Mr. Fire in the Booth
on Knowledge Is Power, Vol. 2 (2015), 10 Years of Akala (2016), Knowledge Is Power Vol. I (2012)
Yes, I grew up on the dole in a single parent family
Been through a little bit of tragedy
Yes I was around drugs and violence before the day that I started secondary
And that's part of it not half of it, get the picture, the rest ain't necessary
Growing up, got a little caught up, but that ain't even half of my life
Also given the knowledge of self
That is all we actually need to survive
If you saw me aged 9, reading Malcolm just fine
Teachers still treated me stupid
Students that couldn't speak English, they put me in groups with
And the irony is some of the first man to give me schooling
You would call gangsters but I already explained, we know what the truth is
They used to say ‘Don't be like me'
Yeah I got a name and dough on the street
Night time comes, I can't sleep
And that's the part that rappers don't speak
We don't hit the road 'cause we are thugs
Don't come out the womb, wanting to sell drugs
If we got the right guidance and love
Would we fight people just like us?
How could I knock the hustle to get by?
How do you think I ate as a child?
Judge no one, done many things wrong
I just don't boast about it songs
But listen to my older bars
I was just as confused as you probably are
But you grow and you learn, travel and fuck up
One too many man you know get cut up
One too many man that could've been doctors
End up spending their whole life boxed up
You learn, if you study
Its all set out just to make them money
No cover, it's all about getting poor people to fight with one another
So its logical that us killing our brothers, dissing our mothers
Is right in line with the dominant philosophy of our time
But time is a cycle, not a line
Comes back around you regain your mind
You be ready for the energy I channel in my rhymes
Remedy the pedigree, the jeopardy of mine
When the world's this fucked up, lethargy's a crime
We can all fight with our brothers over crumbs
Far harder to fight the one who makes guns
We can all talk shit and get two dollars
Far harder to be the one who seeks knowledge
If we understood economics
We'd know money's nothin'
Think nothing of it
Money is a means to get wealth, not the wealth itself
Don't get confused, I'm far from broke
All that you see me do I own
But I won't hang what I make around my neck
I know from where that the diamonds came
But I do quite literally own a library
That definitely costs more than your chain
And businesses, and properties
Far from starvin', I eat quite properly
And I don't care, just said it for the kids
Who need to know that you're not broke to listen
Don't know an asset from a liability
They've never been shown or told the difference
So they don't change situations
Richest man in Britain is Asian
That's significant, not coincidence
Asian people build businesses
Not by flossin/going out shoppin'
Giving out their culture for everyone's profit
Who run's Bollywood? Indian people
Who owns our shit?
So we shake our arse and dance
As if racism just upped and vanished
But has it? No its right on course
You're beaten so bad, you're trained to ignore
Let me not just make sweeping statements
Gimme a second, I'll explain it
For small amounts of drug possession
There's more black people in jail in America
Than there is for rape and armed robbery and murder all put together
You can say they're just locking up thugs
Imagine if they locked up every middle class kid that had ever held drugs
Oh that's right, that'd be your kids!
Bigger than that what is going on with this
Prison in America's a private business
They get paid 50k per year per inmate by the State, just wait…
Also legally are allowed to use their prison inmates as slaves
Cheap slave labour, big corporations
They come out of jail, can't get a job
So when we celebrate going to jail
We are literally celebrating enslavement
Add to that, that the hood that you're livin'
Engineered social condition that breeds crime by design
Where do you think you get your nine?
You can say that they're just black
But I like to deal with facts
In the 1920s you would've found in America
Prospering centres of economics and education to make you proud
But some people couldn't bear that the former slaves would not just lie down
So the KKK and other hate groups burnt those towns to the ground
If it ain't understood
You think you were always livin' in the hood?
Shit it's only been sixty years
Since they hung blacks and burned em'
And that was so cool
They were your pastors' picnic baskets
Even gave kids the day off school
To go see a lynching, have a picnic
It's fun to watch the little monkeys die
Then people act a little dysfunctional
You wanna pretend that you don't know why
If your colour means you can be killed
And you're powerless to get justice about it
Is it difficult to figure out how you would then end up feelin' about it?
