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Protest Song of the Week: ‘Fire Next Time’

It was the anniversary of the death of Mike Brown, the black teenager in Ferguson who was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson. To mark the event, a concert of revolutionary musicians called “Ferguson Rocks” was held in St. Louis.

The lineup included Tom Morello and the Freedom Fighter Orchestra, The Coup, Outernational, Steffanie Christi’an, Son of Nun, and poet Jessica Care Moore, who MC’ed.

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Son of Nun, a Baltimore native who is an artist with Firebrand Records, performed “Fire Next Time” at the concert.

From August 2008, the lyrics draw from the history of black resistance and slavery. “I’ll take you back like the crack of the whip when freedom equaled whipping crackers with the back of the clip cause speaking truth to power more than fattened your lip and going underground was the best way you could hit—break the chains—burn the cotton—and dip, board the chariot with Harriet.”

The rap moves into a rejection of colonialism, which spans parts of the world outside America. Son of Nun touches upon groups, which revolted against white oppression in Africa and South and Central America.

“I’m the fire next time and I’m at their doorbell. AWOL as hell with no fears of jail cause they got money for war but my community fails,” Son of Nun declares. “I only signed up so I could climb out of sales cause the way I made money courts take it bail. When I get back I’m putting bush on a scale and I’m a take a pound of flesh until justice prevails – till they start fixing up these broken down schools, till they get their hands off a woman’s right to choose, till they blame companies instead of immigrants for paying people less than it takes to pay the rent.

“‘Til America starts behaving herself and doing unto other countries what she’d do to herself – and I know I ain’t the only one who thinks like me even though they never try to show us on the TV – the movement has deep roots man believe me – cause the fire next time is coming to DC.”

“Fire Next Time” is a movement rap that is unapologetically direct and fierce in its commitment to empower blacks against worldwide systemic oppression. It offers context to the struggle in Ferguson and beyond, and it is Shadowproof’s “Protest Song of the Week.”

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."