Monday, February 27, 2006

History (I Won't Give Up)



I had a horrible dream last night. It was 1968 and I was somewhere in the South, it was a hot humid and sticky day the sweat just kind of stood still on my skin and my mouth was as dry as the California desert in the dog days of the summer. I was down to my last two bucks and it was hard for me as a black man to get any meaningful work. I saw a sign that said that the local sheriff's office was hiring new officers. I always hated the way the police treated my people so I decided the best way to change things would be to get in and assert my views an offer some balance.

I walked into the sheriff's office and immediately all eyes were on me. The room went silent and you could hear a rat pissin' on cotton. My dark chocolate skin and my bold jaw line complimented my broad nose and my full lips. I opened my mouth and simply said, "I'm here to apply for a job as an officer." Reluctantly I was given an application and I quickly filled it out and returned it to the officer on duty.

One week later I was a cadet at the sheriff's camp. I don't know why they accepted me because it was clear from day one that they didn't want me here. Nothing I did was right. They tried everything they could to make my life and drills a living hell and have me quit but they could not break me. Then one morning we were out on the field for physical training drills. I knew I didn't feel well but of course I had to act as if I was fine. Try as I may to keep up, the more drills we did the sicker I got. I don't know what was wrong with me, it's all a blur now. All I remember is that on one of my laps that I was running I was suddenly surrounded by my superiors. They began to berate me, brow beat me and push and shove on me. I can't recall exactly how many it was because I was so sick. At that point that I could barely stand but I do know it was at least five men.

They begin to enjoy the pain they were inflicted on me as if every blow represented the resentment of me and my people. As if I had somehow harmed them in my past life. Remember they never wanted me here anyway. It's 1968 in the South and I'm a progressive black man surrounded by five racist, oppressive white men. My breathing is becoming labored and my arms and legs have gone limp. The only thing holding me up is the barrage of stinging, pounding punches to my flesh from my fellow officers and their collective hands around my neck that are choking the breath of life out of me. Finally someone has mercy and allows my body to fall to the ground. Then to my chagrin I begin to feel excruciating pain in my kidneys and my spleen. The pain is coming from the soles of their boots as they continuously kick me closer into the arms of death. Suddenly I think it's over as I'm picked up and held in the arms of a man whom I hoped one day to work along side as a partner and then he too punches me and I begin my descent towards the ground and into the arms of Jesus. In death I am hurting more than in life because this hold incident was recorded on video tape and people are watching me die over and over again and are denying the truth of what they are witnessing.

Please allow me the dignity to rest in peace. Allow my family to mourn. Allow my People the justice they demand here in the land of the free. Allow my soul to sing the praises of God. For this is not 1968 and this is not a dream but my reality in the year 2006. I'm fourteen years old and I have been murdered by the hands of authority at the sheriff's camp.

These are the lyrics from my song, History ( I won't give up), from my upcoming album "Look Look Look" (Look3x).

The evil that men do they make moves like voodoo/
sittin' on the sidelines hoping and praying that somebody do you/
Never contemplating that somebody would school you/
Fuse melody rhythm and flow and work wit it like a tool/
You should know by now the oppressed man is not a fool/
Sign of the times evident from Elvis to Eminem don't be cruel/
It's a sham/ a scam /an old boy flim flam
No matter how you twist it up I know who I am/
I refuse to be a product of everything you feeding me/
Cause all you makin' available is smoke drank and the illusion of ecstasy/
It's ecstasy when I sit back with my eyes shut tight/
Soarin' through a world full of freedom like shooting stars in the night/
My spirit will not be broken/ my faith will not be shakin'/
Give it how you give it man I won't give up I gots to make it/

Chorus

I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life
I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life

It's something bout the way I post up and I walk/
It leaves you flabbergasted tongue tied and you can't talk/
you intimidated by the way miss Missy keep peeping at me/
You wanna put me in a cell with no bail and lock me away for a quarter century/
My first mistake was I didn't stay awake/
I should have paid attention when you fed me the crumbs up off your plate/
Honestly I did not understand/
I was still trying to comprehend the implications of that long trip man/
It was so complex with disrespect that I didn't know what I should feel/
I was a king in my village but now I'm serving you your meals/
That was so devastating and yet is so ironic/
I'm geographically isolated to the point I want to vomit/
But I won't and I don't cause now I'm feeling alright/
You can't comprehend the light/ my eternal sight/ mind so bright/ I'm
focused and walking in the light/
And I won't give up/ I won't give up

