Everybody knows the global economy is fucked right now. And anybody with common sense should be troubled by the great disparity between rich and poor in this country.
I had a long conversation about this with a smart friend last night. We were sitting outside Valentine's and he summed it up real well: "I think shit is about to get really weird in this country," he said. "There are just too many people without a stake in our society." Then two street kids with dead-eyed stares plowed up the sidewalk on their bikes. One of them yelled "MOVE!" and the second looked like he was about to punch a skinny, fashionable Valentine's patron who had the gall to suggest that maybe the couple shouldn't be riding their bikes on the sidewalk. "See, no stake," my friend laughed.
Serge Severe's take on the state of American inequality—delivered over a suitably bluesy Terminill beat—is a bit scattershot, but he touches on all the major talking points: Corporate control, media ineffectiveness, the military-industrial complex and public policy driven by corporate profit. "I've seen the good die young/ I've seen the bad die old/ I've seen these bad guys hold/ All that bad guy gold/ All that bad guy oil," he rhymes, laying it out plain and simple in the chorus.
Luck-One puts a finer point on things. "It's more than how we livin' but where we conditioned socially/ So when the revolution comes, you feel it, gimmie what you owe to me," he rhymes. His is the voice of the disenfranchised and pissed-off. You've seen them in Egypt and Libya, you've seen them in London, you're starting to see them on Wall Street and now you're hearing them in Portland. I'm proud of these two Portland hip-hop mainstays speaking up on the subject.
I used to think talk of an American revolution in my lifetime was a fantasy—either an idealistic one or an apocalyptic one, depending on who was talking about it—but like Serge and Luck here, I just increasingly can't understand how our society can function with so much greed at the top and so much hopelessness at the bottom. These MCs don't offer much in the way of solutions at this stage in the game, but like GI Joe taught me, "Knowing is half the battle."
GET IT: Serge Severe will release a free full-length, Service Without a Smile, this Fall. You can download "Know the Truth" here.