Monday, April 25, 2011

Pharoah Gets a Bad Rap

As we come to the close of another Passover season, here's a Pesach-themed rap song to remind us of the redemption from Egyptian bondage:

Over on YouTube, the write-up goes like this:
Rap By: Matt Bar
Beat and Music Production: James "Jamo"mims and Ori Salzberg
In Partnership with: 12Tribe Films Foundation
Film By: Giving Tree Productions
Chorus: Moses at the red sea, like "who's gonna follow me?" Phoarah's in the tide, we gonna ride, to our destiny, In back of me, so sad to see, them bodies in the red sea chariots get buried, b-b-buried in the red sea Pharaoh sat and laughed when a staff became a snake, too long we've been your slaves, just let us go and pray, said "don't make this mistake," no pardon his heart was hardened, so started what we regard as: the days of 10 plagues...

one: blood in the river gonna shiver, gonna freak out
lips take a sip now there's blood in your mouth

Two: frogs in your house on your beds on your plate
don't matter what's for dinner better like frog legs

Three: knats buzz buzz watch the dust turn to bugs
itch itch hard to think with all the lice in your mugs

Four: beasts roam your streets when you step outside
there's a tiger on your tail nowhere to hide

Five: death of your livestock, flesh dries up
b-b-bodies in your barn pharoah when you gonna wise up?


Six: boils on your flesh no less than torture
careful of the ash in the air it'll scorch ya

Seven: hail rains down beats your brains down
like a message from the heavens better lay our chains down

Eight: locusts from the coast you can hear their wing click
eating crops eating trees til they're used as toothpicks

Nine: darkness, dispatch, 3 days pitch
remember when this started and you thought it was just witchcraft

Death of the first born how did it come to this
ten is what it took so we all would remember this

I like the way they incorporate the Negro spiritual, "Go Down Moses," into the mix, which serves as an excellent reminder of the contemporary struggle against prejudice and racism that made for common cause during the Civil Rights movement, and continues to do so, as we pursue social justice, to this day.

In honor of this great legacy, let's listen to a rendition recorded by the immortal Paul Robeson:

There is no mistaking Robeson's gravitas, but for a lighter, jazzier, more celebratory version, who can match the brilliance of Louis Armstrong?

So, as we go forth from this sacred time of year, let us remember our songs of liberation, and the promise of freedom!

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