Chorus

I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life
I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life

From my transgressions and indiscretion I've learned many lessons/
A wife children and family are multiple blessings/
History is his story repeated/
I'ma put it down and y'all make show that you read it/
The criminal minded lawyers have control of the switch/
I'm scientifically inclined but to eat I gots to dig a ditch/
I got mandatory witnesses of the these mandatory sentences/
This is genocide as a law and it's mandatory we end this/
How low will you go below yo ego before you know/
If you keep on doin' this to ours we gone end up doin' it to yours/
Where is the rehabilitation in a nation full of accusations?/
Twentyfive wit an L and three strikes is equivalent to strangulation/
My astonishment is for the punishment as a curse upon my people/
The crime plus the time the punishment must be equal/
Mandatory lies/ mandatory lies/ mandatory sentences/ mandatories die/
I won't give up

Chorus

I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life
I won't give up on my life
I won't give up it's my life





--Hammertime
From my sidekick

72 comments:

R2K said...

Hammer, have you seen the video? I mean watched it for your self, and not just listen to the hearsay and hype?

Because I have. And at no time is there any violence. Frankly, most of the video is the guys helping the kid down, and checking him, and a nurse looking after him.

Sorry, but if it was a white kid, there would be no issue. I am not certain that is ok. If you have not seen the video, please take the time to watch it. And not just the sexy compressed CNN version. Remember what Public enemy said...

I mean what sells better? "Black boy beaten to death by white men" Or "Troubled youth dies from sickle cell at boot camp" ? And which one will the press run?

R2K

shell said...

I just don't understand how some people live with such belief. I'm from the Philippines. Here, I still experience christian people descriminating our Muslim brothers. Not because of their color but the religious belief. I have also heard friends who works in other countries that they also experienced racism in simpler ways. Other people have not outgrown this and it's a real pity. Maybe we won't be having wars if only we could learn to appreciate people for who they really are.

Ronda said...

The good thing to know is that Jesus won't give up on your life. Good song.

ShaolinTiger said...

OMG Hammertime!

Used to be a big fan of those phat dance moves and amazing baggy pants back in the day, wonderful to discover you've joined the power of the blogosphere!

http://www.shaolintiger.com

Shaun said...

Great post hammer! Very deep and intense. I printed out the song.. thanks!

Shaun

** Shaun **
My awesome blog: ohpunk.blogspot.com

-

MC Hammer said...

Alex,
You must have seen a different video than the one I watched (painfully) a hundred times.And that story about sickel cell is just too much. I have the same condition and I box,hoop,dance and play football and never have I bled.If you have another version of the video send a link so I can view it.I'm always open to facts.

Jay Elle said...

hammer- i really am enjoying your writing- it's lovely. i hope you keep up the blog.

Jason said...

Interesting...

Nice to see a comeback.. I used to watch the HammerMan Cartoons as a kid... Good to see you around...

Lilly and Willow said...

That was some dream! Quite the lyrical flow you have there, nice work!

Mr Q said...

Hammer,
The difference between 1968 and 2006 is that more people have decided to make a change. Take the blogland for instance, here we are meeting on common ground of expressing out thoughts and beliefs without fear or repression, it is a remarkable event for this country/world. For all the disturbing comments, ideas and blogs, it is the majority that writes truth and good on this virtual world, doing my own statistics, I have found more good than bad in the blogland. With all the good intentions, it is not possible to change others without excercising our own change and that is why there is one almighty the one that will intervine once change no longer is. You Hammer are part of the change by coming here to contribute to the good, bringing awareness and an uninterested hand.

Thanks.

alyceclover said...

Quite interesting. Well said Mr Q. Ironically I blogged about my "erasism" shirt yesterday. Anyone that doesn't think racism is alive and well in the 2000's doesn't know very many people. Can't comment on the issue, until I follow the links, hadn't heard about the incident. MC, thank you again.

John Eje Thelin said...

Maybe we could get over wars and racism if people stopped with their irrational beliefs on all sides. Religion is a construct, and the fasterpeople realise that, the more likely we are to get a rational, peaceful world.

Samu said...

