Wild International

They say that in war the truth be the first casualty. So I dig in: Selector - I, the Resurrector - fly my shit; sever your neck wider than ever with my tongue dipped in funk arsenic. Burn this illusion, this lie, with straight arson shit! Your arsenal's stripped. Power aint full jackets and clips, it's my ability to define phenomenon. Raw Crenshaw, '84. Boogie down before L.A.

When the war break off, where you be? Take off? Stand in full face off? with the M1 millimeter, let the rhythm of the chamber hit 'em. Let the rich play catch with 'em. Better yet, make 'em, eat 'em, and shit 'em till they so full of holes that they drown in their own.

I'm like a nail stuck in the wrist of they Christmas. Don't need radio to leave their family a witness.

Muhammad and Christ will life? ...will lay your body down to a tune, so wild, international. In the desert, full of bullets, let your body rot. With my chrome, with my verse, with my body. Rock!

In this era where DJs behave - be paid to be slaves - we raid airwaves to be sane. And what's raining from the station? Cash fascination like living dead.

Fed agents distract us fast from a disaster's wrath. For sure, air war was flooded like the 9th ward on the AM. On the AM! Turn and face them. Hatred and mayhem! "Slay them!" "Dangerous!" I take razor steps. It's the swing from the bling to the bang on the left! It's the murderous return: boom back, full strap. Your six that got clipped, you can't clap back.

With minimal lift and criminal flow I'm killing 'em soft and billing 'em fo' everything stole. And once again I'm that nail in the wrist of they Christmas. Watch me make their family a witness.

Here I've transcribed Zach De La Rocha's lyrics for the song 'Wild International' from the band and album One Day as a Lion. I've attempted to give it a traditional paragraph form and remove some of the signature lyrical flow. By adding punctuation and breaking the lines on the thought, rather than the beat, the ideas distinguish themselves more clearly.

I shall now, in pompous arrogance, interpret these lyrics. I will expound upon them, putting things in that aren't really there, and freeing whole volumes of thought and text from just a few syllables. I advise that you stop reading here and go form your own opinions instead. (I should consider the time taken to write this a self-indulgent waste.)

The first verse sets a violent tone for a song considered on whole to be a blisteringly angry threat and a call to armed revolution. The first line, a simple derivative quote, ("In war, truth is the first casualty") sets the stage for a few of the song's prevailing notions of thought control and military media warfare. De La Rocha builds himself up a little at the beginning, annointing himself the resurrector of truths lost to the veil of war. Slitting the enemy's throat is symbolic of an inability to make rebuttal. Stripping him of his "arsenal" is as well, a claim that there can be no argument to the ideas that follow. Power lie not in military might but in thought. Wars are born of men and minds, not means. No army on Earth can withstand the might of its protectorate. Power is reason and who controls their own mind is more powerful, and dangerous, than all armies.

The second paragraph is much benefited by punctuation, almost that it need not be further considered. It begins with the challenge: When the war between man and his oppressors begins, where will you be? Will you run from the fight. Will you desert mankind to the shelter of them who promise you only subjugation. Or will you stand against the powers of the world that have so long bound you. Will you seize and hold the will to stand and kill the capitalist oppressor as he and his have so long been the murderers of men, and worse?

The pitch to chorus is tough. A nail through the wrist of Christmas... Well, that would be a disappointment to anyone, to say the least. The truth and death of Jesus as received during the celebration of his birth. Forced recognition of sobering truths despite an effort to remain blind to them.

"Don't need radio to leave their family a witness." An incredulous threat, intended to remind the consolidated media and Pentagon propagandists, brought to flog later, that no amount of media censorship, hype, or spin can wipe away the real images of death and destruction when they land in your own backyard.

The third paragraph and chorus is a challenge. I've transcribed the first line as "Mohammad and Christ will life?" And I've followed it immediately with "...will lay your body down." If heard correctly, I find this an unexpectedly poetic and intoxicating pun, capturing with a masterful terseness the hypocrisy inherent in both religions. The collective gods of Christian and Muslim world alike espouse doctrines of peace and life, while in practice Jesus and Mohammad, God and Allah are all equally likely to spray your blood across the sand impiously, unbothered even to grant sport a grave, leaving corpse to rot in open air. All these gods are more often the trumpet heralding war than leading to peace.

"to a tune so wild: international," begs mention here as it distinguishes the type of war being condemned in the chorus. De La Rocha is a militantly minded artist, and I believe, an advocate of violent revolution. Thus it is not war in general he is deriding, but these foreign wars of aggression, empire, and capital gain. A civil war of liberation and self determination would presumably be just fine by him.

The last line of the chorus ("With my chrome, with my verse, with my body.") may be less thought out than I will suggest, but I imagine it the sudden juxtaposition of the speaker to the position of the dead. De la Rocha is here entertaining the notion of himself dead or dying on the sand of a foreign nation, and so the listener is juxtapositioned with him. All to die and disappear, mind and body, on foreign soil, with none to care; least of all them that led us to the fight.

