Thursday, March 17, 2011

Opening track: Empires

The album opens up with a smooth, somnolent soul beat playing as Dr. Cornel West speaks. The sound and tone of the beat seems to be representing the sleeping masses who are kept blind as their leaders cover the globe with the arms of their brutal empire. You can hear sirens, machine guns and bombs dropping all in the background. Over these sounds, Dr. West raises a question about the perplexing paradox overlying the American Empire.

As Kevlaar states on a track later on, this nation "uses theology as a gun" and wields these supposedly Christian morals to maintain order and control here while wreaking havoc abroad. Dr. West explains that our current empire is the remnant or legacy of the Roman Empire: the same empire that hung Jesus on the cross because he represented a threat to their authority. Jesus was a figure who tried to uplift a persecuted people within an overbearing empire. Now, today, we live in the modern Roman Empire which adopted the Constantinian Christianity (Christianity as it was accepted and legalized by the emperor Constantine) while going along persecuting "other folks, jews and others."

So Dr. West brings to light the eye-opening idea that, if we are to truly live a life imitating Christ, then it would be demanded of us to stand up to the authority of our oppressive empire. The same empire which aggressively preaches Christianity in the first place. This contradiction, as obvious as it seems, is not universally acknowledged and is actually sequestered in the phony conservative Christian community which continues to wield the power at the heart of this empire. This is a bit of a shock and maybe a sad, shitty realization because it's all the more obvious that so many people are in a daze, totally unaware of this.

And once this has been revealed, the music drifts a bit, taking a deeper tone and we hear the words "I see the little tears in your eyes about to fall" which will lead perfectly into the first song "Why Me (Tears)" and it all ends with the statement "This is how I feel," a great way to introduce this extremely outspoken album.

You will note also that the producer for this opening song is named Zakat. "Zakat" is actually one of the five pillars of Islam and it is the virtue of alms giving. There is a message in this and it is that this album is a gift, an inspiration of truth for listeners and for the poor and deprived because it is an outcry for those at the very bottom. Those that are, in the midst of this Empire, abused and unconsidered. They are also brutalized or murdered by the police or else left to rot in kill-or-be-killed environments whether it's in the streets or in the military (or prison). This is further explained in the album's Outro.

*   *   *

Dr. Cornel West is a prominent public intellectual of color who frequently decries the evils of the American Empire and the plight of the black community in this country. He is currently a professor at Princeton University. Interestingly, when he was previously a professor at Harvard University, Dr. West was involved in a dispute with Harvard president Lawrence Summers and it became a whole big controversy. Summers was basically kicked out of Harvard because of the dispute with West as well as numerous shady financial connections. This is interesting because Summers, who served in the White House as Treasury Secretary, was one of the major slimeballs who knew of the impending American financial collapse and got rich because of it, as explained in the recent documentary movie Inside Job. You can read all about him here.

Dr. West's clear, eloquent brilliance is all over YouTube. I suggest you listen to what he has to say. He speaks the mothafuckin TRUTH.

No comments:

Post a Comment