Hey Hammer, I'm writing you from Sardinia (an island close to Italy). "Please Hammer don't hurt'em" was the 1st cd I bought in my life and your song "U Can't touch this" introduced me to the rap music. I'm really honored to meet you here and I hope you'll go on! Ciao! Samu

dave said...

hammer,

these lyrics are off the hook:

"From my transgressions and indiscretion I've learned many lessons/
A wife children and family are multiple blessings/
History is his story repeated"

can't wait to hear the beat...

L-dubb said...

Hey Hammer wssup!! I cant't believe your on blog spot. Alot heads around my block won't say it, but we were all fans of yours from day one. For a while it was the thing to do, ya know, dis' hammer in a song or something. Those same people were fans of yours. I also saw you on that VH1 show and you was a real stand up dude on that show. Anyway, nice lyrics and good song. Keep it up

tomur said...

oh yes...hammer time...this great country just would'nt be the same without it(you) if you did give up, what then? would the world really be less? or more? give it up anyway...you're too old now

Tesa said...

Awesome dreamscape on the way things go down sometimes....you're good with words man...press on!...Tesa...(aka-Lotus0662)

MC Hammer said...

tomur,
I have never been limited by age. how old are the rolling stones? U2 etc... with age comes excellence if you take care of yourself(the Stones and Bono are better than ever). I will be performing and entertaining until I leave this life, as long as I have the passion.

tomur said...

...I'm not goofing on you...I just did'nt get excited about these lyrics...

solomonrex said...

Jesus was always thoughtful, not emotional. It seems a bad idea to scour the news for every negative event that touches on your color. There are 200 million of us in America, most of the white people don't hate blacks, don't discriminate. Do most of the blacks not hate whites? Most black men are killed by black men, not white.

How emotional is your son? Is he so quick to condemn as you are? Do you point out the specks in white eyes and ignore the planks in blacks'? Have you forgiven white America for 1968, 1848? Remember Jesus went to the cross silent even though HIS people were oppressed - even though the temple itself would be obliterated in his abscence. Consider what a black Jesus would say about 2006.

John Eje Thelin said...

Actually, both The Stones and U2 have been well past their creative prime for 30 and 20 years respectively. Doesn't mean you can't make good music as you get older, just that they didn't pull it off. Yes managed to make a great album in 2001, Sparks just made one, David Sylvian is still vital, etc.

But the mainstream is almost always stagnant.

themickel said...

Hammer's right -- age doesn't matter. If anything it makes you better. If you think Bono and U2 "passed their creative prime 20 years ago" you're insane.
You keep writing and entertaining. America needs M.C. Hammer.

Phil said...

I can't tell you how delighted I am to discover this blog.

As an Atlantan (as are all the Playaz), we love that you are an "adopted son" of Atlanta (your connections with the Falcons and more recently our Braves) even though you hail from Oak-town.

Stop by our blog sometime. I look forward to reading yours.

Phil & the Playaz

Motivator said...

One is never defeated until one accepts defeat! The strength of ones will is stronger than anything in the material world. The power comes from within, from the soul, from the big guy upstairs.

All one needs is to tap into that energy source and realize its true potential...it is always available, one simply needs the guidance and direction to find it which I believe you were sent here to do.

Keep up the great work and good things will continue to happen to you and your family.

There are many things you "Can't Touch" in the world but one thing you can feel free to do is visit You Are Success where I too share a common vision of helping and motivating others!

Best Wishes,
-Motivator

Adrian said...

Yo whassup man. I like your blog. Keep on blogging dude.

Adrian

Mark Hatch-Miller said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark Hatch-Miller said...

Hey MC Hammer,

Another big celebrity, New Yorker writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, also started a blog this month, and so far your content's got his beat. Easily. I especially dig the photos.

But man, you gotta expand your links past just Wikipedia.

burism said...

hammer,

whatever happened to that guy with the pointy hair that used to dance with you? that guy was awesome.

Kcirtap said...

you're awesome! people, go to my blog please!

mackaydesign said...

Glad to have you back, Hammer. Fun seeing you again.

applerain said...

mc - congrats on your courage

BillyBADASS said...

Let me first start by saying I just recently met this girl that has had a rough life. A mother of two and constant ups and downs, from cancer to homeless shelters due to family neglect and abuse. She is now a mainstay in my life. She is a true inspriration to me and so are you even if I don't care much for rap music. You are a true American icon and hope nothing but great success in your future endeavors. To all those who say your time was over ten years ago, I say they don't know what America means to them. Without our constant battles and hardships this great nation would never be where it is today. Because of individuals such as yourself, we are THE GREATEST NATION in the world. DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE, NEVER SAY DIE, and most importantly, NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU CAN FROM. GOD BLESS. YOURS TRULY, BILLYBADASS.

