger but you're pointing a gun.
And grab the brush — don't let them paint your picture.
They won't hesitate to call you a delinquent.
Distort the image, flip the scripture and call it religion.
But you know I beg to differ though.
Breaking down the science so you can see the division though.
They walk the fine line of love and hate but moving pigeon-toed.
Dreams deferred and blanket statements
When it’s been years of waiting,
the sweetest fragrance,
Is peace, prosperity, understanding traditions,
And honoring cultures fighting injustice but what’s the difference,
Between a brother who loves his brother or sisters of different colors?
Love undercover, differences are the reasons we need each other.
The necessities are basic, placed in stranger places, stranger’s faces, look for empathy, and timidly revert to racist.
Fear of the unknown preys on ignorant minds, spreading like viruses, transmutation of generations over time.
So now what’s yours is mine, and all of our problems have combined, tangled us and kept us stagnant so long we’re on decline,
if history repeats itself, you would be scared as I.
I will be all I can be, all change starts with we, I honor Dr. King’s legacies because we deserve the autonomy, and who’s to say the price to pay, or what’s a worthy fee, in America,
the land of the free?
We need a Martin Luther King today to teach us some guidance,
‘Cause these celebrities who usually in the media silent,
Like we ain’t see how reaching for wallets is leading to violence,
Industry keeping them rich; it ain't no reason to comment,
Promised a reasonable balance to agree to keep to smiling,
Closing schools, tryna keep us from receiving the knowledge,
To keep us lenient, believing we succeeding from malice,
The cops love to scream stop resisting,
But what they really mean is stop existing,
And we ain't even got a pot to piss in,
All we preaching out is our black lives matter,
But then they slay and make our black lives madder,
Where the body footage? Why won't they just give us the proof?
‘Cause they rather give us the noose for having Skittles and juice,
Every time some footage leak off on ‘em, They either trying to book or T-off on us,
Work on keeping stable, remain with scrilla,
If we ever Abel, the Cain will kill us,
Drama would always pick up, Barbershop 3,
it's too Common to line our kids up,
Sad to really say it but we're still on stealth,
They take away opportunities to fulfill our wealth,
And put in front of us -- the tools we need to kill ourselves,
This inferior mindset is what we have to defeat,
So we won’t be a victim of the trigger-happy police,
Throwing tantrums without a cause, we seeing death,
With our hands up inside of cars, they see as threats,
Dirty cops is frauds, what law do we respect?
They tried to plant something on my dog like Chia Pets,
We all know that’s a dangerous battle,
Still there ain’t no way to tattle, I
t’s our words against their words like it’s a game of Scrabble,
At the end of the day, We know who really bang the gavel.