Can You Understand “The Message”?

3 March 2018

Sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under’ – effectively preparing the listener for a discourse in coping with struggle. This feeling is immediately reaffirmed by the instrumentation, the sound effect of glass breaking, followed by the opening line “broken glass everywhere, people pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care. ” Grandmaster Flash uses the metaphor of the “jungle”, to insinuate the unpredictable, volatile, annalistic nature of life in the inner city which pits hungry soles amongst one another to fend for themselves.

The second image he brings into play, of people urinating in public to the indifference of those surrounding, serves to demonstrate the kind of conditions omnipresent in the ghetto: a public that is desensitizing to uncivil behavior. Additionally, the instrumentation of the baseline and the chorus serve to augment the song’s message. The baseline, a perpetual, consistent descending chord progression, fosters the notion of life being a slow and steady dose of challenges that tend to weigh one down. The moderate tempo, marked by a drum and the baseline, form a consistent, steady beat that creates the illusion of time passing.The constant downward chord progression builds on this notion of time passing, and suggests that just as regular as the passage often, is the constant necessity of dealing with problems. Additionally, implementation of the synthesizer to create a psychedelic chord progression that is heard exclusively during the chorus of “The Message,” creates an aura of instability and further amplifies the feeling of volatility that characterizes life in the inner city as alluded to by the earliest referenced metaphor of the jungle as rapped by Grandmaster Flash in the first line of the song.While the aforementioned musical elements have the capacity to suggest and augment the thematic content, the lyrics are the primary propagator of the artist’s message in hip-hop music.

Can You Understand “The Message”? Essay Example

In “The Message,” Grandmaster Flash seeks to heighten the awareness of the conditions of the inner cities, implicate the system that creates the conditions, and also illuminate upon the state of mind that results from living in such conditions, and its consequences. Poverty is the first issue he addresses, and raps “l can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise no more/Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice… Tried to get away, but couldn’t get far/ ‘Cause a man with a tow-truck repossessed my car. ” The picture Grandmaster Flash paints describes the depressing reality of poverty. Many inner city Weller are often physically, socially, and economically trapped to the confines of their living situation.

Lack of financial stability in the inner city prevents many residents from improving their situation, and in effect leaves an entire community socially and economically stagnant and living with “rats in the front room, roaches in the back/junkie’s in the alley with a baseball bat. In the author’s case, one shared by countless other inner city residents, the ability to even catch a breather from the depressing sites and life of the inner city is not even feasible due to lack of transportation. Another image hat Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five portray is a “crazy lady living’ in a bad/Eating’ out of garbage pails, she used to be a fax-hag. ” While this image serves as another reinforcement of poverty in the ghetto, it also brings to light the plight of a single woman in the ghetto.The crazy lady, Grandmaster Flash explains, used to be a dancer however at some stage in her life “she went to the city and got Social Security/She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own. ” Through the anecdote of the “crazy lady,” Grandmaster Flash demonstrates the realities of life for a poor, single woman trying to aka a living in the inner city. In “The Message”, her ambition to be a dancer was squashed by the lack of opportunity and resources of the inner city, and the only form of “social security” she could find was provided not by the government, but by the neighborhood pimp.

Due to the constraints placed on her life potential by her living situation, she forwent a dance career for prostitution, and eventually homelessness and the dubious honor Of being the “crazy lady living’ in a bag. ” The failure to succeed for this single woman represents the plight of many single women of the inner cities whom are held n economic submission by their financial situations and have to result to prostitution for “social security,” only to end up homeless and helpless.One of the primary causes for many inner city dwellers to be trapped in social and economic stagnation is the fact that they are not eligible for work that would take them away from the inner city. This can be directly attributed to the lack of substantial education that many urban residents receive. Grandmaster Flash, writing form the point of view of a father, illustrates this point. “My son said: ‘Daddy, I don’t wand go to school/Cause the teacher’s a jerk, he must hind I’m a fool/And all the kids smoke reefer..

. Through the son’s description of what his education is like, Grandmaster Flash illuminates the true environment at inner city schools. Because there is lack of community contribution to the education system, the only financial backing the inner city school board receives is the government issued sum from state’s education budget. As a result, many inner city schools are poorly equipped, and their lack of resources restrains the inner city student’s potential.Furthermore, many of the children of the inner city are products of broken families and at a nouns age are already forced to cope with oppressive life issues. The result is turnover from the schools to the streets, where the only education is the code of the streets, not individual morality. Grandmaster Flash best elucidates this point again through the son, who tells his father “All the kids smoke reefer, I think it’d be cheaper If just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper.

The fourth verse of “The Message” is the most poignant verse of the song, In which Grandmaster Flash reaches out to the vast population of inner city residents by describing the conditions of the ghetto, and the individual mindset that it extracts. He extrapolates that upon birth, God is smiling on you but he’s frowning too Because only God knows what you’ll go through You’ll grow in the ghetto, living second rate And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate.In this passage Grandmaster Flash discusses the paradox of God, and how while he smiles on all his children, he frowns on those living in the inner city, for he knows that the “second rate” life that residents of the inner city live only lead to cultivation of hate. He does on to describe how places that were once sweet memories turn sour, and that the only role models there are for he youth are the ‘thugs, pimps, pushers and big money makers/driving big cars, spending twenties and tens… However, despite the glory of making money, the next step down that path is one of jail time and imminent death.

Grandmaster Flash concludes the verse, was cold and your body swung back and forth/But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song/Of how you lives so fast and died So young,” a fitting description of the unnatural life Of those living in the Inner city. By utilizing the vehicle for expression that is hip-hop, pioneers Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were able to create a song that could speak to entire populations of oppressed African Americans.

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