Ruth said...

One thing I will never understand is bigotry and racism. Living in Sweden,where the black population in minute, it's not as blatant as the US, I guess. over here, it's more subtle.
Great piece with the dream, keep this blog alive!

S said...

Thank you for dropping a line on my blog Hammer!!! You rock!!!

Mindonicki said...

I think it's great that you have this blog. Makes you much more real than what I remember from music videos as a kid. I think something that is often missed is that the plight that you write about in your lyrics can be equally applied regardless of color. I know a lot of white young adults (I'm from Kansas, not a lot of diversity here) that are just as angry and longing for greater meaning in their life. I think your song speaks to that.

Also, you should consider writing books, your writing style is really good!

pink@gaggle.net said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pink@gaggle.net said...

If i see you sometime hammer, teach me the dance that you do from off the 'you cant touch this video.THANKS

Sali said...

Musicians do get better with age, and people of discerning taste know the good stuff. Blessings and shoutout from NYC.

Schleaf said...

Hammer, turn this mutha out is still one of my favorites.. Keep Jammin'

Scholar said...

Props to you, Hammer. You seem to have stepped your lyric game up quite significantly.

Ian McGibboney said...

As a progressive white man in the south, I too am disgusted by the racial inequity that still plagues the area. It's even sadder to see that a 14-year-old was the victim of this beatdown.

I grew up with your first three albums, and even as a kid was impressed by the social relevance of your lyrics. They helped me get interested in politics and race relations at an early age. It's great to see you still going strong.

Guitron said...

Excellent post, it was terrific to see Hammer the entertainer and inspiring to see Hammer the man.

You brought happiness with your music and I am positive your thoughts and feelings will carry over into this medium as well.

God bless and thank you for some of the best times of my life to date.

Kelly said...

Hammer, good lyrics any chance you'll be rapping for Jesus publicly?? A girl can dream right...

MC Hammer said...

guitron,
thank U for allowing me into your life.

MC Hammer said...

Kelly,
your dreams will come true. I have a surprise instore for you.

Loco Lady said...

I especially like...

"Where is the rehabilitation in a nation full of accusations?"

Brilliant.

Theorist said...

HI hammer,
Just wanted to say im a big fan of everything u represent and that i to am a big fan of dancing and music. I was wondering however are u at some point goin to release your version of "Unconditional Luv" as well as other songs u recorded with Tupac and others while u were on Death row records?

BornAgain5683 said...

Hey Hammer:-)

I was about to update my blog when I discovered yours. I saw your video for "LOOK 3X's" and I liked the dancing. The hook is sweet. Glad to know you are back on the scene. Wow, I can't believe I am posting in YOUR blog. I can remember your song "Help the Children". It came out around the time my brother was killed, in 1991. He was 18 at the time and I was 11. I can remember listening to that song and crying. Hammer I love you and "Keep On" doing what you do.

Marissa said...

Hammer,
When I was a teen, your music inspired me to be the best that I could. Now that I am older, your life and your words inspire me to give all that is within me, though my words. Keep on keepin' on. -Riss

B-rock said...

What we need to remember is better is the enemy of best. It took me a few years to fully understand this statement. In a nation that is getting better, you still need to point out the flaws. I agree with placing attention on the tragedy. We need to never keep reaching for the best. (34 years old, white, and yes, from the south.)
Looking forward to hearing the rest of the album. Been a fan from the beginning.

julie said...

I love your blog!! I've sent it to so many people to read. It's inspiring, deep, and emotionally challanging! Love it!!
Keep up the good work Hammer! Will always be a fan!!~Julie

Monponsett said...

When you went in to apply for the cop job, the reason they were staring at you was that you were wearing parachute pants.

MysticHeart said...

May I present a somewhat different perspective? I don't know if the fact that I'm an American of German and Irish descent has anything to do with it, but it's worth a try.

I belong to my local Unitarian Universalist church, and there is a lot of anti-racist work that goes on in the UU church as a whole. But my partner Joseph and I have not involved ourselves in this, and it is because we are not racist, and we think that most of the anti-racist work that goes on in the UUA is actually a different FORM of racism.

Let me explain.