And that ain't excuses
Just dealing with the roots of abuses that make a reality
Where a generation of young men speak of ourselves as dirt casually
Some things are similar
In this country the first enslaved were the working class
Worst jobs, worst conditions
Worst taxed, look where you're livin'
You go to the pub, Friday night
You will fight with a guy, don't know what for
But won't fight with a guy, suit and a tie
Who sends your kids to die in a war
They don't send the kids of the rich or politicians
It's your kids, the poor British
That they send to go die in a foreign land
For these wars you don't understand
Yeah they say that you're British
And that lovely patriotism they feed ya
But in reality you have more in common with immigrants
Than with your leaders
I know, both side of my family
Black and white are fed ghetto mentality
Reality in this system
Poor people are dirt regardless of shade
But with that said
Let's not pretend that everything is the same
When our grandparents came here to Britain
If you had a criminal record you couldn't get in
Yet that ain't protect them from all the stupid, stupid abuses they would be livin'
Kicked in the teeth, stabbed in the street
Many times fired bombed our houses
Put faeces through our letter box
And of course the cops did so much about it
Daily, up to the 80s
People spittin' into my pram 'cause I was a coon baby
But of course that has had no effect on why today we are crazy
And none of this was for any good reason
They were just dark and breathing
To ease the guilt now for all of this treatment
Constant stereotypes are needed
So if I celebrate how big that my dick is, bricks that I'm flippin'
Clips that I'm stickin', chicks that I'm hittin', I'm playing my position
But if I teach a kid to be a mathematician, messin' with the schism
How they gonna fill a prison when materialism is no longer our religion?
What do you think we got now in Britain?
Just like America, private prisons
Prisons for profit!
That mean when your kids go jail people make money off it
So keep environments that breed crime
Build more jails at the same time
Market badness to the kids in the rhymes
As long as rich kids ain't dying its fine!
Get em' to the point where some are so lost
They actually believe that if they don't celebrate killin' themselves off
That it's because they're soft
Was Malcolm soft? Was Marley soft?
Tell me was Marcus Garvey soft?
Well? Was Mohammed Ali soft? Nah, Nah I think not!
But they want us to think that the road is cool
Being on road is all we can do
We don't control the wholesale productions
Who benefits from us movin' the food?
Or thinking there's no way out of road life
But Malcolm X used to hustle out on the roadside
When Marcus Garvey organised more than 6 million people
With no Facebook or Twitter
Why is this something you cannot equal?
One of my homeboys did a ten straight in the box in yard
Now what's he doing? Passin' his doctorate
Don't tell me that it's too hard!
Who trained you to believe that you're inferior?
Sungbo Eredo in Nigeria are the remains of an ancient moat
Dug 1000 years ago
20 metres wide, 70 down
Round the remains of an ancient town
That's 400 square miles around
400 square miles around
Please, please don't believe me
It was a documentary on BBC!
But we ain't studyin' history
Too busy watching MTV
And MTV said wear platinum
Now everybody wanna go and wear platinum
And MTV said pop magnums
Now everybody wanna go and pop magnums
If MTV said drink prune juice
You would start hearing that in tunes soon
‘Hey! Today I wore my Cartier
Is it now more important what I got to say?'
Oh and I drive a Mercedes by the way
So everybody listen to what I got to say
Huh, does that make you all happy?
Ahh but shit my head's still nappy
Think for myself, still some mad at me
But on the mic ain't not one bad as me
All of this here's good for the rhymes
Put us in the same place at the same time
And it's clear to everybody that I'm out of my mind
Some of these guys are runnin' out of their rhymes
Clear to everybody that has got ears
I'm the guy that they just might fear
They wanna get near but they can't have a peer
Ah dear I'm hard liquor you're just like beer
Front on the kid for another five years
Come to my shows and some cry tears
It mean that much to em', it's a movement!
I don't speak for myself but a unit
Black, white, man, woman, anyone that respects truth we put in
Dudes are like no dinner with just puddin'
Yeah you're sweet but no substance puddin'
You could never ever be with a level on
Our songs get out played out there in Lebanon
We speak for the people properly
Not for the old fat guys in offices
And the girls love him, it ain't fair
He can't even be bothered to comb his hair
Anyway that's enough kissin' my own arse
Back to the more important task of being so shower
I got half the hood screaming “knowledge is power”
And I ain't saying that will change rap
But I do know this for a fact
Right now there's a yout' on your block
With his hand on his cock and his face screwed up
Swear he don't care, don't give a fuck
That he won't let nobody call his bluff
But the words go in
Open up your chakra
Because once that's happened there's no going back
Once you start to see what is really happening
Who the enemy you should be attackin' is
So read, read, read!
Stuck on the block, read, read!
Sittin' in the box, read, read!
Don't let them say what you can achieve
'Cause when people are enslaved
One of the first things they do is stop them reading
'Cause it is well understood that intelligent people will take their freedom
'Cause if we knew our power we would understand that we can't be held down
If we knew our power, we would not elevate not one of these clowns
If we knew our power, we wouldn't get arrogant when we get two pennies
If we knew our power, we would see what everybody sees, that we're rich already!
But never mind MCs go run for your mummy
I'm hungry, I run for my tummy
That's enough, back to worshipping money
I'm off, back to the study!