Flobots – Stand Up

I have been listening to this album for a couple of years now, and I enjoy our music discussion – but have not heard much discussion about this genre.  The flobots (a six man group from Denver) are what I would call “social justice hip hop.”  They abandon the typical subject matter found in the hip hop culture for a more poignant (sometimes visceral) cultural critique.  It seems like a prophetic voice is rising out of our metropolitan areas.

Here are the lyrics to the song that I have found myself listening to over and over again over the last several days.

Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We still don’t understand thunder and lightning
Flash back to when we didn’t fund the dam
Didn’t fund the dam levee? No wonder man
Now our whole damn city’s torn asunder man
Under water but we still don’t understand
We see hurricane spills overrun the land
Through gaps you couldn’t fill with a 100 tons of sand
No we still don’t understand
We’ve seen planes in the windows of buildings crumbled in
We’ve seen flames send the chills through London
And we’ve sent planes to kill them and some of them were children
But still we crumbling the building
Underfunded but we still don’t understand
Under God but we kill like the son of Sam
But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man
We will overcome

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Stand up We shall not be moved
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
Except by a woman dying from a loss of food
Except by a freedom fighter bleeding on a cross for you
We shall not be moved
Except by a system thats rotten through
Neglecting the victims and ordering the cops to shoot
High treason now we need to prosecute

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
And we won’t fight a war for fossil fuel
Its times like this that you want to plot a coup
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

Now shake, shake
A Polaroid dream
nightmare negatives develop on the screen
We sit back and wait for the government team
Criticize they but who the fuck are we
The people want peace but the leaders want war
Our neighbors don’t speak, peek through the front door
House representatives preach “stay the course”
Time for a leap of faith
Once More

Put your hands up high if you haven’t abandoned
Hope that the pen strokes stronger than the cannon
Balls to the wall, Nose to the grindstone
My interrogation techniques leave your mind blown
So Place your bets lets speak to the enemy
Don’t let em pretend that we seek blood
And who’s we anyways Kemo Sabe?
Mighty warlord wanna-be street thug
a threat for a threat leaves the whole world terrified
blow for blow never settles the score
word for word is time need clarify
We the people did not want war

So Stand up
We shall not be moved
Except By a child with no socks and shoes
If you’ve got more to give then you’ve got to prove
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Unless were taking a route we have not pursued
So if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you

I said Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
Put your hands up and I’ll copy you
if you’ve got a dream and a lot to do
Put your hands up

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8 Comments

  1. This reminds me of a Jars of Clay song very much worth listening to. Obviously the content, not the style reminds me!

    “Oh My God”

    Oh my God, look around this place
    Your fingers reach around the bone
    You set the break and set the tone
    Flights of grace, and future falls
    In present pain
    All fools say, “Oh my God”

    Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
    We make it worse when we don’t bleed
    There is no cure for our disease
    Turn a phrase, and rise again
    Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
    Oh my God.

    Oh my God, can I complain?
    You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
    Weddings, boats and alibis
    All drift away, and a mother cries

    Liars and fools; sons and failures
    Thieves will always say
    Lost and found; ailing wanderers
    Healers always say
    Whores and angels; men with problems
    Leavers always say
    Broken hearted; separated
    Orphans always say
    War creators; racial haters
    Preachers always say
    Distant fathers; fallen warriors
    Givers always say
    Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
    Users always say
    Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
    Saviors always say

    Sometimes I cannot forgive
    And these days, mercy cuts so deep
    If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
    While I lay, I dream we’re better,
    Scales were gone and faces light
    When we wake, we hate our brother
    We still move to hurt each other
    Sometimes I can close my eyes,
    And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
    What makes me so badly bent?
    We all have a chance to murder
    We all feel the need for wonder
    We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

    Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
    All the times I thought to reach up
    All the times I had to give
    Babies underneath their beds
    Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
    All the comforts of cathedrals
    All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
    All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

    Oh my God
    Oh my God
    Oh my God

    Reply

  2. I really dig this:

    Oh my God, can I complain?
    You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
    Weddings, boats and alibis
    All drift away, and a mother cries

    Liars and fools; sons and failures
    Thieves will always say
    Lost and found; ailing wanderers
    Healers always say
    Whores and angels; men with problems
    Leavers always say
    Broken hearted; separated
    Orphans always say
    War creators; racial haters
    Preachers always say
    Distant fathers; fallen warriors
    Givers always say
    Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
    Users always say
    Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
    Saviors always say

    Reply

  3. Joey,

    I wonder if “handlebars” wasn’t a hook to get people to buy the album. It is the only song that is remotely palatable to the mindless masses.

    Reply

  4. It is interesting (but not surprising) to note that the several of the members of the flobots are professing Christians, what else could this mean: “But if you feel like I feel like about the son of man We will overcome?”

    Their new song is pretty awesome as well: “White Flag Warriors”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsgbb23z27w

    Also in this genre you might include the Black Eyed Peas, “One Tribe,” and some of Wyclef Jean’s music.

    Reply

  5. Sounds like their heart is in the right place. Idealistic as one can only be when young and single. To right the wrongs that their parents gave up on.

    Problem is once you marry and have kids (if you have the courage to do so) you are forced to work within the system (if you want a better material life for your kids). If however you chose not to compromise you sacrifice your kids dreams before they are 5.

    We live on the cusp of historic times.
    Our countries last space mission in the summer(we have to bum rides from Russia now to get to the space station after that.
    Our debt will exceed our GDP and the world is about to remove the dollar as the world currency.
    States are bankrupt and education will be the first to go.
    And we have a replacement birth rate of 1.6 in this country and we need 2.11 to establish replacement value. Our culture has chose to kill itself off.
    Your generation can reverse that trend, but given the economic hardship your generation will face I simply don’t see you & your peers choosing to have 5 plus kids.

    Reply

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