We think that it is just as racist to target a certain race to "help" them as it is to "harm" them. It just comes off as being completely condescending and insulting to the person or group one tries to "help". People should be treated as just people, period. As Dr. King said in his "I Have A Dream" speech, which I have in my blog, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Heilsa and amen to that. Let it begin with me. Let me treat people according to the content of their character, and let me be utterly color-blind. I don't want people to "need my help" because they are perceived as somehow helpless and below me in some way. Let us walk as equals in this life.

Does any of this make sense at all?

MysticHeart said...

PS: Joseph has said he can't possibly be racist because there are far too many stunningly beautiful women in this world to worry about what shade of tan their parents are. *wink*

simmi said...

I am from South Africa, and my parents were forced into exile when i was only four. Our entire lives have been about eradicating racism, and sadly it still is...because racism is still alive.

In Europe it is raising its ugly head in countries which where amongst the most 'liberal' countries of the world, like Holland and Denmark.Now the most racist of all the European countries.

We returned to South Africa in 1992. It is a very exciting society to live in at the moment, as we are forging the new South African identity, but there is alot of work to be done.

One can change the laws, but not the way that people think...

so even though we have crossed the line of ten years of democracy, we have been too slow in implementing a deconstruction of racist ideology in our education system, in our media, etc. These issues are now being adressed and voices which were once silenced are telling there stories.
This forces all the people of S.A. to reconsider their place in contemporary society, and to deal with facing and rectifying 450 years of xenophobia.

I am glad that you dont shy away from plitically loaded issues...and proud to say that I was boogying to 'cant touch this' in the late eighties, early nineties...i still do when ever I hear it.

duckenvy said...

Has any other male noticed that all the ladies that posted comments are hot. Hammer must be doing something right.
All true hip-hop fans know that MC Hammer broke barriers in terms of sales and airplay that have lead to a lot of bullet proof Bentlys being purchased.
So to all you haters I hope you take a minute to judge the man and not the pants.
I probably won't be coping the new album and will probably laugh at whatever reply Slim Shady comes back with, but Hammer gets my respect for his intigrity and self belief.

Mark and MeLissa said...

Looks like we may get to get a glimpse of an updated version of A Class Divided...

The following link discusses a new reality TV show called Black White about 2 families, one black, one white, who swap skin color in an attempt to study whether race really matters. Apparently, the two families lived together during the experience as well.

The show will first air on Wednesday, March 8 on FX.

Here's a link to the article - it looks like it could be a real eye opener if people are willing to tune in with an open mind. I hope they'll do some sort of wrap up at the end where the two families discuss their experience...or perhaps they'll just do that during the show.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11394595/

MeLissa

CT said...

re solomon rex's comment

ok, forgive me if i'm wrong, i'm not an avid bible scholar---but i don't think jesus went to the cross silent. i think he said a few things, let out a few more words of TRUTH before they took him down.

cupajotogo said...

Thanks for this blog Hammer. I'm proud of u man. Living in the limelight can make u forget who u are and where u came from. You've been thru it and come out still you.

If it's alright with u I wanted to respond to mysticheart:
I used to feel that way too, but I have to say it's more than that. King challenged us to be colorblind, but not culture-blind. Not history-blind. Not roots-blind. If u met a Sudanese christian man who moved here after losing his family to a violent religious muslim sect, you would have in you an understanding... a sensitivity to where he's coming from...my experience with my black friends has taught me that that's all they want or hope for. (Not pity, not calousnes) So, relating with others based solely on character falls just a bit short. There's more to the story. If Jesus felt that way he never would have talked to the woman at the well (A promiscuous Samaritan woman) or anyone for that matter. Who of us can say "I am truly a man of character???". The american black man has a history. There's more to him than meets the eye. He's certainly not above the law, but he has roots that need to be respected. The same goes across the board (even us white boys in the NW).

Sorry so long Hammer. Love your blog. I'll be back!

internum1 said...

It is strange that u remember your dream )

Anita said...

I love those words to "Won't Give Up" its so inspirational and its what we are in need of these days.

Thank you Hammer for never changing your message in your songs.

Anita

James Baker said...

Hey Fellow, you have a top-notch blog here!
If you have a moment, please have a look at my music rap Latvia site.
Good luck!

Jay Adkins said...

What's up Hammer? Man, I bought your first album as a kid and really looked up to you. I'm glad to see you've found the Lord! Hit me up on my blog at http://www.JayAdkins.net

Be blessed!

Jay

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