Beat Street: A song that predicted the future

August 1, 2011

Thanks to the wonderful invention that is XM radio I was listening to Backspin and heard one must be one of the greatest songs of all time:  Beat Street.  Yes, the same Beat Street title track from the 1984 film.  The first versus from the song primarily deal with the movie’s lead character Ramon a New York graffiti artist.

But, my primary purpose of this post is to illustrate how history repeats itself and that Melle Mel is a modern-day prophet.  Did he predict the current economic crisis?  The Global War on Terror?  Famine?  Fracking?  Facebook?  Hmmm…just click on the links on the lyrics.

On unemployment…Note: This song was written when Black unemployment was about 18%...nearly the rate 28 years later

You search for justice and what do you find?
You find just us on the unemployment line
You find just us sweatin from dawn to dusk
There’s no justice, it’s, huh, just us


A newspaper burns in the sand
And the headlines say ‘Man Destroys Man’
Extra extra, read all the bad news
On the war for peace that everybody would lose
The rise and fall, the last great empire
The sound of the whole world caught on fire
The ruthless struggle, the desperate gamble
The game that left the whole world in shambles
The cheats, the lies, the alibis
And the foolish attempts to conquer the sky
Lost in space, and what is it worth?
Huh, the President just forgot about Earth
Spendin’ multi-billions and maybe even trillions
The cost of weapons ran in the zillions
There’s gold in the street and there’s diamond under feet
And the children in Africa don’t even eat
Flies on their faces, they’re livin’ like mice
And their houses even make the ghetto look nice
Huh, the water tastes funny, it’s forever too sunny
And they work all month and don’t make no money
A fight for power, a nuclear shower
A people shout out in the darkest hour
Sights unseen and voices unheard
And finally the bomb gets the last word
Christians killed Muslims and Germans killed Jews
And everybody’s bodies are used and abused
Huh, minds are poisoned and souls are polluted
Superiority complex is deep rooted
Leeches and lices, and people got prices
Egomaniacs control the self-righteous
Nothin’ is sacred and nothin’ is pure
So the revelation of death is our cure

Hitler and Caesar, Custer and Reagan, Napoleon, Castro, Mussolini and Began, Genghis Khan and the Shah of Iran,

Men spilled the blood of the weaker man.
Peoples in terror, the leaders made a error
And now they can’t even look in the mirror

Cause we gotta suffer while things get rougher
And that’s the reason why we got to get tougher
So learn from the past and work for the future
And don’t be a slave to no computer
Cause the children of Man inherit the land
And the future of the world is in your hands
So just throw your hands in the air
And wave ‘em like you just don’t care
And if you believe that you’re the future
Scream it out and say oh yeah (Oh yeah)
Oh yeah (Oh yeah)
Beat Street Breakdown, rrrrhaa!