Thesis Interlude: Shad

Work is crazy this week (the students are coming back! Quick, everyone panic!), so I’ve put off the post I want to write on Rene Girard’s “mimetic violence” theory as it applies to Walter Wink’s theology of the powers.  Maybe this weekend.  In the meantime, here’s some song lyrics that really seem to grasp the idea that Satan isn’t just a fallen angel – there are whole systems involved.

Shad isn’t just Canada’s best rapper, he’s also a poet and a prophet in the best sense: he speaks the truth in ways that draw people in and call people out.  I highly encourage you to buy any of his albums, but this track is from The Old Prince; it’s called “I Heard You Had a Voice Like an Angel/Psalm 137” (listen below).

I heard you had a voice like an angel
I heard a strange tale
About a saint that fell
Music became jail
These bars
I hear you rapped/wrapped in em
Wove in the beats
Like the clothing of sheep
Wolves tracks
spin em
dj’s, cd’s
c-notes
g’s thrown on d’s
we’ll be king like T.I hope
I heard you even sang when you spoke
And the emotion you evoked got you choked
When your beauty struck a vocal chord broke
Boatless dove overboard
Look upon the ocean
Caught your reflection before the Lord’s
I heard you had a voice like an angel
Strange though
You were blinded by the light
shining from your own halo
fell off
sort of like a rainbow when heaven watched
your faint glow fade slow
I heard you had a voice like an angel…

I heard that fame’s a killer
that can murder great princes
like Kurt Cobain singing Purple Rain
From a distance
Hope home aint a virtual game
Nor this cursed place earth
Where the dollars and the karma don’t circulate
The world’s a stage
And you know this play well
Gee I bet you even know how it ends, pray tell
Had a voice like an angel, now you score the drama scenes
The comedy’s the fact
We enact what you want to be
Had some old songs still stuck in your memory
Distorted though
So you sort of re-assembled melodies
And fine-tuning turned ’em into single after single
In this industry you built so sinfully simple for
You to write cuz, a song is what your life was
The destiny of stars is their light must
Fight dusk
With sparks of brilliance to ignite us
and of all the billions of stars
You were by far the brightest
I heard you had a voice like an angel
Now its just a light hush…

Now you keep everybody’s eyes on charts and schedules
And the trends trying to stack gold bars and medals
They want vessels void and dark as space
Fools wanna make stars instead of music that’s smart or special
Because art at a level that’s real can be harder to peddle
Business prefers a market that settles for second rate
Kill the true artists martyr the rebels
That’s the system and it’s straight from the heart of the devil
[See]
merchants of dreams
Sold to souls eyes-wide shut
Passin the buck to purchase a pass to buy stuff
Workin’ in this circus get hired up
To walk over half-knots on a tight rope
Tied-up in my gut
It’s a delicate balance
Developin’ the talent
Into persons that we worship
Yo, it’s a hell of a challenge
I heard you had a voice like an angel
And don’t really sing no more
But you still running the game so
If we don’t behave like them
They call us crazy
And if we won’t slave for them
They call us lazy
Lately
I’ve started to see why you hate me
Hearin’ this voice it must be painful
To the ears when for years
You had a voice like an angel…

If you don’t behave like them
They call you crazy
And if you wont slave for them
They call you lazy
Well I say…

They wanna take your mind
Turn it into a prison
Lock you inside
Then they call that livin
Well I say…

(x2)
I heard you had a voice like an angel.

Smile for the camera
Smile for the camera
While they take your children
Smile for the camera
While we rape your women
Smile for the camera
While we make our millions
Smile for the camera
While we make our buildings
Smile for the camera
Smile for the camera
Smile for the camera

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