My knees getting weak and my gun might blow, but we gon’ be alright. Some people say everything after but is bullshit. Well we can only hope that is not true in this case. At this point, and at so many points in our time here in North America we have needed a life line, a jolt of that soul power to reassure us that there was some light, some redemption, some better days ahead.
And we hate popo, when the kill us dead in the streets for sure. This song is serving healing right now for many across the country. We really realized the power of our music to be used in an affirming way most recently during the Ferguson insurrections when the young people were singing a LiL Boosie song that basically said “eff you” to all forms of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
Singing the song, rapping it, gave them a power, fearlessness in the face of the police. Of course they are young and there is the natural fearlessness that the youth have, yet you could see it in their faces, not just fearlessness, a joy, a happy liberation that was on them as they sang. Again I saw it when in Cleveland this past summer, the youth began singing, “We gon be alright”, again in the face of the armed police officers, fearlessly free and happy.
If God got us then we gon be alright.You know a Hip Hop song has moved you, or any song for that matter when you start to cry when you hear it. I am emotional anyway so I cry at movies and songs all the time. Yet when it’s a Hip Hop song its even more interesting to cry because Hip Hop is supposed to be HARD!! However as a Hip Hop girl/woman I have to admit there are quite a few songs/lines that have made me shed Tender Roni tears.
That is a part of the magic of music and the power of this musical genre that our foreparents have created. It becomes a way for us to release anger, soak up joy, process trauma, and shine through it all with that World Is Mine confidence that is Hip Hop.
The poetic intro discusses the pathos of a young rapper, feeling surrounded by D-Evils as Jay Z referred to them, screaming in a hotel room. Everything is on my mama when it comes to Black people. He masterfully plays on words and codes dear to the African diaspora, from the Jamaican blow sound, “alls my life I had to fight” (color Purple reference), and shout out to the elders with the smooth jazz as the foundational melody to the track.
I know we are gonna be alright. We have to keep saying it though and believe it, keep saying it until we believe it. This is why I felt the need to start this blog. For Us. So we could remember and focus on OUR dopeness. So we could have gems and musical mantras to remind us; to be the soundtrack to our revolution.
Kendrick implores us to seek more and to articulate what we want (40 acres and a mule, a piano, a guitar), and to not, “talk about it be about it” as many have in Hip Hop. We have always stressed talking the talk and walking it as well. With this chorus, he is urging us to walk by faith not by sight and to affirm that we are gonna be alright until we are. He urges us not to misuse our power and our gifts and to remember (as some of us might from the children’s book from Virginia Hamilton), that the people could fly.
Peace and Love from Soul Force Worker #1 Lola Fulani aka Bonita, Bonita, Bonita.