MIL Soldier Rap: The Pulse of War

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Peyomp, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Okay, I find this somewhat hilarious but it makes alot of sense... after all, isn't alot of good rap inspired by being forced by circumstance to live in a violent environment? A group of soldiers in Iraq built a sound studio out of lumber and mattresses, and they are producing rap songs and videos. Its gonna take me all day to download their video over my Indian net connection, but I thought I'd let you in on it first.

    You guys in Iraq could probably get their album locally, somehow?

    The group's site is: http://4th25.com/frameset.htm

    The MSNBC article quoted below is: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8101421/site/newsweek/

    Soldier Rap, The Pulse of War
    The sound may be raw, but the lyrics tell a story from Iraq that you don't often hear—from the soldiers on the streets.

    By Scott Johnson and Eve Conant
    Newsweek

    June 13 issue - It took only a few ambushes, roadside bombs and corpses for Neal Saunders to know what he had to do: turn the streets of Baghdad into rap music. So the First Cavalry sergeant, then newly arrived for a year of duty in Sadr City, began hoarding his monthly paychecks and seeking out a U.S. supplier willing to ship a keyboard, digital mixer, cable, microphones and headphones to an overseas military address. He hammered together a plywood shack, tacked up some cheap mattress pads for soundproofing and invited other Task Force 112 members to join him in his jerry-built studio. They call themselves "4th25"—pronounced fourth quarter, like the final do-or-die minutes of a game—and their album is "Live From Iraq." The sound may be raw, even by rap standards, but it expresses things that soldiers usually keep bottled up. "You can't call home and tell your mom your door got blown off by an IED," says Saunders. "No one talks about what we're going through. Sure, there are generals on the TV, but they're not speaking for us. We're venting for everybody."

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    Rap is becoming the pulse of the Iraq war, as the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison were for Vietnam. The essential difference is that new electronic gear is giving today's troops the ability to create a soundtrack of their own rather than having a mass-produced version flown in from home. Stateside rap sounds tame to the guys serving in Iraq anyway. This week an open-mike competition in Baghdad is expected to draw many of the front-line military's top performers. The GI rappers, many producing or aiming to produce their own CDs, are giving listeners back home an uncensored glimpse of life in Iraq, straight from the troops—troops like Johnny (Snap) Batista and Richard (Ten Gram) Bachellor, who patrol Baghdad with a unit of the Marine Antiterrorism Battalion. In their off-duty hours they place a boombox on the pavement in the Green Zone and improvise rhymes about how it feels to be shot at or to lose a friend to an improvised explosive device (IED). One of their most popular numbers starts in a hushed tone, almost a whisper: "There's a place in this world you've never seen before / A place called streets and a place called war / Most of you wanksters ain't never seen the fleet / You talk about war and you've only seen the street."

    For American audiences, the best-known voices are probably the freestyle rappers in the documentary "Gunner Palace." The film, which opened in March and is coming out on DVD this month, follows the daily lives of an Army artillery unit billeted at a mansion formerly belonging to Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday. "There's going to be a whole culture that emerges from this war," says director Michael Tucker, who lived with his subjects for two months. Spc. Javorn Drummond, 22, one of the palace freestylers, has been rapping since he was a kid, but he says Iraq was a whole different thing. "In Iraq you can lose your life in half a second," he says. "But rapping keeps you focused. If you're sittin' on a gun and you're tired, waiting for a sniper to come at you, you just start thinking up a rap and your fear goes away. It's motivation, you get an adrenaline rush from it." He and his fellow rappers Richmond (Hotline) Shaw and Nicholas (Solo) Moncrief have rotated back to Fayetteville, N.C., where they're working on a compilation CD.

    Rap gave six members of the First Armored Division a way to hold themselves together. They call their group Corner Pocket. Based at Baghdad's airport last year, they were pounded by daily mortar and rocket attacks. Finally they put the whole mess into rhyme and set out to tape it as a music video on location at the airport. "Every time we'd go out to record our music, there'd be an attack and we'd have to stop," says Spc. Joseph Holmes, who laid down the music tracks for "Stay in Step." It's about the cost of survival: "Soldiers are dying every day, that's why we ain't smiling. I'm the one you see on TV / Army infantry, one arm holding my sleeve from a previous injury / Bloody desert combat fatigues, dusty and ammoless M-16 with a shredded sling /... Hit in the head and shoulder but still taking deep breaths / 'Cause I'm in Kevlar and sappy plates in my flak vest."
     
  2. Kozzy McKoz

    Kozzy McKoz OT Supporter

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    Metal>rap for war music.
     
  3. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I still can't download the damned video... guess I'll try at a net cafe.
     
  4. nerfball

    nerfball New Member

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    the video has nothing that we haven't seen on OT.
     
  5. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    Except the music, right? Is it any good?
     
  6. pakman

    pakman New Member

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    Their music is alright, though I'm not a rap expert or anything.

    I saw the Gunner's Palace doco, not bad IMO. It's crazy to think how much has changed since that doco was made. There's scenes where the soldiers are riding around town on the back of a troop-carrier humvee with what seems to be little concern. That would be considered suicide nowadays, and is obviously not allowed anymore. I'm not implying that it was any less dangerous back then, but no one can deny the rise in insurgency these past two years.
     
  7. Luciano

    Luciano Guest

    didnt someone host this video this morning. i distinctly remember seeing it, but now i cannot find it anywhere. was it in OffT?
     
  8. Ranger-AO

    Ranger-AO I'm here for the Taliban party. Moderator

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    :eek3: I didn't know you were posting from India! Are you Indian? Your english is excellent.
     
  9. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I'm American. Thanks on the English, I'd hope so as I am a writer :) My Hindi and Konkani on the other hand... suck. My Russian is passable.

    Thats me in the icon, although I've shaved almost all the hair off my head and face at this point.
     
  10. Luciano

    Luciano Guest

    Do you feel any danger in Hindustan because of your ethnicity?

    As for your writing, blessings Peyomp, and Rastafarai
     
  11. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    I feel less danger here than anywhere I've been, ever. India is a very, very safe place in terms of violence. Except for cars running me over on my bike, and a close call with a bar fight when I was somewhere I shouldn't have been in the first place. Some Indians look like they wanna jack you... but almost all of them have no concept of physical violence. Thats not to say its shangri-la here, but for a male travelling alone... as long as you avoid the extremely impoverished areas at night, it is pretty hard to be assaulted. For women... thats another story.

    Although I won't be able to see the new Star Wars in Delhi, because Wacky Paki's (sorry, Pakistani/Kashmiri terrorists) bombed some theaters there that were premiering it. :(
     

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