The second verse begins with the consolidation of media. I suspect some personal ire in this songs mentions of radio. One Day as a Lion can't be getting any radio play from the Clear Channel syndicate. Of course they mustn't have expected much airtime considering the lyrical content of the music. I know well the great frustrations suffered from beneath a glass ceiling and One Day as a Lion along with Zach De La Rocha earn the right to their anger as poets and musicians only allowed so many decibels, so large an audience, and so far a reach by the consolidated media interests at large.

So while it is as likely that the second verse's opening lines regard the Pentagon's hypocritical propagandizings in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those populations' attempts to publish and air their own responses without being detected and destroyed for it, I enjoy these comments as a more domestic affair. To be clear, I find these statements regard widely the consolidation of media, the lack of intellectual diversity, and the absence of perspective and individuality across mainstream outlets. I do not mean to imply that this is purely, or even first, a personal slight by a poet scorned. But that scorn may feed the flames of the song's overall vitriol.

"And what's raining from the station? Cash fascination."

In the bible Jesus says that you cannot serve both Mammon and God. Mammon is the personified representation of greed. No one can serve two masters, says Jesus, and he teaches that too friendly a relationship with money, goods, comforts, and convenience is enmity with God. You cannot be spiritually sound, says Jesus, and know the want of money.

Today our current policy in Afghanistan is outwardly and unashamedly to "whip a little industry on 'em." I have heard the opinion voiced by an average news anchor - not a crazy, fascist, CNN talking head - but by a run of the mill, wallpaper reporter that in order to stem "religious extremism" in the middle east, America's policies should be to increase the capital opportunities available; spur entrepreneurship; and encourage new fiscal markets. In other words, "we can destroy the belief system that leads them to resist us so zealously, by slow and unnoticable means until all that remains of it is dogmatic ceremony, if we can erect a middle class of relative ease."

It's a perfectly logical conclusion. I've seen it work wonders to those same ends here at home in America. And I cannot believe how unrepentantly Satanic capitalism and America really are. Nor how acceptable this depth of evil has become to the average citizen. When "America's enemies" say that we are the great Satan, it's because we are. We are trying to destroy their culture. We are trying to drive a wedge between them and their God. We really truly are the modern embodiment of Lucifer's will. Nice to meet you. Beverage? Towel? Hot poker in your ass?

I'd like to think that the two word phrase "Cash fascination" embodies all of this and more, both abroad and at home. It also sets up the next few lines of the song as they regard the racist attempts at deflection and Marshall law following hurricane Katrina. These being the "looting" claims of the fascist capitalist demon fuckwad cocksuckers.

A merchant city under water; no meaningful response from the Federal government; tens of thousands of unrepresented people sleeping in a sports arena, and under armed quarantine for the disease of being poor in a disaster (and therefore libel to do anything!); civil rights abuses piling up one after another; and all the media can talk about or show is a few opportunists running off with soggy stereo equipment. So much so that enough heads turned from a city in peril, unassisted by all the systems supposedly in place to help them, to the "need" for Marshall law and national guardsmen. The need to start shooting down anyone walking out of a Piggly Wigglies without a receipt scotch taped to their forehead. Finally we see this government's concern! Not people. Property! "Quick get the guns and protect the lifeless inanimate sundries that those cold, wet, hungry, homeless people are trying to walk off with!"

"the swing from the bling to the bang on the left." The media was able to blow up a few incidents of looting to the point that America was able to accept the use of military force for the purposes of policing an American city. This leads right into "the murderous return." That sacrifice of constitutional grounds that can never be undone. The powers-that-be winning another precedent enabling them to come in and hold the peace by overwhelming intimidation and lethal force.

An alternate interpretation might leave De La Rocha speaking from the perspective of the media throughout this latter half of the verse; mocking their fear mongering and laying bare the racism innate in all those suggestions of an impending danger posed by a large black community suddenly homeless. Like animals the white man caged but wishes he'd just gotten rid of, broken loose and threatening now - this race of dark savages - to infiltrate our nice, white villages and carjack us all to death for fried chicken and watermelon money.

Another interpretation of this last section could leave it spoken on behalf of the people: A violent outburst of hatred toward the establishment. The "swing from the bling to the bang on the left" could prophecy the shift in the populace from their obsession with comforts and goods to the stronger desire for a just and humane world. This leaves the rest of the song as a string of threats against the establishment.

The last line before the pitch to chorus is a beautiful enigma to me. He could be speaking from the perspective of the authority, who, during a crisis, is hovering around in helicopters gunning people down over a stolen TV. I prefer, however, to think that he's returned to his earlier push toward violent revolution; that he's speaking on behalf of the people, as they regard the powers of oppression. The proletariat, finally armed, having found it's resolve to seize control, is at last "killing 'em soft and billing 'em fo' everything stole."

Or it could be a song about puppies. One of those two.


Post a Comment