05 October 2009

People Like Me

What I love about hip hop--real, pure hip hop--is that it puts music to storytelling. One of my favorite storytellers these past few years has been the dusty foot philosopher K'naan from Somalia (though he spent a significant part of his life in Canada when his family had to flee his war-torn homeland).

So many songs have spoken to me on different days since I've been listening his latest CD Troubadour almost obsessively the past few weeks. Today, though, his song "People Like Me" spoke most to me. I felt like the stories in this song were having a dialogue with the stories of people on our Pray With Africa prayer community. Specifically, this morning I was most moved by a prayer on our site from a woman named Monica:

I pray that I may find serenity and strength to overcome an addiction that I have had for many years to doing harm to myself. I cannot do this alone--only by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus Christ who has given and sacrificed all that I require for this life and the eternal. Help me to love myself that I may better love and serve others. Amen.

All around the world, there are hurting people surviving on hope and a prayer, and I like that K'naan writes his own prayer, asking God to open the doors of heaven for hurting people like all of us . . .



Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down
and open doors to hurtin' people like me
People like me
(4x)

Is it fair to say that I am stressing out
I'm stationed in Iraq, and they won't let me out
My homeys said I was stupid for even joining
My counselor said that my decision was disappointing
How she had good for good state colleges
and with my good grades it wouldn't have been a problem
but they don't understand the power of significance
more than brilliance and certainly more than dividends
and if you ask me now would I repeat it
Would I fight in a war I don't believe in
Well the answer is if not me where the cancer is
they been doing this before Jesus of Nazareth
and after all this time it is still deadly hazardous
and bush isn't really being all that inaccurate
When he says we're winning the war cos its staggering
but that's 'cause we're killing everybody that we see
and most of us soldiers we can barely fall asleep
and time and time again I'm feeling incompetent
cos my women back home, we're constantly arguing
and i must be crazy cos all I'm obsessing with is
her Myspace and Facebook and who's commenting
I swear to God if she's cheatin' I'm doin' her ass in
I can tell with one look and it came to me sounding
like something from a song hook

Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down
and open doors to hurtin' people like me
People like me
(4x)

Meet Sarah, the proud mother of young Sebastian
suburban professional went to college in Ashland
In self pity she suddenly cried,
would my life be important if I suddenly died?
Neighbors saying what a nice women she was
keeping mostly to herself ever since the divorce
and with the company downsizin' and the fall and all
she really shouldn't take it that personal at all
It wasn't her boss who had his eyes on her thighs
and got a rise from her risin' off the desk though
and despite rememberin' sayin' no plenty of times
it was still a damn surprise being let go
and now stuck with a mortgage she cant afford
and too educated to blame the corporate world
She got on welfare and hated it case work a power trippin'
and generally being degraded if,
nothing else she was treated sick
and ineffective which is the worst thing
that she'd been left with
Damn, no magic from David Blane,
no painter to pain this pain,
No Morgan Freeman to narrate the shame
So she took refuge and prayer
kinda like findin' God in the phone book
and it came to her sounding something like a song hook

Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down
and open doors to hurtin' people like me
People like me
(4x)

I guess I told you about myself to a degree
just by telling you about people like me
but people like me they speak politely
they don't start no beef or piece of white meat
Everybody gotta eat but everybody doesn't
which is why i want to tell you about my favourite cousin
he and I grew up where the sun shines
and we both partook with the gun crimes
and we both liked American rap rhymes
even though we didn't understand one line
if you remember my line of notes in my last album
I talked about a close call with a grenade
I think we both must have been about 7th grade
But don't panic. We both survived without damage
But we developed a bond like we survived the Titanic
But when the country became frantic
my mother tried to get us out, planned it
to the last detail except the plan got derailed
'cause there wasn't enough money for the plane tickets
How bitter when my mother had to chose who to take with her
so my cousin got left in the war and that's just hard to recall
but now i take refuge in prayer,
kinda like finding God in the phone book
It came to me sounding kinda like something from a song hook.

Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down
and open doors to hurtin' people like me
People like me
(4x)

Heaven, is there a chance that you could come down
and open doors to hurtin' people like me
People like me
(4x)

[ K'naan Lyrics are found on www.songlyrics.com ]

3 comments:

Madame Rubies said...

Oohh... I like him.

Kat Joseph said...

Love him!

Kat Joseph said...

It's really a shame we didn't go see him... Kentucky! Or January! :)