Lab Tracks

Lab Track: Pray

5pillarsMore skeptical hip-hop! I can’t get enough! Today’s lab track also happened to be submitted by (and features!) another rapper who was highlighted in a Lab Track, Marshall “Gripp” Gillson (Go listen to that one, too!). Today’s artist is Jack & The Mad Psyentist, who just released The Five Pillars EP, a musical critique on modern society using the five pillars of Islam as a framework. (This is the sequel to their past work, The Seven Sins EP).

Today’s featured track, Pray, is based on the Islamic pillar of prayer. It begins with a soundbite from Hamza Yusuf, an American Islamic scholar and the founder of the first Muslim liberal arts college in the US, and includes performances by Jack “The Ripper” Horkings and Marshall “Gripp” Gillson. The track and lyrics are below. Enjoy!

Jack & The Mad Psyentist
Pray

How does that affect you? What’s the meaning for you?
So, meaning is…that’s what this whole thing is about…
And that’s what the gift of this religion is, it gives meaning.
People––the non–well, like some of the Atheist people,
Not Christians, ‘cause Christians believe in meaning also,
But some of the Atheist they say: “Oh,
Religion is just a way for people to find meaning.”
Exactly, we totally agree with you. Really. We agree with you
Because they say this is all meaningless, but we don’t believe that, because we know and experience and taste meaning, and we know that it’s real, it’s real–
All this other stuff is not real, but meaning is real
That is what’s real about the world
and the greatest meaning…in the world
…is the message of [The Force]
So make this a blessed trip for all of you may it be a trip of immense meaning, may it be meaningful for you, and may our hearts be open to meaning
may Allah’s [paraphrasing] open our hearts to the meaning
of why we’re here….
[sampled & paraphrased from Hamza Yusuf]

I just walk, I don’t dance, I don’t talk, I just rant
I don’t rap, I just chant, Pray for me, I’m in a trance
I just walk, I don’t dance, I don’t talk, I just rant
I don’t rap, I just chant, Pray for me, I’m in a trance

I just walk, (like Jesus) I don’t dance (I don’t need it)
I don’t talk, (I’m just breathing) I just rant (please believe it)
I don’t rap, I just chant
Pray for me, I’m in a trance

If I was your God, I’d let you stand up
And I’d give hand out, without needing your hands up
The way I pray is different than the church demands us
But I bet the both of us are waiting for some answers

Our ancestors met some prophets
Sampled what they heard and then retaught it
To our preachers, teachers, and leaders in office
But each religion reworked for unique political profit
Trying to gain a little of power, trying to make a little bit off it

Throwing the truth up in the coffin, and they bury it alive
They sell you what they tell you in their books and then you buy it
You’re a sheep and they’re the shepherd just trying to keep you in line
And they’ve sold the stories for so long they forget which are lies

Now we’re hypnotized, memory compromised
So we chant and we pray and we try to reorganize
But we’re prey to the predators lying to closed minds
So when you’re not lost in prayer, open your closed eyes, or you can pray

Pray for me, pray for me now baby
We’re lost in a trance, got me dancing crazy
Religion makes you bow down saying “obey me”
But don’t blame me, your lies made me lazy, pray.

Pray for me, pray for me now baby
Hip hop popped then left traps for it’s babies
Old religion decays as they scream “obey me!”
But will science and math really save me?

We pray in different ways, with our body, with our mind
We bow, and we think, with our hearts, with our spine
We meditate in asanas, postulate in poses
The beauty of the wonder of awareness it exposes

They say they don’t pray, they say they don’t chant
But they say the same words, and they do the same dance
Hip hop was teaching new prayers, the people had a chance
But then it went Pop and we all went in a trance

Now we chant mutherfucker, yeah we pray
I’m just talking to myself, I can’t hear what you say
Hip hop was my religion, but money took it away
Left a trap so only crap gets radio play

Bitch you better pray, or else you gotta pay
I got ‘em on they knees, like every single day
Then they tell me they believe me, in every single way
They don’t know I’m just an idol, and I’m only here to play

Pray for me, pray for me now baby
I’m lost in a trance, got me dancing crazy
God makes you bow down saying “obey me!”
But how much will you pay me?

Bitch you better pray, or else you gotta pay
I got ‘em on they knees, like every single day
Then they tell me they believe me, in every single way
But I could be a predator and you might be the prey

Pray for me, pray for me now baby
We’re lost in a trance, got me dancing crazy
Religion makes you bow down saying “obey me”
But don’t blame me, your lies made me lazy, pray.

Pray for me, pray for me now baby
Hip hop popped left traps for it’s babies
Old religion decays as they scream “obey me”
But will science and math really save me?
[rapped by Jack “The Ripper” Horkings]

Back when the stones had souls
When the raindrops were godtears, and
The mountains erected themselves
From the earth of sheer will
We winced before their power
Obeisance and homage
Deference to these forces who could
Swallow us whole
And we prayed
That the scourge would spare us
That the lightning would pass us by
That the food would be plentiful
And we prayed
For control, for mercy from
A world we felt too human to heal

Nowadays we insist that souls are for people
We watch the raindrops and the mountains as enduring curiosities
We are not allowed to fear the earth anymore
Only each other
Our paper shredder carelessness
Only disease, the disembowelment, the loss
Only being consumed by the greed, the desire
The more, more, more, more, more, more, more,
And we pray
That the scourge will spare us
That the breaking will pass us by
That the splendor will be plentiful
And we pray
For control, for mercy from
A world we still feel too human to heal
The forces still swallow us
Still pull up foundations like handfuls of wires sparking
There are so many things that we do not know
That we cannot do
What a Waste to mourn our fragility
Never to flex against these ropes, to kick at these hinges
We will not grow this malnourished, not see
The majesty of the universe
With our heads bent to clasped hands
Not run with legs limped
Put down your hymnals
Put away your wishful thoughts
All that we have built for ourselves
Is pittance to what we will accomplish yet
If you still feel too human to heal this world
YOU do not know
What it means
To be human
[spoken by Marshall “Gripp” Gillson]

This has been another installment of Monday Lab Tracks. Send us your musical recommendations through our contact link at the top of the page, and tell us what you think of the song in the comments below!

Previous post

Mad Quickies 5.6

Next post

Hair with Flair: The Science Behind Hair

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer

Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) is a saxophonist and writer living in Chicago, where she performs regularly with the funk band FuzZz and jazz ensemble Big Band Boom. She also does standup comedy, sort of, sometimes. Her tenor saxophone's name is Ladybird.

No Comment

Leave a reply