November 4

by Aaron Jafferis (video)

My father was African, my mother American.
I have brothers blue-black, and cousins with fairer skin
who pale in comparison to Sarah Palin.
Like blues, my family trees roots shoot
deep through the earth, but only in America
could my parents have given birth to me.

Conceived when cultures
collided and made love, previously divided states
(of mind) united and gave blood and life.
Husband and wife split the difference between
hope and change, between cope and pain,
and even though they split, all of it their hope and pain
still fit in their sons open brain
and over time became his/my over-arching aim:
give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,
give me liberty from war, lift, lift the underclasses,
and if this economy looks fundamentally strong,
your fundamentals are wrong
or youre looking through muddy glasses,
or your fundamental heads are stuck up your metaphorical…

Ask me who I am, and I will tell you true:
my name is not Barack, though this is his story too.
My name is hip hop. Its my history Im telling you:

My father was African, my mother American.
I have brothers blue-black, and cousins with fairer skin
who pale in comparison to Sarah Palin, who isnt
the only illustration of true-blooded Americanism.
Like blues, I am he whose family trees
roots shoot deep through the earth,
but only America could have given birth to me.
I was given the gift of speech, and I use it
to outreach and uplift the youth, and if you
wanna use me as a servant to you in order to form
a more perfect union, then do…organize

and do mobilize and open eyes to truth and show that lies
misled the poor and led to war and broken lives.
Do give the tools to cope and rise,
and as the movement grows in size
and breaks the ropes that hope defies,
and as the youth vote multiplies,
well break the race right open wide,
wide open eyes will vote
and take this nation by surprise. Surprise!

I am the native son, the bought and traded one,
the sometimes hated drum talking of change to come,
I am the underrated, the wonder-if-hell-make-it one,
the character-assassinated but still not jaded son,
even though over time I become the front-page-aided one,
the allegedly overrated, celebrity-associated one,
some people thought I blew up and went pop-
ular, grew up and then dropped the urban
working class who, from first to last, I have worked
to bring from last to first, and if you think my values
are in trouble…your (thought) bubble is burst.
I still cast my lot with the tired, the poor,
the huddled masses. Give me liberty from war,
lift, lift the underclasses, and if this economy
looks fundamentally strong, your fundamentals are wrong
or youre lookin through muddy glasses,
or your fundamental heads are stuck up your metaphorical…

As for us:
if hip hop is the entrance to what is in store
lit hot from the embers of what came before,
if Barack is the belief that God demands more
than a war in Iraq and abandoning the poor,
if America can stare itself in the face and be sure
we want to end poverty, and end endless war,
then we are the ones we have been waiting for.
You are the ones you have been waiting for.

Your name is…My name is…
Our name is…
Our name is America, our very existence, a miracle.
We survived insistent attempts to make our lives unbearable.
Dehumanize us, brutalize and downsize divide us,
still we rise through the work of the multitudes inside us.
Though generations have lived and died,
we pride ourselves on our youth
and keep our eyes on the prize of that self-evident truth
that we know is not a lie even though Americas broke:
Our birthright is equality. Our inheritance is hope.
Our name is America, and you better be ready,
cause on the 4th of November, we are going to vote.

  • “The invigorating, near-Shakespearean rap drama Kingdom... [is] innovatively intelligent…sobering, unflinching. The score is the first I’ve experienced to make a viable case for rap and hip-hop as theatre music… Jafferis and Williams are worthy musical inheritors of Shakespeare’s legacy.” – TalkinBroadway.com
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.